The study was carried out to determine the agricultural extension needs of farmers in Telfaria production and marketing in Enugu north agricultural zone of Enugu state, Nigeria. Four Local Government Areas (LGAs) namely: Udenu, Nsukka, Igbo-Etiti and Uzo-Uwani were used for the study out of the six Local Government Areas that make up both Nsukka and Enugu zones of Enugu north agricultural zone. In each of these Local Government Areas, two town communities were purposefully selected based on the dominance of Telfaria production and marketing. These town communities were Ozalla and Ohodo from Igbo-Etiti, Ede-Oballa and Opi from Nsukka, Adani and Opanda from Uzo-Uwani and Obollo-Afor and Orba from Udenu Local Government Areas. In each of the 8 town communities, 20 respondents were selected giving a total of one hundred and sixty (160) respondents. Data collection instruments used were interview schedule and questionnaire. Data collected were analyzed using frequency counts, percentage, mean scores, standard deviation and factor analysis. The personal characteristics of farmers, extension needs, marketing information and channels, and production and marketing systems were analyzed using frequencies, percentages, mean scores and standard deviation while production and marketing constraints were analyzed with mean scores and factor analysis. The result of the study showed that majority (58.1%) of the farmers were females, the mean age of the farmers was 33.4 years, majority (66.9%) were familied while majority (94.4%) of them obtained formal education. The household size was high as majority (73.8%) had a household population of 1 – 9 persons, 63.1% were part time Telfaria producers, 55.6% produced in a small scale while a good proportion (40.6%) had 1 – 4 years Telfaria farming experience. The extension needs of farmers as analyzed revealed that greater percentage (63.1%) had no extension contact and the few (36.9%) that had did not have contacts often as majority (57.7%) indicated. Areas information were received were mainly (54.2%) on planting and post planting operations. However, farmers needed assistance in sourcing farm input (M = 3.62), appropriate marketing channel (M = 3.18) and other factors such as sourcing farm credit, tools, seed processing and other areas. In the production systems, about 50% planted between April and June, 48.12% planted on seed beds, 59.4% treated seeds before planting mainly with wood ash. The cropping system used was mainly mixed cropping and the respondents applied various forms of single, compound and organic fertilizers through broadcasting method at 4 weeks interval. Majority (62.6%) controlled pests and diseases as well as weeds mainly through cultural and biological methods. All (100%) the farmers harvested with sharp razor blades and knives and majority (55.5%) harvested at 1 – 2 weeks interval. Most (56.9%) of the farmers marketed locally and some marketing factors such as season of the year, quality of produce, number of buyers, distance, weight measures and location determined the level of sales. The major constraints to effective production and marketing of the crop included infrastructural, technical, logistics and financial constraints. In conclusion, the study revealed that there are extension needs of Telfaria producers. It is therefore recommended that various extension agents posted to different locations should embark on creating vigorous awareness on the production practices of the crop to redirect the farmers towards appropriate strategies for the effective production and marketing of the crop.

1.1      Background information
Vegetables are among the major dietary intake in our everyday life. Vegetables usually augment nutritive value of most of our staple food which are

deficient in vitamin, protein and minerals (Nwalieji, 2006). Amongst these vegetables, fluted pumpkin (Telfaria) is one of the major tropical leafy vegetable crops grown in most parts of West Africa, Nigeria inclusive. Ugwu (2001) reports that Telfaria is highly valued among the vegetables produced and consumed by the West African populace. The leaves, stems and seeds have high nutritional, medicinal as well as economic values

Nutritionally, the crop is highly rich in protein, oil, vitamins, iron and minerals. These food nutrients form the basis for balanced diet. Telfaria is also noted for curing some ailments such as menstrual disorders in women, infertility in both men and women as well as correcting anaemia especially in children, pregnant and lactating mothers (Umeha, 2002). Economically, it yields much income to farmers regularly. The economic values of the crop cannot be over emphasized. Ugwu (2001) notes that it is an important cash crop known for steady supply of income to farmers. However, vegetables also have economic potential to give quick turnover to farmers when compared to some other crops grown in Nigeria, such as banana, plantain, yam, rice and so on. According to Eleke (2004) Telfaria production as well as other vegetables help to earn much money annually with a little start-up capital as against most arable crops.

In spite of the numerous values of this crop, a few farmers pay little or no attention to Telfaria production. Some of the few producers still produce at a family consumption level neglecting commercial Telfaria farming. The marketing strategies used for the little quantity of produce meant for sale is also poor resulting to inability to realize much money from the production by most farmers. The beginners are mostly affected (Bachmann 2002). According to him poor marketing strategies make farmers to spend much time away from the farm and there is always the possibility of having left over after each market day activities.

Also vegetable production including Telfaria do not feature prominently in the

development programme at the policy making level. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2000) opines that nonwood crops are essentially part of the local subsistence economies but has not received the required attention in the development plan. This contributes to the fact that the potentials of such crops remain unrealized since the level of income yield is considerably low (Ugwu, 2001). The low income yield could be due to some poor production and marketing strategies used for the crop because over the years, Telfaria is usually produced at a small scale and marketed locally considering the perishable nature of the crop (Saskachewan 2000).

Moreover, the low productivity and poor marketing systems are the responsibilities of the difference between how farmers are producing and marketing the crop and the level at which they are supposed to produce it in order to satisfy themselves and the consumers. Production is usually during the rainy season. There is inadequate farm input, poor transportation net work and others. In this part of the region also, large scale production is limited by some factors ranging from logistics to.....

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