SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF VEGETABLE PRODUCER IN ONDO STATE
Vegetables are nutritionally important to man as they provide the much needed vitamins, minerals and fibre. They are important protective food and highly beneficial for the maintenance of health and prevention of diseases. They contain valuable food ingredients which can be successfully utilized to build up and repair the body. Vegetables are valuable in maintaining alkaline reserve in the body. They are valued mainly for their high vitamin and mineral contents. There are different kinds of vegetables. They may be edible roots, stems, leaves, fruits and seeds. Each group contributes to diet in its own way. Fleshy roots are high in energy value and good sources of vitamin B. Seeds are relatively high in carbohydrates and proteins. Leaves, steam and fruits are excellent sources of minerals, vitamins, water and roughage. The level of vegetable consumption in Nigeria is rising annually owing to greater appreciation of their food value (Haruna, 2003). A distinct class of vegetables in Nigeria are the exotic vegetables. They are known for their unique taste, nutritional value and various health benefits. They help keep a balance between the fluids of the body.
Vegetable is one of the most popular vegetables in the world because of its adaptability to a wide range of climatic conditions and soil types, ease of production and storage, and its food value (AsiaFarming, 2015). In Nigeria, production of this important vegetable is mostly carried out in the north especially Ondo State (Ogedegbe and Law-Ogbomo, 2013). Ondo state is the home of exotic vegetables including Vegetable because of its cool weather condition. Other exotic vegetables cultivated on the Ondo include: lettuce, cucumber, carrot etc. They are termed exotic because these are species of vegetables that are not indigenous to Nigeria. They are primarily cultivated in the temperate regions of the world. Vegetable does well in some local government areas of Ondo State. The local government areas are Ondo North, Ondo South and Riyom. Vegetable is predominantly cultivated in these areas because of their high altitude which result in the areas having cool climate. Since it is not a common vegetable that can be cultivated in any part of the country, the demand then outweighs the supply. This ordinarily will enrich the producers of this commodity thereby financially empowering the farmers in this part of the country. Production of these vegetables as a small scale enterprise can financially empower the poor people especially women with little capital, limited access to land and working under labour constraints (Lewis, 1997). The cash they provide contributes significantly to food security at the household level and enables women to attain a degree of financial independence within the family budget.This study examined the profitability of Vegetable in Ondo State and how efficient are the farmers in the production of the crop.
Nigeria is blessed by nature with vast resources; both human and land to boost optimum output in agriculture to be able to adequately cater for the food/diet requirement of her populace. The weather/climate condition supports the production of most crops. Majority of Nigerians have annexed these endowments of nature by going into agriculture as more than 70% of the population is involved in farming (Usman, 2015). Yet poverty in the land, especially in the northern part of the country is paradoxically equal to the percentage of the populace involved in farming.Majority of these farmers reside in the rural areas and poverty is more predominant in these areas. As Aigbokan (2000) found that an increasing number of Nigerians are living in absolute poverty in the rural areas. This logically connotes that since majority of the populace in the rural areas are farmers, then the fangs of poverty are on these farmers despite the natural endowment. Some of the contributory factors leading to farmers‘ poverty in Nigeria are that agricultural holdings are small and scattered, and farming is carried out with simple tools. Large-scale agriculture is not common. Smallholder farmers, who use simple production techniques and bush-fallow cultivation, cultivate areas of one-half to two hectares each and contribute two-thirds of farm production (Metz, 1991).
Ondo State has the highest altitude among the States in Nigeria, resulting in some parts of the State having cold climate which supports the cultivation of unique crops. Such crops include Vegetable, lettuce, cucumber, carrot and Irish potato. These crops are being produced in large quantity on the Ondo as Jim and Tony (2006) submitted that, Good Performance of Vegetable production has been reported in places like Ondo Ondo , Nigeria to have the highest Vegetable production in Africa. The production of these crops, ceteris paribus, is supposed to fetch the farmers in this region extra finance which will
make them to at least live an average life above the poverty threshold because these crops are predominantly cultivated in this part of the country as a result of the near temperate weather condition. The income of the farmers is also supposed to be on the high side because the demand for these crops is nationwide as Ogbodo et al. 2009 Puts it, The bulk of Vegetable consumed in the Southern part of Nigeria is produced in the Northern section of the Country. This situation has led to prohibitive prices of Vegetable owing to the imputed cost of transportation from North to South of Nigeria. The demand of Vegetable also outstrips the supply; causing scarcity of the commodity.Omeh (2012) buttressed this fact when he opined that Vegetable is used in a variety of dishes, and it is widely consumed raw as well. It is in high demand in Nigeria and sells for reasonably good prices. If farmers have high yield in their crops and the demand for such crops is high, this consequently gives rise to high prices which eventually accrue more income to the farmers. Under the analysed condition, Vegetable farmers in Ondo State should have no relationship with poverty, but the poverty rate recorded in the State is as high as 74.1% (NBS, 2012). Putting into consideration the fact that more than 70% of the Nigerian population is involved in farming as reported by Usman (2015), it is an obvious fact that poverty on the Ondo is still an issue. Also, the farmers still live in traditional houses made of mud and thatched roofs and some of them are unable to send their children to school because of fund constraint.
This unique form of vegetable, because of its strategic region of production, if produced with the required agricultural techniques have the propensity of uplifting the financial condition of the farmers and hence better their standard of living. The cash earned from this enterprise cancontribute significantly to food security at the household level and enable farmers to attain a degree of financial independence, yet poverty still looms.
Thus probing the question, are these farmers producing optimally and efficiently?This study therefore examines the economic analysis of the production of Vegetable in Ondo State by verifying the degree of profit accruable to Vegetable farmers in Ondo State. This study will therefore answer the following research questions:
- What are the socio-economic characteristics of Vegetable farmers in the study area?
- How profitable is Vegetable production in the study area?
- What is the economic efficiency of Vegetable farmers?
- What are the constraints militating against Vegetable production in the study area?
Objectives of the Study
The broad objective is toanalyse the economic efficiency of Vegetable farmers in Ondo State. The specific objectives are to:
- describe the socio-economic characteristics of Vegetable farmers in the study area,
- determine the profitability of Vegetable production,
- analyse the economic efficiency of the Vegetable farmers and
- describe the constraints faced by Vegetable farmers in the study
Justification for the Study
The importance of vegetables in our diets in maintaining good health cannot be overemphasized. Vegetables are widely under esteemed because few horticultural research institutes publish figures demonstrating that they can give unusually large annual yields of edible dry matter, including protein and βcarotene (provitamin A). It is also not realized that they supply many communities with as much protein as is supplied by fish, and that more communities used to eat them on that scale (Pirie, 1984). Vegetable is an example of this group of vegetable, which contains anthocyanins, which have anti-carcinogenic properties, i.e. it helps the human body fights off cancer. Study into this important class of food will provide information on the level of production and expose the degree of efficiency or inefficiency associated with its production. The findings of this research will provide policy makers the necessary information on how to introduce policies on increasing the efficiency and reducing poverty among Vegetable and other vegetable farmers. This will also provide researchers the basic information and data necessary for further research into vegetable production. The findings of this research will provide vegetable farmers the necessary information on how to improve the efficiency of vegetable production. It will also disclose to them the socio-economic variables that limit efficiency in production.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF VEGETABLE PRODUCER IN ONDO STATE