Research on Rural
The Experience of the Rural Economy
Research Unit in Northern Nigeria
David W. Norman
Rural Economy Research Unit
Agricultural Economics Department
Ahmadu Bello University
OLC Paper No. 6 Overseas Liaison Committee
April 1974 American Council on Education
American Council on Education
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Glenn H. Beck, Vice President for Agriculture, Kansas State University
Roy S. Bryce-Laporte, Research Sociologist and Director, Research Institute
for Immigration and Ethnic Studies, Center for the Study of Man,
John A. Carpenter, Professor of Social Foundations and Director of the
Center for International Education, University of Southern California
*James Carter, M.D., Director, Maternal and Child Health/Family
Planning, Training and Research Center, Meharry Medical College
Harlan Cleveland, President, University of Hawaii
Robert L. Clodius, Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of
*Rafael L. Cortada, Vice President, Hostos Community College of the City
University of New York
L Gray Cowan, Dean, Graduate School of Public Affairs, State University
of New York, Albany
Alfredo G. de los Santos, Jr., President, El Paso Community College
Cleveland Dennard, President, Washington Technical Institute
*James Dixon, President, Antioch College
*Carl Keith Eicher, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Michigan State
John W. Hanson, Professor of International Education and African
Studies, Michigan State University
Roger W. Heyns, ex officio, President, American Council on Education
Michael M. Horowitz, Professor of Anthropology, State University of
New York, Binghamton
Willard R. Johnson, Associate Professor of Political Science,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
*Arthur Lewis, Chairman, Department of Curriculum and Instruction,
University of Florida
Selma J. Mushkin. Professor of Economics and Director, Public
Services Laboratory, Georgetown University
*Inez Smith Reid, Associate Professorof Political Science, Barnard
College; Executive Director, Black Women's Community
Wayne A. Schutjer, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics
and Rural Sociology, Pennsylvania State University (effective
Rupert Seals, Dean, School of Agriculture and Home Economics,
Florida A and M University
James Turner. Associate Professor and Director, Africana Studie
and Research Center, Cornell University
*Members of the Executive Committee
1973/74 PANEL OF CONSULTANTS
Karl W. Bigelow, Professor Emeritus, Teachers College,
Paul Gordon Clark, Professor of Economics, Williams
Philip H. Coombs. Vice-Chairman, International Coun-
cil for Educational Development
C. W. de Kiewiet, President Emeritus, University of
Frederick Harbison, Professor of Economics and Public
Affairs and Roger William Straus Professor in Hu-
man Relations, Princeton University
Eldon L. Johnson, Vice President, University of Illinois
John S. McNown, Albert P. Learned Professor of Civil
Engineering, University of Kansas
Glen L. Taggart, President, Utah State University
Preface Although he is only 34 years old, Dr. David
Norman has already made a major impact on agricultural
economics research in Africa, and on a legion of
students whom he has "touched". He is a quiet and
dedicated scholar who has been working at Ahmadu
Bello University over the past nine years.
After David Norman completed his Ph.D. in
Agricultural Economics at Oregon State University
in 1965, he joined Ahmadu Bello University and
launched the Rural Economy Research Unit (RERU).
RERU has utilized an inter-disciplinary approach to
the organization and conduct of village studies.
When Dr. Norman and his colleagues laid out the
research program for RERU, they noted that policy
prescriptions on how to increase the output on small
farms in the Northern States of Nigeria were not
supported by socio-economic research findings. The
results of RERU's village level studies now provide
a solid underpinning for policy prescriptions for
small farmers in northern Nigeria. Also, RERU's
findings have helped redirect the priorities of tech-
nical agricultural researchers at the Institute of
Agricultural Research at Ahmadu Bello University and
have encouraged researchers to supplement their
experiment station testing with research at the farm
level. Finally, RERU's publications are now standard
references on how to organize socio-economic research
in rural areas of Africa.
