Agricultural extension needs of spinach (Basella spp.) farmers in Rivers State, Nigeria
This study examined the agricultural extension needs for spinach (Basella spp.) production by farmers’ in Rivers state, Nigeria. Multi-stage sampling procedure involving purposive technique was used to select 110 respondents from 10 communities in the selected rural households. Data were collected through questionnaire and analyzed with descriptive statistics. About 47.0% of the respondents’ were between the ages of 36-40 years, 73.0% were females, 78.0% married and 67.0% were part-time farmers with 5 years mean of farming experience. The majority (77%) of the respondents’ had 1ha of land, 58.0% inherited lands. The mean household size was 7 persons with monthly expenditure of ₦33,350.00, 61.0% were aware that spinach enhance digestion and emptying of bowel, while 52.0% agreed that spinach reduces symptoms of menopause in women. Their major extension needs in spinach production among others were: source of farm inputs in spinach production (x̄ =3.63); credit facilities in spinach production (x̄ = 3.62). The level of effectiveness of extension services provided for farmers were very low. They include: proper management of pests/diseases; health benefits and use of spinach (x̄ = 0.41) each. The perceived sufficiency of extension services provided was inadequate with supply of farm inputs being the highest (x̄ =1.21). The major constraints were shortage in supply of spinach to match demand, increasing price of spinach, and low consumer acceptability of spinach products. The study recommended increase in the level of extension services provided by extension agents to meet the farmers’ extension needs in spinach production.
Keywords: Households, agricultural extension, spinach production