This study examined the contributions of women to household farming decisions among cocoa-based agroforestry households in Ekiti state, Nigeria using cross-sectional data. The study used purposive, multistage and random sampling techniques for the selection of 120 cocoa-based agroforestry farm units that constituted respondents for the study. The analytical techniques involved descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis and multinomial logistic regression model. With regards to food crop production activities, the contributions of women to decision making were very high with mean values of between 2.48 – 3.19 on a 4-point scale, while that of the men were comparatively low with mean values ranging from 1.85 – 2.66. However, in the cocoa production activities, the contributions of women to decision making were relatively low with mean ranging between 1.42 – 3.23 compare to high contributions of men with mean values ranging from 2.82 – 3.94 on a 4-point scale. The multinomial logistic regression result comparing high contribution (3) as base outcome, revealed that years of formal education of the women, financial contribution status of the women to farming activities, average number of hours spent on cocoa farm per day were negatively related while years of farming experience of the women and number of adult male farmers in a household were positively and significantly related with the probability of women making low (1) or medium (2) contributions to household farming decisions. The t-test of no significant difference between the contributions of women and men to farming decisions in the production of the integrated food crops and the cocoa revealed that, on the average, women had significantly higher contributions to decision making in food crop production activities while in cocoa production, men had significantly higher contributions. The identified constraints militating against women farmers were classified into three major factors using principal component factor analysis with varimax – rotated and factor loading of 0.30. These constraints range from techno-institutional factor (lack of extension programmes directed to women, lack of access to NGOs programmes and low technical-know-how); socio-personal factor (the belief that women are subordinate, low self confidence of women, multiple domestic responsibilities of women farmers) and economic / financial factor which include low/lack of financial contributions by women farmers to farming activities, involvement of the women in off farm jobs, lack of collateral security to secure loans to support farming and so on. The study, therefore, recommends inter alia, socioeconomic empowerment of women farmers, adequate extension services and training to meet technological improvement needs of the women and formulation of gender sensitive policies in favour of women in agricultural sector.

1.6      Background of the Study
Nigeria, like some other developing countries is principally an agrarian nation with the greater percentage of her labour force engaged in the agricultural sector of the economy. The agricultural sector plays an important role in Nigeria’s economy, contributing about 40% of the GDP (Olomola, 2006) and employing 65% of the adult labour force (Adedipe, Okuneye and Ayinde, 2004). Of great significance in agricultural sector in Nigerian economy is the tree crop sub-sector also known as agroforestry. Agroforestry as a farming practice is the integration of trees, shrubs, food crops and/or animals in an interactive manner (Okadi, 2007). Cocoa-based agroforestry is an agroforestry practice in which cocoa trees for the production of cocoa beans are interplanted with arable crops. This is one of the most popular agricultural practices in the southwestern part of the country.

Cocoa is a high valued cash crop among farmers in the major producing areas of the country. Cocoa, Theobroma Cacao belongs to the family Sterculiaceae (Uguru, 1996). According to Guy (1992) and Opeke (1996) varieties of cocoa include; the Criollo, Trinitario and Foresterio Amazona. The Foresterios also called Amelonado is widely grown in Nigeria and Ghana (Olaitan and Austin, 2006). Cocoa originated from Upper Amazon of Latin America from where it spread to all parts of the world. Its cultivation started in Nigeria about 1879 when a local Chief established a plantation at Bonny in Rivers State, Nigeria. However, cultivation in the western Nigeria began afterwards. By 1962, Nigeria has become the world leading producer with about 20% of the world total output of cocoa coming from Nigeria (Amos, 2007).

Cocoa was one of Nigeria’s sources of foreign exchange earnings before the oil boom and up till now it is still Nigeria’s largest agricultural foreign trade commodity. The contributions of cocoa to the nation’s economic development are vast and have been reported by many authors. Its contributions as a foreign exchange earner, employer of labour, source of raw materials, source of revenue to governments of the producing States and components of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are also well documented in literatures (Adetunji, Olaniyi and Raufu, 2007; Folayan, Daramola and Oguntade, 2006; Nkang, Ajah, Abang and Edet, 2007)

The production of cocoa in Nigeria witnessed a downward trend after 1970/71 season when its export declined from 305,000 metric tons to 216, 000 metric tons in 1975/76; 150, 000 metric tons in 1982/83 and 120, 000 metric tons in 1985/86; thereby reducing the country’s world market share to about 6% and its rank to 5th world largest cocoa producer till date (Folayan, et al, 2006; Kwanashie, Ajilima and Garba, 1998). The decline in agricultural output in 1970s did not only coincide with end of Nigerian civil war but also with the oil boom and the severe drought of 1972/73. The overall agricultural situation deteriorated, creating a wide gap between the supply and demand for food locally and internationally (Alabi, 2003).

Akinola (2001) also attributed the decline in production of cocoa within the period to a combination of labour shortages and low producer prices. Low producer prices unfortunately resulted from the monopolistic marketing structure erected in the name of commodity board (Cocoa Marketing Board) which served as a great disincentive to cocoa.....

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Item Type: Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 114 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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