Dr. Norman's approach to research from the
bottom up is consistent with the theme Development
From Below of the Ethiopia field trip/workshop on
Rural Development for which this paper was prepared in
October, 1973. The participants in the field trip/
workshop strongly urged the bilingual publication of
Dr. Norman's paper.
The OLC is honoured to publish Dr. Norman's
paper and to call attention to his numerous publi-
cations which are cited in the bibliography of the
Carl Keith Eicher, Chairman
Overseas Liaison Committee
American Council on Education
II. BACKGROUND TO THE INSTITUTE OF
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND RERU
III. DETERMINING RESEARCH PRIORITIES IN THE
INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
IV. RESEARCH PROGRAM OF RERU
V. FOUR PHASES OF RERU'S RESEARCH PROGRAM
VI. OVERVIEW OF RERU'S MAJOR FINDINGS: PROBLEMS
FACED BY FARMERS IN THE NORTHERN STATES
VII. STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE AGRICULTURAL INCOMES
VIII. MEASURES TO INCREASE THE RATE OF ADOPTION
OE IMPROVED TECHNOLOGY
APPENDIX A: RESEARCH PROGRAMME OF RERU
"The hallmarks of an interdisciplinary study are
that it seems overpriced, it shows that everything
depends on everything else, (and that) nobody
really understands what it saysl"-P.A. Morrison,
The term interdisciplinary approach and rural development are
frequently used in the developing world. The phrase rural development
can, and in fact is, defined in many ways and can include all aspects
of rural life. In a meeting in West Africa rural development was defined
as the "process whereby a series of quantitative and qualitative changes
brought about within a given rural population result in improved living
conditions for the population through an increased production capacity"
*This paper was originally prepared for the Development
From Below Field Trip/Workshop which was held in Ethiopia from
October 12-20, 1973. The permission of the Director of IAR to
publish this paper is gratefully acknowledged.
Discussion in this paper is limited to agriculture
although it is appreciated that its development is influenced
to a great extent by other facets of rural development, e.g.,
infrastructural development (roads, health and educational
facilities), and non-agricultural employment opportunities in rural
areas (Byerlee and Eicher, 1972).
Rural development is a complex process involving the solution
of technical, ecological, economic and social (human) problems with
limited administrative, financial, and manpower resources. Rural
development projects have often been carried out in Africa in a milieu
in which knowledge about how to solve problems has been absent or at the
best limited or ill-conceived (Baldwin, 1957). Implementation of
integrated rural development involves many disciplines while knowledge
required to solve the problems of development also crosses discipline
boundaries. These disciplines often have "symbiotic" relationships
with each other. Therefore the tendency for each discipline to work
in isolation from others is increasingly giving way to a cooperative
approach. There is a move away from a multi-disciplinary approach
(which implies researchers from more than one discipline who do not
necessarily communicate with one another) to that involving an inter-
disciplinary emphasis (which implies greater integration of disciplines
through joint projects). It is unfortunately probably true to say
the inter-disciplinary approaches have generally been more successful
in the implementation stage rather than the knowledge accumulation
(research) stage of rural development. This is possibly due in part
to the fact that, unlike the individuals involved in implementation
who are faced with day to day realities of rural development, the
research worker who is often academically orientated in a single discipline
makes great efforts to preserve what he considers the "integrity" or
"supreme relevance" of his discipline which is not "softened" by his
Contact with the practical realities.
