Rural access roads and the quest for agricultural development: An appraisal of the conditions in South-East In Nigeria
This study examined the quest for agricultural development in Nigeria vis-à-vis the conditions of rural access roads in South-east Nigeria. Specifically, the study investigated the impact of the condition of the three types of rural access roads, namely, bush-paths, gravel-surfaced roads, and tarred roads on the quantity of food crops produced by smallholder farmers, their income levels, and contribution to agricultural GDP. The study adopted the quantitative research method and cross-sectional survey design. The questionnaire was validated and pre-tested. The reliability test performed on the questionnaire showed a Cronbach’s Alpha Index of 0.823. Five (5) sample units comprising five chapters of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States were used to select 328 stratified random respondents. Descriptive statistics consisting of frequency counts, and percentages were used in analyzing the data. Three hypotheses were put forward for test using Simple Linear Regression and ANOVA. The findings show that bush-paths as rural access roads did not significantly increase the quantity of food crops produced by rural farmers, that gravel-surfaced roads as rural roads never increased the income level of rural farmers; and that tarred roads as rural access roads did not contribute significantly to total agricultural GDP. The study recommends that government and other major stakeholders like international agencies and other development partners should prioritize and embark on massive rural road construction and regular maintenance.