Farmers’ constraints in rice production in South-East Nigeria

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The study was carried out in South East Nigeria to evaluate the socioeconomic attributes of rice farmers and identify the major constraints facing the rice enterprise in the area. The study relied mainly on primary data obtained by questionnaire and interview administered on a total of 158 farmers across four states that constitute the South East Agro-ecological area. Descriptive statistics was mainly used to analyze the data collected. Findings show that farmers in rice production were dominated by married, literate, male farmers. Major constraints to rice production include poor extension contact, lack of finance, high cost of agrochemical, lack of inorganic fertilizer, lack of processing facilities/ standard measure for rice, lack of credit, and delay in supply of improved rice varieties. It was recommended that the government should expose farmers to skills and knowledge required to overcome the constraints in rice production through the development of extension training/ teaching service, development of rural infrastructure, irrigation/storage/processing facilities and credit supply at affordable interest rates.

Article Citation:
Emodi AI.
Farmers’ Constraints In Rice Production In South-East Nigeria.
Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 114-123.

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http://www.jagri.info/documents/AG0026.pdf

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Farmers’ constraints in rice production in South-East Nigeria

  1. 1. Farmers’ Constraints In Rice Production In South-East Nigeria Keywords: Farmers, constraints, rice, production, South East Nigeria. ABSTRACT: The study was carried out in South East Nigeria to evaluate the socioeconomic attributes of rice farmers and identify the major constraints facing the rice enterprise in the area. The study relied mainly on primary data obtained by questionnaire and interview administered on a total of 158 farmers across four states that constitute the South East Agro-ecological area. Descriptive statistics was mainly used to analyze the data collected. Findings show that farmers in rice production were dominated by married, literate, male farmers. Major constraints to rice production include poor extension contact, lack of finance, high cost of agrochemical, lack of inorganic fertilizer, lack of processing facilities/ standard measure for rice, lack of credit, and delay in supply of improved rice varieties. It was recommended that the government should expose farmers to skills and knowledge required to overcome the constraints in rice production through the development of extension training/ teaching service, development of rural infrastructure, irrigation/storage/ processing facilities and credit supply at affordable interest rates. 114-123 | JRA | 2012 | Vol 1 | No 2 This article is governed by the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/2.0), which gives permission for unrestricted use, non-commercial, distribution and reproduction in all medium, provided the original work is properly cited. www.jagri.info Journal of Research in Agriculture An International Scientific Research Journal Authors: Emodi AI. Institution: Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Corresponding author: Emodi AI. Email: emodiz@yahoo.com. Web Address: http://www.jagri.info documents/AG0026.pdf. Dates: Received: 23 Jul 2012 Accepted: 28 Aug 2012 Published: 02 Oct 2012 Article Citation: Emodi AI. Farmers’ Constraints In Rice Production In South-East Nigeria. Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 114-123 Original Research Journal of Research in Agriculture JournalofResearchinAgriculture An International Scientific Research Journal
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION According to West Africa Rice Development Agency (WARDA, 2004), rice has established itself as a preferred staple in Nigeria. Among the major cereals, rice is the primary staple of more than hundreds of millions of people in developing countries (Heinrichs, 2009). Rice production seems to be concentrated in selected geographic areas in Nigeria extending from the northern to southern zones with most rice growth in the eastern and middle belt of the country (United States Department of Agriculture and Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA/FAS, 2003). It is predominantly produced by small holders and on average, rice producing households produce 4.6 tons of paddies per year from an annual crop area of 3.3 ha (Erenstein et al., 2003). Rice producing households do not have easily distinguished socio-economic features that differentiate them from non-rice producers. In Africa, a large proportion of the rice production is in Nigeria and Madagascar, who