Assessment of Farmers’ Awareness of the Economic Importance of Physic Nut (Jatropha Curcas) In Ndokwa East Local Government Area, Delta State, Nigeria (Published)
In recent time, Nigeria Government has shown great interest in Jatropha as a biofuel plants. The aim is to gradually reduce the nation’s dependence on imported gasoline, reduce environmental pollution as well as create a commercially viable industry; which is not yet publicized in the rural areas where the crop is grown. This study, thus focused on the assessment of farmers’ awareness of the economic importance of jatropha curcas in Ndokwa East Local Government Area, Delta State, Nigeria. Cross-sectional data collected for the study was achieved through the use of well structured questionnaire administered to seventy (70) farmers purposively selected from the study area. It specifically described the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents, examined farmers awareness of the economic use of the plant, identified farmers source of information on the economic importance of jatropha curcas in the study area. Descriptive statistics such as frequency distribution, percentage, mean and mode were used to analyze the socio-economic characteristics of the farmers while regression model was used to determine the relationship between the awareness of the economic importance of the crop and their socio-economic characteristics. The result showed that majority (31.43%) of the respondents were within the age range of 41-50years, , 52.86% were males, 61.43% were married, 44.30% were civil servants, 34.29% had farming experience of above 15years, 44.29% had household size of the range of 5-8 persons and 85.71% did not belong to any farmers’ associations. The result also revealed that majority(85.70%) of the respondents’ source of information was from friends and neighbours, majority (94.29%) of the respondents planted the crop for fencing their farmlands and gardens, 84.26% used it for boundary demarcation, 81.43% used it as hedges, 72.86% used it for medicinal purposes, and 70.00% used it for erosion control. The R2 (0.3618) value which is very low shows that only 36.8% of the variation in the awareness of the economic importance of Jatropha curcas was explained by the combined effects of age, sex and educational level of the farmers. The study revealed that majority (82.86%) were not aware that biofuel can be distilled from Jatropha curcas while only 17.14% were aware of this economic importance of the crop. It was therefore recommended that more enlightenment campaign about the production and economic usse of the crop be embarked upon through extension and training programmes by the State Government.