Assessment of the use of cocoa production management practices among cocoa farmers in Ekiti State, Nigeria
Cocoa is an important cash crop that contributes significantly to earnings from agriculture in the Nigerian economy. Developing an enterprise in this cash crop requires the use of proper management practices. This study investigated the socioeconomic profile of the cocoa farmers; the types of management practices used among the farmers; and the constraints faced by farmers on cocoa management practices in the study area. Both purposive and simple random techniques, in a four-stage sampling procedure, were used to select one hundred and sixty cocoa farmers for the study. Descriptive statistical tools such as precision counts, frequencies and percentages were used to analyze the data; while Chi-Square analysis was used to test the hypothesis. The results showed that the respondents were predominantly male and married with majority of them having above primary school education, and mean age of 54.10 years. The mean household size was 7 persons, farm size ranged from 1.5 to 23 acres (mean = 7 acre). Planting of plantain (M=3.84), pruning (M=3.59) and regulated cutting of trees (M=3.37) were ranked high among the management practices used by the farmers. Non-availability of planting material (M=3.88) and problem of pest and diseases (M=3.74) were perceived as the major constraints facing the cocoa management practices. Chi-Square analysis showed that Level of education was significantly related to the management practices used by the cocoa farmers at r≤ 0.01. The study concluded that even though the farmers were in tune with the use of cocoa production management practices, nonetheless, there were some limiting factors such as non-availability of planting materials and pest and diseases affecting the cocoa production in the study area. It was therefore recommended that extension training for farmers should be geared towards pre-planting and post-planting management practices as well as access to adequate planting materials.
Keywords: use, management practices, cocoa farmers, assessment