produced together over 50% of the rice produced in Sub Sahara African (SSA) in 2004 (Adolph and Chancellor, 2006). According to Erenstein et al., (2003), Nigeria has the capacity to be self-sufficient in rice production as virtually all ecologies in the country are suitable for rice cultivation. However, the SSA region is experiencing profound socio-economic and political problems which are having influence on rice production capacity of the region. These include unemployment, food insecurity and disruptive conflicts. The high rate of population growth, relative to desire for food security, presents many challenges in rice production. According to Tran, (1997) various factors contributing to constraints in rice production, such as physical, biological, socio-economic, and institutional constraints, can be effectively improved through participatory research and government attention. Pests and diseases can cause significant yield loss in rice crops and successful control is crucial to farmers’ ability to produce rice profitably. Pest and disease incidence damage vary widely, so that knowledge of pest ecology and dynamics is therefore necessary to allow farmers to take appropriate action to manage their rice crops effectively (Defoer et al., 2002). Developing rice varieties that meet farmers’ quality requirements, resistant to pests, diseases, and that can tolerate stresses is a major challenge. New rice varieties are needed that can perform well under constantly changing farming systems and environments (drought-prone environments) (Kaaria et al., 2004). In recent past, investment in the support services to Nigerian agriculture has been neglected with the result that this sector has not realized its full potential to contribute to the prosperity and economic development of Nigeria (United States Agency for International Development, USAID, 2003). Meanwhile, increasing population pressure and the accompanying need to intensify agricultural production is leading to the erosion of the natural resources on which agriculture depends. The sustainability of production is threatened by a vicious cycle of declining soil fertility and increasing problems of pests, diseases and weeds. Moreover, the lack of knowledge on how to add value through proper storage, processing and marketing impedes agricultural growth. The chief concern as relate to rice production today is increased pressure in water and land resources. According to WARDA (2004), the key biophysical constraints are the availability of water and nutrients; in some lowland areas, lack of adequate drainage is also a major problem. The scarcity of water is perhaps the biggest challenge to increase rice production world wide. In order to fulfil potential high-yielding, modern rice varieties need good water management and an adequate supply of nutrients, particularly nitrogen. Inappropriate management of irrigation has contributed to environmental problems, including water adoption, water quality reduction, water logging and salinization (Rosegrant et al, 2002). 115 Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 114-123 Emodi, 2012
  3. 3. In Erenstein, et al., (2003) rice producers’ survey revealed that rice is typically the main crop for rice producing households in terms of area allocation and income. Where rice production is established, it is widespread within the village/region and appears relatively stable with a long history. This reflects that rice production is attractive in survey areas, despite the relatively limited returns and substantial policy changes over the last decades. This also suggests that rice producers may lack alternatives-in terms of remunerative opportunities to generate cash and/or to use their labour and land resources productively. In particular this seems to apply to lowland and remote areas. Still, it needs to be reiterated that the survey only addresses current rice producers. It thereby does not address those that have stopped with rice production. In most sites however, there have been significant declines in irrigated rice yields over the last decade. Actual yields are also much lower than potential yields. Research and extension support for irrigated rice-based systems in the Sahel and Sudan savannah zones are highly inadequate. The scope of adaptive on- farm research and development is very limited. Farmers make little, if any, contribution to the debate on the major constraints and priority research and extension themes. Current mechanisms of extension support for irrigated rice production are rigid and emphasize a top-to -bottom extension process. In general, extension staff are not adequately trained and lack access to relevant training materials and other resources. Major constraints identified in the study sites are: high input costs and limited access to farm credit, use of inappropriate