Effect of Farmer Field School Training on Cowpea Production among Small Scale Farmers in Kebbi State, Nigeria

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Nigeria being considered as the largest producer of cowpea in the world, still has the majority of small- scale cowpea farmers producing below the expected yield per hectare. Relevant agricultural training for these small-scale farmers on new technologies and management practices using group-based approach like Farmer Field School (FFS), may assist in improving the farmers’ level of production. The study therefore, assessed the effect of farmer field school training on cowpea production among small-scale farmers in Kebbi State, Nigeria. The objectives were to: (i) examine the socio-economic characteristics of the farmers; (ii) examine participants perception of the relevance of FFS training;(iii) determine the factors influencing small-scale farmers participation in FFS training; (iv) determine the effect of FFS training on cowpea production on FFS and non-FFS participants; (v) examine economic status of FFS and non-FFS participants vi compare the income of FFS and non-participants (vii) identify the constraints faced by FFS farmers. A four-stage sampling technique was used to select 288 respondents. First stage involved a purposive selection from the list of FFS sites in each agro-ecological zone. Second stage involved a random selection of 1 local government area in each zone selected. Third stage involved random selection of 4 FFS participating communities. Fourth stage involved random selection of 30% of cowpea farmers (480) to give sample size of 144 participants. Same procedure was used to select 144 non-FFS participants. Data were collected using questionnaire, while descriptive statistics and probit regression were employed for analysis. The finding of the study were that: majority of the participants were male (81.9%), married (77.8%), mean age (41years, farming experience (18.5years), and average farm size (1.6/hectares). Similarly, majority of the non-participants were male (81.2%), married (79.2%), mean age (44.8years), farming experience (15.3 years) and average farm size (1.30/hectares); the participants perceived training received on cowpea production as relevant-land preparation techniques(X ̅_w=3.59),recommended spacing (X ̅_w=3.50), time of planting and method of pests and diseases control ( X ̅_w=3.39). the variables that significantly influenced participation in the training were age (p<0.05), household size (p<0.10), extension contact (p<0.01), credit access (p<0.0.05), farm size (p<0.01), cowpea farm size (p<0.01) and cooperative membership (p<0.01); the training increased the yield of participants by 100.50kg/hectare above their counterparts. higher proportion (47.2%) of the participants were in middle economic status while half (50.0%) of the non-participants were in low economic status; the mean income of the participants (N 180,277.78) was significantly higher than that of non-participants (p<0.05) and the major constraints experienced by the participants in the programme were inadequate capital (X ̅_w=3.47) and higher cost of (X ̅_w=3.54). The study concluded that FFS training had significant effect on the participants’ cowpea yields, on-farm income and common items of economic value. The study therefore recommended that FFS programme should be extended to non-participating LGAs in Kebbi State, this will help in attaining self-sufficiency in cowpea production in the state and Nigeria in general.



Farmer Field School Training, Cowpea Production, Small Scale Farmers, Kebbi State