Demand for rice in Nigeria has been increasing in recent years, and it has now become a food security and cash commodity crop. Rice features regularly on the daily menus of almost all Nigerians, and currently consumption is estimated at about 5 million tonnes annually. Although the country produces over 2 million tonnes of rice each year, representing about half of its rice requirement, research reports indicate that the rice is of poorer quality and grade than imported rice owing to the presence of broken and damaged grains, stones, and other impurities. This has led to low consumer demand for domestic rice. The poor competitive status of the local product in the domestic and international markets is thus discouraging and hampering the development of the rice industry in Nigeria. This study carried out an assessment of the paddy rice processing and quality control methods used in Nigeria. Milled rice samples from selected target areas were analyzed for specific physical and cooking qualities, including head rice yield; ratio of broken, cracked, and damaged grain; foreign matter; whiteness; hardness; cooking time; grain elongation and swelling ratios; and water uptake. The results, which were compared with those obtained from two foreign milled rice samples, showed significantly greater percentages of broken, and damaged grains in rice milled in Nigeria (Lafia 1, Lafia 2, and Assakio) than in those produced and milled in other countries (referred to here as Thailand and Japan) (p<0.05). Head rice yield was significantly lower in domestic rice than in foreign rice (p<0.05. Notably, no foreign matter was found in the Thailand and Japan samples. Mean cooking time for Japan (non-parboiled rice) was about 16 min and between 15 and 23 min for the other (all parboiled) rice. There were no significant differences in grain elongation among the samples, but the swelling ratio was better in the domestic rice samples Lafia 1 and Lafia 2 than in the Thailand and Japan samples. The water uptake value in Thailand (2.07) was significantly greater than that in the domestic rice (1.54 to 1.81) (p<0.05). It is therefore concluded that the methods of postharvest handling in Nigeria produced rice with poor physical quality and average cooking quality, even though the swelling ratio, one of the most important influences on consumer choice, was better in Nigerian rice. There is an urgent need for the Nigerian Government and other stakeholders in the rice value chain to invest in infrastructure, machinery, methodologies, and policies that will improve paddy rice processing capacity and processes and bring about the muc-needed improvement in the quality of Nigerian domestic rice.
Biotechnology has been widely acknowledged as a modern tool that holds the potential to improve agricultural production. Adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops could contribute toward alleviating food insecurity in Kenya, but the attitudes and perceptions of stakeholders are crucial to the acceptance of GM products. The aim of this study was to assess public perceptions of GM crops and foods in Trans-Nzoia County, Kenya. A semi-structured questionnaire survey was conducted with 179 respondents, including 55 farmers and 124 consumers, in both rural and urban areas. The results were analyzed to determine predictors for the willingness to produce and consume GM crops and food products. Farmers' and consumers' perceptions influenced their approval of the use of GM technology. The results indicate that gender, basic knowledge of GM technology, and information access and dissemination are likely to influence the adoption of GM technology by farmers. Consumers who are familiar with government policy and have basic knowledge and share information on GM crops are more likely to approve of the technology than those who do not. Farmers were concerned with the environmental risks associated with GM technology and its possible effect on marketing crops both locally and abroad. Consumers expressed concerns about possible health risks, the ability of the government to protect them, and the acceptance of GM products in the local market. Disapproval of GM products by both farmers and consumers was influenced by the perception of high risks and low benefits. The findings of this study can help policymakers when designing public awareness and risk-communication strategies targeting farmers and consumers to address potential concerns when promoting the use of GM technology.
Shortages of household successors and labor will pose a challenge to the agricultural sector in Thailand. Since 1989, agricultural employment has decreased. The decrease has been especially sharp among the 15- to 24-year-old age group, because many young workers took up employment in other sectors, educational enrollment has increased, and declining population growth rates have reduced their numbers. In addition, the move toward an aging society and the decline in the number of younger people who want to work in farming will lead to a shortage of agricultural labor and farm successors. Hence, succession plans for the future of family farms are of serious concern. The aim of this study was to analyze the decisions of heads of farming families regarding successors. A survey of 237 farming families was conducted in the harvest season in 2011 in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, southern Thailand. The age of the household head, the value of agricultural land, the value of non-agricultural household assets, the younger generation's experience in farming, and the irrigation ratio all significantly influenced the household head's plans for succession. The household head's education level was not, however, a significant factor because of the competing effects of the head's better management ability and the better non-farm job opportunities afforded to the educated younger generation.
Crop productivity and soil management are dependent on and also affect soil fertility. Farmers apply fertilizer to boost production, but over time this can also lead to chemical imbalances in the soil, such as the accumulation of toxic elements or soil acidification, that reduce crop yields and cause farmers to react by increasing fertilizer application rates. Having observed this phenomenon in Bangladesh, I undertook the study reported herein in two districts of Bangladesh, where the main crop grown was potatoes in one district and rice in the other. The objective of the study was to evaluate soil fertility, nutrients, and organic matter. Ten samples were collected, one at each depth of 15 cm and 85 cm from five sites, three in Munshiganj and two in Comilla. The main soil textures were described and a suite of chemical properties was analyzed in the laboratory. The soil textures were silt clay loam to clay loam. The topsoil samples were strongly acidic to slightly acidic, with pH values ranging from 4.37 to 5.64. The cation exchange capacity (CEC) of the soil samples were high, ranging from 25.4 to 34.8 cmolc kg-1. In general, hig-CEC soils do not need to be limed as frequently as low-CEC soils; however, the low pH values at these sites suggest that liming is required to achieve optimal pH values. Exchangeable sodium was high, ranging from 5.85 to 76.72 cmolc kg-1. Exchangeable calcium was low, ranging from 1.21 to 2.42. Exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) levels were higher than 15%, indicating that the soils would be prone to dispersion, poor water infiltration, potential sodium toxicity to plants, and calcium deficiency. Soil organic carbon and total nitrogen content in topsoil samples ranged from 12.11 to 19.21 g kg-1 and 1.35 to 2.25 g kg-1, respectively. Overall, these results indicate that the soils have received excessive application of chemical fertilizer and that soil fertility had declined as a result through sodium toxicity and calcium deficiency. Regular soil sampling and communication of recommended application rates to farmers, as well as general awareness-raising activities on the subject of soil fertility, might help reduce the excessive application of fertilizer and lead to better soil fertility.
