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The study investigated the adoption of improved rice varieties by farmers in Bende Local Government Area, Abia State, Nigeria. A multi-stage random sampling technique was used to select a total of 120 rice farmers. Descriptive statistics and tobit regression model were employed to analyze the data. Results showed that cumulatively 73.3% of the farmers fell within the age range of 20-50 years, most (86.7%) of the rice farmers were literate. More than half (57.5%) of the rice farmers are females. Result further indicated that 43.3% had household sizes of 5-8 persons. A fair proportion (33.3%) had been in rice production for 11-15 years, while majority (73.3%) belongs to farmers’ associations. Fairly good (51.6%) were aware of the improved rice varieties and used it, while a substantial number (93.3%) number of the farmers cultivated swamp rice. MAS 240 variety (mean=3.13), Faro 7 variety (mean=2.95), Faro II variety (mean=2.75), Faro 8 variety (mean=2.70.) and Faro 48 variety (mean=2.68) were highly adopted by farmers in the area. The Chi square value of 7.290 was significant at 1.0% probability level and indicates goodness of fit of the model used. Coefficient of age (-0.023), and gender (-1.967) were negative and significant at 10.0% and 1.0% level of probability respectively. The coefficient of education level (0.041), farm size (0.940), farming experience (0.206) and membership of farmers’ association (0.168) were significant at 5.0% and were positively related to adoption of improved rice varieties. Farmers encountered various problems of paucity of funds (35.8%), scarcity of inputs (22.5%), and dearth of information (20.89). Based on these findings it was recommended that rice farmers should form cooperative societies to enable them raise funds for buying agricultural equipment to boost rice production. More young male farmers should be sensitized and motivated by the state government to take up rice production since female farmers dominate rice production in the area. Extension agencies should increase the level of information dissemination and teaching to the rice farmers’ clientele.
Key words: Adoption, Improved Varieties, Rice