This research was designed to determine and compare the technical efficiency and input levels used in rice production under farmer managed irrigation systems (FMIS) and rain fed systems (RFS) in Kogi State. It also compared the effects of socioeconomic characteristics on the technical efficiency of farmers in the FMIS and RFS. Four null hypotheses were tested. The study was conducted in commercial rice producing areas of Kogi State. It adopted a multi stage purposive sampling technique. Agricultural Zones where rice is produced in commercial quantities were purposively stratified into three (3) based on a preliminary survey. From these three zones, one local government area (LGA) each was selected based on the availability of commercial rice farms in the area. Out of these LGAs (Ibaji, Bassa and Kogi LGAs), forty (40) rice farmers each were randomly sampled giving a total sample size of one hundred and twenty (120) rice farmers. Primary data were obtained by interviews via a set of structured questionnaires. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Levene’s test, Welch and Brown-Forsythe robust tests for equality of means, Chow-break point test and maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) of stochastic frontier and inefficiency models. The mean age of farmers in the study area was 42 years. The farmers in the study area spent a mean of 8 years on formal education. Seventy two percent (72%) of the farmers were males while twenty eight percent (28%) were females. Women were not participating remarkably well especially in ownership of rice farms in the study area. The mean value of rice farming experience in the study area was 16years. Results showed that the FMIS had a higher intensity of inputs usage than the RFS. In the input comparison between FMIS and RFS, statistically significant positive mean differentials were recorded for land, fertilizer quantities applied, family and hired labour, quantities of pesticides used on the farm and value of water used on the farm per farming season. The estimated elasticities of mean output with respect to land, fertilizer, family labour, seeds, and water were statistically significant at less than 1 percent and 5 percent in the FMIS. Their respective elasticities were 0.33, 0.010, 0.075, 0.151 and 0.165. It was indicated that land size (farm size) and quantities of fertilizer applied by the farmers, were the statistically significant determinants of technical efficiency in the RFS. The elasticities of rice output with respect to the inputs, land and chemical fertilizer utilized were 0.276 and 0.024 respectively. This result is unlike the FMIS where five variables had statistically significant elasticities. The mean technical efficiency of the FMIS was 73 percent. It was lower than that of the rainfed system which had 90 percent. Significant difference existed in the technical efficiencies of the two groups. The returns to scale estimated, 0.813, and 0.476 for both FMIS and RFS respectively indicated that farms in the study area were characterized by decreasing returns scale. Farming experience, years of formal education and frequency of extension contacts exerted statistically significant effects on the technical efficiencies of the FMIS. Meanwhile four out of the six socio-economic variables, education, extension contact and age of farmers had statistically significant t-ratios or influences on the levels of rice output recorded by the RFS farmers. They were all significant at less than 1 percent alpha level. Significant differences existed in most of the socioeconomic variables of the two group of rice farmers studied in Kogi State. Five major recommendations were made which included the need for capacity building among farmers and extension agents, public investment in irrigation projects, public-private partnership aimed at encouraging resource conservation and inputs supply (including microcredit) to rice growing communities among others.

1.1 Background to the study
Rice is a plant that produces an edible grain; the name is also used for the grain itself. There are several thousand varieties of rice (mostly wild), all belonging to the family Poaceae, formerly Gramineae (Microsoftt Student, 2007 DVD). The cultivated rice plant, African and Asian rice (oryza glaberrima L and oryza sativa L), is an annual grass. It grows to about 1.2 m (4 feet) in height. The leaves are long and flattened, and its panicle, or inflorescence, is made up of spikelets bearing flowers that produce the fruit, or grain (Rashid-Noah, 2003, & Encyclopaedia Britannica Deluxe, 2004). In Nigeria rice is planted from April to May and harvested from August to November.

