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The study assessed the factors influencing adoption of FARO 52 rice package by farmers in selected Local Government Areas of Niger state. Structured questionnaires were used for data collection. A multi-stage sampling procedure was employed where a total of 166 FARO 52 rice farmers were randomly sampled and proportionately drawn at 25% across each of the nine selected villages. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The result indicated that the package recorded 15.1%, 51.2% and 33.7% low, medium and high adoption level respectively. The constraints identified by the study include: high cost of the technology, complexity, lack of technical skills and low availability of the inputs among others. The results of the linear regression model indicated that farmers’ age, household size, farm size, farming experience, extension visits, training participation and membership of associations had a significant relationship with the adoption of FARO 52 rice package. In conclusion, the adoption of FARO 52 rice package as a whole was influenced by socio-economic and institutional factors. The study thus recommends that the concerned stakeholders should give priority attention to those socio-economic and institutional significant factors identified by this study while formulating development strategies and programs for different categories of farmers.



1.1 Background to the Study

Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is an important food and cash crop in the world. It feeds more than half of the world’s population (Ojohomon, 1995). The world grows 153.8 million hectares of rice annually with average worldwide yield of 3,885 kg/ha. This gives a production of 598.8 million metric tons, which is greater than that of either corn (590.8 million metric tons) or wheat (576.3 million metric tons) (FAO, 2011). Rice has become an important economic crop and the major staple food for millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in general and Nigeria in particular (Africa Rice Centre, 2012). It is an important staple food and a commodity of strategic significance across much of Africa. Driven by changing food preferences in the urban and rural areas and compounded by high population growth rates and rapid urbanization, rice consumption in SSA has been growing by 6 percent per annum over the years, more than double the rate of population growth (FAO, 2011).

AATF (2012) however, revealed that the area under rice production in SSA has stagnated at about 8 million hectares, producing about 14.52 million tonnes per year against an annual consumption of 21 million tonnes. These production and consumption trends i]mply a production deficit of about 6.5 million tonnes per year valued at US$ 1.7 billion that is imported annually. In other word, AATF,(2012) added that insufficient rice production affects the wellbeing of over 20 million smallholder farmers in Africa who depend on rice as their main food.

In Nigeria, the demand for rice has been increasing at a much faster rate than in other West African countries since the mid 1970s. For instance, during the 1960s,

Nigeria had the lowest per-capita annual consumption of rice in the sub-region (average of 3 kg). Since then,

Nigerian per-capita consumption levels have grown significantly at 7.3% per annum. Estimated annual rice demand for Nigeria in 2009 is said to be 5 million tonnes, while production is said to average about 2.21 million tonnes. The national rice supply-demand gap of 2.79 million tonnes is expected to be bridged by importation (NRDS, 2012) which has constituted serious drain on the nation’s foreign exchange.

The potential land area for rice production in Nigeria is between 4.6 million and 4.9 million ha. Out of this, only about 1.7 million ha or 35 percent of the available land area is presently cropped to rice (WARDA, 2005). Rice is however, one of the major food crops cultivated by farmers in all agro-ecological zones of Nigeria and it is widely consumed by a large proportion of the population (Akande, 2001).

The main production ecologies for rice in Nigeria are rainfed lowland, rainfed upland irrigated lowland, deep water/floating and mangrove swamp. Of these, rainfed lowland rice has the largest share of the rice area (50%) and rice production (WARDA, 2005). In recent years, rice production has been expanding at the rate of 6% per annum in Nigeria, with 70% of the production increase due mainly to land expansion and only 30% being attributed to an increase in productivity (Hussein, 2000). Much of the expansion has been in the rainfed systems, particularly in the two major ecosystems that make up 78% of the upland and rainfed lowland systems (Awotide et al., 2010). However, several factors are responsible for the low rice production. Nitrogen deficiency and drought have been cited as leading constraints to upland rice production, while high salinity is increasingly becoming a major problem in many rice growing areas of Africa. As a matter of fact, farmers in Nigeria are predominantly peasant. However, the leading constraints to adoption of crop improved technologies in include

high cost of technology, lack of availability and accessibility of technology, absence of input support services, and lack of adequate training among farmers.

