ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF CRUDE OIL EXPLOITATION ON CASSAVA PRODUCTION IN DELTA STATE
This study examined the economic effects of crude oil exploitation on cassava production in Delta State. Specifically, the effect of crude oil exploitation on land productivity, farm income and cassava yield was explored. The costs and returns, and hence profitability of cassava production as influenced by oil pollution, the farming systems and socio-economic characteristics of cassava farmers were critically examined. Copies of well structured questionnaires were used to collect primary data from a sample of 204 small scale cassava farmers drawn using stratified and simple random sampling techniques from the three (3) agro-ecological zones of Delta State between October 2007 and February 2009. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, costs and returns analyses, net margin and regression analyses. The results revealed that total fixed cost per cassava farmer was N27,624.49 while total variable cost per cassava farmer was N19,108.68. Total output of cassava product (garri) before and after oil spill incidents were 48,636kg and 40,549.22kg with an average yield of 328kg and 274kg respectively per cassava farmer. A net margin of N27,846.43 and N19,206.43 before and after oil spills incidents per cassava farmer, indicating a 31% reduction in profit, was also revealed. Using the Ordinary Least Square (OLS) multiple regression method to estimate the effect of crude oil exploitation on the major dependent variables, the linear functions had the best fit with adjusted R2 of 0.432 and DW-statistic of 2.08 for land productivity, adjusted R2 of 0.953 and DW-statistic of 1.537 for farm income and adjusted R2 of 0.950 and DW-statistic of 2.015 for cassava yield. The results of the regression analyses and all the hypotheses tested using the paired t-test statistic at 1% and 5% probability levels, indicated that crude oil exploitation had a negative and statistically significant effect on cassava production in consonance with a prior expectations. Thus, it is recommended among other measures that government at all levels should take pragmatic steps at enacting and enforcing stringent environmental laws that will protect the oil producing farming communities as well as guaranteeing the people a better means of livelihood.