Extension Implications of Skill Gaps among Cassava Farmers in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria
The study evaluated the skill gap among cassava farmers in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to obtain data from 270 farmers using structured questionnaire and interview schedule. Data collected were analysed using frequency counts, percentages, mean score, Chi square and Pearson product moment correlation. There were more male (55.9%) cassava farmers in the study area with farmer’s mean age approximately 48 years and majority (75.2%) were educated. Mean farming experience was 24 years and mean farm size was1.8 hectares. Skill gap analysis indicated 16 areas including packaging of cassava products with mean weighted discrepancy score (MWDS) = 7.61), soil management strategies (MWDS = 6.70) and chemical application (MWDS =3.93) among others. There was a significant relationship between training needs and marital status (χ2 = 18.46, p < 0.05) and the variety of cassava planted (χ2= 6.397, p < 0.05). Age (r = 0.181), farm experience (r = 0.199) and household size (r = 0.125) had significant relationship with farmers training needs. The study concluded that there are obvious skill and competency gaps among cassava farmers in the region. It recommended that for improved productivity, farmers’ training should concentrate on the critically expressed areas of skill and competency gaps and that periodic training needs assessment be done to ensure that efforts and training resources are appropriately channeled.
Keywords: Skill-gap in Cassava Farmers, Cassava in Niger-Delta