Niger State has the comparative advantage of the largest land mass of 10% of Nigeria’s 80% arable land mass. The State has production capacity of 570,000 tonnes of rice and is ranked top in the country (NSADP, 2010). The State has comparative advantage in rice production as the largest rice producer in Nigeria and has potentials for rice export (Anons, 2003). For effective extension service programs, the state Agricultural Development Project (ADP) has three agricultural administrative zones. Lowland rice is mostly grown in Zone A while in Zone B both lowland and upland rice are cultivated. Rice is however, sparingly grown in Zone C (Ojohomon, 1995). The Rice Value Chain Intervention Development under the support of the African Development Bank (AFDB), the Niger State Rice Investment Consortium (NSRIC), and the Bida-Badeggi Rice Mill, which had the capacity to produce 30,000 tonnes per annum, are the major impetus for increased rice production in the State (NSDP, 2009).

In almost all areas of the globe where the agricultural transformation process has been documented, agricultural productivity growth has been driven by improved farm technologies, including improved seeds, fertilizer, and water control (Leeuwis, 2006). In an effort to increase agricultural productivity, researchers and extension agents in developing countries have typically promoted technological packages consisting of a number of components such as seed varieties, fertilizers, planting methods, and weed control (Doss, 2006). A technological package, according to Ekwe and Onunka (2006) is a technology developed with various recommended components for use in a specific production environment and to maximized farmers’ output. An example is new variety of improved seed developed and released with its recommended practices. FARO 52 is an example of a rice variety developed for lowland ecology under rainfed condition

with specific recommended practices involving the seed, rate of fertilizer application, establishment of nursery, transplanting depth, spacing and cultural operations. Imolehin and Wada (2002) submitted that cereals crop production packages are released along with descriptive features of the variety, specific adaptable environment, agronomic practices and expected field output after use. The technology package includes components such as high yielding rice varieties, fertilizers, herbicides and corresponding management practices. This study therefore, attempts to examine the factors that influence the level of adoption of FARO 52 rice production technology package in some Local Government Areas of Niger State.

1.2 Problem Statement

Technical change in the form of adoption of improved agricultural production technologies has been reported to have positive impacts on agricultural productivity growth in the developing world (Nin et al., 2003). Promotion of technical change through the generation of agricultural technologies by research and their dissemination to end users plays a critical role in boosting agricultural productivity in developing countries (Mapila, 2011). Moreover, Minten and Barrett (2008) observed that the availability of modern agricultural production technologies to end users, and the capacities of end users to adopt and utilise these technologies are also critical. It is believed that an effective way to increase productivity is broad-based adoption of new farming technologies. In addition, as suggested by Oladele (2005) adoption of improved technologies will improve food security and reduce poverty if barriers to their continued use are overcome. As recognized by Doss (2003 and 2006) one way of improving agricultural productivity in particular, and rural livelihood in general, is through the introduction of improved agricultural technologies to farmers. Doss (2003) also opined that adoption of improved technologies is an important means to increase

the productivity of small- holder agriculture in Africa, thereby fostering economic growth and improved wellbeing for millions of the poor households. Technological change in agricultural inputs which is fundamental to the transformation of Rural Africa has not been fully embraced by small-holder farmers in the region (Mapila, 2011).

It is worth knowing that lowland FARO varieties (44, 50 and 51) were among the earlier released varieties with pest and disease management practices to the farmers (NCRI, 2009). The lowland ecologies in which farmers in the study area grow these varieties were discovered to be prone to excessive iron deposit (iron toxicity) and susceptible to lodging due to their characteristics tall habit and heavy panicle. Hitherto, these varieties have no genetic potentials to withstand such environmental condition. Swiftly, in response to the needs of the rice farmers, the FARO 52 rice variety was developed with genetic potentials to resist iron toxicity and lodging (NACGRAB, 2004). The variety was developed by IITA/WARDA and packaged in collaboration with NCRI Badeggi which has the mandate for genetic improvement of rice crops. The package was promoted and disseminated through the NCRI Dissemination of Research Result (DRR) programmes in collaboration with state ADP extension programs. However, several years after its introduction the status of this package has not been ascertained with respect to its adoption level and characteristics of the users (Tiamiyu, 2009).

