Agro-Science <p><em>Agro-Science</em>, the journal of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Nigeria, was borne out of the need for a forum and technical mouthpiece for the communication and extension of scientific and agricultural research in Africa and countries in the rest of the tropical region of the world. Agro-Science is an international journal of high technical/intellectual quality, published four times a year (January, April, July and October). It is tropical in scope and has the following areas of focus: Crop Science: Animal Science; Animal Health; Soil and Environment, Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Extension, Home Economics, Food and Nutrition; Post-harvest Technology; Agricultural Engineering and Mechanization.</p> <p>Other websites related to this journal: <a title="" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"></a></p> Dept. of Crop Science, University of Nigeria en-US Agro-Science 1119-7455 <div>The Editorial Board of AgroScience and the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka are committed to disseminating the research publications in AgroScience Journal as widely as possible. In line with this commitment, the Editorial Board of AgroScience has adopted the policy of Open Access, with the content licensed under Creative Commons Attrition License (CCBY). On this premise, every author grants to the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka irrevocable, nonexclusive permission to exercise the copyright in the article for the purpose of open dissemination.</div> Yam production in some South East and North Central zones of Nigeria beyond COVID-19 for acceleration towards inclusive sustainable development <p>This study evaluated the effect of socio-economic characteristics of small-scale yam farmers on the productivity and income levels of yam farmers beyond COVID-19 in some part of yam producing areas of South East and North Central zones (Benue, Ebonyi, Enugu and Kogi States) of Nigeria. Respondents (200) were selected by random sampling using a structured questionnaire. Data were analyzed using descriptive and correlation analysis. Majority of the respondents (71.7%) were male. COVID-19 will have serious negative impacts on the productivity and income of the yam farmers due to sex difference in angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) 2 receptor and transmembrane serine protease 2 TMPRSS2 regulations. Majority (34.8%) of the respondents were within the age range of 55-64 years which might place them at increased risk of severe impact from COVID-19. Most of the respondents (37.9%) were with First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) which will be aggravated by global lockdown of education institutions. COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems due to closure of schools and other learning spaces as well as inability of many parents to work making financing of education to face big challenges. Most of the respondents (35.4%) had farm size of three hectares. Most of the respondents (37.9%) earned between ₦151,000 and ₦200,000 per hectare. This income informal economy will be affected by COVID-19 control measures. Majority of the respondents (70.2%) had between 21 to 30 years of yam farming experience. At this length of experience, it is expected that they will be within the age range that is more vulnerable to COVID-19 pandemic. Using Pearson correlation coefficient to assess the relationship between socio-economic factors farm characteristics of small-scale yam farmers establishes that farm experience significantly (p &lt; 0.05) correlated with age of the respondents. Marital status was significantly (p &lt; 0.05) correlated with age (0.548) and farm experience (0.932) of the respondents.</p> <p><strong>Key words</strong>: yam farmers, socio-economic factors, productivity, small-scale</p> H.E. Ufondu B. Maziya-Dixon T.M. Okonkwo Copyright (c) 2021-10-27 2021-10-27 20 4 1 7 10.4314/as.v20i4.1 Climate information needs and services for climate change mitigation and adaptation in Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Tunisia <p>Poor access and use of accurate, timely and appropriate climate information consistently to inform decision making in African countries pose a huge dilemma for sustainable development. The existing climate data observations networks coverage are sparsely distributed. Development strategies and plans are not adequately informed by climate science due to the limited reliable and useable climate data and information produced by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other relevant institutions. This paper describes the climate information needs of Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Tunisia, the status of the climate information systems (CISs), gaps and recommends improvement in the generation, processing and use of climate information. A study involving in-depth desk studies, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and policy dialogue was conducted. Results revealed that the CISs in the target