There has been an increasing number of pleas for inter-disci-
plinary approach to research in the developing world. Lipton (1969, 1970)
has forcefully argued for an inter-disciplinary approach because of the
inability of conventional economic theory, based on a profit maximisation
goal, to adequately explain the behaviour of traditional farmers in the
developing world. Two possible explanations for this are: first, the
profit maximisation goal may be conditional on a strategy which has
both economic and non-economic connotations, i.e., security which can
be interpreted as producing sufficient food for the family on the farm
without recourse to the market (Norman, 1967-72); or secondly, the
profit maximisation goal may be ignored and the crop not grown for
essentially non-economic reasons, e.g., the refusal of some Moslem farmers
to grow a profitable crop--tobacco--in parts of northern Nigeria due
to religious scruples. Supporting Lipton, Roling (1966) has convincingly
argued on theoretical grounds for an inter-disciplinary approach to the
village studies on the part of social scientists, particularly economists
and sociologists. He also notes that rural sociology is very important in
the early stages of development prior to the emergence of "economic man"
(Blair, 1971). In general economists are being accepted as having an
important role to play in the developing world and more agricultural re-
search institutions are including them on their staff. However the role
of the rural sociologist or social anthropologist has been more difficult
to sell. Roling (1966) implies and De Wilde (1967) states that this has
in part been due to the reluctance of many such individuals to focus on
relevant research, e.g., on those facets of human behaviour of particular
For example even in the international research centres,
i.e.,CIMMYT, IITA, IRRI, CIAT, etc., economics is more strongly
represented than sociology.
relevance to agricultural innovation (UNESCO, 1970) and defining the
priorities of the traditional system (Collinson, 1968).1 De Wilde (1967)
also mentions the importance of the inter-disciplinary approach not only
between different disciplines in the social sciences but also between
the social sciences and the technical sciences involved in agriculture.
The objective of this paper is:
(a) To describe the evolution of the inter-disciplinary research
programme of the Rural Economy Research Unit (RERU) of Ahmadu Bello
University in the northern part of Nigeria.
(b) To examine some of the problems of farmers in the northern states
of Nigeria, which have become apparent through the research work undertaken
(c) To discuss in the light of (b) the types of programmes that could
result in improving agricultural incomes under the present administrative
and financial constraints in the area.
II. BACKGROUND TO THE INSTITUTE OF
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND RERU
Research work by technical scientists on agricultural problems
was initiated by the Department of Agriculture in the northern part of
Nigeria in 1924. In 1957 this research became the responsibility of
the Research and Specialist Division of the Ministry of Agriculture of
the Northern Region of Nigeria. The Institute for Agricultural Research
and Special Services (IAR) was established when this division was
transferred from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ahmadu Bello University
lSee also Mosher (1964)
(ABU) in October, 1962.
The Institute is responsible for carrying out agricultural
research for the six northern states in cooperation with the Ministry
of Natural Resources in each state. Administratively the research arm
of IAR is divided into a number of departments which are further sub-
divided into sections on the basis of discipline. Many members of the
departments have split teaching (in the Faculty of Agriculture) and
research (in IAR) appointments. Such an arrangement permits the
complimentary effects of teaching and research to be exploited while at
the same time ensuring that research funds are available to academics
to do research relevant to the needs of the country.1
In addition IAR has a distinct extension arm, the Extension and
Research Liaison Division (ERLS) which serves as a link between the
research staff and the extension workers in the Ministry of Natural
Resources in each of the six northern states.
In terms of size the IAR now has a senior staff establishment
of 220 positions and an annual budget of over N3,000,000.2 In terms
of the social scientists in IAR,the first were appointed under the
auspices of RERU in 1965, with the initial support coming from a Ford
1Some academics resent the idea of "directed research" as an
infringement on academic freedom. However this author believes that the
developing world cannot afford the luxury to finance work not relevant
to development problems. Whenever possible encouragement should be
given to using the intellectual talent and available financial resources
to work on priority research problems. It is unfortunate that in some
academic circles, such talents are not fully utilized due to lack of
finances for supporting research. This constitutes a big advantage of
the administrative set up at IAR, ABU.
2That is approximately US $4,500,000.
Foundation grant.1 Since then financial support for social science
research has increased substantially under the auspices of the Agricultural
Economics Department which has continued most of the research work
initiated by RERU. At present 10.5 percent of the research senior staff
positions in IAR are in the social science area, while social science
research accounts for 8.3 percent of IAR's research budget.
