The study focuses on improved maize technology adoption and maize yield in Zamfara State. Specifically, the study seeks to assess the maize farmers‟ awareness level on improved maize technologies and this was analyzed with simple descriptive statistics. The two-mean comparison test was used to analyze maize yield difference between non- adopters and adopters of improved maize technologies and constraints to improved maize technology adoption were identified and ranked with the Kendall‟s coefficient of concordance. The factors which influence improved maize technology adoption were determined by the use of logit model. In collecting primary data, structured questionnaires were administered to two hundred (200) maize farmers in the study area using a two-stage sampling approach. In the first stage, ten (10) maize producing communities were purposively selected based on their importance in terms of maize production. In the second stage, a list of fifty (50) member maize farmer groups in each of the ten (10) communities was made and twenty (20) farmers randomly selected using random numbers generated with Microsoft Excel. In addition, literature was reviewed and research scientists from Crop Research Institute (CRI) were interviewed to identify some of the improved maize technologies that have been developed and released to maize farmers in Nigeria. In this study, four (4) different improved maize technologies were identified based on the type of improved maize variety and the associated agronomic practices used by the farmers.

Three out these technologies; Obatanpa, Mamaba and Golden Crystal were released by the Government of Nigeria through Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Panaar was released by a private agency. Only 0.05% of farmers were not aware of improved maize technologies and 79.5% of maize farmers were adopters. With a rate of adoption of 52%, Obatanpa variety and its agronomic practices was identified as the most widely adopted technology. Adoption rates for other varieties were 14% for Mamaba, 9% for Golden crystal and 5.5% for Panaar. The number of visits by Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs) or extension contacts, educational level, maize farming experience, age of farmer, farm size, and farmers belonging to a farmers‟ group (FBO) were the factors found to have a positive and significant effect on improved maize technology adoption. The age of the farmer was the only factor that had a negative influence on improved maize technology adoption. However, the gender of the farmer, access to credit, family labour and other sources of income had no significant effect on improved maize technology adoption. The study concludes that statistically, there is a significant difference in maize yield of maize farmers who adopt and those who do not adopt improved maize technologies with adopters securing greater yields. It is recommended that maize farmers should be educated on the need to use improved maize technologies by intensifying campaign through regular farmer field days and visits by researchers and extension workers. Government should design strategic and sustainable input subsidy mechanisms to augment the constraint of high cost of production. Government and donor agencies should increase funding for technology dissemination and adoption projects. Maize farmers should encourage the formation of FBOs and be motivated to welcome ideas of extension agents to acquire more knowledge about improved maize technologies. Maize farmers should see farming as a business, commercialize their farms and adopt improved maize technologies for greater returns through higher crop yields.

1.1 Background of study
Agriculture is the leading source of employment in most developing countries in the world (Doss, 2004) and 57 percent of Nigeria‟s population of 25 million engages in various forms of agricultural activities (GSS, 2014). Maize production accounts for close to 55 percent of the total cereal and grain production in Nigeria (Bennett-Lartey & Oteng-Yeboah, 2008). Although agricultural productivity is very critical for economic growth and development, it is very low in most of these countries (Ehui & Pender, 2005; Jones, 2007; Meijerink & Rosa, 2007).

In Nigeria, maize is a staple food and in the brewery industry the grain is used to prepare malt. Maize is adapted to all the ecological zones in Nigeria. In the forest and coastal savannah zones, maize is grown twice a year (minor and major seasons), while one cropping season is possible in the Guinea Savannah Zone, which occupies the three Northern regions of Nigeria. The total acreage of maize in Nigeria (major and minor seasons) is over 400,000 hectares (Frank et al., 2006). However, whereas in America and Australia productivity is 10.3 and 5.8 metric tons per hectare respectively, 1.7 Mt/hectare/year was the national average yield (MoFA, 2011), whereas 1.2 mt/hectare was the average yield in 2012 major season revealed by CRI/SARI/IFPRI survey. There is the need to increase the yield of maize to appreciable levels considering the opportunity that exists. It has been demonstrated from trials on farms and on-station that there is 4 to 6 Mt/ha achievable levels. Maize is an important food and feed crop in Nigeria and remains an important crop for rural food security. The production must be increased in order to ensure food and income security through the use of improved maize technologies. Maize is a staple food of great socio-economic importance in developing countries and it has a wide range of uses. In Nigeria maize is used to prepare a variety of diets. For instance, in the three Northern regions, it is used to prepare tuo zaafi (TZ,) porridge, maasa, and pito. While the dry stalks are used as fuel for cooking. In the Southern sector, maize is used to prepare kenkey, banku and akple. In the poultry industry, it is used to formulate feed for poultry consumption. Fresh maize is taken boiled, parched or roasted. It is an important source of carbohydrates, iron, vitamin B and minerals. A national survey conducted in 1990 revealed that about almost every household during an arbitrary selected fourteen-day period had consumed maize (Alderman and Higgins 1992). Maize and food made from maize accounted for over 10 percent expenditures on food by poor households, and 10.3 percent by all income groups based on an analysis of 1987 data (Boateng et al., 1990).

Furthermore, many households have their source of income from revenues obtained from the sale of maize, even subsistence farming households. In Nigeria, over 16 percent of the revenues received from the sale of crops earned by households that are poor is from maize while that of “hard-core‟‟ poor households is over 18 percent (Boateng et al., 1990).

