EVALUATION OF COCOA RESUSCITATION PROGRAMMES IN SOUTH WEST NIGERIA
The broad objective of the study was to evaluate the cocoa resuscitation programmes (CRPs) in south west Nigeria. Specifically, the study was designed to: determine the adoption levels of the various improved cocoa technologies introduced to cocoa farmers by government and non-governmental agencies; ascertain the beneficiaries’ perception of the helpfulness of the agencies in the adoption of the improved cocoa technologies; determine the impact of the programmes on cocoa production and socio-economic life of the farmers; ascertain the perceived constraints to the adoption of improved cocoa technologies by the farmers; identify the perceived constraints to the implementation of CRPs; identify strategies to improve on the programmes; and determine farmers’ attitude towards the programmes. Three hypotheses and a conceptual framework were developed for the study. The study was carried out in South west Nigeria. The zone comprises Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun and Oyo states. Presently, 5 out of the 6 states in South west Nigeria produce cocoa and they are grouped into high producing (Ondo and Osun) and medium producing (Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti) States. The 2 high cocoa producing States (Ondo and Osun) were purposively selected for the study because of their significant contributions to cocoa productiorn in Nigeria, while Ekiti State was randomly selected from the medium producing states. Hence, a total of 3 cocoa producing states (Ondo, Osun and Ekiti) were selected for the study. A multi-stage sampling technique was used in the selection of the respondents. A total of 120 government beneficiary cocoa farmers (GBCFs), 120 non-government beneficiary cocoa farmers (NGBCFs), 120 non-beneficiary cocoa farmers (NBCFs), 30 Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) and 6 Olam extension staff were randomly selected. Hence a total of 396 respondents were involved in the study. Data for the study were collected through the use of questionnaire and interview schedules. The data were analysed, using frequency, percentage, charts, mean statistic, t-test, analysis of variance, factor analysis and multiple regression. The findings showed that the mean age values of the government beneficiary cocoa farmers (GBCFs), non-governmental beneficiary farmers (NGBCFs) and non beneficiary cocoa farmers (NBCFs) were 57.1 years, 56.3 years and 56.8 years, respectively. Their mean cocoa farming experiences were 23.7 years, 28.1 years and 22.9 years, respectively. The grand mean adoption scores of planting young cocoa seedlings under old cocoa trees by the GBCFs and NGBCFs were 5.0 and 5.0, respectively. Cocoa development unit (CDU) (M=1.54) and the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) (M=2.80) were the most helpful agencies to GBCFs in their consideration and adoption of the improved cocoa technologies. Olam Nigeria Limited (ONL) (M=2.52) and Saro Agro-Allied Limited (SAL) (M=2.00) were the most helpful agencies to the NGBCFs in their consideration and adoption of the improved cocoa technologies. The programmes had positive impact on the yield and quality of cocoa beans and the socio-economic life of the participating farmers. The major constraints to effective implementation of the programmes in the study area included inadequate and untimely release of funds (ADP=93.3%; ONLs=66.7%), poor agricultural pricing policies (ADP=100.0%; ONLs=83.3%) and poor logistic supports for field staff (ADPs=96.7%; ONLs=83.3%). Factors that were responsible for poor adoption of the improved cocoa technologies by the beneficiary farmers were grouped into organizational-related constraints, input-related constraints and financial-related constraints. The perceived solutions to implementation constraints as opined by the extension staff included timely disbursement of funds meant for CRPs (86.1%) and increase in the number of extension staff (83.3%), while the perceived strategies of improving CRPs as indicated by the cocoa farmers included strengthening of the existing farmers’ organizations through proper coordination and monitoring (85.0%), and decentralisation of training on CRPs (76.0%). The findings furtherp revealed that majority (77.0%) of the beneficiary farmers were favourably disposed to CRPs. The regression analysis showed that some socio-economic characteristics of the beneficiary farmers significantly influenced (F = 10.849; F ≤ 0.05) the adoption of improved cocoa technologies. The study recommended that to improve the level of adoption of improved cocoa technologies of government and ONLs, the trainings and workshop organised for farmers on cocoa improve technologies should be decentralised. Funds meant for CRPs should be released on time by the appropriate authorities of government and non-governmental agencies. Also, there should be a functional monitoring and evaluation team in both government and non-governmental agencies to oversee their activities on CRPs. Establishment of special trust fund in cocoa producing states could help in solving the problem of funding cocoa programmes in Nigeria.