VEGETABLE PRODUCTION, LIVELIHOOD DIVERSIFICATION, AND EMPLOYMENT GENERATION IN OYO STATE, NIGERIA
The study examined the importance of vegetable production on incomes, with a view to enhancing livelihood diversification and employment generation in farming communities in Nigeria. A multistage sampling procedure was used to select 100 vegetable farmers from 10 local government areas in Oyo State. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, budgetary techniques and the multiple regression model.
The results revealed that vegetable farmers were relatively young with a mean age of 41.9 years, highly educated with only 11% not having formal education and had a farming experience of 11.2 years on the average. Family sizes averaged 5.8 while mean farm size was 2.6 ha.
The cost analysis shows that gross margin to enterprise was N472,322.56 with a net income of N454,564.72. The internal rate of return was 2.33 while the benefit-cost ration was 3.33. The major determinants of net farm income from vegetable production were educational level of farmers, experience in farming, farm size and total farm expenditure.
The study concluded that while vegetable farming could be a major enterprise to diversifying livelihood opportunities among smallholder farmers it also presents opportunities for attracting the young and educated unemployed if cultivable lands, inputs, credit and social overheads that will make the farming communities liveable are provided.
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