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Resource Use Efficency by Rural Poor Cassava Farmers in Imo State: Implications for Poverty Alleviation
The decline in agricultural output has led to an unprecedented increase in poverty and malnutrition, illhealth and other social vices in sub-Saharan Africa. Consideration of cassava as a “woman Crop” constraints a societies productivity and ultimately slow its rate of economic growth. The economy pays for this in reduced labour productivity today and diminished national output tomorrow. Motivated by this, the study aim is to assess the possibility of alleviating poverty in the rural set-up through efficient and effective use of resources by rural poor cassava farmers in Imo State. It adopts a multistage sampling technique, and a total of 120 cassava farmers were used for the study. The data was analyzed using double log regression equation which later yields efficiency measures that were not distorted by statistical noise to estimate the efficiency level of resource/allocation by rural poor cassava producers. The result indicate that F-ratio was statistically significant at 5% level suggesting that the estimated variables exert a very significant influence on cassava output and hence the model is good for policy recommendation. The result also indicate that the sum of elasticity is 1.75 which implies increasing returns to scale; an indication of maximum technical efficiency (an irrational stage of production). Labour was the most limiting factor in cassava production suggestion that the technologies that enhance productivity of labour are likely to achieve significant positive effects on cassava production. This paper is of the view that raising agricultural productivity holds the key to encouraging a stable rate of transition to an industrialized economy which invariably would reduce the escalating poverty in the rural economies of Nigeria.