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There is inadequacy in the number of vehicles to convey farm outputs from farms to markets
in Nigeria. Roads are generally inadequate and very poor with old vehicles mostly in use. In many communities, donkeys and bicycles are used while other use wheel barrows and canoe. Many people trek long distances to move farms outputs from place to place. The poor state of farm to market roads raises costs and affects delivery of bulk supplies of outputs to the markets. This study evaluated the role of motor vehicles in the movement of agricultural produce in Makarfi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria. It examined the types of transportation used in the area, volume of agricultural produce moved, the pattern of movement, the cost and challenges of transportation in the area. Random sampling technique was adopted and247 respondents were selected and interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Interviews were also conducted with vehicle operators and marketers. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 20. The study revealed that motorcyclesare the most commonly used means of road transport in the area and that trunk A road account for 66% connectivity to the market in the area. The distance covered by respondents from farm to market was between 3-5km.Rice and maize were the farm produce mostly in circulation and that the volume and type of produce transported determined the means of transportation.Itcost between 1,000-3,000 naira to move any half a metric ton of agricultural produce to the market. The most pressing challenge in transporting agricultural produce in the area as indicated by a majority of the vehicle operators was poor road network. This has resulted to mass losses during transportation. The study recommended that given the large volume of farm produce cultivated in the area, and the challenges with accessibility in the areaall the three tiers of government(federal, state and local)shouldconstruct better quality roadsthat are regularly maintained. Also, storage facilities should be made available to farmers and traders by Makarfi Local Government Authority to enable them store their large volume of agricultural produce in order to prevent damages.
1.1 Background to the Study
All over the world, transport is regarded as an important factor involved in
agricultural development. It is the only means by which food produced at farm site is
moved to different homes as well as markets. Thus, transport creates market for
agricultural produce, enhances interaction among geographical and economic regions and
opens up new areas to economic focus. Also, adding that transport is a key ingredient in the
development of rural areas which provides people with access to various goods and
Agricultural production is very important to the economy of developing nations as a
whole and Nigeria in particular. It is the major occupation of the inhabitants and people of
the country while it provides employment directly or indirectly for at least 60% of the
people in Kaduna State. Usman (2008) opined that irrigation farming also contributes to the
production of food in MakarfiLocal Government Area (LGA) and beyond. Hence, advising
farmers to adopt an intense agricultural production practices in support of the Federal
Government‟s Policies of the seven-point agenda (i.e. eradicating poverty and ensuring
surplus availability for food and raw materials for both domestic consumption and
exportation purposes). The major agricultural products found in the area are maize, rice,
guinea corn, millet, beans, sugar cane, and melon amongst others. These products serve as
food for man and raw materials for industries within and outside the state. They provide
revenue to farmers and generate foreign exchange to the government.
Despite the fact that Nigeria is basically an agrarian country and the majority of the
goods to be transported are mostly agricultural products which are by nature often bulky,
low-priced, and highly perishable especially fruits and vegetables. Such produce must
however be conveyed from their area of production to their zone of consumption with
minimum delay and cost. There is the need therefore for a correspondingly wide-spread
transport net-work to take produce from farm to market. It is observed that inadequate
supply and high cost of food stuff is as a result of inefficient transportation and distribution.
Also, inadequate transport provision leads to the total waste of agricultural foodstuff
produced. The role of transport is therefore very crucial such that production process is not
complete until the commodity is in the hands of the final consumers. Availability of
transport facilities is therefore a key critical investment factor that stimulates economic
growth through increased accessibility, its efficiency and effectiveness.
Vehicular modes of moving agricultural goods include tractors, pick-up vans,
trucks, car, buses, motorcycle and bicycle with each having its cost and attendant problems.
Transportation cost is determined by a number of factors which include, length of haulage,
nature of goods, the environment, competition among transporters availability of return
haulage among others (Williams, 1985).
Makarfi LGA is situated in the northern part of Nigeria and is predominantly an
agricultural area. The dominant means of transportation is by road. The LGA has two
major roadsand a number of feeder roads.It is against this background that an attempt is
made to examine in depth the role of motor vehicles in the movement of agricultural
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