crop and resource management practices, due to general lack of knowledge of improved technologies, limited access to improved varieties (duration and yield), and persistent use of poor quality seed, lack of appropriate small farm machinery for harvest and post-harvest operations, inadequate research and extension support, especially in the Sahel and Sudan Savannah zones and localized problems of soil degradation. Lancon et al., (2003) confirmed that cleanliness of imported rice is the overwhelming factor explaining the expansion of imported rice consumption in Nigeria at the cost of local rice market development and in spite of an increasing tariff barrier. Along the same lines, the lower price of local rice remains the major incentive for imported rice customers to also maintain their purchase of Nigerian rice. Beyond, customers’ preferences, the survey also indicates that local rice marketing suffered from higher transaction costs in urban market induced by a scattered and irregular supply of product. These constraints tend to turn rice retailers away from the local rice marketing chain in favour of the imported rice channels which offers extended facilities for managing their business (credit). The prevalence of constraints related to rice transaction management indicates that if quality is a key word for the Nigerian rice sub-sector recovery this is necessary but not a sufficient condition. The exploitation of the “organoleptic” potential of Nigerian varieties would also require a reduction of transaction costs which partly depend on the marketing of a larger volume, and hence an upward trend in production. It should be stressed that the negative growth in rice prices in more recent years is a reflection of deliberate government policies geared towards securing cheap food items for urban dwellers. IRRI (2003) revealed that no single technology can meet the needs of all farmers. Instead, a range of modern farming options needs to be offered. Modern communication tools, such as information technology, can be used to deliver technical options to farmers. The rural poor are better helped if key constraints are targeted and options identified so that farmers can adopt alternatives that enhance their lifestyles. The complexity of their needs has to be distilled into viable choices that are apparent, readily available, and sensitive to their environments. Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 114-123 116 Emodi, 2012
  4. 4. According to a survey carried out by Longtau (2003), rice production data in Nigeria is mostly based on recycled information from ADPs rather than formal research. He further stated that a true picture of the rice enterprise in Nigeria is therefore hard to come by; the ADP data are based on large-scale production. However, on the ground, there are hardly any large-scale rice farmers in Nigeria. Rice producers are smallholder farmers who are left entirely on their own to keep the sub-sector afloat against so many odds. The threat to local rice production by imported cheap rice is real, but farmers are consistent in their response that local rice with good milling characteristics actually attracts better prices. WARDA (2004) revealed that the overall effectiveness of the rice innovation system, complementarities in skills, knowledge and expertise needs to be strived for. Despite this recognition, a better understanding of forces shaping institutional relationships will help in carving out future R&D strategies for pro-poor development. Impact studies revealed that the relatively low adoption rate of NERICA is mainly due to farmers’ limited access to seed, which in turn is due to weak national capacities and a range of social, institutional and policy related factors. Organizational models need to be developed and tested to improve the formal and informal seed sector, and their interactions. Given that few analyses exist on which intervention strategies can be shaped, the documentation of local and national rice seed systems in Africa deserves urgent attention. Also, the role of marginalized youth and women in the generation and dissemination of technologies, especially in post-conflict countries, needs to be studied and strengthened. In spite of the myriads of problems identified above which can jeopardize the potentials of filling the rice demand and supply gap in Nigeria, it is worrying to note that adequate research works are yet to be carried in Nigeria to comprehensively uncover the dimensions of these problems empirically so that evidence based policies could be made in order to address the threats against rice supply in the country. It is against this background that this work was designed to brace up to this research gap challenge. Moreover, the rural poor are better helped if key constraints are targeted and options identified so that farmers