AVAILABILITY AND USE OF SWAMP RICE PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGIES AMONG FARMERS IN ENUGU STATE NIGERIA.
In spite of the use of available production technologies by swamp rice farmers, much of the world’s intensive food production is still on small land holdings. Although swamp rice contributes significantly to the food requirements of the population, its production is far below the national requirements. Hence this study was designed to assess availability and use of swamp rice production technologies among farmers in Enugu State, Nigeria. Primary data were obtained from 96 swamp rice farmers through the use of a structured interview schedule. Descriptive statistics, multiple regression and logit regression equation were used to analyze the data. Findings indicated that (13.3%) of the respondents had no formal education, with a mean household size of 6 persons. Majority of the respondents (43.2%) borrowed their farmland and cultivated an average of 3.8 hectares of land yearly. The percentage of the respondents that belonged to at least one organization was (78.6%), while about 21.4% were not members of any organization. Majority of the respondents (60.6%) had no access to credit facilities, and 52.4% had no contact with extension agents while the average contact made by the farmers was 9.5 contacts in the past one year. Findings of the swamp rice production technologies available to the farmers included: Rice varieties such as Nerica and Faro (95.7%), recommended seed/seedling rate (95.7%), planting with 20×20 cm or 25cm x 25cm spacing (92.0%) control weed using herbicides such as propanryl-plus (90.4%). Also, the number of respondents that were categorized as high users was 14.2% while 21% were medium users, 11.5% were categorized as low users and 3.3% did not use any production technologies. The respondents perceived the following as factors promoting level of use of swamp rice production technologies; ability to enhance income of farmers (M = 2.52), adaptable to culture of users (M = 2.35) and access to available technologies (M = 2.28) among others. The respondent’s perceived constraints to the use of available swamp rice production technologies include pest, diseases and weeds, (M = 2.64), drought issues such as rainfall, solar radiation, (M= 2.49) and land tenure issues M = 2.46 among others. The regression results show that there was a significant relationship (f = 2.341., p< 0.05) between the socio-economic characteristics of the SR farmers and the use of available SR production technologies. Furthermore, results of the hypothesis revealed that years of farming experience (t = 0.032: P = 0.021), membership of social organization (t = 2.179: p= 0.001) number of contacts with extension workers (t = 0.965; P = 0.000) had positive significant relationship on farmers use of available swamp rice technologies. The overall finding of the study shows that the identified constraints to the use of available swamp rice production technologies should be tackled by government and non government organizations in order to enhance farmers ability to use available technologies effectively.
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