In Ghana, soybean production has been promoted by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to increase cash income and improve the nutritional status of rural households. However, as yet there has been little increase in soybean cultivation. To an even greater extent than with other, already common crops, soybean production depends on a variety of socioeconomic factors, along with technical requirements such as access to improved seed cultivars; adequate land preparation, planting, weeding, and pests and diseases control; and appropriate harvesting, postharvest handling, processing, marketing, and product utilization (MoFA, 2006). My aim was to help support the livelihoods of the Ghanaian people—particularly rural women—by promoting soybean production and consumption and disseminating technological information among agricultural extension staff. To identify the technical and socioeconomic constraints on soybean production, in 2010 I conducted a household survey of 42 randomly selected respondents in 10 communities in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba district of the northern region of Ghana. The interviews included questions on land tenure and use, input acquisition, agronomic practices, technology adoption, postharvest loss, and processing, marketing, and product use. I also interviewed seven traders and one agro-processing company that dealt with soybean. The results showed that farmers were not obtaining the expected incomes from soybean because the processing and marketing channels were poorly organized; this had led to low prices for the crop. Farmers grew the crop mostly for cash income, but the low prices were negatively affecting production and the farmers were unwilling to increase their production levels. The results also showed that, among farmers, the level of adoption of technology that would improve soybean production was low, resulting in low yields. Pests and diseases were becoming prominent threats to production and could also have been factors in the low yields.
The Livestock Production Extension System, a division of the Laos Extension for Agriculture Project (LEAP), is playing a major role in poverty reduction by promoting sustainable rural development. To improve the quality of life of people in the target region, a field survey was conducted to analyze and characterize the current situation of 78 households in 8 villages in the Sopchia Cluster, Phonexay District, Louangprabang Province, Laos. Most (95%) of these villagers belong to the Khmu ethnic group, who typically are poor and minimally educated. Data were collected through individual interviews by trained personnel using a custom questionnaire. The data revealed that: 1) Although agriculture was a main source of income in the target villages, income remained low owing to limited land area and low productivity; 2) Life expectancy was low in all 8 target villages, most likely because of health problems caused by insufficient food; 3) The 3 major crops produced in the area are upland rice, followed by maize and cassava; much of the grain produced is used to feed pigs; 4) Livestock particularly pigs are not only the main source of income but also the primary protein source. The quality of life of the people in the 8 villages likely could be improved by information sharing and modernization of pig production systems though the Livestock Production Extension System under LEAP.
Many cultivars of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) are grown worldwide, including those cultivated by most smallholder farmers in Ghana as a cash crop. Ghana’s agricultural production is highly dependent on rainfed and its marketing systems are not efficient for the smallholder farmer who grows tomato and other staple crops. Better marketing and production strategies are necessary for the smallholder farmers to improve income levels. Linear programming and parametric linear programming models were applied to develop optimum income-maximizing crop allocation strategies for smallholder farmers. Optimum crop allocation on a 2.5-ha farm was 1.25 ha (50%) tomatoes, 0.75 ha (30%) maize, and 0.50 ha (20%) cassava. Optimum income levels were estimated using land and labor constraints, variable cost conditions, and production data for these crops in three single local markets and a combination of the markets. Theoretically, income could be maximized by selling only to Ashiaman Market compared with the other two market, but in practice, farmers need to ship produce to all three markets because of transactional cost which are incurred through transportation. Increasing the farm size from 2.5 ha to 8.64 ha for the selected crops increased income in both the single and combined markets even after accounting for increased labor inputs. Considering these findings, Government role is considered necessary in developing and strengthening Farmer Base Organization in value chain concept for tomato production and establish market information centre in the District.
The objectives of this research were: 1) to study reasons for being in debt and their solutions based on farmer intellect in the central region of Thailand and 2) to seek suggestions on being debt-free for graduate students in agricultural extension to prepare for their careers, strengthen their careers and create networking. Triangular techniques were utilized with documentary analysis, in-depth interviews and observations in the locale of five farmers who managed and provided consultations to successfully solve debt problems and were honored by the Office of the Education Council of the Ministry of Education. Research findings revealed that 1) debts were caused by forgetting ways of past living, forgetting self-realization, surrendering to obstacles, relying on mono crops only and neglecting local wisdom. Application of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to life, application of Islamic principles to develop a community, management of resources, wise use of household expenses and income, and the formation of groups for community businesses were effective to alleviate debt problems. 2) Suggestions for career preparation by applying the Sufficiency Economy principles, the support of government policies to solve debts, the support of families to encourage children to return home to work and the development of curricula upon learners’ self-realization, wisdom and practicability were also revealed. To strengthen students’ careers, academic institution should emphasize student potentiality, promotion of work and group work, support of group leaders, and empowerment of the community. Students should develop their capacity, have honest leaders to coordinate with other networks, have group coalition with good intentions, and establish career learning centers to create networking.
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