countries have weak forecasting and alert systems for weather events and low capacities of stakeholders in climate prediction, development of climate products and information to support long-term planning, climate adaptation and resilience. The quality and appropriateness of data collected needs to be improved through networking, development and use of innovative technologies and capacity building. Institutionalizing climate data management training within climate data collection stations, creating modern real-time CISs by strengthening the capacities of national and regional institutions to use and disseminate climate information, is paramount. The capacity of the ministries involved in climate data management to deploy appropriate climate information and best practices to effectively implement climate-proof policies and practices should be enhanced to increase climate resilience and productivity.</p> <p><strong>Key words</strong>: climate information needs, climate service, adaptation, mitigation, capacity</p> N. Ozor E. Acheampong A. Nyambane Copyright (c) 2021-10-27 2021-10-27 20 4 8 21 10.4314/as.v20i4.2 Effective biotechnologies for revolutionalizing the livestock industry in Nigeria after COVID-19 pandemic <p>COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe health and hunger challenges both in developed and developing economies of the world thereby posing a serious threat to the economies and food security issues particularly of vulnerable regions of the world. Currently in Nigeria, there is a great increase in the market prices of crops and livestock products occasioned by the prevailing clashes between crop farmer and livestock herders. There is thus a huge gap in the demand and supply of available essential agricultural products leading to the high inflation rate being witnessed in the country today. With the current population of over 200 million which is expected to double by 2050, the task of feeding these Nigerians is daunting and very challenging. To overcome these challenges, the livestock industry in Nigeria needs to be transformed accordingly. FAO report of 2019 had advised African livestock producers to work to expand the scope of their operations and to invest in productivity-enhancing technologies in order to meet the growing demands for livestock products. The adoption of biotechnological innovations already available in animal reproduction, nutrition, health and genetics, is a clear pathway to enhance livestock production in Nigeria. The Nigerian Government is expected to play a leading role by providing enabling environment that will make for easy and seamless adoption of these technologies. Nigerian livestock farmers on their part should be ready and willing to embrace these technologies to enhance the productive capacity of their stock as well as improving their own welfare and economic wellbeing.</p> <p><strong>Key words:</strong> COVID-19 pandemic, biotechnology, livestock industry, development, Nigeria</p> A.G. Ezekwe N.S. Machebe I.E. Uzochukwu Copyright (c) 2021-10-27 2021-10-27 20 4 22 27 10.4314/as.v20i4.3 Policy adjustments for enhanced agricultural production in Nigeria after COVID-19 pandemic <p>The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to global food supply chains. It has led to severe economic stress and malnutrition particularly in developing countries. This paper outlines the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on agriculture and livelihoods in Nigeria, measures put in place by the Nigerian Government to cushion the effect and parses evidence on programmes and policies that can help speed up sustainable economic recovery that Nigeria desperately needs post COVID-19 pandemic, through agricultural growth. Identifying appropriate policies to enhance agricultural production and trade post COVID-19 pandemic is important for maintaining a robust global food supply. The paper concludes that it may be time for a fundamental reassessment of policies designed to tackle challenges in the agricultural sector in sub-Saharan Africa particularly Nigeria. The state of agriculture in any country is a reflection of the long-term agricultural plan designed and pursued by the Government to move the sector forward. In designing strategies, policies and programmes to enhance agricultural growth, the starting point is to diagnose the challenges faced by the sector and the impacts of previous measures put in place to tackle the challenges, so that lessons could be drawn for designing better and more appropriate policies.</p> <p><strong>Key words</strong>: COVID-19 pandemic, agricultural policy, agrifood systems, agrarian development</p> A.A. Enete C.S. Onyenekwe Copyright (c) 2021-10-27 2021-10-27 20 4 28 35 10.4314/as.v20i4.4 Stemming rural-urban migration through agricultural development: Can Nigeria apply the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic? <p>Nigeria has one of the highest population growth rates in the world resulting to rapid urbanization and an enormous increase in the population leaving rural areas and now living in urban centres. In spite of the increased emphasis on rural development, rural-urban migration has persisted mainly due to the farmerherder conflict situation, poverty, lack of job opportunities, insecurity and gross inadequacy of social infrastructures in the rural areas. This mass migration and other factors have put Nigeria in an emergency food and nutrition insecure situation. