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This study was carried out to identify entrepreneurship skills required by secondary school graduates for success in rice production enterprises in Kwara State. Three research questions were developed and answered in consonance with the purpose of the study. Three null hypotheses were formulated and tested at the probability of 0.05 level of significance. Three sets of structured questionnaire were developed fiom the related literature reviewed for the study. They were face validated by three experts. The three sets of questionnaire were also tested for reliability with alpha Coefficients of 0.92, 0.89 and 0.90, respectively. The questionnaires were used for collecting data fiom the 250 respondents. The data were analysed using the mean and standard deviation to answer the research questions and t-test statistics to test the null hypotheses. The major findings of the study revealed seven (7) modules with 89 skills in rice growing enterprise; eleven (11) modules with 113 skills in rice processing enterprise and two (2) modules with 25 skills in rice marketing enterprise. The results of the null hypotheses tested revealed that there were no significant differences in the mean ratings of the responses of group of respondents on entrepreneurship skill modules with their corresponding skills required by secondary school graduates for success in rice production enterprises in Kwara State. It was recommended that the entrepreneurship slull modules with their corresponding skills identified by the study could be packaged into training programmes and integrated into State's skill acquisition centres by Kwara State Government for training secondary school graduates and other interested youth in rice production enterprises.



Background of the Study

Rice production involves beneficial economic enterprises in Kwara State. Enterprise in the view of Christene (1995) is an organization with partially overlapping objectives working together with the rules and regulations guiding them for some period of time in order to attain these objectives. The organization can utilize technology, competence, information and other resources in order to transform an input into products that satis@ the needs of the society.

Dumas (1999), is of the opinion that an enterprise is a company that comprise of the establishments which operate under the ownership and control of a single organization. He further stated that it could be a business, service and membership organization that consist of one or several establishments and operate at one or more locations. The idea is to improve the economic status of the members and society at large.

In the view of Hornby (2000) an enterprise is a company developed by people or government. In the context of this study, enterprises in rice production include: rice growing, rice processing and rice marketing.

Rice is scientifically called Ovza saliva. Rice in the view of Tsado (2000) is one of the world's most important annual cereal crops, belonging to a family of graminae, widely cultivated in almost every part of the world. He described further that the plant has fibrous roots, tillers, the leaves with sheath base, a well defined midrib and small flowers. The mature grain is elongated and enclosed in husk.

Rice is one of the staple food crops grown by farmers in Kwara State. It is grown under two cultures as either upland rice or as swamp rice. Upland rice as explained by Micheal and Brigitte (1997) refers to rice grown on both flat and sloppy field that are not bonded, that are prepared and seeded under dry condition and depends on rainfall for moisture. Are (1989) explained that swamp rice are grown in mangrove or inland swamps or under irrigation.

In the context of this study, some improved rice varieties are developed by National Cereal Research Institute (NCRI) which is distributed through the Kwara State Ministry of AgriculturefADP to the farmers. Upland varieties include: FARO 15, FARO 20, FARO 21, FARO 22, FAR044, FARO 45, FARO 46, E 425 and OS6

Similarly, some varieties of swamp rice are grown mostly in Nupe speaking areas of the State (Kwara North), because of availability of flooded and Fadama environment. Some of the varieties include: IR 5, IR 8 and IR 20.

These varieties give higher yield under good management. Rice production in Kwara State provides employment opportunities to the growers (farmers) which serve as one of the sources of their income in order to meet up other needs. Madugu (1995), stated that rice play and shall continue to play prominent role in food security of the State. He maintained that rice is by far the most important cereal in terms of calories production by hectare.

In Kwara State it has been observed that fine and soft rice straw obtained after harvesting serves as one of the raw materials for Ijagbo industry for production of shoes, hats and mattresses. Laundry starch is manufactured from the broken rice grains. Feeding of the livestock with rice brand chopped straw ins the opinion of Ejike (1995) results into appreciable growth and development especially when mixed with skimmed milk. Livestock fanners use rice straws with skimmed milk to feed their animals for higher economic returns. The rapid increase in rice consumption in Kwara State has created a wide gap between demand and supply of the product. This is because; rice is one of the staple food crops in the state. As it features in Sallah and Christmas festivals, naming, marriage and funeral ceremonies.

For success in rice production enterprise an entrepreneur is required in order to carry out the management very effectively. An entrepreneur in the view of Igbo (2001), is an individual who owns, organizes and manages a business. She stressed further that an entrepreneur must be able to plan and follow through hard work, maintain good relationship with customers, employee and other businesses with whom he deals, for instance, banks, insurance companies and

service f m s . Osuala (1993), identified some chzracteristics of an entrepreneur to include:

1.            Desire for responsibility.

2.             Preference for moderate risk.

3.             Confidence in personal success.

4.              High level of energy.

5.             High organization skills and belief in achievement.

An entrepreneur in the opinion of McGregor (1994) is a manager of a

business who is energetic and brings about rapid economic growth and development in the society. He stated further that an entrepreneur can be regarded as movement in a business whose function is to bring some positive changes through interaction with government to promote a sustainable development in business especially where entrepreneurship is required. Entrepreneurship in the view of Igbo (2000) is the ability to recognize a business opportunity, mobilize the resources and exploit that opportunity in order to be self-employed. She cladied further that entrepreneurship involves risking materials, human and ftnancial resources in creating a new business.