III. DETERMINING RESEARCH PRIORITIES IN THE
INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
One of the biggest problems has been, and still is, how to
decide what factors agricultural research should focus on, i.e, what
is the most relevant research in terms of encouraging rapid agricultural
development. The following steps have been taken by the IAR,to develop
a relevant research program and a close working relationship with the
(a) The membership of the Board of Governors of the IAR,which is chaired
by the Vice Chancellor of ABU,is dominated by prominent agriculturalists
working in Ministries of Natural Resources in the states. The Board
established broad policy guidelines for research and has the final word
in approving the estimates and research programme.
(b) The Professional and Academic Board of the IAR, whose chairman is
the Director of the IAR, draws up the detailed research programme within
the guidelines given by the Board of Governors. It-consists of department
and section heads of IAR plus the provost of agriculture, deputy directors,
and staff representatives.
1Such a time discrepancy between the appointment of the first
technical and social scientists, i.e., in this case 41 years, is alas
typical of most agricultural research institutes in Africa.
(c) Financial estimates drawn up by the various departments of the IAR
are approved by the Professional and Academic Board before being trans-
mitted to the Board of Governors. The research programme is drawn up by
a number of sub-committees of the Professional and Academic Board which
are mainly organised on a crop basis. Membership of these sub-committees
is open to anyone who is involved in research considered by the committee
in question. Representatives of RERU and the Extension and Research
Liaison Division (ERLS) are represented on all these sub-committees. As
well as encouraging an inter-disciplinary approach to problems and initiating
plans for the research programme, these sub-committees act as a first
step in assessing the suitability of proposed recommendations which must
eventually be approved by the Professional and Academic Board before
being disseminated to farmers through the ERLS.
IV. RESEARCH PROGRAMME OF RERU
RERU and later the Agricultural Economics Department have used an
inter-disciplinary approach in their research programme which draws on the
disciplines of rural sociology, geography and agricultural economics.
Two basic underlying factors have been taken into consideration in
determining RERU's research programme:
(a) Rural development programmes in the northern states in general
have emphasized working with the farmer within his traditional setting
__ -~ ~---~----- -- IIC--
rather than moving him to irrigation schemes, settlement schemes, etc.
Voluntary participation and working largely within the traditional setting
necessitates research that seeks to obtain an understanding of the
problems and constraints faced by farmers at the village level.
(b) The desirability of deriving a micro rather than a macro-oriented
research programme. The reasons for the micro emphasis were:
i. There is a paucity of accurate data at the village (micro)
level in the northern states.
ii. Expertise at the macro level is available at other Nigerian
socio-economic research institutions.
iii. The work of technical researchers and extension specialists
at IAR can best be complimented by such village or micro
There is, of course, nothing new about advocating such micro-oriented
studies. Many research workers have strongly urged them to be under-
taken (Bunting, 1970; Eicher, 1968; Belshaw and Hall, 1968) in order to
help determine what changes should be introduced and how they should be
V. FOUR PHASES OF RERU'S RESEARCH PROGRAM
RERU has adopted a basic work plan of village studies which
consists of four phases.1 These are:
(a) Positive phase, i.e., determining what farmers are doing.
(b) Hypothesis testing phase, i.e., determining why farmers do things
in the way they do.
(c) Normative phase, i.e., determining what farmers ought to do.
(d) Policy phase, i.e., determining how the,changes suggested under
phase (c) should be brought about. Thistfay) also involve a consideration
of phase (b) to determine whether the suggested policy is in conflict
with the farmers' reasons for doing things in the traditional way.
lit is of course appreciated that there is likely to be considerable
overlapping in terms of timing between the four phases, but conceptually
it has proved to be a useful division.
Much of RERU's research during the 1965-71 period concentrated
on the positive and hypothesis testing phases. With this foundation
derived from the "basic studies", emphasis is now shifting more and more
towards "change studies" which concentrate particularly on the normative
and policy phases.
Conceptually the types of research work carried out by RERU
and the degree of inter-disciplinary work involved can be considered as
These studies seeking to describe, explain and understand the
agricultural environment have concentrated to a great extent on very
detailed village studies in five different areas of the northern states.
