The objectives of this study were to; described the challenges of food crop preservation in Benue State.

This study utilized data collected from the large farm inputs - output survey conducted in 2000/2001 cropping season by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan in collaboration with Benue State Agricultural Development Project (BADP). The survey was conducted in 13 local government areas of Benue state. The data on prices and output of food crop were collected from KADP for a period of 23 years (1999 - 2022). Other sources of secondary data were Premier Seed, Benue state Farmers Supply Company (FASCOM), and SARO Agrochemicals. The analytical tools used include descriptive statistics, farm budgeting technique and Multiple Regression Analysis.

The result of the socio-economic analysis shows that 44% of the farmers were between the ages of 41 and 50 years, but the average age was 46 years. While 41% had no formal education, 14% of the educated ones was through vocational schools. Average household size was 10 people and only 14% of the farmers belonged to farmers’ cooperativesocieties.

The study recommended that input subsidy, training of farmers, and credit facilities to boost sustainable food crop preservation system in Benue State.

Of all the plant on which man has depended for his food, cereal grains are by far the most important. Since recorded history, cereal grains are the seed by cultivated grasses that include wheat, corn, 0at, barley, rye, rice, sorghum and millet.

There are a number of reasons why cereal have been important in man’s diet. They can be grown in areas with diverse climatic and soil conditions. They give yield peracre (0.4ha) as compared to most other crops and once harvested, their excellent storage stability combined with their high nutritive valuers make them most suitable for storage.

They are easy to be packaged and transported and can be used to produce a large variety of high desirable foods both for man and animals.

Cereal grains are the most important source of the world’s total food. The grains are eaten in many ways, sometimes as a paste or other preparation of the seeds more often milled and further processed into flour, starch, oil, bran, syrup, sugar, etc. They are also used to feed the animals that provide us with meat, eggs, millet, butter, cheese and a host of other foods. Cereal grains are preserved in ways which make them to last long for processing.

The total area under cereal cropping in Nigeria was estimated to be 3.0 million hectare (Lamarde, 1994). Traditionally, production ranged from 0.4 – 1.7 tonnes per hectare, but with improved methods and improved inputs, the yield could be up to 4 – 5 tonnes per hectare (Lamarde, 1994). Cerealis the most important cereal in Nigeria and is grown either as a vegetable at the backyard or on the farm (Kehinde,1997).

Throughout Nigeria, the selling of roasted and boiled cereal is a thriving business that provides employment for hundreds of thousand of young girls and women. Thoughthe nature of employment is part time and seasonal, it nonetheless provides an important source of livelihood for the hawkers. Cereal is also widely processed into a variety of food drinks such as pap and “Kunu”.

In addition, cerealis used in making cakes such as ‘masa’. However, the predominant use of food cropin Northern Nigeria is for making ‘tuwo’. It is also the main source of energy in livestock and poultry feeds. The growing plant can be cut and made into silage or hay for the feeding of cattle and other ruminants. Thus, food crop preservation gives employment to people and provides food and drinks for man and feeds for poultry andlivestock.

The year 2000 was set as a target date for the attainment of food self sufficiency by all African countries in the action plan agreed upon in Lagos, Nigeria (Salih, 1994). However, roughly 5 years after the deadline, little or nothing had been achieved. This failure is evident by the excess capacity in the agro industrial sector; rapid increase in food prices and the gradual resort to food importation amongothers.

Rapid growth in agriculture is essential for broad based economic growth, but acceleration in agricultural growth requires sound use of science and technology embodied in improved seed, fertilizer, agrochemical and other agronomic practices. However without an efficient and cost effective supply of these inputs at the farm gate, science based growth in agricultural productivity cannot be achieved. Furthermore, with the phased withdrawal of subsidies and privatisation, the input markets remained underdeveloped and fragmented and farmers do not receive goodquality inputs and pay unreasonable high prices despite the fact that the private sector in Nigeria has a potential to supply agricultural inputs in a cost effective manner (IFDC, 2001).

One of the problems cited as constraining the production of food cropin Nigeria is stagnant production technology among Nigerian farming community, majority of who are small-scale producers. The reason for this could be attributed to resource productivity as studies have confirmed inefficiency in resource utilisationin both food and cash crops in Nigeria (Olagoke, 1999 and Olayide,1979).

Furthermore, the extent to which inputs supply and productivity relates to a shortfall in food demand and supply in Nigeria is not clearly understood.Atthe same time, the impact of factors such as the policy environment, and the availability of markets for the disposal of farm outputs is not often considered despite the fact that such factors make farmers to work harder and thus, produce higheroutputs.

This study attempts to analyse the productivity of agricultural inputs in food crop production by taking the cereal crop as a case study.

1. What are the statusof food cropfarmers in Benue State?

2. What are the inputs – outputs levels in food crop preservation?

3. What are the costs and returns in food crop preservation?

4. To what extent do the prices of Agricultural inputs affect Food crop?

1. Describe the status of food crop farmers in Benue state.

2. Estimate the inputs-output levels in food crop preservation in Benue state.

3. Determine the costs and returns and hence profitability of food crop processing and preservation in Benue State.

4. Determine the effects of input prices on food crop preservation in Benue state.

I. Food crop preservation in the state is not profitable (i.e GM=0), where GM= gross margin from the production

II. The input prices have no effect on the level of food crop processing and preservation in the state (i.e bi≠0), where b is the regression co-efficient of the input variable.

Policy makers have been making frantic efforts to attract people into farming. This study is expected to provide valuable benchmark information to these new entrants on resource productivity and profitability in food crop preservation so as to enable them consider its production as a viable option. As for farmers who are already cultivating the crop, the study will go a long way in providing information on ways of boosting production. In order to increase the production of food crop, sound micro and macroeconomic farm policies are needed. These require prior to their formulation, an understanding of the input prices and output relationship in food crop preservation. This will obviously go a long way in generating employment opportunities for thousands of Nigerians, improve the food security status of Nigerians and most importantly, improve export and generate additional foreign exchange for the country.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 53 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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