Vol 11, No 2

Table of Contents

  1. Research Article
    Competitiveness of Jatropha Curcas Production in South-West Nigeria PDF
    Abimbola O. Adepoju, Olusola M. Oloyede
    Nigeria still suffers enormous fuel and energy crises, manifesting in various forms, despite her position as Africa's largest crude oil exporter. Thus, the development of new energy sources such as biofuels from the agricultural sector has been viewed as a way of expanding domestic energy supply, preventing increased dependence on imported oil, as well as diversifying the economy particularly in the face of falling oil prices. This draws attention to Jatropha curcas, an inedible hardy shrub, as a viable choice of feedstock for biodiesel. This study examined the competitiveness, comparative advantage and the effect of government policies on Jatropha curcas production in Southwest Nigeria. Descriptive statistics and the Policy Analysis Matrix were the analytical tools employed. Although the less than unity values of 0.0219 and 0.022 of the domestic resource cost and social cost-benefit ratio respectively, showed that the zone had comparative advantage in Jatropha curcas production, production was not economically profitable under existing government policies as revealed by the negative private profit of ₦587.4393/ton. The prevailing incentive structure also affected producers negatively and policy indicators were found to be sensitive to changes in the exchange rate. The study recommends the large-scale cultivation of the produce and the provision of incentives to producers to enhance the competitiveness of the commodity.

  2. Research Article
    Towards Improving Agricultural Marketing Information Systems for Smallholder Farmers: A Tharaka Nithi Case PDF
    Julia N. Ameru, Damaris Odero, Alice Kwake
    Agricultural marketing information systems play a crucial role in farmers' decision making process on production and marketing of farm produce. Farmers require easy access to relevant, up to date and adequate agricultural marketing information. The extent of access and use of agricultural marketing information systems in Tharaka Nithi and Kenya in general is not clear. Often information platforms exist but they are not accessible to the farmers, extension workers and policy makers for decision making process. This study sought to map the existing agricultural marketing information systems, assess the challenges farmers face in their access and use and propose improvements to guide development of robust easy to use and accessible agricultural marketing information systems. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and analyzed by use of qualitative and quantitative methods. Findings show that, a number of agricultural marketing information system platforms exist in Tharaka Nithi. Farmers who had access to relevant information on appropriate farming methods and output marketing sold their farm produce at higher prices. We have estimated the financial benefit of access to information as Ksh 460 per 90 kg bag of maize and Ksh 870 per 90 kg bag of beans. Using 10% of total land area of Tharaka Nithi to represent the high potential land allocated to maize and beans, we estimate that at the entire county level the financial benefits associated with access to information could conservatively be estimated at more than Ksh 200 million (US$ 2 million) per year. These benefits can potentially be scaled up with improved information dissemination because currently, over 50% of the farmers in the region lack access to various types of existing information packages. To address challenges, there is a need for building capacity of the farmers on importance of market information, various sources of such information and appropriate interpretation of such information as a driver for agricultural profitability. Marketing group membership is crucial for farm produce aggregation, negotiation for better prices and acquisition of farm inputs at lower costs due to economies of scale. Further, the extension workers ought to be proactive in information dissemination via platforms like Msoko, Soko-pepe and Mfarm which can reach many farmers simultaneously. The study further highlights a need for government support in development of technological and ICT infrastructure as a foundation for modern ICT based marketing information systems. The conventional dissemination method that requires direct contact between the extension workers and farmers is currently impractical due to low extension worker farmer ratio.

  3. Research Article
    Analysis of Food Security among Cocoa Producing Households in Ghana PDF
    Kwaku Dei Antwi, Conrad Power Lyford, Richard Yeboah Nartey
    This study was conducted to determine food security status and analyze factors that influence food security status among cocoa producing households in the Wassa Amenfi West District in Ghana. Using data from 320 randomly selected cocoa producing households, the results show that 67% of the sample households were food insecure indicating high level of food insecurity among cocoa producing households. In particular, female-headed households were found to be more food insecure than male-headed cocoa producing households. The results from a logit model showed that factors including the gender of household heads, age of households' heads, household size, years of schooling, annual cocoa output, and household non-agricultural income significantly influence food security status among cocoa producing households in Ghana. The results suggest that policies to improve cocoa productivity would be particularly useful due to the high impact this has on household food security.