EFFECT OF CONNECT POTATO VARIETY ON FARM PRODUCTIVITY IN PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA
productivity in Nigeria, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) project in collaboration with the National Root Crops Research Institute, introduced the Connect potato variety. The Connect potato variety is high yielding, blight resistant with a large tuber size and highly palatable. However, there is dearth of information on whether it has had any impact on potato farming or not. This study therefore examined the effect of the Connect potato variety on farm productivity in Plateau State, Nigeria. The objectives of the study were to: (i) estimate the level of usage of the Connect potato variety; (ii) identify the factors affecting the usage of the variety; (iii) compare the level of farm productivity of the two categories of farmers; (iv) compare the production efficiency of Connect potato variety with the local variety; (v) estimate the costs and return to potato production between the Connect users and non-users; and (vi) determine the effect of the Connect potato usage on farm productivity. The target population was potato farmers in the state. A two-stage sampling technique was used to draw a sample of 302 respondents from a total population of 10,213 potato farmers in the eight producing Local Government Areas. From the selected 302 respondents, 74 of them were users of the Connect variety while 228 were non-users. Cross-sectional data was used and were collected using a well-structured questionnaire. The statistical tools used for analysis were Heckman selection model, stochastic frontier model, total factor productivity index, gross margin analysis and the propensity score matching. The findings of the study were that: i. the average quantity of Connect potato variety planted by the users was 1485kg/ha which is low when compared to the required 3000kg per hectare; ii. the amount of credit (t-value = 3.39; p < 0.01), Connect seed price (t-value = 1.69; p < 0.1), membership of association (t-value = 1.91; p < 0.05), off-farm income (t-value = 1.66; p < 0.1), perception of variety’s relative importance (t-value = 2.33; p < 0.05) and availability (t-value = 8.67; p < 0.01) were the factors affecting the usage of Connect potato variety; iii. the Connect users had a significantly (t-stat = 2.37; p < 0.05) higher total factor productivity index (4.94) than the non-users (3.92); iv. the mean technical efficiency of the Connect users (88%) was significantly higher than that of the non-users (77%) (t-stat = 4.516; p < 0.01); v. the profitability estimates showed that the users and non-users have a gross margin of ₦1,869,122.1 and ₦722,040.79 per hectare, respectively; and vi. the users were better off in productivity by 1.09 units (t-stat = 2.00; p < 0.05); technical efficiency by 12% (t-stat = 4.16; p < 0.01) and returns on capital invested by ₦1.34 (t-stat = 3.86; p < 0.01). The study concluded that the use of Connect potato variety improved the productivity of potato farms and therefore recommended that farmers be encouraged to adopt the variety through effective sensitization programmes by the Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant agencies.