Optimum resource allocation among selected smallholder root and tuber crops farmers in Abia State, Nigeria
This study examined optimum cropping patterns for selected root and tuber crop based production and resource allocation of smallholder farmers in Abia State, Nigeria, using the linear programming approach. The objective function was to maximize gross revenue from the production of selected root and tuber crop based production activities subject to land, labour and minimum subsistence family staple food consumption. Cost route approach was used to collect data from a random sample of 60 smallholder farmers in the state using the multistage stratified technique for location. The activities incorporated in the LP model include crop production activities, labour activities and product selling activities. Crop production activities comprise sole crops and crop mixtures. Existing selected crop activities were compared with their optimum counterparts. Resource allocation was compared between farm land owners and tenants with the aim of investigating their relative competitiveness in major root crop based production combination. Results showed that the sampled farmers were not optimal in their resource allocation. There was gross misallocation of labour for both land owners and tenant farmer. For the selected root and tuber crops, yam, cocoyam and cassava crop activities were found in their soles in the existing plan whereas crop mixtures were dominance in the optimal plan except cocoyam for the tenants’ category. However, optimal farm plans favoured fewer crops than in the existing plan. Cassava/melon, yam/maize and cocoyam/melon were the crop activities prescribed for an average land owner to maximize gross margin of N231,119.40K as against N190,265.00K in the existing plan (an increase of 21.48%) while for the farm tenants N190,671.30K was prescribed as optimal gross margin as against N184,600.00K (an increase of 3.29%). Yam/melon and Cassava/cocoyam/maize had the least tendency to depress farm income if forced into the plan for the land owners and farm tenants respectively. Farmers’ purchasing power would be enhanced given optimal crop production activity combination and land resource allocation.
Keywords: Optimum, activities, crops, smallholder farmers
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