The study examined broadly the socio-economic factors influencing the adoption of improved rice processing technologies by women in Jigawa State, Nigeria. The specific objectives were: (i) describe the socio-economic characteristics of the women rice processors in the study areas (ii) investigate the level of awareness of improved rice processing technologies by women rice processors in the study areas who were not trained (iii) determine the level of adoption of the technologies by both trained and untrained women rice processors in the study areas (iv) determine the socio-economic factors that influenced the adoption of the improved rice processing technologies by the trained and untrained groups (v) determine the constraints to the adoption of rice processing technologies faced by women in the study areas. Questionnaires were administered to 240 respondents; (120 trained and assisted with improved rice processing technologies by the Jigawa State Government and another 120 who were neither trained nor assisted with the improved rice processing technologies). Data collected were analysed by the use of descriptive frequencies and percentages, and inferential multiple regression analysis statistics. The study found that, the mean age of the respondents is 34 and the average household size was 6. Similarly, 70% of the respondents do not have formal education and 70.8% and 100% of the trained and untrained respondents respectively do not have contact with extension agent. The study further revealed that 45.8% and 54.2% of the trained and untrained respondents respectively has been in the processing business between 11-20 years which shows they are quiet experienced. The study revealed that 41.6% of the untrained groups were aware of all the technologies. The adoption rate of the technologies was generally low with the exception of rice mill which was adopted by 100% of the respondents. The regression analysis revealed that age (-0.102), processing experience (0.069), membership of association (0.248) and access to credit (0.094) significantly influenced the adoption of the improve rice processing technologies by the respondents. The major constraints to adoption of the improved rice processing technologies by the respondents among others include inadequate extension visits, inadequate credit facilities, inadequate availability of the equipment and No attractive price differences between the improved processed and locally processed milled rice. Based on the findings of the study, it is recommended that extension visits should be intensified so that processors can have more contact with extension agents. The level of awareness was low, more awareness creation should be done through step down training by the trained group. The level of adoption was low even though people patronize the product due to quality, processors should organize themselves into groups so that they can have good bargaining power against the middlemen. Women processors should be organized into groups, trained and linked up with financial institutions to enable them obtain credit to buy improved rice processing equipment to boost their processing business. Similarly, women processors should be enlightened to join adult literacy classes so that, at least they can comprehend instructions related to improved technologies in order to fast act adoption process.
Agriculture remains a key component of the Nigerian economy; currently, contributing about 25% of the Nigerian GDP, employing about two-third of the work force and accounting for about 5% of total exports. Similarly, Agriculture constitutes the single largest contributor to the well being of the rural poor, sustaining 90% of the rural labor force (CARD, 2010). Nigeria with a population of over 140 million people and a land area of 923,768 square kilometers has a total of over 79 million hectares of cultivable land. Out of this, 4.6 million hectares are suitable for rice production. Meanwhile, only about 1.8 million hectares or 39% is currently utilized for rice cultivation (CARD, 2009).
Rice serves as a food security commodity in Nigeria as well as being the fourth major cereal crop after sorghum, millet and maize both in terms of output and cultivated land areas. The estimated annual rice demand in the country is put at 5.0 million metric tonnes while it produces on the average about 3.0 million metric tonnes milled product leaving a deficit of 2.0 million metric tonnes which is bridged by importation (NCRI, 2009). Although, there was an increase in rice production between 1981 to 1990, average consumption was 15.8 kg//head/year in 1981 – 1990, and by 2007 it was 27kg/head/year. In 2006 self-reliance has decreased from 87.4% to 71% (National Bureau of Statistics Report, 2007). Total paddy requirement to meet National per capita consumption of 30kg/head/year is 6.5 million tonnes (4.2 million tonnes of milled rice). This will provide an aggregate processing gap of 3.7 million tonnes of paddy (NCRI, 2009).