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was already an existing gap in the Nigerian food system, which led to the importation of food items to augment local production in order to meet local demand. However, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic undermined efforts to achieve SDG 2 as the country witnessed not only a major disruption to food supply chains in the wake of lockdowns and movement restrictions triggered by the global health crisis, but also a major economic slowdown. The commerce, service, and agricultural sectors were the hardest hit by the spread of the virus and the effects are different along the rural-urban continuum. The vacuum created by the migration of people from the rural to urban areas led to reduction of farm yields, while the urban areas were particularly affected in terms of food supply from rural areas as a result of movement restrictions made during the height of the pandemic. More urbanised areas may be harder hit than remote rural areas if connectivity remains broken down, as most food crops are produced in the rural and semi-rural areas. This paper recommends strategies and policies aimed at reducing poverty, food insecurity and inequality across the urban-rural continuum through agricultural development. This will assist in addressing the adverse drivers of migration with particular focus on improving the social and economic conditions of rural areas.</p> <p><strong>Key words:</strong> agricultural development, COVID-19, food security, rural-urban migration</p> A.E. Agwu I.Q. Anugwa C.F. Ifeonu Copyright (c) 2021-10-27 2021-10-27 20 4 36 45 10.4314/as.v20i4.5 Application of biological and digital technologies in resolving the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic on crop production in Nigeria <p>The COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked great havoc in many spheres of life, including education, health, economy, and agriculture. This paper x-rayed the effects of the pandemic on crop production in Nigeria, and efforts made to proffer viable solutions through the application of biological and digital technologies. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on crop production was palpable in shortage of farm labour and labour immobility, disruption of agricultural input supply chain (e.g., fertilizers, agrochemicals, and seeds) and food distribution network. These irregularities grossly escalated food insecurity challenges, sparked price hikes, increased hunger and food losses. Considering the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on crop production which invariably extends to farmers’ income, food security, family nutrition and health, prompt measures to minimize the onward transmission among key players in crop production and food supply chain are imperative. The application of biological technologies including vaccination, use of natural herbs and spices, organic agriculture options (such as organic manuring, use of botanical protectants, farmers’ own seeds, cover cropping, mulching, biofertilizers, etc.), agricultural mechanization, and the digital technologies (mobile phones, remote sensing services, online platforms, robotics and artificial intelligence) would go a long way in resolving the negative effects of the pandemic on crop production in Nigeria. Strict adherences to the recommended public health safety measures (social distancing, compulsory use of face masks in the public, regular hand hygiene, covering of one’s mouth when sneezing or coughing, disinfection of high touch surfaces) are crucial in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 infection.</p> <p><strong>Key words</strong>: COVID-19 pandemic, crop production, food security, bio-and digital technologies, Nigeria</p> S.C. Aba K.P. Baiyeri Copyright (c) 2021-10-27 2021-10-27 20 4 46 51 10.4314/as.v20i4.6 Patterns for cost-sharing of agricultural technology transfer in Nigeria <p>With recent changes in the financing and delivery of agricultural technology transfer worldwide due to inability of many governments to cope with varied needs of clients, most reforms currently being initiated by governments tend towards a pluralistic approach and financial participation of all stakeholders. One of such reforms is through cost-sharing. The authors examined stakeholders’ (extension professionals and farmers) opinions on the appropriate patterns for cost-sharing of agricultural technology transfer in Nigeria. The study was carried out in six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Multistage random sampling technique was applied in the selection of 268 farmers and 272 extension professionals. Mean scores and t-test statistics were utilized in realizing the objectives of the study. Results show that the stakeholders’ overall opinion on the appropriate pattern for cost-sharing was for beneficiaries of service to pay specified amounts of money to extension organizations every farming season through their cooperative societies. Results further showed that farmers proved to have more ideas on the best patterns of sharing the cost of technology transfer than the extension professionals. It was concluded that for cost-sharing to be effective, all the stakeholders have to participate in decision-making and implementation processes of agricultural technology transfer in the country.