Unintended consequences of arable crop technology within farming systems in oyo state nigeria

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Oladele, O.I and Oladipo, O.A

Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development

University of Ibadan, Nigeria


Agriculture is the main stay of the Nigeria economy and it is practiced by the peasant’s farmers. A lot of problems predispose these peasants’ farmers to low productivity. To improve their production, researchers found out some agricultural technology, which aim to increase the output produced. However, this agricultural technology produces negative consequences, which led to discontinuity in usage.

Hence an attempt was made to study the consequences of arable crops technology in Oyo state. Sampling was achieved through multi stage random sampling (using questionnaire), One hundred and twenty farmers were selected for the study frequency counts chi-square and Pearson product moment. Correlation (PPMC), statistical tests were used to analyze the data collected. It was discovered that agricultural technology that benefits with little or no negative consequences are readily adopted. Fertilizer application: 68.3%, local alkali farm residue treatment: 67.5%, use of contour bonds: 10%, cereal/legume inter cropping: 88.3%.

The source of information to farmers can be assumed to be through friends, neighbors and family members since non-contact with extension agent is 66.7% and contact is 24.20%. Chi-square was used to determine the relationship between the unintended consequences and some independent variables. Marital status shows X2 = 18.14 and p = 0.001 while others include educational level (X2 = 7.84, p = 0.35), gender (X2 = 0.84 and p = 0.66), Religion (X2 = 0.94, p = 0.82), Membership of farmers association (X2 = 1.10, p = 0.58), Membership of cooperative (X2 = 0.09, p = 0.96), Membership of religious organization (X2 = 1.06, p = 0.06), Membership of past executive (X2 = 1.22, = 0.01). The result shows that marital status, significant relationship i.e. they have no effect.

PPMC was used to test the relationship between unintended consequences and some independent variables. It was discovered that benefits (r = -0.40, p = 0.00), adoption (r = 0.04, p 0.00) social participation (r = 0.20, p = 0.03) and contact with extension agents (r = -0.25, p = 0.006) are significant while age and farm size with r = 0.06, p = 0.47 and r = 0.02, p = 0.84 respectively are not significant . Also, PPMC was used to test the relationship between perceived benefits (i.e. significant) while age contact with extension agents; social participation and farm size are not significant. The Multiple Regression Analysis of unintended consequences and independent variables shows that there is significant relationship between unintended consequences and independent variables. F = 5.56 p = 0.00. The most important predictor are adoption, frequency of meetings and cassava productivity.

The ANOVA table shows that there is no significant differences among different educational level of respondents for adoption (F = 1.54, p = 1.60) of technology and benefits (F =1.12 and p = 0.35) derived while these is a significant difference in the unintended consequences (F = 3.05 and p = 0.006) among respondents


The production of crops and livestock plays an important role in the economy of the country, by supplying food for the people, providing raw materials for industries, and also income and shelter as well as foreign exchange for the country. Over the years, Nigeria’s agricultural productivity has been declining and several factors contributed to it. Among which is the discovery of oil in large commercial quantities (thus making oil to enjoy the goodwill of the government, over all other sectors of the economy, scourge of natural environment (which results in seasonal periodicity of rainy and dry seasons), nature of the soil, poor credit facilities to farmers, lack of proper management techniques and wrong allocation of scarce resources.

Also, agricultural production is largely in the hand of peasants farmers and the characteristics of these peasant farmers predisposes them to low productivity. The problem of low productivity and inadequate food and raw materials supply led to the invention of agricultural technologies to increase production and improved the living standard of farm families. Technology is the application of knowledge for practical purposes (Swanson, 1997). Technology is also defined as the translation of scientific laws into machines, tools, mechanical devices, instruments, innovations, procedures, and techniques to accomplish tangible ends, attain specific needs or manipulate the environment for practical purposes (Theodorson and Theodorson 1969).

Blumberg (1987) described technology as the actions that an individual performs upon an object with or without the aid of tools or mechanical devices, in order to make a change in that object. Also, Schunacher et al (1980) define technology as knowledge composed of two divisions, one that involves technical inputs to production that is equipment, material and hardware, the other is the process of production. The World Bank (1980) simply defined technology as a systematic research effort to develop new methods and increase productivity or technical efficiency.

Swanson (1992), classify agricultural technology into material technology (which is the incorporation of knowledge into a technological products such as equipments, tools, agro chemicals, improved plant varieties and improved breed of animal) and knowledge based technology (which are the requirement for the farmers to grow crops or produced animal. Examples are technical knowledge and management skills).