As a matter of fact, there is a general lack of understanding of the factors affecting the adoption of FARO 52 rice package in farming systems in the study area; no attempt has been made to ascertain reasons for the farmers’ adoption behaviour in term of the package. Only with a thorough understanding of these factors can further insight be developed concerning strategies to promote technological packages (Jackline, 2002). Most of those who attempted to explain the adoption of production technologies

in the study area base their assertions on subjective beliefs about the conventional practices of small-holder farmers, and not on analytical evidence. Therefore, an empirical description regarding factors affecting adoption and extent to which the package is adopted several years after its introduction is imperative.

Against this background, it is pertinent to explore the aspect of adoption of the package and evaluate its determinants in order to fill the gaps and contribute to scientific knowledge. This study, therefore, attempts to assess the factors influencing adoption of FARO 52 rice package by attempting to find answers to the following research questions:

i.  What are the socio-economic characteristics of the farmers using FARO 52 rice package in the study area?

ii. What are the methods of extension used in disseminating FARO 52 rice package to the farmers?

iii.    What is the level of awareness, information sources and level of adoption of FARO 52 rice package by the farmers in the study area?

iv. What are the factors influencing adoption of FARO 52 rice package by the farmers in the study area?

v.  What are the reasons for adoption of FARO 52 rice package by the farmers in the study area?

vi. What are the constraints associated with adoption of FARO 52 rice package in the study area?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of the study was to assess the factors influencing adoption of FARO 52 rice package by farmers in selected LGAs of Niger State. The specific objectives were to:

i.  describe socio-economic characteristics of the farmers using FARO 52 rice package in the study area.

ii. identify the extension methods used in disseminating FARO 52 rice package in the study area.

iii.    determine the level of awareness and information sources and level of adoption of FARO 52 rice package by the farmers in the study area.

iv. assess the factors influencing adoption of FARO 52 rice package by farmers in the study area.

v.  Identify the reasons for adoption of FARO 52 rice package by the farmers in the study area.

vi. identify the constraints associated with adoption of FARO 52 rice package among the users in the study area.

1.4 Hypotheses of the Study

Ho i: There is no significant relationship between farmer’s socio-economic characteristics and adoption of FARO 52 rice package.

HO ii: There is no significant relationship between institutional factors and adoption of FARO 52 rice package

1.5 Significance of the Study

By determining the factors that influence FARO 52 rice package adoption, this study would provide guidance to the rice technology development administrators and researchers for enhancing rice technology development program effectiveness. The added knowledge on which factors have the greatest influence on FARO 52 rice package adoption would help administrators make more informed decisions on how to promote rice technological packages. Understanding these factors is important for the scientists to generate and develop agricultural technologies, which suits to the current

conditions of farmers. Policy makers too would benefit from the research output since they require micro-level information to formulate and revise policies and strategies. Another benefit from the research would be provision of an explanation to the current state of technologies used by farmers. Moreover, since FARO 52 is a high yielding rice variety, information emanating from this study would provide a strong case for increasing investment in the rice sector.

Similarly, the study would provide research organizations with empirical reports for further improvement and modification of the package to meet the expectations of ultimate beneficiaries. By and large, the findings from this research would provide a framework for policy makers to formulate or review policies and strategies that are technology-usage friendly, socio-culturally compatible and economically viable.

It is important and justifiable therefore, to conduct research in the area of crop production technology adoption, especially rice, with a view to ascertaining whether or not farmers have adopted the disseminated production technologies.

1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The study was conducted in Gbako, Katcha and Lavun LGAs of Niger State. The study focused on socio- economic characteristics of farmers and some institutional factors in relation to level of adoption of FARO 52 rice package. However, due to limited resources the study area coverage was limited to the lowland rice producing LGAs in the State. Also, the questionnaire were written in English not in the language of the farmers. This was overcome with assistance of extension officers who interpreted the questionnaire for the farmers in the local language. More so, there was limitation of memory lapse by farmers to recall some quantitative information. This was overcome by rescheduling the visit in another time to allow the farmer to recollect the exact information required.

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