</p> <p><strong>Key words:</strong> cost-sharing, agricultural technology transfer, farmers, extension professionals, Nigeria</p> N. Ozor M.C. Madukwe C. Garforth A.E. Agwu N.A. Chukwuone Copyright (c) 2021-10-27 2021-10-27 20 4 52 58 10.4314/as.v20i4.7 The role of soil in saving human race from COVID-19 pandemic <p>Soil is the most complex part of land as its contents are made of all the other key components of land namely geology (soil minerals), hydrology (soil water), atmosphere (soil air), and organisms including man (soil organic matter including dead bodies). This is why the functions of the soil are not only numerous but also indispensable. Among the functions, the role of the soil in sustaining human life remains unimaginable. Over 3.8 million people have been killed by COVID-19 by June 15, 2021 in the world and more are still dying. Some unrecorded millions died of hunger as a result of the lockdown during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic. Where are these dead bodies and materials associated with those that died of COVID-19? Where did all the food palliatives (rice, maize, wheat, yam, gari, vegetable oil, etc.) come from? The human body is composed of approximately 64% water, 20% protein, 10% fat, 1% carbohydrate, 5% minerals. When decomposed these various components result to various gaseous compounds and residues that are harmful to human life and environment. When dead bodies are buried human health and environment are saved. The dead bodies, the wastes and their contents are in the soil providing “palliatives” to soil microorganisms while protecting the remaining human population and the environment. Cremation products also end up in the soil. The soil also provided and still provides the food palliatives. Thus, the soil is our number one saviour against COVID-19 pandemic and can be adjudged as the saviour of the human race to date. Coincidentally man was made from the soil and must return to the soil.</p> <p><strong>Key words:</strong> soil functions, burial, cremation, palliatives, COVID-19</p> C.L.A. Asadu Copyright (c) 2021-10-27 2021-10-27 20 4 59 64 10.4314/as.v20i4.8 Mitigating COVID-19 effects on farmers: The role of commissioners of agriculture in Nigeria <p>In Nigeria, agriculture plays a critical role in the economy and remains the key to the country’s economic diversification plan. However, the agricultural sector is facing numerous challenges such as climate change, widespread insecurity, price volatility, poor government policies and the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the already existing problems. This paper reviews the state of the COVID 19 pandemic in Nigeria and its effects on the agricultural sector and outlines the role of commissioners of agriculture in mitigating the effects of the pandemic on farmers with a view to catalyzing sustainable agricultural development in Nigeria. When the first case of COVID-19 was reported in February, 2020, the Federal government of Nigeria took some measures to help curb the spread of the virus. Although, these measures were critical to saving lives, they also significantly caused a disruption in agricultural activities and food systems in several ways such as decline in availability of farm labour and mechanization, limited availability of agricultural inputs, decline in food imports and exports, reduction in food supply, decline in household income and food consumption, increased food insecurity, panic buying and sharp price spikes. This paper suggests that commissioners of agriculture have important roles to play to help mitigate these negative impacts on agricultural livelihoods and food systems. These include a push for a bill to integrate social protection mechanisms into the Nigerian legal framework, lobby for increased budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector, formulation of good agricultural policies and provision of adequate infrastructures, organization of these farmers into farming clusters to help stimulate agglomeration economies by integrating agricultural value chains and development strategies, and frameworks and initiatives that will ensure a seamless transition from emergency response to resilience building.</p> <p><strong>Key words:</strong> Coronavirus disease, government interventions, agrarian development, food production</p> M.A. Idu C.S. Onyenekwe Copyright (c) 2021-10-27 2021-10-27 20 4 65 69 10.4314/as.v20i4.9