THE EFFECT OF CRISIS ON YAM PRODUCTION IN SOUTHERN AGRICULTURAL ZONE, NASARAWA STATE, NIGERIA

 

ABSTRACT

 

The study analyzed effect of crisis on yam production in Southern Agricultural Zone, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to; determine the effect of socio-economic variables on yam production and to determine the factors affecting yam production in the study area. A multi-stage sampling procedure was adopted for this study and a total of sixty (60) respondents were sampled for this study. Data were collected through the use of structured questionnaires and analyzed using descriptive statistics which involves use frequency, percentages and the gross margin analysis. The study revealed that before the conflict the total variable cost was 233,288.4 while after the conflict, the total variable cost was 172310. The study conclude that price of fertilizer was doubled after conflict thereby reducing production. The result shows that 17.6% of the respondent’s stopped producing yam because of the fear of conflict. And also, there was a reduction in food production between the period of the conflicts and peaceful disposition. The study therefore recommend that government should develop policies and strategies to curtail future occurrence of crisis among farmers and herdsmen, and focus more on giving incentives to farmers and subsidy on farm inputs such as fertilizer, improved varieties, chemicals among others to boost food crop production, farmers income level and to ensure maximum security on lives and properties of prospective citizens and farmers.

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.       INTRODUCTION

Yams (Dioscorea species) are annual root tuber bearing plants with more than 600 species out of which six are socially and economically important in terms of food cash and medicine. Some of the yam species are water yam (Dioscorea alata), white yam (Dioscorea rotundata), yellow yam (Dioscorea cayanensis), chinese yam (Dioscorea esculanta) and three-leaf yams (Ike and Inoni, 2006; Zaknayiba and Tanko, 2013). Crisis between farmer and nomadic cattle herder have been a common feature of economic livelihood in West Africa in the period before the beginning of 20th Century (Abbas, 2012), the problem was mainly restricted to the savanna belt of West Africa. Cattle rearing were mainly prevalent in the Guinea. Sudan and Sahel Savanna belt where crop production was carried out only during the short rainy season on a small scale. This gave the Cattle herder access to a vast area of grass land. As time went on, and with introduction of irrigated farming in the Savanna belt of Nigeria, and the increased withering of pasture during the dry season, less pasture was available to cattle herders. This gave rise to an increased pressure on natural resources and a stiff competition for available resources between farmers and herders. Tonah, (2010), stated that since 1970s and 1980s, the accompanying migration of a huge number of pastoralist into the fringes of the humid forest zone of west Africa, there has been a massive increase of the incidence of farmers-herders’ crisis is wide spread in Nigeria, in Obi Local Government of Nasarawa State. People were displaced and rendered homeless in the host community in the hostility between cattle herdsmen and farmers in the host community between two communities for many reason. Yams are members of the flowering plant genus Dioscorea. They are monocots, related to palmsgrasses, and orchids. There are about 600 species of yams found around the world, most of them in the tropics. Some species of yam are cultivated for their edible tubers, for medicinal use, and for other uses. Yams remain an important food crop, especially in Africa, and some varieties can be stored for months without refrigeration. In addition to addressing the physical needs of people—offering such nutrition as carbohydratesproteinphosphorus, and potassium—yams also touch upon the human inner nature, bringing pleasure through their enjoyable taste and texture, and being central to various ceremonies related to their importance in traditional societies of Africa and the Pacific islands, (ACAPS, 2017). Many farmers have lost their lives and herds, while others have experienced dwindling productivity in their farms. Several studies, stressed that low soil fertility, lack of improved yam varieties, poor road networks, high cost of labour and lack of finance to carry out necessary farming activities were the constraints to productivity (Amnnesty International, 2018). Yams like many other crops in Nigeria are labour intensive. The high cost of labour has been among the major constraints to yam production. It has constrained smallholder yam farmers from enhancing productivity. The labour cost of yam production from mounding to staking, especially in the forest areas account for approximately 40% cultivation costs (Chinwokwu, E., 2017). In addition about 50%of the expenditure goes to the planting process (Alhassan, U., 2013). In order to cut labour cost, most family members practically do all the production and marketing activities themselves. (Ike, Inoni and Okeocyhene et al, 1999)., confirmed that over 65% of smallholder farmers used family labour in Delta state; Nigeria.

1.2     STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS

The crisis is a threat to peace and national stability. It also has implication for tribal co-existence in Nigeria being a multi-ethnic and multi-tribal nation. One major constraint highlighted for its contribution to declining yam productivity and marketing in the research area is crisis due to disputes between two communities and competition for limited resources between cattle herdsmen and crop farmers. The result of the study would be useful for a further understanding of farmers-herders’ crisis in the Southern Agricultural zone of Nasarawa State, other Local Governments in Nasarawa State and entire Nigeria. It would also give an insight into the way forward in such crisis situations.

1.3     AIMS OF THE STUDY

The goals and objectives of this study are to critically examine the underlying factors responsible for recent hostility between Fulani herdsmen and the indigenous farmer in Nasarawa Local Government Area, Nasarawa State, and other parts of Nigeria. The study seeks to understand the change in the relationship between the host community and herders and to know if there has been any existing mechanism that both parties use to resolve misunderstanding in the past and why such tool is no more effective in the present day.

1.4     OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objectives of the study are;

        i.            To determine the socio-economic characteristics of the farmers and herdsmen in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

      ii.            To determine the causes of farmers – herdsmen crisis in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

    iii.            To evaluate the effect of the farmers-herdsmen crisis on yam supply in Nasarawa Local Government area, Nasarawa State.

    iv.            To determine the solution to farmers – herdsmen crisis in Nasarawa Local Government Area, Nasarawa State.

1.5     SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study will emphasize on the need for more development oriented yam production in Nasarawa and other parts of Nigeria to enhance community Agricultural Development. Scholars have tried to determine the causes of the crisis and provide solutions to address the crisis. However, there remains a dearth of studies in relation to government’s responses. Moreover, the findings of this study unraveled the gaps in government’s management strategies and made recommendations on how lasting solutions to the crisis can be formulated and implemented. This would be beneficial to both farmers and herdsmen. Additionally, if the crisis is stemmed, yam production would be stabilized and income/marketers of both parties in the crisis would be guaranteed. Also, the federal government would benefit from this as peace and security would be restored in the areas affected of yam production and economic activities would return to normal.

1.5     SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study will focus on the impact of farmers – herdsmen crisis on production and marketing of yams in Nasarawa Local Government Area, Nasarawa State.

1.6     LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The limitation of this study was the inability of the researcher to conduct on-site interviews in the communities affected by the crisis. This limitation would however not compromise the effectiveness of the study as an in-depth exploration of secondary data was resorted to by the researcher.

 

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