can adopt alternatives that enhance their lifestyle. The complexity of their needs has to be distilled into viable choices that are apparent, readily available, and sensitive to their environments. The study therefore is sought to ascertain farmers’ constraints in rice production in southeast Nigeria. The broad objective of the study was to ascertain farmers’ constraints in rice production in southeast Nigeria. Specifically the objectives were to describe the socio-economic characteristics of farmers in rice production in southeast Nigeria and to identify the constraints faced by farmers in rice production in southeast Nigeria. METHODOLOGY The study was carried out in South East agro-ecological zone of Nigeria. The study population constituted all farmers in rice production in four states (Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu) of southeast agro-ecological zone of Nigeria. The four states were purposively selected because of the existence of improved rice technology and its geographical spread. The sample size for the study comprised of purposively selected rice farmers in the study area as follows: Abia (12), Anambra (30), Enugu (56), Ebonyi (72). The choice was based on availability of rice farmers in the area. The sampling gave a total sample size of one hundred and seventy (170) farmers for the study. Primary data were obtained through questionnaire and interview schedules for literate and illiterate respondents. Only hundred and fifty eight (158) farmers that properly completed their questionnaire were eventually used in the analysis. The socio-economic characteristics of the respondents were measured by 117 Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 114-123 Emodi, 2012
  5. 5. asking them to choose the one appropriate to them from the listed options. To elicit information on the perception of agronomic activities in rice production among farmers, 16 items (land acquisition, land clearing, land stumping, ridge/mound making, nursery preparation, planting, pest and disease control, weeding, water management, fertilizer agro-chemical application, trapping rodents, making scarecrows, harvesting, threshing/winnowing/drying, storage, marketing) were listed on a three point rating scale of “High”=3, “Moderate”=2 and “Low”=1. The cut off point was 2.00. To assess the constraints that impede rice production among farmers in the study area, six possible constraining variables were rated by the farmers on a three point rating scale as “Very Serious Constraints”=3, “Serious Constraints”=2 and “Less Serious Constraints”=1. The cut off point was 2.00. Descriptive statistics, consisting of frequencies, percentage and mean scores were used for analysis. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Socio- economic characteristics of farmers in the study area Table 1 shows that majority (59.5%) of the Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 114-123 118 Emodi, 2012 Socio economic characteristics Frequency (F) Farmers’ (%) (n=158) Mean(X ) Sex Male 94 59.5 Female 64 40.5 Age (years) 20-29 years 28 17.7 30-39years 70 44.3 23years 40-49 years 33 20.9 50 years and above 27 17.3 Marital status Married 139 88.0 Single 19 12.0 Educational level No formal education 34 21.5 Completed primary School 43 27.2 Vocational technical school completed 9 5.5 Tertiary education(OND,NCE,HND,,B.Sc/B.A) 72 45.6 Household size 1-3 persons 53 33.5 4-6 persons 77 48.7 5 persons 7-9 persons 28 17.5 Farming experience(years) 21-30 33 20.9 31-40 94 59.5 35.5years 41-50 28 17.7 51-60 3 1.9 Source of information ADPs 100 63.2 Market (input agency) 33 20.9 Mass media 8 5.1 Friends/Fellow farmers 17 10.8 Farm size(hectares) 1 36 23.1 2 94 59.2 3 28 17.7 Table 1: Percentage distribution of farmers’ by socio-economic characteristics
  6. 6. respondents were male, while about 40.5% were female. This result implies that rice production in the study area is dominated by men. This trend may be because the production of rice is resource intensive which major of women may not be able to afford. This agrees with Adeola et al., (2008)’s findings, that rice production is dominated by male farmers with only 5.0% female farmers engaged in rice production. Also, on the age of rice farmers, Table 1 shows that about (44.0%) of the farmers were between the age range of 30-39 years, 21.0% were within the age range of 40-49 years, 17.7% were within 20-29 years, while 17.3% were within the age range of 50 years and above. However the mean age was 23 years which implies that rice farmers in the study area are within their active years of farming, and are likely to enhance rice productivity. These age categories were in line with those who were referred to as economically active groups by Bekele (2005). This also agrees with Adewale et al., (2007) who reported that farmers within the age 15-64 