In the context of this study, effective management in rice production required some skills in tillage practices, nursery practices, pests and diseases control, imgation techniques and fertilizer application. To be a successful entrepreneur in rice production enterprises one must possess required entrepreneurship skills. Skill in the opinion of Hull (1988), is the ability by a person to cany out certain operation expertly through repetitive performance of an activity. He stated further that acquisition of skills can take place through on job training, placement of trainees, learning by doing and problem solving in the school laboratories and workshops. Skills, in the opinion of Osinem (2005), refer to the ability of a person to perform an act expertly. It is that expertness, practice ability or proficiency displayed in the performance of a task. He stressed further that it involves the acquisition of performance capability through repetitive performance of an operation.

For a successfd management of any business and in the context of this study, entrepreneurship skills are required in rice production. Entrepreneurship skills in the view of Nwaokolo (1993) are the ideas and management abilities necessary for personal self-reliance of youths in the society. He said further that it is the education that inculcates in the graduates of secondary schools the ability to choose appropriate business to raise their economic status and enhance success in business. Jeroen (2003), is of the opinion that entrepreneurship skills are the abilities needed for autonomy and independence, taking initiative, looking for possibilities to cany out business, self-confidence and endurance in any business opportunity. He said further that entrepreneurship skills have some components that are considered to be very important in any successful productive business in rice enterprise such as marketing skills, simple financial accounting and recording skills. Marketing skills in the view of Nelson and Leach (1988), are the abilities that make one to be readily saleable in the labour market. They stated further that these skills enable an individual to acquire and keep job for a living. Osuala (1993), identified some marketing skills to include: Being familiar with various aspects of sales and sale techniques, determining the cost of advertisement, determining the storage facilities, and determining the extent of the market. In the opinions of Crum and Okwo (1993), an entrepreneur must master some financial accounting skills. They equally recognized entrepreneurship skills to include some abilities as - the use of banking facilities for fast growth and development of a business, preparation and interpretation of pay roll of employees within an organization and computation of trade and cash discount.

In the context of this study entrepreneurship skills include managerial and production skills in any rice production enterprise with an understanding of simple financial accounting and record. These components are considered very important in the process of rice production enterprises.

Production in the view of Ebong (2000), involves the utilization of technical transformation of resources into output. In this study, rice production can be described as those set of procedures and activities that required good

managerial practices. All the resources used in this process are called factors of production. Group of farmers involved in these entrepreneurship skills and in rice production in Kwara State are peasant and commercial farmers respectively. Hornby (2000), defrned peasant farmers as a poor person owning small piece of land which he cultivates mainly for the provision of basic needs of his farming family. Ogumfiditimi (1996) stated that commercial farmer is a person whose involvement is directly on the cultivation of large hectares of land mainly for commercial purpose. The management practices that these farmers do adopt in the process of rice production include site selection through survey, land preparation which includes bush clearing, stumping, ploughing and harrowing. Others are rice planting which also involve selection of quality seeds, depth of soil, seed rate and spacing of plants.

Rice production in Kwara State is still in the hands of aged farmers who are weak in strength and energy to cope with demand for rice production by people of the State and other neighbowing states in Nigeria. The method of production is traditional in nature and it is handed down fiom one generation to another. The farmers are provided with sufficient incentives such as new cultivars, fertilizers, insecticides and credit facilities to improve their production, but their old age, illiteracy, lack of skills, the scarcity of labour are some limiting factors in utilizing the incentives.

Labour could have been available, if youths assist their parents in the farms, but secondary school graduates in the State hardly remain in rice farming communities to assist their parents. They assumed that their level of education as a secondary school graduate is no longer meant for rice farming, but for white collar-jobs in towns and cities.

National Policy on Education (N.P.E.) (2004), defines secondary school graduates as those youths who have successfully completed six years of secondary school education. The researcher observed that the secondary school graduates in the context of this study are those who cannot secure admission into higher institutions of learning, cannot secure job and do not acquire skills required for rice production enterprise. They constitute menace in the societies

and this led to scarcity of labour in rice production enterprises in the State. If entrepreneurship skills are identified and probably used for equipping them with managerial skills in rice production, it will lead to an increase in rice production and higher economic returns into the State. In this study there is the need to identify entrepreneurship skills required by secondary school graduates for success in rice production.

Statement of the Problem

Kwara State is endowed with a vast area of land suitable for rice production, which requires comparatively small investment and return on investment can come quickly. As a result of this endowment, farmers are engaged in various rice production enterprises. Rice according to Madugu (1995), is a staple food crop among the people of Kwara State and other neighbouring states in Nigeria. The researcher observed that due to high demand for rice by growing population of Kwara State including the export supply to other neighbouring states, production become low because farmers are aged and lack required skills in rice production enterprises.

Government was interested in increasing the supply of rice production in order to increase her fund generation in agriculture and therefore, directed that the secondary schools should teach the students the techniques of rice production as one of the recommended crops to be studied by Kwara State students in secondary schools.

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