FARMERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF ORGANIC FARMING IN SELECTED LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS OF EKITI STATE, NIGERIA OYESOLA, OLUTOKUNBO B AND OBABIRE, IBIKUNLE E. Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. e-mail: email@example.com
The study investigated farmers’ perception of organic farming in selected Local Government Areas of Ekiti State, Nigeria, with the specific objectives of assessing the demographic characteristics of farmers, identifying the major crops grown by the farmers, assessing farmers’ sources of information on organic farming, examining farmers’ knowledge of organic farming, as well as assessing farmers’ perception about organic farming. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to select 160 farmers in the study area. The data collected were analyzed using frequency counts, percentages and Chi-square. Results obtained show that farmers in the study area are mostly male with a mean age of 53.8 years, married, and have formal education. Crops grown by the farmers include: maize, yam, cassava, plantain, vegetables, and tomato. Farmers’ sources of information on organic farming are radio, extension agents, television, newspapers, farmers association, fellow farmers, and relatives. Their most preferred sources of information are Mobile phones and radio. Farmers in the study area have a high knowledge of organic farming and favourable perception towards organic farming. Results further show that significant relationships exist between sources of information on organic farming and farmers’ perception of organic farming, as well as knowledge of organic farming and farmers’ perception of organic farming. These imply that those who have more access to information on organic farming tend to have a favourable perception towards organic farming than those who have less access to information on organic farming. In the same vein, the farmers with high knowledge of organic farming tend to have a favourable perception towards organic farming than those who have little knowledge of organic farming. Policy recommendations emanating from the study are: active involvement of youths and women in organic crop production, improvement of information sources on organic farming, and enlightenments on various organic methods of weed, pest and disease control through the regular sources of information on organic farming. Farmers should be motivated through credit facilities and discouragement of inorganic farming in order to ensure sustainable production of food, since the farmers have a favourable perception towards organic farming. Key words: Knowledge, Perception, Organic farming, Sources of Information
The mainstay of the Nigerian economy since independence is agriculture, as it accounts for over 38 percent of the non-oil foreign exchange earnings and employs about 70% of the active labour force of the population (BPE, 2004). Despite this level of involvement in agricultural production in Nigeria, the food produced can no longer meet the demand of the the fast growing population of the country. Attempts to increase food production in the country have brought about the expansion of farming area, as well as an increase in the use of agro-chemicals, the long-term effect of which does not support sustainable agriculture. In an attempt to promote organic agriculture and ensure the production of agricultural goods at a sustainable level, the second national conference on organic agriculture was held in Nigeria, under the auspices of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movement (IFOAM), where the participants were charged with the responsibilities of developing organic agriculture in Nigeria (IFOAM, 2007). The National Organic Standard Board (NOSB) has defined organic agriculture as ‘an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm...