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Small Scale Oil Palm Farmers Perception Of Organic Agriculture In Imo State, Nigeria
The study investigated the perception of oil palm farmers in Imo State, Nigeria, with specific objectives of determining personal characteristics of farmers, access their level of practice and preferences for organic farming. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to select 120 farmers while a pre-tested questionnaire was used for data collection. A five point Likert-type scale was used to access farmers' perception and the obtained pooled means, used to determine farmers' preferences for organic farming. Findings showed that oil palm production was maledominated (97.2%), Farmers mean age was 51 years and most had 20 years and above oil palm production experience, Most of the lands used in cultivation of the oil palm plantations were acquired through inheritance (47.9%) and self-acquisition (44.4%). The results further showed that the farmers strongly agree with the statements that organic farming is more adaptive to farming practice in Nigeria (X= 4.76; s = 0.74), preservation of our natural environment (X= 4.68; s = 0.86), and in agreement with the social and cultural practice of the people (X= 4.53; s = 0.69) The farmers however disagreed that organic farming saves time (X = 1.68; s = 0.84). The farmers' suggested that proven organic farming technologies be developed, taking into consideration existing indigenous knowledge, specifically in weed control (76.2%) and soil nutrient replenishment (72.4%) of palm plantations. Age (c2 = 29.22; p < 0.05), type of oil palm
plantation (c2 = 18.10; p < 0.05) and farm size (c2 = 20.26; p < 0.05) had significant associations with farmer perception of organic farming. The study recommends improved collaboration among stakeholders to enhance appropriate environmentally friendly technology development and extension delivery as well as improvement in socio economic status of the farmers.
Journal of Environmental Extension Vol. 7 2008: pp. 67-71