Differences in Food Crop Diversification between Male and Female Smallholder Farmers in Kwara State, Nigeria
AbstractDeclining crop yields, increased agricultural risks, diminishing soil fertility and environmental degradation are some of the main challenges which continue to threaten societal goals of improving food, income and nutrition security especially in smallholder farming. The study therefore assessed the gender gap in food crop diversification among smallholder farmers in Kwara State, Nigeria. A two-stage sampling technique was used to select 384 respondents disaggregated into 197 male and 187 female. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used for data analysis. Findings showed that the mean age of male farmers was 48 years while that of female was 46 years with most (53.4 and 62.9%) of male and female farmers did not attend school at all with about 46.6 and 37.1% of male and female farmers respectively had one form of education or the other. Results showed that the mean number of food crop grown by male farmers was 4.8 while that of female was 3.3 and most (51.4 and 49.3%) of male and female farmers growing 5 and 3 crops at a time respectively. Findings from crop diversification index showed that most of male farmers fall into high diversification group (0.60-0.70) while most female farmers were moderately (0.50-0.60) diversified. It further shows that education, farm size and access to farm machineries and credit positively and significantly influence the extent of crop diversification among male and female smallholder farmers (P≥0.05). It could be concluded that male farmers were found to be highly diversified compare to female farmers. It was recommends that extension education toward bridging gender gap in farmers’ literacy, skills and training on crop diversification should be promoted.
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