The objectives of this study are to describe the socio-economic characteristics of maize farmers, costs and returns, and identify the constraints of maize production in the study area. On maize production in Soba Local Government Area, kaduna state. The result of the socio-economic analysis shows that 44% of the farmers were between the age of 19 and 60 years, but the average age is 34 years. While 21.6% had no formal education, 87.5% of the educated ones went through primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Average household size was 10 and only 59.4% of the farmers belonged to farmers' cooperative societies. The average level of seed , fertilizer and agrochemicals used were seed was 68.5kg/ha, fertilizer was 238kg/ha, while agrochemical was 12 L/ha. Maize yield (4,000kg/ha). The economic analysis showed the Gross Margin per hecter from sole of maize crop was N40,000. Fertilizer was the most prominent cost item, accounting for 59% of the total cost of production. The results of the regression analysis indicated that out of the three input prices included in the model, the prices of agrochemical and seed had an inverse relationship with maize yield while fertilizer price had positive effect. The study concluded that maize production in the local government area is profitable. The study recommended that input subsidy, training of farmers, and credit facilities to boost sustainable maize production system in Soba Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria.
1.1 Background of the study
Maize (Zea mays L.) is a member of the grass family (gramineae). It originated from South and Central America. It was introduced to West Africa by the Portuguese in the 10th century. Maize is one of the most important grains in Nigeria, not only on the basis of the number of farmers that engaged in its cultivation, but also in its economic value. Maize is a major important cereal being cultivated in the rainforest and the derived savannah zones of Nigeria. Maize has been in the diet of Nigerians for centuries. It started as a subsistence crop and has gradually become a more important crop. Maize has now risen to a commercial crop on which many agro-based industries depend for raw materials (Iken and Amusa, 2004).One of the major tasks facing Nigerian agriculture is the provision of an adequate and well-stable food supply to meet the requirements of a growing population. One of such food crops is maize. The significance of maize to the modern society is first and foremost clearly reflected in the importance of the crop in the diet of man and animals throughout the world (Onwueme and Sinha, 1991). Abubakar (1999), ranked maize as the third most important cereal after wheat and rice globally. In Nigeria, maize is produced across the country right from the mangrove region in the south to the Sahel Savannah in the North (Edache, 1999; Tauna, 1999; Olukosi and Raphael, 1997). Maize production in Nigeria has also been on the increase both in terms of hectarage and production. A seven-fold increase in production occurred between 1984 and 1994. Similarly production increased from 6,515,000.0 to 7,019,500.0 tonnes (7.75%) between 1999 and 2003 respectively (CBN Annual Report 2003). The total area under maize cropping in Nigeria was estimated to be 3.0 million hectare (Lamarde, 1994). Traditionally, production ranged from 0.4 – 1.7 tonnes per hectare, but with improved methods and improved inputs, the yield could be up to 4 – 5 tonnes per hectare (Lamarde, 1994). Maize is the most important cereal in Nigeria and is grown either as a vegetable at the backyard or on the farm (Kehinde, 1997). With adequate supply of these inputs and the provision of adequate storage facilities, the rapid expansion of maize could be sustained. Since the 1970s, the federal government made it a policy to increase the maize production through the increased use of fertilizer. This led to the decision by the Federal Government to establish local fertilizer plants as against relying entirely on fertilizer importation as the case was prior to 1976. The effectiveness and sustainability of these plans varies with government. For maize farmers, access to fertilizer is an important input considered in the production decision. This have direct effect on the level of productivity, thus increased productivity contributed to economic development and policies for effective mobilization of the resources for transforming self-sufficient oriented maize farmers to commercial and market oriented agriculture (Nyako, 1999).
1.2 Problem Statement
The year 2000 was set as a target date for the attainment of food self sufficiency by all African countries in the action plan agreed upon in Lagos, Nigeria (Salih, 1994). However, roughly 5 years after the deadline, little or nothing had been achieved. This failure is evident by the excess capacity in the agro industrial sector; rapid increase in food prices and the gradual resort to food importation among other. Rapid growth in maize is essential for broad based economic growth, but acceleration in agricultural growth requires sound use of science and technology embodied in improved seed, fertilizer, agrochemical and other agronomic practices. However without an efficient and cost effective supply of these inputs at the farm gate, science based growth in agricultural productivity cannot be achieved. One of the problems cited as constraining the production of maize in Nigeria is stagnant production technology among Nigerian farming community, majority of who are small-scale producers. The reason for this could be attributed to resource productivity as studies have confirmed inefficiency in resource utilisation in both food and cash crops in Nigeria (Olagoke, 1999 and Olayide, 1979).The extent to which inputs supply and productivity of maize relates to a shortfall in food demand and supply in Nigeria is not clearly understood. At the same time, the impact of factors such as the policy environment, and the availability of markets for the disposal of farm outputs is not often considered despite the fact that such factors make farmers to work harder and thus, produce higher outputs. Therefore this study is to provide answers to the following research questions.
What are the socio economic characteristics of maize farmers in Soba Local Government Area of Kaduna State ?What are the costs and returns of maize production in the study area?What are the constraints associated with maize production in the study area?
1.3 Justification of the Study.
This study is expected to provide valuable benchmark information to these new entrants on resource productivity and profitability in maize production so as to enable them consider its production as a viable option. As for farmers who are already cultivating the crop, the study will go a long way in providing information on ways of boosting production. In order to increase the production of maize, sound micro and macroeconomic farm policies are needed. Require prior to their formulation, an understanding of the input prices and output relationship in maize production. This will obviously go a long way in generating employment opportunities for thousands of Nigerians, improve the food security status of Nigerians and most importantly, improve export and generate additional foreign exchange for the country.
ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF MAIZE (Zea mays) PRODUCTION IN SOBA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA
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