CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background to the Study Nigeria is largely an agrarian country, because 70 percent of the population is engaged in agricultural production at a sustainable level despite the fact that the country depend on the oil industry for its budgeting revenues (WHO, 2006). The importance of this sector is more pronounced in the developing countries including Nigeria where it is the main thrust of national survival, employment, food and foreign exchange earnings (Adebayo et al. 2005). Nigeria is a nation blessed with good climatic condition that favours agricultural production. Nigeria's wide range of climatic variation allows it to produce a wide variety of cash crops, fruits and vegetables. However, food production trend does not correspond to the population growth of Nigeria which is put at about 3.2 percent. The rate of growth of Nigeriaâs food production has been very low. Food growth rate has been put at 2.65 percent and population growth at 3.2 percent, leaving a food deficit of 0.55 percent (CBN, 2007). Despite the great inherent potential for farming in Nigeria, the country has not kept up with the rapid population growth due to the decline in agricultural production as a result of the discovery of oil and gas. According to Abdullahi (2001), the general lack of scientific and technological capacity will severely limit actual production in spite of the inherent potential. Also poor resource base, coupled with competing demands for other developmental needs makes public funding for agriculture grossly inadequate. Mention could also be made of poor prioritization, mismanagement of limited resources and lack of sufficient political will as additional factor limiting agricultural growth in most developing countries, Nigeria inclusive (Iken and Amusa, 2004; Oniah, 2005). In spite of the different initiative programmes by successive Governments aimed at boosting agricultural production in Nigeria such as the River Basin Development Authority, Land Use Decree, World Bank Assisted Agricultural Development Programme, National Fadama Development Project, Root and Tuber Expansion Programme , and the Special Programme on Food Security (Panwal et.al. 2006), the horticultural sub-sector still remain relatively under-developed. The horticultural sub-sector also reflects the problem in the agricultural sub-sector. These problems include inadequate knowledge of production, technology of production, insufficient planting materials, land tenure, poor extension and insufficient post harvest facilities (Babatola, 2004).Horticultural crop production in Nigeria has been hampered by the policy and fiscal constraints of the government. It has received very little attention in the national perspective plan for agricultural development (Oseni, 2004). In addition, Nigeria has only one research institute, the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) established in 1975 for all horticultural crops. Fruit crop farming in Nigeria is associated with general negative outcomes stemming from imperfect predictable biological climatic and price variables. Those variables include natural adversities such as pest and diseases, weather factors not within the control of the agricultural producer and adverse fluctuation in both input and output prices. Fruits are of great nutritional value. Fruits have been significantly singled out in human nutrition for the supply of minerals and vitamins, hormone pre-cursors in addition to protein and energy (Taylor, 2003). Fruit production forms a substantial percentage (about 25%) of the major food crops cultivated in the tropics and so it is the source of livelihood for a considerable section of the population (Abba, 2004). In spite of their importance in the diet, per capita consumption of fruits in Nigeria is only 100g compared with 400g per head per day as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). In Nigeria, numerous quantities of fruits and vegetables are produced and staggering figures are given as estimated annual production level (Dauda et al. 2008). Pineapple (Ananas comosus) belongs to the family of bromeliaceae. Pineapple is popularly known as “queen of fruit” because of its excellent flavour, shape and taste of fruit (Mali et al. 2001). It is one of the most important commercial fruits of the world and also available throughout the year. Collins (1980) and David and Adam (1991) stated that the primary areas of world production of Pineapple are the Philippine, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and part of Africa. The fruit is relatively drought resistance and can be grown in the sub tropical and dry region as well as the humid tropics (FAO, 1990). The Pineapple is the second fruit of importance after banana, contributing over 20 percent of the world production of tropical fruits (Coveca, 2002). Nearly 70 percent of the Pineapple is consumed as fresh fruit in producing countries. Its origin had been traced to Brazil and Paraguay in the Amazonic basin where the fruit was domesticated (FAO, 2008). Until recently about 80% of Pineapple produced in Nigeria came from small scale farms managed under mixed cropping system. Recent access to international markets, enhanced value of fresh fruits, resuscitation of pineapple cultivation and local processing have encouraged the development of few large scale farms where Pineapple is produced as a mono crop (Adesope et al. 2009). 1.2 Problem Statement Securing adequate food supply has been the fundamental concern of mankind over the millennia and even in todayâs modern world of great scientific and technological achievements. The world is faced with the problem of food shortage. Obiefunna and Lemechi (2001) reported that majority of the people in West Africa lack adequate food that are rich in nutrients needed by man for health and reproductive life. Between 1998 and 2000, more than a quarter of the population of Africa was chronically undernourished (FAO, 2002). In sub-Saharan Africa, it is expected that the number of undernourished people will increase from 180 million in 1997 to 184 million by 2015 (Ijeoma, 2004). This stands in sharp contrast to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving hunger and malnutrition and poverty by 2015. Nigeria up till now is yet to achieve 5 percent total calories intake of non–starch food recommended by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the 400g per head per day fruit as recommended by the World Health Organization (FAO, 2002). These, however, could not be achieved without using appropriate technologies. There are several production constraints that impede the full benefit of fruits as an important supplementary source of food and nutrients. Population growth and poverty which pervade sub-Sahara Africa continues to emphasize the need to increase food production (Adinya et al. 2008). Predominant use of traditional system of farming is leading to declining agricultural production (Adinya, 2001). The traditional system of agricultural production still dominate with characteristically low technological base, high reliance on manual labour and hence low resource productivity. Manual farm operation imposed several limitations on farmersâ capacity to increase their farm size and is technically inefficient and labour intensive (Amaza et al. 2002). The transformation of agriculture from low productivity traditional inputs to high productivity modern inputs is a major problem facing agricultural development in sub-Sahara African countries (Ibrahim et al. 2006). Despite the nutritional and commercial value of fruits including pineapple, their production remains low in Nigeria. Excessive feeding on starchy food has been found to cause malnutrition and the resultant effect is the adverse effect on oneâs health; particularly the mental capability, working productivity and eventually the overall national economic growth. Malnutrition reduces the working capacity of farmers and their families. In several cases, serious physical and mental retardation and even death may occur. As a result of the reduced working capacity, income may decrease and poverty may increase (AVRDC, 2004). Aside its nutritive and economic importance, therefore, pineapple production has encouraging potentials for foreign exchange earnings, increase national income through the expansion of local industries and higher incomes for farmers involved in its production. This study seeks to address the following research questions: i. What are the socio-economic characteristics of pineapple farmers in the study area? ii. What are the costs and returns associated with pineapple production? iii. What is the technical relationship between input and output in pineapple production? iv. What is the technical efficiency of pineapple production? v. What is the economic efficiency of pineapple production?
vi. What are the major constraints facing pineapple production?