Water resource management and utilization is critical to the success or failure of many agricultural enterprises especially rice farming (Hoffman and Ashwell, 2001 and World Bank, 2006). Shortle and Griffin (2001) noted that surface water (e.g. rivers, lakes, estuaries and wetlands) which are highly limited in supply provide about 70% water used in agricultural production. However, Botkin and Keller (1997) asserted that improved or efficient rice irrigation system could contribute meaningfully to meeting the desirable goals of environmental resource conservation. They held that improved irrigation systems could reduce withdrawal of freshwater by between 20% and 30%.

Rice cultivation originated as early as 10,000 BC in Asia (Microsoft, 2007). Archaeological evidence shows that rice was grown in Thailand as early as 4000 BC, and over the centuries spread to China, Japan, and Indonesia. By 400 BC rice was cultivated in the Middle East and Africa. (Microsoftt Student, 2007). Rice culture gradually spread westward and was introduced to southern Europe in medieval times. With the exception of the type called upland rice, the plant is grown on submerged land in the coastal plains, tidal deltas, and river

basins of tropical, semitropical and temperate regions. The seeds are sown in prepared beds, and when the seedlings are 25 to 50 days old, they are transplanted to a field or paddy that has been enclosed by leaves and submerged under 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) of water, remaining submerged during the growing season (Rashid-Noah, 2003; and Encyclopaedia Britannica Deluxe, 2004). Roughly 50% of the world population is wholly dependent on rice as a staple food; 95 percent of the world's rice crop is eaten by humans. Microsoft Student (2007) maintained that Asian countries produced about 90 percent of the 576 million tons of rice grown worldwide in 2002.

The harvested rice kernel, (paddy or rough rice) is enclosed by the hull or husk. Milling usually removes both the hull and bran layers of the kernel, and a coating of glucose and talc is sometimes applied to give the kernel glossy finish. The by-products of milling, including bran and rice polish (finely powdered bran and starch resulting from polishing), are used as livestock feed. Oil is processed from the bran for both food and industrial uses. Broken rice is used in brewing, distilling, and in the manufacture of starch and rice flour. Hulls are used for fuel, packing material, industrial grinding, fertilizer manufacture, and in the manufacture of an industrial chemical called furfural. The straw is used for feed, livestock bedding, roof thatching mats, garments, packing material, and broom straws. In the late 20th century, the world rice crop averaged between 800,000,000,000 and 950,000,000,000 pounds annually and was cultivated on an average of about 358,000,000 acres (145,000,000 hectares). (Encyclopaedia Britannica Deluxe, 2004).

According to FAO (2004) rice growing environment in Nigeria are usually classified into five rice ecosystems namely: Rain-fed upland, Rain-fed lowland, Irrigated lowland, Deepwater and Mangrove swamp. The mangrove swamp ecology is the least important in terms of area, accounting for less than 1% of total rice area. Another 5% of the rice production area is generally estimated to fall in deepwater environment, although it is believed that this figure is most likely overestimated given the physical limits to area expansion within this environment. In general, of the estimated 3 million metric tons of annual rice production in Nigeria, three major rice production systems in Nigeria namely upland rain-fed, lowland rain-fed and irrigated production account for 97% (Daramola, 2005). According to West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) (2003), rice (Oryzae Spp.) generates the largest contribution to household income in Nigeria. A variety of rice production systems and technological levels coexist. WARDA (2003) and Daramola (2005) maintained that lowlands without water control are the main ecology followed by upland and irrigated rice. Rice production can be found in each of the large geopolitical zones of the nation (e.g. Middle Belt) based on ecology and ethnic traditions. These extend from the northern to southern zones with most rice grown in the eastern states (Enugu, Cross River, and Ebonyi States) and middle belt (Benue, Kaduna, Niger, Kogi and Taraba States) of the country. Daramola (2005) observed that the middle belt of the country (where Kogi State is located) enjoyed a comparative advantage in production over the other parts of the country. Reports by WARDA (2003); and Horna, Smale and von Oppen (2005), indicated that Kogi State produced at least five percent (5%) of the total rice production in Nigeria. In 2000, Kogi’s total output and yield mainly from wet season rice farming stood at 1,025,000 tons and 2.28 tons /ha (PCU, FMARD in WARDA, 2001). In Nigeria 1 million ha of informal irrigation schemes sprang over flood plain areas along river valleys (Musa, 2001). This is where rice farmers are in Kogi State mostly. An International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) sponsored study conducted by Horna, Smale, and von Oppen (2005) noted that lowland (or swamp) rice production was more important than upland production in Kogi State, although upland rice was an alternative for small farmers with limited access to good quality land. The study also observed that Kogi farmers had limited experience in upland rice production.

