1.1 Background information
Maize (Zea mays L.) is the most important cereal crop in sub-Saharan Africa. Maize is also one of the three most important cereal crops in the world (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, 2006).Maize is easy to process, readily digested and an affordable cereal. (Ismaila, Gana, Tswanya & Dogara, 2010; Kudi, Bolaji, Akinola & Nasa’l, 2011). International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, (IITA) (2006) asserted that every part of maize plant has economic value. The grains, leaves, stalk, tassel and cob can be used to produce large varieties of food and non-food products. Also, maize is one of the most important crops in Nigeria because it is a major source of dietary fiber and calories which are a good source of energy and it is used industrially for production of food, beverage, and livestock feed. Maize grains are rich in vitamins A, C and E, carbohydrates, and essential minerals, and contain about 9% protein (IITA, 2010). Food and Agriculture Organization (2011) estimated that the land area planted with maize in West and Central Africa alone increased from 3.2 million hectares in 1961 to 10.5 million hectares in 2010. This expansion of the land area devoted to maize cultivation in Nigeria resulted in increased production of maize from 2.4 million metric tons in 1961 to 7.6 million metric tons in 2010 (National Bureau of Statistics, 2011). Despite the observed increases the demand for maize as a result of various domestic uses still out weights supply (Menkir & Akintunde 2001).
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2007) estimated that 158 million hectares of maize are harvested worldwide. Africa harvests 29 million hectares with Nigeria, being the largest producer in sub-Saharan Africa. According to Ado (2012) the bulk of maize production in Nigeria is located in the derived savanna zone. The Central Bank of Nigeria Annual Report and Statement of Accounts (2010) stated that 6.4 million tons of maize was produced in 2010. Based on the average yield of about 1.3-1.4 metric tons/hectare, this means that about 5.0 million hectares of land was under maize cultivation.
Factors like diseases and pests, poor storage facilities, declining soil fertility which is exacerbated by the high cost and/or unavailability of fertilizer, lack of financial and human resources, high seeds price and inaccessible roads which often prevents extension staff from getting to rural communities have been observed as key constraints to maize production in the country (Babatunde, Fayode & Bardo, 2008). In view of this, the Federal Government of Nigeria established research institutes such as National Cereal Research Institute, (NCRI), Badeggi, National Agricultural Extension Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Institute of Agriculture Research and Training (IAR&T) and international bodies such as International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) aimed at promoting maize and other cereals production for household’s food security and poverty alleviation. Some of these efforts are focused on biological and agronomic researches for the development of high yielding varieties. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Cereal Research Institute, Badeggi, and Institute of Agriculture Research and Training(IAR&T) developed improved maize varieties and they include: NARZO-15(TZPB), NARZO-16(TZB) NARZO-20(TZSR-W), NARZO-24(DMR-LSRW), NARZO-26(DMR-ESRW), NARZH-(8321-18), Oba super 1, Oba 98, New Kaduna, Oba super 3(H16-8), Oba super 5(HY02-2), Oba super 98, Ife maize hyb 3 and Ife maize hyb 4. Most of these introduced technologies have been accepted by farmers and are widely spread in states of Nigeria.
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA, 2009) asserted that the recent achievements by breeders in the development and release of superior maize varieties with higher yield potentials and better resistance to pests and diseases have played a major role in increasing maize production in the country. FMARD (2010) asserted that improving maize production is considered to be one of the most important strategies for food security in
Nigeria. As a result of this, maize production has received substantial research and extension
attention. According to Menkir, (2003), the bid to address the problem in maize production, necessitated the development and introduction of high yielding varieties of maize crops, efficient natural resources and crop management technologies to maize farmers in Nigeria.
