Current Research Journal of Social Sciences 3(2): 54-58, 2011 ISSN: 2041-3246 © Maxwell Scientific Organization, 2011 Received: September 18, 2010 Accepted: November 01, 2010
Published: March 30, 2011
Land Fragmentation and Agricultural Development in Tivland of Benue State, Nigeria V.V. Kakwagh, 2J.A. Aderonmu and 3A. Ikwuba 1 Department of Sociology, 2 Department of Political Science, Kogi State University, Anyigba-Nigeria 3 Department of Sociology, Benue State University, Makurdi-Nigeria Abstract: This study examines the impact of land fragmentation on agricultural development in Tivland of Benue State, Nigeria. The study reveals that the land tenure system in Tivland encourages partitioning of land based on inheritance. A development which leads to excessive subdivision of land into plots of small sizes that are scattered over long walking distances. The study argues that due to small nature of farm sizes, farmers only engage in subsistence farming with barely surplus to generate income. Besides, the dispersal of land holdings and unstaggered planting does not allow the land to be put into effective productive use. The study recommends that policies and agricultural programmes in Nigeria should take into cognizance the existing land tenure systems and the problems that emanate from them. In addition, problems associated with small sized farms and dispersal of holdings can be resolved through the provision of infrastructural facilities. Finally, irrigation facilities should be introduced in Tivland to boost dry season farming. Key words: Agriculture, irrigation farming, land fragmentation, land holding, Tivland INTRODUCTION In Nigeria, despite the dominance of the oil sector, agriculture still plays significant roles in economic development. It provides food for the growing population and raw materials for industries. It also serves as a source for foreign exchange and capital formation (Awotide and Agbola, 2010). Nigeria is endowed with enormous arable land. Yet, agriculture is dominated by small holder farmers who operate several small and scattered farms. The small size and scattered nature of the farms is because of land fragmentation which is a logical consequence of inheritance practices. It is through inheritance procedures that land is fragmented in Nigeria. There is controversy over the benefits and costs of land fragmentation. Some researchers have claimed that land fragmentation allows farmers with scattered plots to benefit from risk management through the use of multiple eco-zones and the practice of crop scheduling. It also enables farmers to disperse and reduce risk by a variety of soils and other micro-climatic and micro-environmental variations. Fragmentation also makes it possible for farmers to grow a variety of crops that mature and ripen at different times; so that they can concentrate their labour on different plots at different times thereby avoiding household labour bottlenecks (Bentley, 1987). Despite this position by Bentley, the most popular and widely accepted position by scholars and land tenure researchers is that land fragmentation constrains agricultural development. The costs associated with fragmentation are seen principally in terms of inefficient resource allocation (labour and capital) and the resulting cost increase in agricultural production (Shuhao, 2005). According to Mcpherson (1983) and Simpson (1987), land fragmentation imposes detrimental effects on agriculture in three ways; (1) creating inefficiency (2) hindering agricultural modernization, and (3) making it costly to modify adverse effects by consolidation schemes. In addition, it causes physical problems, operational difficulties and foregone investment to individual farmer (Mcpherson, 1983; Simpson, 1987). In Nigeria, small sized farms are characterized by low level of operation, low literacy of operators, and a labour intensive production technology with hired labour cost constituting about 60% of the total cash...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document