Technological change has been the basis for agricultural development. Therefore, the adoption of agricultural technology has made much differences in the farming activities of subsistence farmers as most of these technologies have provided job opportunities to some people in the social system, increase the standard of living, reduce labour, provide income and have control a lot of diseases infestation in both crops and animal.


Agricultural technology is the use of knowledge, which results in a higher standard of living for both consumers, and producers of agricultural or agricultural products. It can also be defined as the developments of a device, a process that improved crops or animal strains, saves agricultural or aquacultural labour, improved cultural practices, or may control a disease or pest on plants or animals.

Agricultural technology generation is taken as an institutional research system designed to bring out improved technologies and knowledge for use in agriculture (Idowu and Osho 1992). Agricultural technology transfer can be conceptualized as the function designed to disseminate improved technologies to the end-user. (Adedipe 1995). New technologies fall into two broad categories (i) technologies for production, efficiency, profitability, and sustainability for agricultural systems and (2) information dissemination and information management. These two technical areas represent a variety of tools such as global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS); remote sensing, environmental control systems, irrigation systems, weather data collection systems, information management systems, and Internet information transfer.

Swanson (1993) identified the following types of technology. Crops technology which include genetic (improved varieties or hybrids), crop management practices, plant protection (integrated pest management), cropping systems. Livestock technology which include Genetic breed improvement, livestock management practices, animal health practices, forage or range management and other types of technology which are farming systems, soil and water management practices, farm mechanization, agro forestry, post-harvest technology and farm management.

The adoption of agricultural technology has reduce the drudgery tasks largely performed by women, save labour or hired labourers, provide more income for farm families thereby increasing their standard of living, provide employment and increase productivity.

The benefits achieved through the adoption of new agricultural technology cannot be over emphasized. Among them is the introduction of a mechanical thresher, which relieved both men and women of their threshing and substantially speeded the threshing process. As a result of this, rice farmers were encouraged to grow a second crop of rice which in turn led to increased employment for women in transplanting, weeding, and harvesting. The benefits substantially out weighted the small cost of reduced opportunities for manual labour in threshing (Paris and Pingali, 1994).

Another one is the controversial technology, irradiation, which has been the focus of research supported by agricultural service and education system. It was found out that the benefits and costs of irradiating poultry to enhance food safety showed that the public health benefits could outweigh the costs of the irradiation technology.


Agricultural technology adopted by farmers were supposed to increase agricultural growth with a higher standard of living for farm households or at a minimum provide higher food security, ensure timeliness of operation and also reduce drudgery. Some of these technical packages have negative effects or unintended consequences. Heyzer, (1992) reported that the introduction of technology has brought opportunities for every substantial member of people, but it has also created new inequalities or reinforced existing ones.

Moris and Thom (1990) reported the introduction of swamp rice in Sierra-Leone, which provide farmers with a variety of rice that is not subjected to rainfall uncertainty and less affected by training decisions. On the negative side the variety is not palatable and harden to sell, requires high initial labour input and it occurs in unpleasant condition.

The water-harvesting project in Kenya introduced expensive construction work to trap surface water. After severe drought, diversion bounds were required to be built by those receiving food aid (Women whose husband have died). However, the construction has no relation on the way to their own farming (goat and rearing and planting of sorghum). Rainstorms in the area created flows of water, which was enough to breach the unconsolidated structures and these lead them to catastrophic failure (Hogg, 1988).

The project of USAID in Tanzania was to modernize the traditional semi nomadic production of Massai pastoralists. Their objective was to stimulate beef off take to pay for range improvements, provide modern veterinary services, water development and livestock marketing. Insurance was provided to recognize and remove social obstacles. However, there was no demonstrable improvement in the rotational grazing over the existing practice under bimodal rainfall regime. The project technical goal was on the assumption that Maasai people produce beef and willing to sell cattle commercially whereas they are not, they are milk producers that has small livestock. Also, the improved breeding bull provided require more water and forage, they were not able to trek alongside with their cows and show no interest in them, may also be affected by endemic coast fever which might result into death (Moris, 1990)

The Mwea rice irrigation scheme in Kenya provides commercial rice to an area that did not produce rice traditionally. The problem faced by women, gender relations and peasant farming was exempted (Hanger and Moris, 1973; Wisemen, 1982). The scheme was designed to fulfill both a social and an economic purpose. The scheme was made a development success story by some policy makers as 3,000 titled tenants and their families working 1.6ha on a settlement where surface irrigation was provided. However, the plots allocated for rice production was not enough and also marginal in quality and the supply of rice for their family was not sufficient. The women workload was substantially increased over traditional agricultural production especially during harvest. The role governing the project was not to adhere to as the women sold their rice on black market to cater for their customary needs (Jackson, 1985).