Inter-disciplinary research work has been confined to cooperation among
social science disciplines, i.e., geography, rural sociology and
agricultural economics. Not all the work has been inter-disciplinary
in nature although initial demographic and land utilization analysis was
usually done cooperatively and efforts were made to ensure that research
done by different disciplines fitted into the aims of the RERU research
These studies seek to assess the potential value of the technology
that is being produced by the research workers and to assess the value
1A brief summary of the actual studies undertaken by RERU appears
in Appendix A while a list of publications emanating from that work is
available elsewhere (RERU, 1973).
of the various programmes that have been used and are to be used in
introducing change. The research programme of change studies can be
divided into three broad groups:
(a) Assessment, at the farmers' level, of the recommendations put out by
IAR to determine their technical feasibility, economic profitability,
and social acceptability. This approach is usually single crop enterprise
in orientation, e.g., cotton, maize, while emphasis is laid on investi-
gations at the farmers' level rather than on the experimental station.
One of several reasons for this is the false picture given of the value
of the recommendation under experimental conditions where managerial levels
are so much higher (Table 1) than found under village farming conditions.
Far example, Table 1 reveals that maize yields of farmers are 322 Ibs.
per acre as compared with 8000 Ibs. per acre under IAR experimental
station results. Although research is only just commencing in this area
there are already promising results:
i. The inter-disciplinary nature of the research is proving
to be very valuable. As well as cooperation between the
social and technical disciplines at IAR, government has
been willing to provide financial assistance and extension
workers for the projects thereby confirming the relevance
of this work in assisting their agricultural programs.
ii. These studies are getting the technical scientists off the
experimental stations onto farmers' fields where they can see
with their own eyes the'problems aced by and the strategies'
employed by the farmers. This could have a long run impact
in the determination of even more relevant research priorities.
Table 1. Examples of inputs, yields and net returns per acre of
crops under different conditions in the North Central State of Nigeriaa
Indigenous Demonstration RERU working Experimental
Crop practices plotsc with farmers station
Yield (lbl.) 701 991 1097 3000
Costs (N) 0.40 2.87 2.81 11.48
Net return (N) 17.84 / -/ 22.90 '7/ 25.71 .,/1// 66.52 ,'-?//
Hours 134 154 154
June July hours 47 53 53
*V ** ,*
Net return (N)
June July hours
Net return (N)
28.85 I- ~
June July hours 101 107 107
Cotton: /- :
Yield (Ibs.) 190 457 438 746 1300
Costs (N) 0.09 7.05 7.48 7.48 15.52
Net return (N) 6.75 ?-,' 9.40 1.3'2 ':' 8.29 19.38 .r/ 31.28 ., 1-
Hours 138 94 206 305
June July hours 28 58 69
.. ... ;c :/=7 :> '' ")/ ,/ *
Net return (N)
June July hours
a. Blanks in the table indicate information is not available. Costs and net
returns exclude labour costs. Fertiliser is costed at subsidized prices.
Prices of products used represent those prevailing in 1966-67. They are now
much higher for cash crops.
b. Used as indigenous practices in Table 2. Maize was not used since it is not
a common crop. Other crop enterprises not listed in the table were also used.
Most of these were crop mixtures.
c. Used as improved technology in Table 2(b). These figures were obtained from
demonstration plots carried out on farmers fields by extension workers in North
d. Used as improved technology in Table 2(a).
e. These estimates were obtained from discussions with technical scientists at IAR
and represent what is average on the experiment station.
f. One Naira (N) is approximately equal to $1.50 (US).
g. Recently research workers at IAR have been looking at some crop mixtures under
experimental conditions. Much of this work undertaken by Andrews, De Wolf, Kassam,
and Baker has still to be published.
~: = f
iii. The doubtful validity of recommendations based purely on
experimental station results has increasingly been recognized
by the Professional and Academic Board of IAR which has now
approved of the idea in principle that whenever possible
and where relevant,potential "recommendations" should be
tested at the farmers' level before being finalized.