Oba 98 maize variety was registered and released to farmers by premier seeds, Nigeria in 2002 and was introduced to Delta State farmers in 2003 after an on farm demonstration (Delta state Agricultural Development Programme Annual Report, 2003). Olokojo (2002) asserted that given adequate agronomic attention, Oba 98 maize is manageable by an average farmer. Oba 98 maize has special characteristics such as resistant to rust, blight and streak. Menkir and Akintunde (2002) noted that Oba 98 hybrids variety performs better than farmers’ local varieties in terms of grain yield, protein content and other traits. The superior performance of Oba 98 maize technologies has generated great demand for hybrid maize seeds by commercial and small scale farmers over the years.
1.2 Problem Statement
Despite the fact that maize contributes significantly in food requirements of the entire populace in Nigeria, its production is far below the average maize consumption quantity of 53.20g/day and 43 kg per year (Food and Agriculture Organization Statistics, 2007). Also, maize production in Delta state has not been sufficient to meet the needs of people and livestock despite the introduction of improved packages like Oba 98 (Babatunde, Fayode & Bardo, 2008). Maize production in Delta state fluctuated between 81.1 metric tons to 80.1 metric tons between 2002 and 2013 showing a declining trend (Delta State Agricultural Development Programme crop yield survey 2013). The unfolding performance of maize in Delta state can be attributed to the continuous use of traditional varieties of maize crops which are recognized as major impediments to sustainable agricultural productivity in Nigeria (Yates and Kiss, 1992; Valnauwe and Giller, 2006). In other words, low adoption of productivity enhancing technologies has dwarfed efforts to reduce rural poverty (World Bank, 2008). This is further evidenced by low and declining yield per hectare of major crops in Nigeria (NBS, 2006). Bulk of the country’s maize farm is dependent on small holders with rudimentary farming system and low yield per hectare, other factors such as pests and diseases have been associated with low maize production (Oyekale and Idjesa, 2009).
Ado (2012) opined that maize production technologies have not been fully utilized by the farmers due to some constraints. Such maize production technologies include the use of appropriate seed/seedling variety (Oba 98), technology on use of appropriate seed rate, ( 20-25 kg seed per hectare), technology on use of herbicides, land preparation technologies, time of planting, technology on appropriate spacing, technology on pest and disease control, technology on post-harvest handling and agro processing, among others.
It behooves this study to address the following questions: what is the extent of adoption of this variety by maize farmers? Which factors determine the adoption of Oba 98 maize technologies? What are the major sources of information used by farmers with regard to Oba 98 maize technologies? What constraints affect the adoption of Oba 98 technologies?
1.3 Objective of the Study
The broad objective of the study was to examine the adoption of Oba 98 maize production technologies by farmers in Delta State. Specifically the study sought to:
- ascertain farmers’ sources of information on Oba 98 maize production technologies;
- assess the extent of adoption of Oba 98 maize production technologies ;
- determine the factors influencing the adoption of Oba 98 maize technologies; and
- identify constraints to the adoption of Oba 98 maize production technologies
The null hypothesis was tested
- There is no significant difference in the adoption level of Oba 98 maize production technologies and those associated with local varieties in Delta State.
1.5 Significance of the Study
Oba 98 maize is an improved variety of maize developed with the aim of boosting food production in Nigeria. Agricultural research efforts can only be successful when developed technologies by research institutes are adopted by the end users to increase production. Therefore, an agricultural innovation that is unable to boost food production on this ground shows ineffective research effort. Hence it is always important to determine the status of adoption of transferred technologies by farmers group. This will elicit information on the usefulness and relevance of the technologies as well as elucidate further modifications that are supposed to increase adoption of technologies.
This study, therefore, seek to give information that would help International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and other related research institutes, farmers and the universities to promote technological packages on maize production that would be relevant to the needs and problems of farmers in Delta state.
More so, this study will also furnish policy makers with relevant data and insight for sustainable policies and programmes for Oba 98 production technologies. It can also provide extension workers and policy makers with valuable information that will assists in improving efficiency of communication. This study will contribute to improving agricultural research, technology transfer, input provision and policy formulation. Findings of this study will serve as reference material for future researchers who may be willing to conduct similar research in future.