EFFECTS OF THE BENUE ADP’s CASSAVA PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGIES ON THE PRODUCTIVITY AND INCOMES OF WOMEN FARMERS IN BENUE STATE, NIGERIA
This research work was carried out to assess the effects of the Benue ADP’s cassava production technologies on the production and incomes of women farmers in Benue State, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to identify and describe the cassava production technologies available in the study area; to describe the socio-economic characteristics o f cassava women farmers in the study area and determine their effect correspondents productivity and incomes; to determine and compare the productivities and incomes of ADP and non-ADP cassava women farmers in Benue State; Nigeria, and to identify the constraints (and prospects) that affect the productivity and income from cassava production among women farmers in the study area. Three hypotheses guided the study namely (i) Socio-economic characteristics of ADP and non-ADP cassava women farmers in the study area have no significant effect on their output; (ii) there is no significant droifference between the productivity of ADP and non-ADP women farmers in the study area, and (iii) gross margin from cassava enterprises among ADP and non-ADP women farmers in the study area does not differ significantly. A multi stage sampling technique was used to randomly select a total of 120 ADP and 120 non-ADP respondents from six Local Government Areas of Benue State namely Vandeikya and Ushongo in zone A, Gboko and Buruku in zone B, Okpoku and Ohimini in zone C. Data was collected through well structured pretested questionnaires in addition to focus group discussions and personal observations. Secondary data sources relevant to the study were also used. Information on respondents’ socioeconomic characteristics such as age, level of education, marital status, household size, costs and returns in cassava production and marketing among others were collected. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as chi-square, multiple regression, total factor productivity and gross margin analyses. Chi-square results showed that except for age and membership of farmers associations, socio-economic characteristics of study farmers such as level of education, marital status, farming experience, family size (household size) had no significant effect on their output. There was a significant difference between the output of ADP and non-ADP respondents. Data analysis showed that 90.8% of the ADP and 70.1% of the non-ADP respondents were below 50 years of age. Thus about 70-90% of all women farmers studied were below the age of 50. Among the ADP group, 78.2% of the respondents were married while 70.1 of the non-ADP group respondents were married. Overall, 96.4% of all the respondents were married; divorced or widowed. Among the ADP respondgents, 81.6% had some form of education while less than 20% (or 18.49%) did not have any formal education. In the non –ADP group 63.2% had some form of education while less than 40% (or 36.8%) did not have any formal education. Thus, 60- 80% of all cassava women farmers sampled were educated to a level while 20-40% did not have formal education. Cassava women farmers in the study area had moderate family sizes. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of the ADP and about 75% of the non-ADP had family sizes below 10 while about20% of ADP and 23% of non-ADP respondents had family sizes between 10-20 persons. Among the ADP farmers 37.9% have never belonged to any farmers’ association, 17.2% were once members while 44.4% were still members of farmers associations. About 82.8% of the non-ADP respondents have never belonged to any farmers association, 5.7% were once members, and 11.5% were currently members. Results of data analysis also showed that 71.3% and 58.6% of the ADP and non-ADP cassava women farmers respectively had been farming for close to 10 years and must have acquired the necessary experience successful cassava production. Chow’s F-test showed that there was a significant difference between the productivity of ADP (2.96) and non-ADP women farmers (1.68). This was attributed to the effect of improved cassava production technologies and extension contact. The major variables that explained variations in ADP cassava women farmers’ productivity were use of improved cassava stem cuttings, farm size and access to credit which together explained 40.2% of variation in ADP productivity. The major factors that explained variation in non-ADP cassava women farmers’ productivity were years of education, family size and access to credit, which explained 93.0% of variation in non-ADP productivity. Comparison of the mean gross margins of ADP (₦16,523.87) and non-ADP respondents (₦3,777.56) using t-test showed that there was a significant difference between ADP and non-ADP gross margins. This significant difference was attributed to the use of improved cassava production technologies and extension contact (provided by the Benue ADP) by the ADP cassava women farmers. Provision of credit, production resources such as fertilizers, improved ‘seeds’, tractor services, rural infrastructure and others were recommended for increased cassava productivity in the study area.