ANALYSIS OF RICE (Oryza spp.) INNOVATION SYSTEM IN SOUTHEAST NIGERIA
The general objective of the study was to analyse rice innovation system in southeast Nigeria and the specific objectives were designed to review policies, acts and initiatives in rice innovation system, describe socio-economic characteristics of various key actors in rice innovation system, examine the activities of selected key actor in rice innovation system, examine the level of linkages existing among the selected key actors in rice innovation system and identify strategies for enhancing effective linkage among key actors in rice innovation system. The study was carried out in southeast agro-ecological zone of Nigeria; four states (Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states) were selected and sampled for data collection. Actors in rice innovation system were classified into six major groups according to their main activity in the system; the groups include research agency, policy personnel, technology transfer agencies, farmers, marketers and consumers who constituted the population of the study. A total sample size of 539 respondents, made up of 40 (researchers), 76 (policy personnel), 96 (technology transfer agencies), 196 (farmers), 51 (marketers) and 80 (consumers) were used. Percentages, means and multiple regression were used in data analysis and presentation. A review of rice policies showed inconsistencies and import restrictions including outright ban. The farmers (59.5%) and marketers (60%) were male while 70% of consumers were female. Majority (63.2%) of farmers’ source of information was ADP, 71.1% of marketers’ source of information friends/fellow marketers. About 35% of researchers were less than five years in service, 43% of policy personnel and 69.2% technology transfer agencies years of service was 6-10 years respectively. The marketers (60%) sold more of foreign rice in the market and 65% of consumers preferred foreign rice. The researchers (52.5%), policy personnel (67.1%) and technology transfer agencies (51.6%r) provided 7-9 times, 1-3 times and 4-6 times number of training programmes in a year respectively. Nursery preparation was perceived by farmers as the most important agronomic activity performed in rice production. Among researchers, NCRI and IITA had link with technology transfer agencies, IITA had link with policy personnel. For policy personnel, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had link with farmers ( X =2.51) and NAFDAC had link with researchers ( X =2.83) in rice innovation system. Among technology transfer agencies, ADP had link with researchers ( X =3.00), policy personnel ( X =2.88), farmers ( X =3.00) and Federal Ministry of Commerce had link with researchers ( X =2.73). Marketers had link with policy personnel ( X =2.72) and farmers ( X =2.68) in rice innovation system. The consumers had link with farmers ( X =2.72). The major linkage mechanisms that existed among the actors (researchers, policy personnel, technology transfer agencies and farmers) include dissemination of knowledge and information ( X = 3.00). However the farmers favoured the use of other linkage arrangements such as joint problem identification, joint research activities, dissemination of knowledge and information, collaborative professional activities, joint reports, joint demonstration trial, joint field day, joint seminar and workshop training, cross research and training and evaluation of field visits. The strategies perceived for effective linkage among the respondents in rice innovation system were ban on rice imports, establishment of destoner mills, promotion of NGO involvement, set pre-season prices, subsidy on fertilizer, intensification of research, and promotion of active extension. There is significant relationship between the socio-economic characteristics of key actors (farmers, marketers and consumers) in rice innovation system and the level of linkages ( X ≥=2.00) with other major stakeholders in rice innovation system. The study concludes that for increase in rice production, there is need for strong linkage mechanisms among the actors in rice innovation system.