Annual cropped area expansion and agricultural production: implications for environmental management in Benue State, Nigeria
This paper assesses the relationship between annual cropped area expansion and crop output and discusses the implication of such a relationship for environmental management in Benue State, Nigeria. The study was carried out using agricultural production survey (APS) data of five selected crops, namely: rice, sorghum, maize, yam and cassava for over two decades (i.e. 1989 to 2011), obtained at Benue State Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (BNARDA). The data was subjected to correlation analysis. The results reveal a considerable annual increase of varying extent over time and space for both annual output and area expansion of each of the five selected crops in Benue State on one hand. While on the other, the analyses reveal the existence of very high positive correlations between area cropped and output for four crops. However, a very weak negative relationship is revealed for area cropped and sorghum output. The study suggests improving productivity through sustainable agricultural intensification may significantly reduce the rate of conversion of arable lands to cropped area and equally help manage the environment in the state.
Keywords: Agricultural Intensification, Crop output, Environment, Benue State, Nigeria