Optimum production plan for maize-based crop farmers in Niger State, Nigeria
The study tried to address optimum production plan for maize-based crop farmers in Niger State, Nigeria. Primary data were collection with the aid of a structured questionnaire. Simple random sampling technique was used in selecting a total of 133 farm households engaged in maize-based crop production. The results showed that maize-based arable crop production in the study area is predominantly male activity, with a mean age of 37 years. The average household size of the respondents was 5 persons. Majority (86.46%) of the farmers had one form of formal education ranging from tertiary, primary, secondary and adult education. Also, 81.95% of the farmers earned less than ₦100,000 per annum from off-farm activities. An average farmer had 20 years of farming experience and cultivated 1.88 ha of land. Linear programming solution prescribed maize/soybeans on 1.1988 ha and maize/cowpea on 0.0468 ha respectively in the optimum farm plans for the farmers. It also indicated gross margin could be increased from ₦120,122.73 ha−1 in the existing crop production plan to ₦211,555.70 ha−1 in the prescribed optimum crop production plan. It was concluded that production inputs were not optimally utilized and that crop mixtures were in a better competitive position than sole crop to increase the farmers’ income in maize-based crop production systems in Niger State. It was recommended that farmers should produce crop mixtures maize/soybeans and maize/cowpea based on their hectarage allocation as prescribed in the optimum farm plans and that farm advisory services should give attention to optimum cropping patterns towards promoting increased agricultural productivity among farmers.
Keywords: linear programming, sole crop, crop mixtures, income