The study was carried out to investigate the gender and resource use efficiency in cocoyam production in Anambra State, Nigeria. The study presents the results of analysis of data collected on 160 male and female cocoyam farmers across two Agricultural zones in the state. A multi-stage random sampling technique was used to select the zones. Descriptive statistics such as percentages, frequencies, means and tables were used in analyzing farmer’s socio-economic characteristics and production problems. The result showed that women constituted a greater percentage (68.75%) of those involved in cocoyam production in the state with age range of 41 to 50 years. The Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE) technique was used in estimating the technical efficiency and determinants of efficiency of male and female farmers with the Cobb-Douglas production function as the lead model. The result of estimation of technical efficiency using the Cobb- Douglas stochastic function showed that the coefficients of male and female farmers for the production variables used were all positive. Cocoyam setts, labour and fertilizer use were significant while capital inputs were not significant for female cocoyam farmers. The result indicated that socio-economic conditions influenced technical efficiency of both categories of farmers. The coefficients of determinants of efficiency used were all positive except farm size that was negative and significant for both male and female cocoyam farmers while age, level of education, extension contact, knowledge index were all positive and significant for male farmers while other variables were not significant. Test of allocative efficiency revealed that none of defined farmer groups achieved absolute allocative efficiency. Male farmers underutilized fertilizer and over utilized other inputs in production while female farmers over utilized all the inputs. This result suggests that there exists the possibility of increasing output under existing level of technology through the use of lower levels of all inputs by male and female farmers except fertilizer for males. There is also scope to use higher levels of fertilizer for the male farmers. The result shows the mean output/kg of 2,450.20kg and 2,519.09kg with an average net profit of N62, 592.87 and N88, 378.12 and BCR of N1.85 and N2.16 for the male and female farmers respectively. This implies that cocoyam production was profitable in the study area. The results also showed that the elasticities of productions of male farmers is 0.43246 and that of female farmers is 1.1987. This shows a decreasing return to scale for male cocoyam farmers and increasing return for female cocoyam farmers. Finally, the study revealed that most of the farmers (male and female) encountered problems of root rot diseases at 90% and 90.91% respectively.

1.1:     Background Information
In Nigeria of about 140 million people, men constitute about 50.4% and women 49.6%(N.P.C, 2006).Both gender are responsible for producing the nation’s food and one of the major problems confronting mankind in recent times is food crisis (Ndukwu et al 2010).Gender has often been misunderstood as being about the promotion of women only, but it focuses on the relationship between men and women, their roles, access to and control over resources, division of labour and needs. Men and women are affected differently in their operation in factors like markets and socio-economics environments. Women are more constrained than their men counterparts in terms of access to credits, agricultural inputs, information technology and so on. Some crop production are even classified as men’s, like yam production, while others like sweet potatoes and cocoyam production are regarded as women’s especially in the southeastern Nigeria(Ndukwu et al 2010).Dimelu et al (2009) reported that women are involved in crop production generally and cocoyam production in particular.

Agriculture is the largest sector in the Nigeria economy, providing food, income and employment for sustainable livelihood of both the rural and urban population (CBN,2003). FGN(2001), Agriculture is the largest non oil export earner and largest employer of labour accounting for 88% of the non oil foreign exchange earnings and 70% of the active labour force of the population. Food crops constitute the largest component of the crops sub sector of Nigeria’s agriculture(CBN 2003).Roots tubers are major sources of dietary carbohydrates and provide food for over 60 million people in Nigeria(Abubakar,2003).Increase in the output of cassava, yam, potatoes as well as cocoyam will significantly increase the GDP of Nigeria(Anyanwu et al 2010). The contribution of the food crop sector of Nigerian Agriculture is significant and well documented in literature (Olomola, 2006).

Cocoyam originates from Asia and about forty (40) species are grown in West Africa (Asumugha and Mbanasor, 2002). Cocoyam, both Xanthosoma species and Colocasia species belongs to the family (Aracea). The cocoyam specie colocasia esculata in subSahara Africa was introduced to this continent one thousand or more years ago from South East Asia while cocoyam specie  Xanthosoma  Mafafa  was  introduced more recently from tropical America (11TA 1992, FAO, 2005).

Nigeria is the largest producer of cocoyam in the world, accounting for about 47% of the total world output (FAO, 2007, NRCRI, 2009). From 0.73 million metric tones in 1990, cocoyam production in Nigeria rose to 3.89million metric tones in 2000 (Ojiako et al, 2007) and further by 30.30% to 5.068 million metric tones in 2007 (FAO, 2007). Further estimate in Nigeria, showed a figure of 5.387 million metric tones out of 11.77 million metric tones of world output of cocoyam per annum since 2008 (FAO , 2010).

Cocoyam ranks third in importance after cassava and yam among the root and tuber crops cultivated in Nigeria (see Appendix 1)(FAO, 2005, National Bureau of Statistics, 2006, Okoye et al, 2008). Cocoyam is an important staple food in the plant family, cultivated in South Eastern and South Western part of Nigeria (Onyenweaku et al, 2005, Ojiakor et al, 2007, Chukwu et al, 2009). It is a food security crop variously grown by resource poor farmers especially women who often intercrop it with yam, maize, plantain, banana, vegetable (Ikwelle et al, 2003).

Cocoyam to an extent is medicinal for diabetic patients because it has low starch content, is easily digestible and contains protein more than the other root tubers. The leaves of colocosia esculenta have been shown to be a rich source of folic acid, ribo flavin, vitamin A and C, calcium and phosphate (Arene and Ene, 1987). The leaves are consumed because they are rich in protein and vitamins, while the root is rich in carbohydrates and minerals (Duru and Uma, 2002). Cocoyam is a useful cover crop and the corms are ready to harvest in 8 – 12 months (Uguru, 1996). The corms and cormels are boiled, baked and tubers are sometimes ground to produce paste for use in stews and soups. Also in Southeast Asia, cocoyam leaves are consumed as a green or dry vegetables and the stem is either cooked or eaten on its own or together with other dietary staples or pounded into flour (Serem et al, 2008).The dried peeled corms are grinded to produce flour which is considered to be as palatable as cassava flour but more nutritious (Igbokwe, 2004).

In the traditional farming system women "own" and plant cocoyam after the men have planted their yam, hence it is regarded as a women's crop (Igbokwe, 2004). As a result of male migration into urban and semi urban areas, certain task that were traditionally done by men (e.g. ridging) are now being done by the women folk. Thus, the gender based differentiation of farm tasks appears to be disappearing. Some scholars believe and argue that majority of the......

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Item Type: Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 64 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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