(b) Assessment of government programmes to introduce change among
farmers. With reference to mechanisation De Wilde (1967) has noted
the tendency to repeat mistakes because there is no proper and easily
accessible recording and analysis of past experience. The same criticism
can be applied to many other government programmes which often have
little idea of the benefit/cost ratios involved. RERU is commencing
a number of such studies which will involve a considerable amount of
cooperation from government in terms of provision of information. To
date little difficulty has been experienced in this regard but it is
anticipated that government may be reluctant to release financial
(c) Assessment and evaluation of different ways of introducing change.
This study which is the proposed culmination of much of RERU's work will
seek to determine the best operational way to bring about betterment
of incomes from rain-fed agriculture when faced with the administrative,
financial and manpower constraints experienced by government. The
project which will involve knowledge accumulation through implementation
lit is recognized however, that this must not result in undue
delay in finalising the recommendation.
20ne could argue that assessment of such programmes should be
done by planning units in government. Unfortunately these are poorly
developed in the northern states at the present time.
will involve both social, i.e., extension, rural sociology and agricultural
economics, and technical scientists, and also government which will
provide the field extension workers.
In summary, the inter-disciplinary nature of RERU's research
programme is much more evident in the "change studies" which involve
several social and technical disciplines, than in the "basic studies" which
are confined to social science cooperation. In addition it has been
easier to obtain financial and manpower support from government for the
"change studies", in which they can soon see definite results, than it
has been for the "basic studies". Finally RERU, is now beginning to
be involved in the implementation stage of governmental projects. For
example, RERU is represented on the Rural Development Bureau Committee2
of North Central State.
VI. OVERVIEW OF RERU'S MAJOR FINDINGS:
PROBLEMS FACED BY FARMERS IN THE NORTHERN STATES OF NIGERIA
Before being able to determine ways of helping the farmer improve
his income it is important that his problems are understood so that
IThere is little doubt that it is often easier to work with
disciplines that are completely different from ones own, e.g., the human
element in agricultural economics compared with its absence in entomology,
than one which is closely allied, e.g., the human element in rural
sociology and agricultural economics. Presumably this is because allied
disciplines often overlap and have different ways of looking at the same
thing, while disciplines which are completely different look at different
things. It is therefore even more essential that people of allied
disciplines working together have an appreciation of each other's
discipline and are also compatible in terms of personality.
2This consists of representatives of several ministries in
North Central State; it is concerned with bringing about a coordinated
approach to rural development.
strategies can be designed to overcome them. The studies carried out
by RERU have helped highlight some of the problems farmers face in the
northern parts of Nigeria.1 It is impossible to consider these in detail
but a few can be summarised under four main headings which are inter-
related and cannot be considered in isolation.
(1) Low investment in Traditional Agriculture
Investment in traditional agriculture tends to be low for two main
reasons: first, the supply of funds for investment is small, since
savings from the farmers' low incomes are minimal, credit from institutional
sources has in the last few years been almost non-existent, and credit
from local moneylenders is costly (Vigo, 1965); second, the returns from -
investment are low, partly because many forms of capital goods can be
formed directly from labour, e.g., land improvements, hand tools, etc.
and partly because the low level of technology greatly reduces the
productivity of capital goods, e.g., investment in fertilizer without
better seeds or management, compared to the returns in a technologically
advanced agriculture. The result of the low investment means the level
of technology remains low and few inputs are purchased.
The problem of low returns from investment can be partially
overcome with adequate extension contact and a "package deal" approach
to the adoption of improved technology. The problem of increasing the
supply of investment funds from savings is, initially at least, difficult.
It is appreciated that many of these problems were already
known but these studies have given empirical support for those which
were previously based on "conventional wisdom" statements.
A consumption study undertaken by Simmons (1973) has verified that
savings are low.1 This problem is accentuated by the recent tendency
for the traditionally preferred complex family units (gandaye) breaking
up into simple family units (iyali) with more young decision-makers, who
may be more open to change, but are less able to provide the necessary
savings, due to young family responsibilities (Buntjer, 1970; Goddard,
1969; Hedges, 1963). A credit programme may therefore be essential to
encourage greater investment in agriculture.
