1.1 Background of the Study
Despite her plentiful resources and oil wealth, poverty is widespread in Nigeria. The situation has worsened since the late 1990s, to the extent that the country is now considered the 20th poorest country in the world (IFAD, 2000). Feeding the rapidly growing population of Africa and Nigeria in particular has become a major development concern (FAO, 1990). Over 70% of Nigeria population is classified as poor, with 35% living in absolute poverty (IFAD, 2000). Poverty is especially severe in rural areas where social services and infrastructure are limited, with unstable income being a primary factor militating against their welfare (Enete and Achike, 2008). The great majority of those who live in rural areas are poor and depend on agriculture for food and income.
To meet the food and raw material demand of the growing population, agriculture must be approached on a sustainable basis (FAO, 2003). Sustainable development according to the Bruntland Commission is development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generation to meet their own needs (WCED, 1987). The struggle for food supply to catch up with massive population growth which is in a geometric pattern requires a consistently adequate level of soil fertility achieved in a sustainable way (Heckman, 2005 ).
Soil fertility, an element of natural capital, is key to the livelihood of the majority of the rural population of sub Saharan Africa who depend on agriculture as a central element in their livelihood strategy (Mangala, 2005). As agricultural production is the main source of economic activity in Nigeria, declining soil productivity means not only less food crops is grown but also that production of cash crops and income are endangered (FAO, 2001). The rural poor are often trapped in vicious cycle of poverty between land degradation fuelled by the lack of relevant knowledge of appropriate technology to generate adequate income and opportunities to overcome land degradation (FAO, 2000; Ojameruage, 2004).
Low organic matter coupled with low native nutrient status in most arable soil of Africa is responsible for low productivity and unsustainable production base (Fakoye, 2007). One of the most well known practices to recover and maintain the soil productivity is to add organic amendments (Westerman and Bicudo, 2003). Organic manure plays an invaluable role in rectifying land degradation and enhancing productivity thus achieving farm household food security, income and agricultural development (IFDC, 2007; Alimi, 2002).
As the population increases and puts pressure on diminishing resource, escalating environmental problems further threatens food production (IFAD, 2000). Increasing population pressure on the country has contributed to land degradation constraint leading to reduced size of land holding and consequently to reduced or zero fallow periods (Corsini, 1991). This has led to concerns over the long-term sustainability of agriculture. The reduced ability to use traditional soil fertility management practices such as fallow and crop rotation to restore soil fertility limit farmers’ productivity (Lal and Stewart, 1990; Dewitt, 2002).
Organic manure remains the major natural and sustainable means of rectifying soil fertility.
Biodegradable waste if well managed could be of immense help in ameliorating soil nutrient problem.
The extent to which agriculture can absorb municipal solid waste and contribute to poverty reduction, increased food security is still lacking among policy makers (Mkwabisi, 2005). The implication is that the financial costs associated with waste management are ‘ directly linked to food insecurity and soil fertility problems (Cave, 2001). Adeniyi (2008), attributed this to poor waste management, as plants nutrients that can be used for crop production, forestry programmes, landscaping, land restoration, soil improvement or animal feed are delivered to dumping sites.
One important consideration in dealing with wastes is to treat it as an important resource (Mercado, 2006). With the unlimited and available sources of biodegradable waste from metropolitan cities coupled with the unstoppable rise in prices of fossil-based fertilizers, organic manure production from municipal solid waste becomes a promising enterprise (Aganon, Roxas, and Dacumos, 1999) in (Mercado, 2006). By converting biodegradable waste to organic manure for crop production, a lot would have been saved to our foreign reserves due to reduction in fertilizer importation (Aganon et el., 1999) in Mercado 2006.
Dumping sites and landfills as methods of waste disposal occupy the limited scarce agricultural land, which would have been put into crop production. This thus, creates further problem on the scarce factor of production. The disposal of this form is unsustainable and a route to land degradation.
According to Senjobi et al., (2000), the disposal of organic wastes represent the loss of large amount of valuable resources, in particular nitrogen which is a limiting factor in most crop production. Despite the fact that a small portion of urban farms close to the dumping sites have benefited from the waste delivered by using them for crop production, Mkwabisi, (2005), affirms that the current trend in waste management has increased loss of soil organic matter which is important for nutrient storage, helps to maintain soil structure and interacts with trace metals to reduce their toxicity to plants. Meanwhile, all thisj opportunity cost is happening when the lives of many people are in danger with hunger, malnutrition and major diseases with agriculture facing a grim future due to high level of soil infertility (Alimi et al., 2006; Kim, 1998).
Since agriculture is very crucial to the social and economic development of the nation, a sustainable approach should be embraced. All over the world, the concept of evolving strategies for ensuring food security under a sustainable environmental management has gained prominence (NEEDS, 2004). Agricultural production should focus not only on yield but conservation mechanism. Conservation is described as option used to maintain the essential features of the natural habitat (Young, 1998; Mulongoy, 1986). It is also defined as a process by which the life of resources is prolonged either by preserving, re-using or by re-cycling it (FAO, 2000). The production of agricultural crops which give high returns per unit of input used is a major challenge in an effort to achieve food security, economic growth and sustainable development while maintaining the integrity of the environment (WCED, 1987).
Organic manure use has been classified as sustainable conservation technique. Its use in crop production especially in the tropics holds a lot of potentials (Westerman AND Bicudo 2003). This research work therefore, takes an insight into unfolding the potentials of organic manure use in ameliorating the problems of nutrient status of the soil, reduction in cost and unavailability of artificial fertilizer and most importantly is restoring environmental quality.