Idachaba (2002) reviews the unintended consequences of agricultural policies in Nigeria. These policies include fertilizer subsidies, commodity price support scheme and commodity boards, River Basin Development Authorities, Operation Feed the Nation, marketing boards and strategic grain measure. The intended beneficiaries are the small-scale farmers in the country. However, the merchants, contractors, middlemen, government officials and transporters were the people that benefited from these policies on the long run.

Another instance is the Kano irrigation project in Nigeria. The intended crop of Kano irrigation project was wheat for urban bread suppliers though tomatoes were also planned. Farmers were registered with government and they provide infrastructure canals for irrigation. The individual farmland unirrigated was exchange with equivalent irrigated land nearby. Credit facilities were provided for 2 years as the farmers were expected to have generated enough money to continue to maintain the scheme. Fertilizer; seeds, leveling of the land, provision of water at cost were supplied by management and the crop produce was to be marketed through local trading network. Jackson (1985) found that there were serious consequences for producing locally and their nutrition, the economic power of women and gender relation. Their traditional crops was lost and also the symbiosis between the agricultural Hausa and the nomadic Fulani was undermined.

Several problems which farmers encounter in the adoption of new agricultural technology disseminated through the linkage system have made some farm families worse-off than if they have been left alone. From the foregoing the following research questions emanate from the study.

  1. What are the personal characteristics of arable crop farmer?

  2. What are the perceived positive consequences of the arable technology?

  3. What are the perceived unintended consequences of arable crop technology?

  4. Are farmers’ perceptions of agricultural technology influenced by contact with extension agent?


The general objective of this study was to analyze the farmers’ perception of the consequences of arable crop technology in Oyo State.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To examine the use of arable crop technology in Oyo State

  2. To determine the positive and negative consequences of arable crop technology in Oyo State.

  3. To identify the personal characteristics of arable crop farmers.

  4. To examine farmers contact with extension agent.


  1. There is no significant relationship between farmers’ personal characteristics and their perception of positive consequences of technologies.

  2. There is no significant relationship between farmer personal characteristics and their perception of unintended consequences of technology.

  3. There is no significant relationship between farmer contact with extension agent and their perception of positive consequences of technologies.

  4. There is no significant relation between farmer contact with agent and their perception of unintended consequences of technologies.


The area of study is Oyo State in Nigeria. It is situated at Latitude 70N and 9030’N and Longtitude 20E and 40E. The area is bounded by Osun State from the east, Benin Republic by the West, Ogun State by the south and Kwara State by the north. It has a population of 4.6 million people (Census, 1991).

The area has a total land size 48, 862 sq.km. The vegetation is rain forest, though the northern part of the state features derived savannah. It has two distinct climate seasons. It is dry between November and March and rainy between April and October.

The rainfall yearly ranges between 1,000mm and 1,800mm. It is 500m above sea level. It has 33 local government areas their major occupation is farming. Food crops grown are maize, yam, cassava, pepper while cocoa, plantain, oil palm and kolanut forms the bulk of the cash crops. They also engage in other occupation such as trading, crafts, weaving, processing of agricultural products and selling of food and snacks.


The population of study comprises of all farmers adopting various arable crop technologies in Oyo State.This was done through the use of multistage sampling technique. There are four agricultural zone in Oyo State namely: Ibadan/Ibarapa, Saki, Ogbomoso, and Oyo with 5,5,2 and 3 blocks respectively. The numbers of cells for these respective blocks are 24, 31, 16 and 20. Three cells were randomly selected in Ibadan/Ibarapa and Saki zones while two cells were selected in each of Ogbomoso and Oyo zones making a total number of 10 cells. This is about 10% of the total number of cells from the total cells. From Ibadan/Ibarapa and Saki zones 36 farmers were be selected while 24 farmers were selected from sampled cells of Ogbomoso and Oyo zones. This is based on the fact that each cell has an average of 120 farmers.



















Sampled cells






Number of farmers per cell/120 per cell






Sampled farmers






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