This study determines the technical efficiency level and socioeconomic characteristics that influence the technical efficiency of yellow pepper farmers. Stochastic Frontier function that incorporated inefficiency factors was estimated using a Maximum Likelihood technique to provide estimates of technical efficiency and its determinants using data obtained from 60 Nsukka Yellow pepper farmers in Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria. The result shows that the mean technical efficiency was 70 percent indicating the need for improvement in efficiency level for additional 30 percent. The result also indicates that the respondents are operating in the rational stage (stage II) of production as indicated by the return to scale of 0.797. The empirical findings also show that age, number of years spent in formal education, family size and farming experience are important socio-economic determinants of the respondents’ level of efficiency. Farming experience had positive influence on the respondents’ level of efficiency. It was recommended that rural women should be effectively mobilized for full participation in the production of Nsukka yellow pepper through the use of extension agents and community leaders, provision of farm inputs through establishment of channels that will enable farmer access credit facilities and review of land use act to give the rural farmers access to land.

1.1 Background of the Study
Small-scale farmers occupy a central position in Nigeria’s agricultural policy (Ajibefun and Abdukadri, 2004). Agricultural activities in Nigeria seem to be shouldered by small-scale farmers who mostly live in rural communities. These farmers are poor and tend to practice production system that may not utilize resources efficiently.

Small-scale farmers are constrained by lack of credit, which translates to inadequacy of working capital (Kibaara, 2005). This in part brings about the vicious cycle of poverty. The theory of vicious cycle of poverty tries to explain the reason for poor investment of resources (agricultural), which leads to poor output and the consequent low income. However, increment in agricultural output does not depend on heavy investment of agricultural resources. To achieve possible optimum agricultural output from a given set of resources, farmers are confronted with the challenges of increasing the agricultural productivity in an attempt to feed the ever growing population by using resources efficiently.

Resources are of paramount importance in agriculture and these include land, labour, capital and management. The profitability of an agricultural enterprise hinges on efficient utilization of resources needed and available to such enterprise. Clear understanding of resource use patterns by farmers and their adjustment to external factors are necessary for increase in the productivity of agricultural resources (Amaza and Olayemi, 2002). Efficiency of resource use may be defined as the extent to which a given set of resources are being allocated across uses or activities in a manner that maximizes whatever value they tend to produce such as output, market value or utility . Therefore, the efficiency of a farm as a production unit is how effectively it uses resources for the purpose of profit or output maximization.

Rural farmers in Enugu North agricultural zone (Nsukka area) of Enugu State are small-scale farmers with variety of constraints. These constraints include resource availability, resource allocation and difficulties in controlling resources in production process (Awoke and Okorji,

2004). It is expected that these constraints do affect the production of Nsukka yellow pepper in the area.

Pepper is an important vegetable in most societies and plays a significant role in our everyday food. Today, peppers are grown (Capsicum spp) widely in many countries, Nigeria inclusive and it forms an integral part of local cuisine. It adds flavour, colour and pungency to several delicacies. The interest in pepper extends to its nutritional and medicinal values in that peppers are recognized sources of vitamins C and E and are high in antioxidants. These compounds are associated with prevention of cardiovascular disorders, cancers and cataracts. In addition, it can be used for preservation of cowpea against weevil attack (Echezona, 2006).

The varieties of pepper prevalently grown in Nigeria include:

       Cayenne pepper or red pepper – ‘Sombo’ ( Capsicum frutescence)

       ‘Atarodo’ ( Capsicum annum )

       ‘Tatase’ ( Capsicum annum )

       Nsukka Yellow pepper (Capsicum annum)

Nsukka yellow pepper popularly referred to as “Ose Nsukka” owes its name to its characteristic yellow colour and the area it is popularly grown. Nsukka yellow pepper is an important commercial fruit vegetable. Its cultivation forms a major and sometimes the only agricultural activity of rural women in Enugu state (Onwubuya et al, 2008).

1.2 Problem Statement

Pepper production in Nigeria has not attracted the same research patronage like the following crop: cassava, cocoa, rice, to mention a few. The area, the production and yield data are difficult to come by. Regrettably, Nsukka yellow pepper production is towing the same line. Few or no medium and large scale farmer has invested in it. Research interest in it is insignificant. This obviously can be explained by the dearth of records and results from research findings to convince the medium and large scale farmers on the need to engage in Nsukka yellow pepper production by a way of elucidating to them the economic viability of such enterprise. This development has culminated in the bulk of its production to be in the hands of small-holder farmers. Small-holder farmers according to Awoke and Okorji, (2004) are farmers whose production capacity falls between 2.5 and 5 hectares per cropping season....

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Item Type: Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 45 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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