FACTORS INFLUENCING ADOPTION OF IMPROVED MAIZE TECHNOLOGY AMONG FARMERS
1.2 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Maize (Zea Mays), referred to as corn in North America) originated in central Mexico in around 5,000 BC. The crop was introduced to Europe in the sixteenth century, from where it spread to Africa and Asia. It is now one of the most widely-grown crops around the world in both temperate and tropical regions.
It is among the 10 most important world crops by value. According to the FAO, world production in 2012 was over 870 million tons, grown on 158 Million hectares of land. Sources such as the FAO’s Agricultural Market Information System (AIMS) and The International Grains Council have forecasted production increasing to as high as 990 million tons in 2014-2015 grown on almost 200 million hectares. Over 80% of maize production is located in the Americas (53%) and Asia (28%), followed by Europe (15%). Key areas of cultivation include the US maize belt, north eastern China and Eastern Europe. Major producers in 2012 included the United States (over 270 million tons), China (over 200 million tons) and Brazil (71 million tons), followed by India, Mexico, Argentina, Ukraine, Indonesia, France and Canada. 70% of the total acreage for maize Cultivation is in the developing world.
Maize is grown both (as sweet corn) for human consumption and (as field corn) for other uses Such as animal feed and biofuels. Worldwide, only around 15% of maize production is used for food consumption with most production going to animal feed. However, the proportion of
Maize production for food production in developing countries is higher at 25% and even higher in regions such as South East Asia where it is an estimated 30-40%, whilst in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa it can be as high as 70-80%. The crop is a staple food for an estimated 1 billion people across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America. With the USA producing nearly 377.5 million metric tons of corn, the crop definitely plays a very significant role in the country’s economy. The United States is the worldwide leader in corn production, and 20% of its annual corn production is exported. 96,000,000 acres of land in the USA are dedicated to corn production.
The crop was first introduced into the country thousands of years ago along what is now the US-Mexico border, with the original crop being referred to as “teosinte” in Mexico. After that time, many Native American groups as far north as Canada adopted corn as a staple crop, around which to base more stationary, subsistence agriculture-dependent lifestyles. The practice of corn cultivation was soon learned by the immigrants settling in the Western United States from the Native Americans in the region, and corn cultivation quickly spread across the country’s non-Native American farming population. Currently, a large number of US states produce corn, with Iowa being the largest producer of the crop in the country. Iowa led the country in corn production in 2015, closely followed by Illinois and Nebraska. Iowa and Illinois each produced about 2 billion bushels of this crop in 2015. Minnesota and Indiana, meanwhile, each produced over 1 billion bushels of corn in the same year. . USA (377.5 million metric tons)
1.3 MAIZE PRODUCTION IN AFRICA
In Africa maize forms part of the diet for 50% of the population, and
Consumption can be as high as 328 grams per person per day (in Lesotho). In Latin America maize consumption can be as high as 267 g/person/day (in Mexico), accounting for 40% of overall cereal consumption in the region. Since the crop is rich in Vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals, as well as carbohydrates and dietary fibre, it is a particularly important source of nutrition, supplying a high energy density of 365 Kcal/100g.
Maize is widely eaten in various forms and more than 900 million Africans depend on maize every year because it is often cheaper than rice and wheat, two of the other most consumed cereals.
In fact, many of our daily diets contain maize either directly or indirectly. Production of meat, eggs, and dairy products (like milk and yoghurt) would be difficult without maize, which is a hugely important ingredient in animal feed.
Although our continent produces over 50 million tons of maize every year, Africa still spends over $2 billion to import maize from abroad. As Africa’s population continues to grow, the demand and consumption of maize will increase rapidly over the coming years.
Maize was made for developing regions like Africa. It utilizes sunlight very effectively and Africa has sunlight in abundance. Maize can grow on a vast array of soils and can survive in different climatic conditions on our continent
Maize remains a key food crop in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Although it is primarily used as human food in developing regions of the world, maize is one of the most important raw materials for animal feed production and biofuels in developed countries.
1.4 MAIZE PRODUCTION IN NIGERIA
Maize is a staple food of great economic importance in the sub-Saharan Africa of which Nigeria is inclusive. In Nigeria, it is the third most important cereal crop after sorghum and millet (Ojo, 2000). The total land area planted to maize in Nigeria is above 2.5million hectares with an estimated yield of about 1.4 metric tones per hectare. Though, maize production is still very low especially when considered in relation to the growing feed needs of the country. About 20% of the global maize harvested is consumed directly as food and the remaining 80% is processed for secondary uses. Growth in maize utilization has been driven by the rapidly increasing demand for maize as livestock feed and industrial food and nonfood products. Direct food uses of maize tend to decline as per capital income, milk, meat and egg consumption increase. The population of Nigeria is expected to grow at a rate of more than 3% per year, while food production is likely to grow at a rate of 2% or less a year. Closing this gap and increasing food production will require intensive agriculture based on use of modern technologies such as the use of improved seed varieties (FAO STAT, 2005). Despite the economic importance of maize to the teeming populace in Nigeria, its production is insufficient to meet food and industrial needs of the country.
This could be attributed to low productivity from maize farms due to non-adoption of improved technologies for maize production by farmers. Maize production in Nigeria has not been sufficient enough to meet the needs of people and livestock. Supply has not been able to meet demand despite the introduction of improved packages (Babatunde et al., 2008).
1.5 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
According to IITA (2007), maize which constitutes a major stable food crop in Nigeria and even in Africa has in the recent times suffered low productivity. IITA, (2007) further buttressed that the factors that could have been responsible for the low productivity could be attributed to inadequate application and use of recommended improved maize technologies. According to IITA, (2007), increased productivity from 1984 was due to increase in land under cultivation rather from intensive cultivation. A number of factors could have been responsible for the low productivity, these includes little or no use of improved seeds, herbicides and fertilizers, increased levels, or biotic and abiotic constraints and the fact that prices of imputes have triple in the last ten years. IITA, (2007) further reported that global warming and its associated effects have changed rainfall pattern leading to erratic and unreliable rainfall in some cases resulting in drought.
Furthermore, the little or no use of fertilizer or organic manure has resulted on soils becoming poorer with an opportunistic expansion or striga infestation problems. Continuous growing of crop for cash also results to build-up and carryover of pests notably stems borers from one crop to the next within the same environment. Farmers in the study area have access to these improved maize technologies to increase production; such as improved seeds, seed dressing, appropriate method of pest/disease control, appropriate quantity of organic and inorganic fertilizer, appropriate planting spacing, and appropriate method of fertilizer application. The farmers in the study area have not been able to take adequate advantage of these technologies as a result to low income, low savings, low capital, low investment, lack of entrepreneur skills, and low output- a concept often referred to as the vicious cycle of poverty (Nwagbo et al., 1989).
1.6 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to examine the factors influencing the adoption of improved maize production technologies among farmers in Ekiti State, Nigeria.
The specific objectives are to:
- describe the socio-economic characteristics of maize farmers in the study area;
- identify the sources of information to maize farmers in the study areas;
iii. identify factors influencing the adoption of the improved maize by farmers varieties in the study area.
- determine the effect of adopting the improved technologies on farmers’ yield, income and level of living before and after adoption in the area; and
- Identify the constraints that farmers faced in the adoption of the improved maize production technologies in the study area.
1.7 Hypotheses of the study
H01: There is no significance relationship between socio-economic variables of the respondents and their adoption of improved maize technologies among farmers
Ha2: There is no significance relationship between farmers level of education and adoption of technology.
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