(2) Land and labour allocation
Since capital inputs are very low in traditional agriculture,
production is mainly limited by the amount and quality of land available
and the amount of labour provided by the farming family.
The land tenure system is often cited as being a critical
bottleneck to initiating change in traditional agriculture. In most
parts of Nigeria, land is legally a communal asset, and individuals
only possess usufructuary rights to that land. However, it is apparent
that inherited land is considered to be very secure (Goddard, 1972).
Therefore, it is unlikely that the land tenure system itself is a
critical constraint on the willingness of farmers to invest in improve-
ments in the land. However, under the present system land cannot be
used as collateral and, as a result, farmers cannot usually obtain
loans from commercial organizations. This makes it difficult for
government lending agencies to take any punitive action for default
iThis is implied by comparing expenditure patterns derived
by Simmons with incomes estimated in other studies using the same
farmers (Norman, 1967-1972).
in payment. One cannot help but think that the lack of a viable credit
system for small farmers and low potential returns from investment are
more critical constraints on the expansion of agricultural output than
the land tenure system.
There are, of course, other problems in the existing land tenure
system such as rigidity in the distribution and use of land and frag-
mentation of farm holdings. However, in general, farmers in the northern
states find that the amount of land their family can cultivate is not
limited by the availability of land but rather by the labour they can
supply to cultivate it (Ogunfowora, 1972; Norman, 1970). Since little
hired labour is employed, the labour supply is essentially from family
sources. Capital goods which could substitute for labour, i.e.,
herbicides, oxen, etc., are very seldom used because of the lack of
technical know-how and the unavailability of funds.
The unavailability of capital to purchase new types of technology
such as improved seed, fertilizer, etc., is likely to be even more
critical in a few parts of northern Nigeria, e.g., .Kano State where high
population densities have caused land to be more limiting than labour.
Increasing agricultural production on the extensive margin, i.e., through
increasing acreage, is no longer possible.1 Instead future increases in
agricultural production in such areas can only be achieved through
1Helleiner (1966) has noted that this has been the traditional
way Nigerian farmers have responded. Buntjer (1973) has obtained
empirical evidence that farmers responded to higher cotton prices in
this manner rather than adopting the improved technology available for
increasing the productivity of land.1 Any substantial increases in
land productivity can only be brought about by new technology, most
forms of which cost money. Where such new technology is not available,
e.g., parts of North West State, there is no option but for individuals
to migrate seasonally (Goddard, 1973) and then permanently out of the
(3) Seasonal Labour Constraints
The pronounced seasonal variation in rainfall means that
agricultural activity in the northern states reaches a distinctive
peak during the weeding period in June and July. There is little activity
during the dry season (November to April) when only low lying land
(fadama) can be cultivated. The amount of upland (gona) a family can
handle during the June-July period determines to a great extent their
level of agricultural activity during the rest of the year. The restricted
agricultural activity during the dry season means farming families often
supplement their incomes with rural non-farm jobs, e.g., traditional
crafts, services, etc. Ready cash is most available after the cash
crops have been sold, i.e., mainly December and January. Because of
the slackening of work activities during the dry season, most of the
cash is spent and little is left for purchasing improved inputs, e.g.,
seed, fertilizer at the beginning of the rainy season, i.e., April and
May, and for hiring labour during the weeding bottleneck period, i.e.,
June and July.
1Boserup (1965) has hypothesised that population pressure is
very important in the adoption of land intensification types of
(4) Low Incomes and Risk Aversion
The above three problems (which is by no means an exhaustive
list) lead to low farm incomes. Often it is assumed in economic theory
that people wish to maximise profits. However, where incomes are low
and spent largely on consumption,farmers are unlikely to take risks.
