Farmers’ perception of the performance of the National Special Programme for Food Security (NSPFS) in Enugu State, NIgeria
AbstractThe study determined participating farmers’ perception of the performance of the National Special Programme for Food Security (NSPFS) in Enugu State, Nigeria. A structured interview schedule was
used to collect data from a sample of 147 farmers in the three SPFS sites in the state. Statistical analysis was accomplished by the use of frequency distributions, percentages and mean scores. Findings indicated that the majority of the farmers were males that fell mostly within the ages of 41-60 years. A greater percentage of the farmers were also married and did not go beyond secondary school.
All the participating farmers were found to have farming as their primary occupation while a greater proportion of the respondents were artisans and traders besides being farmers. The majority of the farmers had an annual income of between 51,000 and 100,000 naira. Findings also showed that the majority of the farmers received between 11,000 and 40, 000 naira as interest free loans from the NSPFS programme for 2003/2004 and 2004/2005 farming seasons. However, the major problems militating against the timely repayment of loans were high costs of production and disease attack on crops, poor yields and devastation of crops by animals, lack of markets for products and late release of loans, among others. The farmers indicated that only fertilizers and maize seeds were inputs readily available in the programme. Most of the technologies disseminated by the extension staff to the farmers were adopted and already in use. In general, the SPFS programme was perceived to be effective in terms of crop intensification, number of animals acquired by the farmers, as well as increase in estimated annual income of the participating farmers. However, the major problems militating against the effective
implementation of the programme in the state were late release and insufficiency of loans and inputs, high cost of production due to lack of machines, unavailability of markets for products, and inadequacy
of improved facilities. It was recommended among other things that the loans and other inputs from the SPFS programme be released early enough to the farmers to effectively improve their productivity and
enhance food security in the State.