Nigeria is West Africa’s largest producer of rice, producing an average of 3.2 million tons of paddy rice (~ 2million tons of milled rice) for the past 7-years (WARDA, 2001). Rice production is primarily by small-scale producers, with low yield per hectare averaging about 1.47 tonnes/ha from farm sizes of between 0.5 and 2 ha (WARDA, 2004 & FAO, 2004). This situation was attributed to poor production systems, aging farming population and low competitiveness with imported rice (Daramola, 2005). The low productivity from Nigerian rice farms had necessitated huge dependence on importation of rice by the Federal government over the years. (See Tables 2.1 and 2.2 for details). However, the Federal Government had not been complacent about the above scenario. Many steps taken in the past to boost rice production were not sustained. According to WARDA, the programmes included: National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP), Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), 1976-1979, Green Revolution (1979-1983), and the River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) 1983-1985 (WARDA, 2003). However, these programmes were not specifically targeted at boosting rice production. The Federal Government had put in place a National Special Programme on Food Security, (NSPFS), whose objective was to ensure food security in the broader sense and alleviate rural poverty in Nigeria. WARDA (2003) noted that successive governments failed to implement these programmes adequately. The administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo also launched the Presidential Initiative on Rice Production and Fadama Development. WARDA noted that this programme along with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) input delivery system and credit facility – conducive environments, will serve as catalyst for increases in rice production. The report added that “ government hopes to increase production of rice to get a firm grip and control of poverty and hunger, unemployment and crime caused by the urge to fill a basic need thereby ensuring environmental sustainability” (WARDA, 2003). Import restrictions, tariffs and bans had been used to protect and boost local production of rice in Nigeria. The high import duties of 100% in 1995 was reduced in 1996 to 50% and later increased to 85% in 2001. According to Momoh (2007) “twice, Nigeria fixed dates for a ban on importation of rice to Nigeria and failed to implement the ban.” The ban was planned for 2006 and later deferred to 2007. As at September 2007 the ban was yet to be implemented. However, by May 2008 Nigeria’s government announced it will import 500,000 tonnes of rice up to a value of US$600 million to curtail the effect of the global rise in food prices on Nigeria. The decision was taken after an emergency meeting between the Nigerian President, Umaru Yar'Adua and the governors of Nigeria's 36 states (Integrated Regional Information Networks, IRRI, 2008). The whole essence of this importation in the short term was to create availability and reduce the skyrocketing prices. The speculated ban was yet to be as at this moment. This is evidenced by a report from Oryza (2008) which held that “market speculations that the ban on the importation of brown rice is likely to be lifted soon were put to rest as Nigeria's Federal Government reiterated commitment to sustain the ban in order to encourage local production of paddy rice.” According to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, the report added, the ban is in the country's prime interest as any such reversal would have be detrimental to the nation's economy and would deny Nigerians employment opportunities and wealth creation. Existing low level of productivity in food grain production reflect low level of technical, allocative and economic efficiencies (CBN, 2003 & Kolawole, 2006). Therefore, increasing agricultural growth is an indication of appreciable growth in agricultural production process that is linked to farm efficiency. Hence, farm productivity and efficiency is no longer debatable but a necessity in view of imminent food deficit experienced in the country judged by the over reliance on food importation in recent time (CBN, 2003).The attempted imposition of ban on the importation of rice and other food stuff that can be produced locally in the country is an indication that rice growers in the country must leave up to the expectation of meeting the local demand. To achieve this objective, effort must be taken to examine the productive efficiency of the rice farmers in the country......

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