ANALYSIS OF VEGETABLE PRODUCTION AMONG RURAL WOMEN FARMERS IN IMO STATE NIGERIA
Globally, vegetable forms a most valuable part of every household's diet and are used to increase the quality of the soup. It has also become the most important crop grown by farmers in recent times. However, vegetable farming is not without production challenges. Regrettably, there is an acute shortage of empirical studies to substantiate this claim. It was against this backdrop that the study on analysis of vegetable production among rural women farmers in Imo State, Nigeria was undertaken. Specifically, the study was guided by the following objectives; describing the socio-economic characteristic of women in the study area; identifying the types of vegetables produced by women; identifying women's intent/reason for all-round vegetable farming. A multistage random sampling method was used in the selection of respondents. The sample size comprised one-hundred and thirty-five (135) vegetable women farmers. Well, a structured questionnaire was the main tool for data collection. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistical tools, likert –scale rating, and multiple regression analysis. Results show that the mean age was 44.00 years. The majority (71.11%) were married with an average household size of 6 persons. Average educational level, farming experience, farm size, and monthly farm income were 12 years (equivalent to secondary school education), 21.00years, 1.20ha, and N101,200 respectively. About 82.96% and 71.85% of the women farmers were visited once per month by extension agents and were members of cooperatives respectively. As types of vegetable crops produced by the women Approximately, 98.52%, 96.30% 91.85%, 89.63%, and 68.15% were also involved in Fluted pumpkin (Telfairiaoccidentalis), pepper (Capsicum annuum), Scent leaf (Ocimumgratissimum), Waterleaf (Talinumfruticosum) and Okra (Abelmoschusesculentus) respectively amongst others. The result shows that about 99.26%, 96.30%, and 95.56% identified personal intentions, wanting autonomy, and unstable income respectively as intent/reasons for all-round vegetable farming. Radio and farmers’ cooperative societies were identified by approximately 98.52% and 95.56% as sources of information on all-around vegetable farming among other sources. The study concludes that most of the women are involved in the cultivation of almost all the vegetables and therefore recommends that the extension agents should increase their visits/training to the rural vegetable farmers as results show low extension visits which affected them in the choice of vegetable planted as recent technologies has made it possible for farmers in the southeast to plant most of the vegetables formerly believed to survive only in the northern area of the country.
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