Socio-economic characteristics and production constraints of smallholder tomato production in Benue State Nigeria

  • S.O. Ngbede
  • F.C. Igbegwu
  • E.N. Nwankwo
  • S.C. Okpara
Keywords: Tomato Production; socio-economic; descriptive statistics; constraints and Likert scale


Tomato is one of the most popular and widely grown vegetables in the world. Over the years, tomato production in Benue state has increased. This paper seeks to describe the socio-economic characteristics, production practices and identifies challenges to increased tomato productivity in smallholder production in Benue State. Responses were obtained from 60 tomato farmers with the aid of a well-structured questionnaire in 2019 cropping season. Data were analyzed using simple descriptive statistics and mean score values generated from 5-point Likert scale. The revealed that majority of the respondents were male (55%), 46.7% were within the age bracket of 31-40 and 50.0% were married and 31.7% of them had both primary and secondary school education with household size of 11-15 (38.3%) and 83.7% had 6-10 years farming experience. Farm size of majority of the respondents (65.0%) was less than or equal to 1ha, 78.33% of the family labour were engaged in the farming process, 80.00% used family land for production of tomato, 58.3% used personal savings in the production process while (66.67%) used seed from previous harvest, and 50.0% made use of herbicide for weed control. Majority of the respondents (68.33%) planted their seeds in the nursery before transplanting and 71.67% were engaged in rain fed agriculture. Major constraints of tomato production included high incidences of pest and disease, perishability of produce, poor market structure, poor storage facilities, and high cost of agrochemical, inadequate credit facilities, high cost of transportation, bad road and high cost of hiring labour. Other constraints included high interest rate on credit, lack of adequate water for dry season production, availability of tomato on and off season, grazing activity and high cost of land. The study recommends the introduction of integrated pest management system to the rural farmers, cost of agrochemicals should be subsidized, farmers should be encouraged to form cooperative societies and generally each step in the tomato production system needs intervention by researchers and extension agents to improve productivity and quality through introduction of modern agro-technologies to the already existing rich traditional knowledge of farmers, finally aiming at bridging the yield gap.


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eISSN: 1118-2733