The common form of production system in Nigeria is the traditional subsistence type, which basically involves crop rotation and shifting cultivation among others (MoFA, 2010). The use of chemical fertilizers, farm machinery and improved varieties by farmers who cultivate maize is low and it is widely spread throughout the agro-ecological zones in Nigeria (Dankyi et al., 2005). Maize requires a good distribution of rainfall. In the early stages, sufficient water in the soil allows the plant to develop a healthy root system. This protects it against temporary periods of drought. The current improved varieties of maize are fairly drought tolerant as compared to the local varieties which are fewer droughts tolerant, but may wilt under prolonged water deficiency.

1.2 Problem Statement
The Nigeriaian population is estimated to be growing at a rate of 2.5% (GSS, 2014). As a result, food production for the growing population has become an issue of great national interest because of the low agricultural productivity levels in Nigeria. Per capita consumption has increased from 38.4 kg/head/year to 43.8 kg/head/year in 1980 and 2010 - 2011 respectively, representing an increase by 14 percentage points (MoFA, 2011). Cereal production, especially maize in Nigeria has been characterized by low yields, which in the long run results in low income for farmers. This is as a result of the kind of inputs used by farmers as well as inadequate knowledge of improved farming technologies that can increase yields. As such, past and present governments have initiated and implemented several programs and projects to curb the situation of low productivity in cereal crops.

From 1970 to 2013, the programmes and projects that were initiated and implemented were the operation feed yourself program, the Nigeria Grains Development Project (GGDP), Sasakawa Global 2000 program, the Food Crops Development Project (FCDP), the Agricultural Sub-sector Investment Program (AgSSIP), and the Youth in Agriculture programme. All these programs and projects were geared towards increasing the production of cereal crops to make Nigeria self-sufficient in cereal production. Among the reasons why agriculture productivity is low is that the level of adoption of agricultural technology is very low (World Bank, 2008). According to Dankyi et al. (2005), just about 45 percent of farmers in Nigeria adopted the use of improved seeds, fertilizer, and row planting during production. Farmers continuously use local varieties and traditional methods for maize cultivation. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (2005) reported that the lower productivity levels have been of a major concern in the country‟s agricultural development for several decades.

In spite of the large area cultivated and the release of several improved technologies, maize farmers in Nigeria obtain an average yield of 2.00 Mt/ha instead of an expected yield of 6.00 Mt/ha (MoFA, 2011). The total number of maize farmers in the district stands at 13,686 with a total annual average production of 81,441.1 Mt from a total cropping area of 26,702 hectares from an average yield of 3.05 Mt/ha per annum (District Profile, KAPND, 2014).

Impact assessment by Morris, Tripp, and Dankyi (1998), indicates that GGDP which ended in the year 1997 was very successful. Several improved maize technologies were developed and disseminated under the project. Obatanpa, quality protein maize developed through the project, has become widely popular in Nigeria and in other countries in Africa south of the Sahara. It was released to maize farmers in Zamfara State in the year 2002 together with other improved maize technologies.

More importantly, the extent to which maize farmers in Zamfara State have adopted the use of this improved maize variety and the agronomic practices associated with it are unknown. The factors influencing the adoption or non-adoption are also unknown as well as the constraints to adoption.

Given the foregoing, the following research questions arise;

1. Are farmers in Zamfara State aware of improved maize technologies and what is the extent of adoption?

2. What are the constraints faced by maize farmers regarding use of improved maize technologies in Zamfara State?

3. Is there a difference between maize yield of adopters and non-adopters of improved maize technologies in Zamfara State?

4. What are the factors that influence adoption of improved maize technologies in Zamfara State?

1.3 Objectives
The main objective of the study is to assess the adoption of improved maize technologies and maize yield in Zamfara State.

The specific objectives are:
1. To assess the level of awareness and the extent of adoption of maize farmers on improved maize technologies in Zamfara State.

2. To analyse and rank the constraints faced by maize farmers in adopting improved maize technologies in Zamfara State.

3. To compare the maize yield of both adopters and non-adopters of improved maize technologies in Zamfara State.

4. To identify factors that influence adoption of improve maize technologies in Zamfara State.

1.4 Relevance of the Study
This thesis aims to provide additional knowledge on the awareness of improved maize technologies and their adoption by farmers in Zamfara State. The study also set out to identify factors that are likely to influence adoption of improved maize technologies in Zamfara State.

Furthermore, constraints faced by farmers in adopting improved maize technologies would also be revealed. This could assist research institutions and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to make informed decisions about the technology packages to promote among farmers to suit the their local environment.

It will add to the existing literature on adoption of improved agricultural technologies and help in developing further research.

1.5 Organization of the Thesis
The thesis is organized into five chapters. Chapter one introduces the subject matter of the study whereas chapter two presents a review of literature on technology adoption. It discusses among other things, the factors influencing adoption. Chapter three presents the theoretical framework and the methods of analysis of the specific objectives. The chapter also presents descriptions of data collection procedures, the sampling procedure and the sample size used, and the study area. The results of the analysis are presented and discussed in chapter four, while chapter five presents the summary, conclusions and policy implications and recommendations made from the study.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 72 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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