SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS DETERMINING UPLAND RICE PRODUCTION IN SMALL HOLDER AGRICULTURE IN OSUN STATE, NIGERIA
Keywords:Dryland, Rainfed, Rice, Gross margin, Socio-economics
This study examined the economics of upland rice production in Osun State with a view to evaluating the socio-economic factors influencing rice output in dryland rainfed rice production system among small holder farmers. Multistage random sampling technique was used to select 111 farmers from three rice growing communities in Oriade local government area of Osun State. These communities are located on deeply weathered but steeply sloping ridges which predisposes them to soil erosion and degradation. Farm business survey technique was used to collect information from the respondents. Results revealed that rice farmers had a mean age of 51 years and cultivated an average of 3.73 hectares of farmland. Rice cultivation is profitable with a rate of return of 35.4 percent which was higher than the prevailing rate of interest on commercial bank loans. Labour cost is the single most important variable cost item making up about 47.2 percent of the total variable cost. Elasticity estimates suggests that cost of fertilizer and herbicide has the highest potential (0.65) to increase rice output while number of children helping on the farm had the lowest potential (0.08). Use of crop residue was the best soil improvement technique adopted by 67.7 percent of the farmers and yielded a net return of N17,142.49 per hectare of rice cultivated. Major factors constraining upland rice production include non-availability of inputs, low prices and shortage of labour. Policy efforts to increase output of rice should focus on providing subsidized inputs to farmers, expanding farmers holding of rice, appropriate labour saving technology and strategies that will eliminate importation of rice in the medium to long term.