This study was undertaken to analyze resource productivity in ornamental plants production within Jos metropolis of Nigeria. The study covered Jos North and Jos South local government areas. The specific objectives include: identifying the effect of socio-economic factors on resource productivity, determining costs and returns, and resource productivity in ornamental plants production.
An extensive literature review was carried out to provide an in-depth knowledge of the study. The cluster sampling procedure was used because the nurseries are located in clusters. Data was collected from the nursery owners. Six respondents from each cluster and five clusters from each local government area were selected using the simple random sampling method at each sampling stage. Each of the two local government areas was administered the 30 questionnaires making a total of 60 respondents.
Results revealed that 60% of respondents were aged between 41– 50, while 80% had some years of tertiary education. Also 60% of the respondents’ nurseries were less than a quarter of an acre. About 40% had horticulture as their primary occupation, while 40% and 20% had business and civil service respectively as their primary occupation. The ornamental plants producers made a net farm income of N351,196 per annum and a naira invested gave returns of N1.10.
The regression analysis gave positive coefficients for labour, cuttings, pesticides, water, top soil and polythenes which were significant (P<0.05). However, manure, fuel transportation and annual rent had negative coefficient. Also the regression coefficient of socio economic variables such as education, age, nursery size were positive and significant. Household size had a positive coefficient but was insignificant (P<0.05). Ornamental production experience had a negative coefficient and was insignificant.
The ratio of marginal value product to marginal factor cost showed that cuttings, pesticides, water, top soil, and polythene was greater than one, while that of manure, labour, fuel, transportation and annual rent less than one. The implication is that the former inputs were used below the economic optimum while the latter were used above the economic optimum. Also, ornamental plants producers’ profit could be increased by increasing the use of labour, cuttings, pesticide, water, top soil, and polythenes while decreasing the use of fuel, manure transportation and annual rent.

The study showed that ornamental plants business is profitable. It could serve as supplemental source of income. The study showed that only 30% of ornamental plants producers belong to registered cooperatives. It is recommended that they organized themselves into cooperatives in order to access funds, inputs and information on current trends in ornamental plants production. Government on it its side should consider ornamental plants producers in the allocation of farm inputs. Also, special sites should be a assigned for ornamental plants production in new government layout. Ornamental plants production needs to be encourage and sustained as it is a profitable venture. Producers need to pay more attention towards efficient utilization of resources. Agricultural policies that favour this venture will be of great importance to ornamental plants producers.

1.0      Background Information
Horticulture is the branch of plants agriculture concerned with intensively cultured plants used directly by man as fresh foods, esthetics and medicine (Uzo, 1997). Ornamental plants are plants grown either for colourful flowers or decorative leaves. They include a wide range of herbaceous annuals and perennials extensively employed in landscaping for esthetic purposes of colour, fragrance and enhancing serenity in and around the home, public places such as recreation areas, tourist sites and cities. Ornamental plants also modify the micro climate by providing shade, reducing wind speed, helping to increase humidity and absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen (Evans, 1999). Ornamental plants provide sanctuary for birds, insects and numerous other animals. Miscellaneous uses include the offer of cut flowers as gifts to people, friends sportsmen and women and national leaders. In Nigeria, flowers are used to beautify homes. In countries like India, flowers are used to adorn women's hair and decorate pictures of gods, saints and deceased loved ones (National Horticulture Board, 1995).

The major facets of ornamental plants include production of flowers and potted plants, growing of flower bulbs and corms including subsequent arrangement and delivery. Each facet is highly specialized with definite requirements, facilities and technical knowledge (Edmond, 1997). This highly specialized industry involves the growers who produce flowers for wholesale marketers and retail florists who market to the public and contribute occasional services such as packaging and delivery. Current buyers of these plants include individuals who buy to beautify their houses, landscape architects who buy on behalf of institutions for landscaping purposes and hoteliers who buy cut flowers for their customers.

The practice of horticultural plants cultivation in Jos can be traced to as early as 1930s (David, 1999). This was as a result of the activities of tin miners that came to the area under the auspices of Amalgamated Tin Miners of Jos. These Europeans came mainly from British Isles with their wives and siblings. Their wives were quite keen on gardening as their favourite pastime in the absence of regular jobs. These women started gardens at home where they had varieties of imported flowers from their country side. Much later, these Europeans developed interest in some of the locally available fruits, shrubs and hedges. The Europeans started the horticultural society.

Later in the early 1970’s, Nigerians also became interested in the art of flower gardening, encouraged by the Horticultural society during their flowers shows. The government gardens soon took off with Bukuru and Naraguta gardens which were established to encourage gardening, tree planting, and afforestation culture (David, 1999). The Plateau Urban Development Board now known as the Jos Metropolitan Board encouraged the establishment of privately owned commercial gardens in the 1990’s. The idea was for these gardens to occupy vacant plots along the major roads within the city thereby holding the land in trust and also beautifying the environment (David, 1999).

Horticulture in Nigeria gained an impetus by a commitment of $43,433,260 to the National Horticultural Research Institute Ibadan in form of grant for research into the genetic improvement of the plants between 1995 and 1998. Hitherto, the federal government’s financial commitment to horticulture has been low to the tune of 1.2 percent of total allocations for food crop production (Babalola, 1996)

Commercially, there is very active and visible trade in horticultural products which engage and provide employment for some people. Although the actual volume and value of horticultural crops produced and traded are unknown, they are enormous, and contribute substantially to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 1995, the value of agricultural output, made up of crops, livestock, forestry, and fishing amounted to N39.88 billion and constituted 38.6 percent of GDP (Central Bank of Nigeria, 1995). The contributions of horticultural crops were estimated at N2 billion, which was much more than forestry (N1.34 billion) and fishing (N1.23 billion).

Nigerians are gradually becoming aware of the need for a beautiful, manageable and sustainable environment. The high intensity of a flourishing horticultural business in metropolitan centres attests to this fact. However, according to Fawusi (1996), the genetic base of our ornamental production is dangerously narrow, whereas, a lot of plants are awaiting collection and domestication in our forest. Kenya and Cote d’ Ivoire are major exporters of cut flowers into the French market, yet Nigeria has more potential than these countries. Horticultural crops require intensive care. It is therefore necessary to have information on cost of production and returns per naira invested to serve as a basis for motivating farmers to invest in horticultural crops production (Adekunle and Oladoja, 1996).....

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