This study investigated resource use efficiency of Fadama III and non-Fadama III beneficiary rice farmers in Niger State, Nigeria. Primary data were collected using questionnaire/interview schedule administered to a sample of one hundred and twenty rice farmers, selected using multi-stage sampling technique. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, stochastic frontier production function, return to scale analysis, gross margin analysis, net farm income analysis and likert scale rating technique. maximum likelihood estimates of the Cobb-Douglas frontier function showed that coefficient of seeds (0.479), labour ( 0.445) and herbicides ( 0.093) had significant effects on output of Fadama III beneficiary rice farmers while fertilizer ( 0.069) is the input with significant effect on output of the non-beneficiary farmers. The estimated coefficients of the inefficiency model revealed that age, household size, educational level, extension contact and Fadama advisory services positively affected Fadama III rice farmers' technical efficiency, but only age and educational level were significant. On the other hand, age, household size and extension contact positively affected non-Fadama III rice farmers' technical efficiency, but only extension contact was significant. An increasing return to scale of 1.432 and 1.168 were recorded for the Fadama III and non-Fadama III rice farmers, respectively. The technical efficiencies of the Fadama III rice farmers ranged from 0.411 – 1 with a mean value of 0.79 while that of the non Fadama III beneficiary rice farmers ranged from 0.435 – 0.989 with a mean value of 0.81 on the scale of 1.This showed that technical efficiency can be increased by 21 and 19 percents to attain optimal level in the Fadama III and non Fadama III beneficiary rice farmers, respectively. Allocative efficiency analysis showed that all resource inputs were underutilized. Fadama III rice farmers made a gross margin of N69, 288.37, a net farm income of N67, 599.91 and a return on Naira Invested of 1.81 per ha while the non-Fadama III rice farmers made a gross margin of N30, 250.36, a net farm income of N28, 550.26 and a return on Naira invested of 1.12 per ha. The student t-test showed that there was no significant difference between the technical efficiencies of Fadama III and non-Fadama III beneficiary rice farmers. However, the t-test showed a significant difference between the profit of the Fadama III and non-Fadama III rice farmers. The study recommended that project implementers should tackle the challenge of elite capture, inputs diversion and intensify advisory services/training, while policy makers facilitate the usage of high yielding seeds, labour saving technology and agro-chemicals for rice farmers.
1.1 Background to the Study
The food sub-sector of Nigerian agriculture has a large array of staple crops, but rice has risen to a position of pre-eminence. At independence in 1960, rice was merely a festival food consumed mostly in affluent homes during the Christmas and other religious festivals (UNEP,2002). However, as shown in the report of Akpokoye, Lancon and Erenstein (2001), since the mid-1970s, rice consumption in Nigeria has risen tremendously, (+10.3% per annum) as a result of accelerating population growth rate and changing consumer preferences. Urbanization appears to be the main cause of the shift in consumer preferences towards rice in Nigeria. Rice is easy to prepare compared to other traditional cereals, thereby reducing the chore of food preparation and fitting more easily the urban lifestyles of rich and poor alike. The poorest third of urban households obtain 33% of their cereal-based calories from rice, and rice purchases represent a major component of cash expenditures on cereals (World Bank 1991).
Ogundele and Okoruwa (2006) noted that in an apparent move to respond to the increased per capita consumption of rice in Nigeria, local production boomed, averaging 9.3% per annum. These increases have been traced to vast expansion of cropped rice area at an annual average of 7.9% and to a lesser extent to an increase in rice yield of 1.49% per annum. In spite of this, the production increase was not sufficient to match the consumption increase.
Rice production, according to Onoja (2007), can be found in each of the geopolitical zones of the country. These extend from the Northern to Southern zones with most rice grown in middle Belt (Niger, Benue, Kaduna, Kogi and Taraba States) and the Eastern states (Enugu, Cross River and Ebonyi States). Daramola (2005) observed that the middle belt of the country (where Niger state is located) has a comparative advantage in production over the other parts of the country.
According to Singh et al (1997) rice production systems in Nigeria include upland rainfed, lowland rainfed, irrigated lowland and deep water and mangrove rice. Daramola (2005) asserted that mangrove is the least important in terms of area, accounting for less than 1% of the total rice area with deep water accounting for 5% of the rice production area, although this figure is most likely overestimated given the physical unit to area expansion in this environment. Of the estimated three million metric tons of annual rice production, three major rice production systems, namely upland rainfed, lowland rainfed and irrigated productions account for 97%. West African Rice Development Association – WARDA (2003) and Daramola (2005) agree that lowlands without water control i.e. Fadama areas are the main ecology followed by upland and irrigated rice.
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