THE IMPACT OF IMPROVED MAIZE TECHNOLOGY ON RESOURCE USE AND FARM INCOME IN THE NORTHERN GUINEA SAVANNA OF NIGERIA

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THE IMPACT OF IMPROVED MAIZE TECHNOLOGY ON RESOURCE USE AND FARM INCOME IN THE NORTHERN GUINEA SAVANNA OF NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

The oil boom experienced in Nigeria in the 1970′ s precipitated a crisis in the agricultural sector. Government in retu::n, had initiated deliberate Policy measures to arrest the situation. The introduction OF the improved maize technology into the Northern Guinea Savanna (NGS) is one of such measures. The technology was introduced with the aim of increasing food production, reducing food import bills and to increase the farm income of farmers. The main objective of the study was to determine the extent to which the technology has affected farm income and resource use. This is necessary because of the importance government attaches to equity as an objective of developmental efforts;. In order to accomplish the objective of the study, five villages were selected based on past history of maize production, intensification of agricultural production, closeness to urban center (market) and accessibility. Ten farmers were selected from each village for an in depth study. Since all the farmers interviewed produced maize, they were categorized into three categories; Big, Intermediate and Small. This was with a view to seeing the effect of the technology on different category of farmers and the implications for income distribution. The maintained hypothesis in this respect was that Big farmers by virtue of their position have better access to modern agricultural inputs than the other categories and are likely to gain more from a modern technology which may exacerbate income inequality. It was found that the maize technology has been widely adopted in the study area, but its increased use or acceptance is beinc threatened by inadequate and untimely availability of fertilisers, draught, possibility of contamination and the lack of proper understanding of the technology. Ths pattern of labour use for the technology was the same with the competing enterprises with a peak demand at the time of weeding and harvesting. Resource were more productive in maize compared to the competing enterprises. In addition, the technology was more capital intensive. The average net farm income of farmers seem to have increased and so was income inequality among farmers. The quantify of maize produced was significant in determining the net farm income. The inequality was more between villages than between individual members of households. It was therefore concluded that though the technology has great potentials for increasing yield and farm income of farmers, the potential may not be sustainable unless it is modified to suit the socio-economic characteristics of the farmers and the bio-physical characteristic of the environment.

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