Cotton is the second most important cash-crop in Eswatini, yet production continues to decline. This study identifies the challenges and solutions for ameliorated productivity. Data were collected through questionnaire-guided interviews from 308 growers and 5 key informants. Descriptive statistics, factor analysis and inferential statistics were applied for data analysis. The production-related challenges include drought, inflators of production cost, lack of credit, poor input and mechanical technology supply, ineffectual cooperativism and low-yielding varieties. Market-related challenges include low prices, monopsony, limited market channels and lack of value addition options. Gender, location, farm size and household size revealed significant effects on production-related challenges at p<0.01. Labour, location and age revealed significant effects on marketing-related challenges at p<0.01, and p<0.05, respectively. Identified solutions include subsidies, credit funding and high-yielding varieties under irrigated-farming. Establishment of stakeholder-inclusive regulatory organ is recommended to address the identified challenges. Further redress of cooperativism is recommended to promote cotton productivity.
Farmers’ Organisations and Its Contribution to the Adoption of Soil Conservation Practices: A Case Study of Smallholder Farmers in Oyo State, Nigeria (Published)
As part of the efforts to reduce land degradation and improve agricultural productivity, farmers in the study area were introduced to various soil conservation practices through farmers’ organisations. This study was however, conducted to determine the effect of farmers’ organisation on soil conservation practices adopted in the study area. Data collected, through a multistage sampling procedure, were analysed with the aid of descriptive statistics and double hurdle regression model. Findings revealed that three conservation practices were adopted in the study area namely; cover cropping (14%), vegetative fallow (35%) and mulching (46%) while 5% did not adopt any practice at all. Findings also revealed significant difference in some socio-economic characteristics among the categories of adopters in the study area such as age of the household head (P < 0.05), off-farm income (P < 0.01) and farm size (P < 0.01). Double hurdle model results revealed in the first hurdle that, while, gender, age, off-farm income, valley location, and extension contact significantly influenced the adoption of cover cropping practice, age, off-farm income, farm size, and extension contact significantly influenced adoption of vegetative fallow system practice. The adoption of mulching practice is significantly influenced by education, farming experience, farmers’ organization and household size. In the second hurdle, while, gender, age, off-farm income, valley location, and extension contact significantly influenced the adoption of cover cropping practice, gender, education, farm size, and farming experience significantly influenced the adoption of vegetative fallow system practice. The adoption of mulching practice is significantly influenced by gender, education, and farmers’ organization. The study concluded that farmers’ organization is one of the key factors influencing the three soil conservation practices (cover cropping, vegetative fallow system and mulching). Others were off-farm income, extension contact, farm size, and years of education. In line with the findings of the study, the study recommends that formation and strengthen of a farmers’ organisation for increased uptake of soil conservation practices should be encouraged. In addition, effective strategies, programmes and institutional structures that would enhance education of farmers, frequency of extension contact and off-farm income should be put in place.
Farm Business Management Skills a Missing Link for Smallholder Farmers: A Case of Malingunde, Malawi (Published)
This study aimed to assess specific farm business management skills which are essential soft skills for increasing agricultural profitability. The study aimed specifically to assess whether smallholder farmers have received farm business training from any organization; examining the level of satisfaction and importance of the farm business management trainings and exploring specific farmers training needs with respect to core principles of farm business management. Quantitative data from 200 smallholder farmers and other stakeholders involved in agricultural activities was collected in central region of Malawi and analysed using Spearman rank correlation with its rho test statistic (rs) tested the relationship between training in farm business management and farmers’ satisfaction and performance. The study found that less farmers received farm business management skills training, training service providers from both government and non-governmental organizations are not providing the necessary management skills due to either inadequate capacity, knowledge and resources or a combination of these.
By international standards, a farm that is less than 10 hectares is classified as small scale. More than 80% of farmers in Nigeria are small holder farmers. Agriculture is a major contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and smallholder farmers play a dominant role in this contribution. A small scale farmer depends on his efficiency in the utilization of basic production resources available to him. He makes a significant and important contribution to the national product, about 99%of total crops output. The smallholder farmer is the main producer of 98% of the food consumed in Nigeria with the exception of wheat. Over the years, deliberate efforts have been made to improve agricultural production by Nigerian governments and some foreign bodies but these efforts have not yielded expected results. Much of the failure can be attributed to different constraints that militate against smallholder farming in Nigeria which include economic, political and financial constraints. The failure can also be attributed to the adapted transformation approach to agriculture which is characterized by the introduction of a wide variety of large scale farming and processing technologies. The emphasis is now from the big scale transformation approach to the small scale improvement strategy approach which is attuned to Nigerian age-long farm practice. This study reveals certain constraints militating against efficiency in smallholder farming in Nigeria and suggests many ways to transform the activities of farmers for enhanced productivity. The paper recommends that Nigerian governments should encourage the participation of private sector in supplying farm inputs to ensure steady and timely supply of such inputs, Nigerian Agricultural Extension System should be revamped by funding arrangement to provide mobility, training, incentives and institutional support so that it will increase its services to farmers for enhanced production, among others.