The interest in organic manure in African agriculture is not necessarily the same in the developed countries, where the overwhelming issue is on environmental and health consciousness (Nwajiuba and Akinsanmi, 2002). In Africa it is the damage to the soil and scarcity of inorganic fertilizer provision as and when due that gives prominence to the use of organic manure. Africa has the lowest mineral fertilizer consumption, about 10 kg nutrient (N, P2 O5, K2O) per hectare per year compared to the world average of 90 Kg or 60 kg in the near East and 130 kg per year in Asia (FAO, 2001).
The low inorganic fertilizer utilization in African, Nigeria inclusive has prompted researches into indigenous soil conservation mechanism. Indigenous soil conservation can be referred to as the local means of combining crop production and soil management practices that are likely to protect the soil against physical loss or chemical deterioration by either natural or man-made factors (Scoones and Toulmin, 1996). Using indigenous soil conservation have been found to reduce the negative impact agriculture would have on the environment (Ayinde 2004). Also farmers will be able to maximize total gross margin by using fewer external inputs.
In recent years, organic matter is increasingly being ploughed back as soil amendments. The incorporation of organic manure into soil prolongs productive life of the soil and influences other properties such as soil structure, water holding capacity and water movement (Nwajiuba & Akinsanmi, 2002). Organic matter tremendously improved soil physical properties and ameliorated the effect of acidifying inorganic fertilizer under continuous cultivation (Lal, 1989; Greg, 1996).
The economics of organic manure use in crop production becomes a challenge because of the high nutrient demand. Organic manure used in crop production not only maintains the soil but enhances yield with minimum cost of procurement depending on sources (USDA, 2002). Verdoft and Kamon (1982), showed that tomatoes grown in soils amended with 10% farm yard manure (FYM) had a better yield of 112.5 tons/ha compared with 92 tons/ha grown without farm yard manure.
Healthy soil is the key to sustainable agricultural production (Kuepper and Gegner, 2004). The benefits of organic manure are relevant to developing countries like Nigeria in areas of sustainable resource use, increased crop yield without over reliance on costly external inputs and restoring environmental protection (Knowler, 2004).
1.2 Problem Statement
In the past when land was more abundant, traditional bush fallow had many merits in preserving land productivity and maintaining agro-ecological environment (Eboh, 1990). Today scarcity of land has led to intensified use of land leading to nutrient depletion.
Fig 1: Causal nexus among land resource, population, poverty and land degradation
Source: FAO of the United Nations 2001.
The fragility and high susceptibility of the soils in Nigeria to degradation and loss of nutrients make augmentation through the use of fertilizers necessary to obtain reasonable yield (Alimi, Ajewole Awosola and Idowu, 2006). Although, various soil conservation practices under different categories of farming systems have evolved over time (such as crop rotation, alley farming, composting, agro forestry etc); it is essential for countries to promote policy measures that will enable farmers to make use of their natural advantages (DFID, 2002).
The damage to the soil, high cost and scarcity of industrial fertilizer have necessitated the use of alternative soil fertility regeneration strategies. The traditional soil fertility management practices are also no longer affordable due to plot size shrinkage emanating from high population density. This has an impact on resource productivity and poverty, thus farmers seek solution in organic based soil fertility amendment. Also farmers have the perception that inorganic fertilizer leads to the disappearance of the quality aroma of some crops like yellow pepper, which is of economic interest. It is very important to note that the utilization of public organic waste in crop production will minimize environmental hazards posed by the careless disposal of the wastes in every nook and cranny of the city. The incorporation of organic manure use into soil management may not only maximize output but may also reduce cost of soil maintenance and could be environmentally friendlier (DFID, 2002). The excessive use of inorganic fertilizer where available is a threat to environmental quality (Olayide, Oguntowora, Essang & Idachaba, 1981).
Several studies including the work by Ohaeri (2000) dwelt on the economics of soil fertility management in general and did not zero in on soil fertility management in relation to crop production. That by Nwajiuba and Akinsanmi (2002) dwelt on comparative analysis of inorganic and organic manure use, while Alimi et al., dealt on economics of commercial organic fertilizer use. Thus, there is dearth of empirical information on the economics of organic use. This work, therefore seeks to analyse the social and economic rational of incorporating organic manure use in crop production (yellow pepper production) in the study area as a means of supporting rural livelihood and maintaining soil fertility for environmental quality recovery.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The broad objective of the study is to analyze the effect of organic manure use in yellow pepper production.
Specifically, the study will;
- describe the socio economic characteristics of yellow pepper farmers in the study area
- identify factors that motivate the use of organic manure by yellow pepper farmers
- determine the yellow pepper farmers’ willingness to pay for bagged public organic waste
- compare costs and returns from organic manure use only and use of both organic and inorganic manure
- make appropriate recommendations based on findings
1.4 Hypotheses of the Study
The following null hypotheses were tested:
- Socio economic characteristics of the farmers have no significant influence on their willingness to pay for organic manure.
- there is no significant difference between the net profits of the two groups of farmers under study.
1.5 Justification of the study.
Organic manure use has the advantage of being relatively cheaper to the resource poor farmers. It is readily available and accessible to the farmers without formal protocols. Hence farmers can plan ahead of season to procure the resource input and timeliness of operation ensured. Socially, it has the potential of maintaining or increasing land quality in the long run, especially as the soil in the study area is acidic one (Mkwabisi 2005)
The call for organically produced foods by the National Organic Standard Board (NOSB) of the United States (Kuepper and Gegner 2004), proves a research into organic manure use in vegetable crop production a way forward
Yellow pepper is the major cash crop in the study area, therefore any research geared towards improving yield and income is highly justifiable.
The recent waste-clearing programme by