years were defined as economically productive population; especially in rice production. The marital profile of the farmers in Table 1 shows that 88.0% of them were married, while about 12.0% of them were single. The results indicated that majority of the farmers were married. This confirms Jibowo (1992) findings that vast majority of the rural farmers consists of married people. According to Echebiri and Mbanasor (2003), it was the practice among farmers to marry and have a large number of children who would constitute their farm workforce. Table 1 shows that majority (51.3%) of farmers completed tertiary education which enhances their access to interact and generate new ideas to the changing conditions in rice production. The average household size was five persons with majority (49.0%) within 4-6 persons. Minimum of 17.5% had household size of 7-9 persons. The implication of this finding is that farm labour would be readily distributed since relatively large household size seems an obvious advantage in terms of tasks in rice production. On farming experience, the result showed that majority (59.5%) of farmers had farming experience of 31-40 years, 20.9% of them had farming experience of 21-30 years, 17.7% of them had farming experience of 119 Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 114-123 Emodi, 2012 Table 2: Mean distribution of constraints to rice production as perceived by farmers Constraints Mean (X ) Poor soil fertility 2.30 Lack of finance 2.78 Competition from weed 2.42 Disease/ infection problem 2.46 Land tenure problems 2.41 Poor storage facilities 2.44 Poor access to farm 2.44 High cost of agrochemical 2.73 Poor extension contact 3.00 Lack of inorganic fertilizer 2.72 High cost of transport 2.72 Lack of processing facilities/ standard measure for rice 2.77 Lack of tractor 2.61 High cost of hired labour 2.39 Lack of credit 2.95 Delay in supply of improved varieties 2.89 Cut off point = 2.00, very serious constraints=3, serious constraints=2, less constraints=1
  7. 7. 41-50 years, while 1.9% of them had farming experience of 51 years and above. With a mean years of 35.5 years of farming experience, it is obvious that farmers have long years of experience in farming. According to Obinne (1991), long years of farming put farmers in a better position to make useful contributions on the issue of improved rice technology. A greater proportion (63.2%) of farmers ranked the Agricultural Development Programmes (ADP) as their most important source of information on improved rice technologies, about 20.9% of farmers’ source of information was from marketers (input agencies), about 10.8% of them received information on improved rice technology from friends/fellow farmers, while minimum of 5.1% sourced information from the mass media. This finding supports the view of Emodi and Madukwe (2008), that ADP is the channel through which government policies on rice production were implemented. Also result on Table 1 shows that majority (59.2%) of farmers in the study area had farm size of 2 ha, while about 23.1% of them had farm size of 1 ha, about 17.7% operated on farm size of 3ha. Relatively small farm size could constitute a major constraint to improved rice production (Agwu et al., 2008). Constraints in the adoption of improved rice technology as perceived by farmers The data in Table 2 reveal the constraints in rice production perceived by farmers. The findings show that the farmers perceived all the constraints investigated as major constraints in rice production. They include poor soil fertility (X=2.30), lack of finance (X=2.78), competition with weed (X=2.42), disease/ infection problems (X=2.46), land tenure problems (X=2.45), poor storage facilities (X=2.44), poor access to farm inputs (X=2.44), high cost of agrochemical (X=2.73), poor extension contact (X=3.00), lack of inorganic fertilizer (X=2.72), high transport cost (X=2.34), lack of processing facilities/ standard measure for rice (X=2.77), lack of tractor (X=2.61), high cost of hired labour (X=2.39), lack of credit (X=2.95) and delay in supply of improved rice varieties (X=2.89). Soil infertility and low use of chemical fertilizers were the two major factors limiting growth in rice production. Constraints in fertilizer use such as, high import prices, extremely high marketing costs, irregularity of supply due to very poor road infrastructures, and the elimination of fertilizer subsidies that is worsened by a lack of adequate credit facilities for farmers (Daramola, 1989). Post-harvest crop losses constituted a very major constraint in rice production. Akande (2002), identified, inadequate input supply, poor agronomic practices and land tenure problems as constraints in rice production. Pests and diseases can cause significant yield loss in rice crops and successful control is crucial to farmers’ ability