ANALYSIS OF AGROFORESTRY PRACTICES ENGAGED BY RURAL FARMERS` IN EBONYI STATE, NIGERIA
The study analyzed the effects of agroforestry practices engaged by rural farmers in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Agroforestry practices have the potentials to improve environmental and socio-economic welfare of the farmers. Hence, this study specifically described the socio-economic characteristics of the rural farmers; ascertained the rural farmers’ perception of agroforestry practices; ascertained the agroforestry practices engaged in by the rural farmers. The hypothesis tested is; the socioeconomic characteristics of the rural farmers do not significantly influence their agroforestry practices. Multistage sampling technique was used in the selection of agroforestry farmers. A total of 351 farmers were sampled using structured questionnaire. Data obtained were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The result revealed that 68.7% of the farmers were males. The mean age was 48.5years. Majority (72.4%) were married, having an average household size of 5 persons. On education of the farmers, 91.5% of them received formal education, with an average farm size of 1.2ha and average monthly income of N67,523. Majority (71.5%) were members of social organization, with 89.5% having access to extension service, while 62.1% and 34.2% accessed agroforestry information from Ebonyi State Agricultural Development Programme and Agrodealers respectively. Increased farm productivity ( = 3.6), and increased household income ( = 3.5), amongst others, were the dominant perceptions of respondents on agroforestry practices used, while taungya farming (76.9%) and home garden (72.1%) were the dominant agroforestry systems practiced. The regression result showed that the coefficients for education, household size, farm size, monthly income and extension contact were the socio-economic characteristics that influenced agroforestry practices. There were many types of agroforestry practices for the farmers and their socio-economic characteristics significantly influenced the practices. The study recommended the improvement of farmers’ education and extension service delivery which in turn enhances agroforestry practices in the study area.
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