YELLOW PEPPER PRODUCTION AMONG RURAL FARMERS IN NIGERIA
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This study examines yellow pepper production among rural farmers in Nigeria with emphasis on Enugu north. Data were collected using structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and chi-square statistics were employed in data analysis. The study revealed that production of yellow pepper is a major agricultural activity for women in the state. Middle aged women were involved in the production, processing, preservation and marketing of the yellow pepper, irrespective of their educational levels. The study also revealed that yellow pepper can be produced, processed and preserved in any of the 3 agricultural zones of the state without compromising its flavor and fruit color.
1.1 Background of the study
Nigeria agricultural sector is mostly dominated by small scale farming policy (Ajibefun and Abdukadri, 2004). Agricultural activities in Nigeria seems to be piloted by small-scale farmers who mostly live in rural communities. These farmers are poor and tend to practice production system that may not utilize resources effectively and efficiently. Small-scale farmers are constrained by lack of credit, which translates to inadequacy of working capital (Kibaara, 2005). This contribute to the poor state of the people. The theory of vicious cycle of poverty tries to explain the reason for poor investment of resources (agricultural), which leads to poor output and the consequent low income. However, increment in agricultural output does not depend on heavy investment of agricultural resources. To achieve possible optimum agricultural output from a given set of resources, farmers are confronted with the challenges of increasing the agricultural productivity in an attempt to feed the ever growing population by using resources efficiently. Resources are of great importance in agriculture and these include land, labour, capital and management. The profitability of an agricultural enterprise hinges on efficient utilization of resources needed and available to such enterprise. Clear understanding of resource use patterns by farmers and their adjustment to external factors are necessary for increase in the productivity of agricultural resources (Amaza and Olayemi, 2002). Efficiency of resource use may be defined as the extent to which a given set of resources are being allocated across uses or activities in a manner that maximizes whatever value they tend to produce such as output, market value or utility . Therefore, the efficiency of a farm as a production unit is how effectively it uses resources for the purpose of profit or output maximization. Rural farmers in Enugu North agricultural zone (Aba) of Abia State are smallscale farmers with variety of constraints. These constraints include resource availability, resource allocation and difficulties in controlling resources in production process (Awoke and Okorji, 2004). It is expected that these constraints do affect the production of Nsukka yellow pepper in the area.
Pepper is an important vegetable in most societies and plays a significant role in our everyday food. Today, peppers are grown (Capsicum spp) widely in many countries, Nigeria inclusive and it forms an integral part of local cuisine. It adds flavor, color and pungency to several delicacies. The interest in pepper extends to its nutritional and medicinal values in that peppers are recognized sources of vitamins C and E and are high in antioxidants. These compounds are associated with prevention of cardiovascular disorders, cancers and cataracts. In addition, it can be used for preservation of cowpea against weevil attack (Echezona, 2006). The varieties of pepper prevalently grown in Nigeria include: Cayenne pepper or red pepper, ‘Sombo’ ( Capsicum frutescence), ‘Atarodo’ ( Capsicum annum ), ‘Tatase’ ( Capsicum annum ), Nsukka Yellow pepper (Capsicum annum) Nsukka yellow pepper popularly referred to as “Ose Nsukka” owes its name to its characteristic yellow color and the area it is popularly grown. Nsukka yellow pepper is an important commercial fruit vegetable. Its cultivation forms a major and sometimes the only agricultural activity of rural women in Enugu state (Onwubuya et al, 2008).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Pepper production in Nigeria has not attracted the same research patronage like the following crop: cassava, cocoa, rice, to mention a few. The area, the production and yield data are difficult to come by. Regrettably, yellow pepper production is towing the same line. Few or no medium and large scale farmer has invested in it. This development has resulted in the bulk of its production to be in the hands of small-scale farmers. Small-scale farmers according to Awoke and Okorji, (2004) are farmers whose production capacity falls between 2.5 and 5 hectares per cropping season. The production of yellow pepper could be said to have remained in the hands of small-scale rural farmers. These farmers like most rural farmers in Nigeria are resource poor and operate on small-scale. They hardly use mechanized and other improved agricultural implements and so it can be asserted that they still carry out their agricultural activities the ‘traditional ways’. This is in line with Olayemi, (1980) who observed that the kinds and qualities of resources used in primary production activities in tropical countries are characterized by forms, which tend to give rise to low output.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study is to determine the efficiency of resource use in the production of yellow pepper among rural farmers in Enugu north area. The specific objectives are to:
- Assess the socio-economic characteristics of the yellow pepper farmers in the study area.
- Assess the production systems employed by the farmers in the production of yellow pepper,
- Determine the efficiency of labour, land and capital use in producing yellow pepper through the estimation of the responsiveness of the yield to land, labour and capital,
- Estimate the influence of the farmers’ socio-economic characteristics on the efficiency of their production of yellow pepper.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following null hypotheses will be tested.
H0: the socio-economic characteristics of the yellow pepper farmers have no significant influence on the quantity of pepper produced.
H1: The socio-economic characteristics of the yellow pepper farmers has a significance influence on the quantity of pepper produced
H0: the use of labor, land and capital has no significant influence on the yield of yellow pepper.
H2: the use of labor land and capital has significant influence on the yield of yellow pepper
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is conceived that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of benefit to the ministry of agriculture in formulation of policy that will aid in the production of yellow pepper. The study will also be of benefit to farmers and prospective farmers in Enugu state in other to enable them expand their frontiers of production, the study will also be of benefit to academia, researchers, students, teachers and the general public.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study is yellow pepper production among rural farmers in Nigeria with emphasis on Enugu state. The study however
has some constrain which limit the scope of the research. Some of this constrain are:
Availability research materials: materials that the researcher requires for the research work was unavailable for the research work.
Time factor: time was not on the researchers to consult various sectors of the economy to review employees or given out questionnaire to various institutions on the effect of government revenue policies.
As we all know, time is never our friend. The time scheduled for the completion of this research thesis was too short. As a result, generating information/data was strenuous as it coincides with final year examination period, which needed attention.
Finance: this is another barrier that limited the researcher’s work.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The bell pepper (also known as sweet pepper or pepper in the United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland, and capsicum in Australia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore and New Zealand) is a cultivar group of the species Capsicum annuum. Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow, orange, green, chocolate/brown, vanilla/white, and purple. Bell peppers are sometimes grouped with less pungent pepper varieties as “sweet peppers”. The ribs and seeds inside bell peppers may be consumed, but some people find the taste to be bitter.
This is the process of cultivating the crop for domestic or commercial use
In general, a rural area or countryside is a geographic area that is located outside towns and cities. The Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines the word “rural” as encompassing “…all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area. Whatever is not urban is considered rural.
Typical rural areas have a low population density and small settlements. Agricultural areas are commonly rural, though so are others such as forests. Different countries have varying definitions of “rural” for statistical and administrative purposes.
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