to produce rice profitably. Pest and disease incidence damage, vary widely according to location and season so that knowledge of pest ecology and dynamics is therefore necessary to allow farmers to take appropriate action to manage their rice crops effectively. According to Defoer et al., (2002), control of diseases such as rice blast and sheath blight in developing countries remains difficult to be achieved in the Integrated Pest Management Unit (IPMU). It is also anticipated that intensification of rice production will lead to an increase in the significance of diseases, particularly the fungal disease (rice blast), as production constraints. Fungicide application is almost non-existence in most of the African rice based farming systems and therefore resistance in rice varieties is considered to be the most effective way of combating the disease. Weeds seem to cause significant losses in all rice-growing environments, although might be particularly severe in rainfed and upland systems. Developing rice varieties that meet farmers’ quality requirements, resistant to pests, diseases, and that can tolerate stresses is a major challenge. Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 114-123 120 Emodi, 2012
  8. 8. New rice varieties are needed that can perform well under constantly changing farming systems and environments (drought - prone environments), inefficient and under resourced agricultural extension services and an under developed private sector for seed multiplication and sale are in many countries preventing farmers from benefiting from improved varieties and associated technologies such as soil and water management, control of pests and diseases, and processing and marketing. Adoption of improved germplasm and technology options has also been hindered for many years by the lack of coherent delivered messages through extension services. This has been caused by a range of factors, from lack of information reaching extension agents to the wrong messages being delivered. Therefore, strong linkages between farmers, extension services and research are critical to speed up information flows and diffusion of technologies (Kaaria et al., 2004). CONCLUSION Major constraints in rice production include poor extension contact, lack of finance, high cost of agrochemical, lack of inorganic fertilizer, lack of processing facilities/ standard measure for rice, lack of credit, and delay in supply of improved rice varieties. Based on the major findings, the study recommends that the government should expose farmers to skills and knowledge required to overcome the constraints in rice production through the development of extension training/ teaching service, development of rural infrastructure, irrigation/storage/processing facilities and credit supply to rice farmers at affordable interest rates. REFERENCES Adeola RG, Adebayo OO and Oyelere GO. 2008. Effects of the federal government special rice programme on rice yields and farmers income in Oyo State. International Journal of Agricultural Economics and Rural development (IJAERD) -1(1): IJAERD Press, Nigeria. http://www.lautechaee-ed.com/journal/ijaerd1/ ijaerd%20-%20./%20edition.pdf (retrieved, 2nd February 2009). Adewale JG, Olaniyi OA and Adamou NA. 2007. Farmers’ adoption of improved rice technology in Niamey, Rive Droite Area, Niger Republic. World Journal of Agricultural Sciences, vol 3(4), pp 530-535. www.idosi.org/wjas3(4)/19.pdf (retrieved, 8th February 2009). Adolph B and Chancellor T. 2006. Rice research in the Department for International Development (DFID) Renewable National Resources Research Strategy ( RNRRS) Programmes: Lessons learnt and Implications for future research. National resources institute, University of Greenwich, Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, United Kingdom. http:// w w w . d fid . g o v. u k /. 4 d /p d f/ o ut p ut s/ R NR R S / CPRicesyth.pdf ( retrieved, 28th August 2012). Agwu AE, Ekwueme JN and Anyanwu AC. 2008. Adoption of improved agricultural technologies disseminated via radio farmer programme by farmers in Enugu State, Nigeria. African Journal of Biotechnology, vol. 7(9), pp. 1277-1286 . Available online at http:// www.academicjournals.org/AJB (retrieved, 20th january 2010) Akande PT. 2002. An overview of the Nigerian rice economy: The Nigerian Institutes of Social and Economic Research (NISER), lbadan, Nigeria. jaqm.ro/ issues/volume-4,issue-2/pdfs/basorun.pdf (retrieved, 17th january 2008) Bekele lW. 2005. Analysis of farmers’ preferences for development intervention programme: a case of subsistence farmers from Eastern Ethiopian highland. Proceeding of international conference on shared growth in Africa, ISSER/Cornell University/ World 121 Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 114-123 Emodi, 2012
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