Farmers in the northern states of Nigeria give priority to the provision
of family food requirements and are cautious about introducing new
crops and patterns of production. The goal of most farmers in the
northern states is one of profit maximisation subject to a risk
(5) Implications of these problems
Some of the implications are as follows:
(a) Research workers should bear in mind the following when
determining their research priorities.
i. For many farmers labour, particularly seasonal, rather
than land is the major constraint on increases in
production. This supports research which seeks to
break the weeding bottleneck in June and July (e.g.,
herbicides, oxen) and innovations which do not require
greatly increased labour inputs, particularly during
1As far as the farmer is concerned there is an element of risk
attached to any change from the traditional ways of doing things which
have ensured his survival (Wharton, 1969).
2Under certain circumstances these two goals may not be
in conflict. For example, there is some evidence that growing crops
in mixtures under indigenous technological conditions is consistent with
these goals (Norman, 1973).
ii. Because of low incomes and limited managerial capacity1
it follows that innovations which are very profitable,
dependable and cheap (because the margin of their incomes
over subsistence levels is very small) are most likely
to be adopted (Wharton, 1969). This supports the idea
of research that will fulfill these conditions.
Unfortunately as Jones (1960) and Eicher (1968) have
emphasized, "single trait" innovations are rare and
consequently research workers are usually pushed towards
advocating the more complex "package" type of approach
(Milliken and Hapgood, 1967).
(b) Government agencies concerned with rural development in the
northern states should bear in mind:
i. The problems that prevent the small farmer from increasing
his income are many and complex. There is, because of
limited resources and administrative capacity, no hope of the
government being able to solve all the problems. The
challenge facing the government is to decide which
are the major constraints on raising incomes and then to
devise viable policies and programs to overcome these
ii. When improved technology is available, government needs
to concentrate on three broad priorities: policies to
convince and encourage farmers to change; programmes to
Little can be taught the farmer on how to improve his farming
operations under indigenous conditions; however he is not familiar with
improved technology and requires extension assistance.
ensure that the farmers will be able to purchase the
inputs to bring about change; and programmes to deliver
the inputs in sufficient quantities at the right time
and in the right place.
VII. STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE AGRICULTURAL INCOMES
The remarks at the end of the previous section implied that the
adoption of new technology was the only way to improve incomes from
agriculture. Before considering this possibility in more detail it is
necessary to establish that this is indeed the main approach that should
be emphasized. Wharton (1968) has observed that in general two broad
approaches can be used in bringing about agricultural development. These
(a) Those which rely upon making fuller use of existing unrealised
opportunities and the elimination of existing economic inefficiencies.
(b) Those which involve marked changes in one or several of the factors
held largely constant under (a), e.g., new technology, changes in infra-
structure, changes in demand, changes in prices or the terms of trade
between the agriculture and non-agriculture sectors, changes in the
motivation of people and changes in institutions.1
RERU has undertaken some preliminary analysis on assessing the
potential for increasing agricultural incomes in four different ways.
Two of these fall into category (a) above and two into category (b).
1Agricultural development may in fact involve a combination of
these two approaches. For example, as was emphasized earlier, the develop-
ment of the infrastructure, i.e., roads and railways in Nigeria created
previously unrealised opportunities for farmers in producing export
products (Eicher, 1967).
(1) Reallocation of resources presently committed to production.
The results of linear programming studies (Norman, 1970) in
Table 2 indicate there is little potential for increasing incomes in this
manner. For example, net returns are N185.61 in model B as compared with
N173.36 in model A.1 Although the validity of such a conclusion is
challenged by Lipton (1968) it does support a similar conclusion derived
by Hopper (1965) that farmers are efficient under traditional conditions.
(2) The utilisation of more inputs under indigenous technological
There is a greater potential for increasing incomes using
this approach, i.e., compare net returns in model C with model B in
Table 2. However, it can be argued that this is only a relevant solution
as long as land)continues to be a less limiting input than labour.2 When
land becomes truly limiting, increases in income will have to come from
the use of improved technology which increases'output per acre, e.g.,
improved seeds, fertilizer, etc. At the present time the type of tech-
nology that would be most relevant would be that which increases the output
,per unit of labour. However, this type of technology is either not well
developed for the environment in which the farmers work, e.g., herbicides,
or is very expensive, e.g., oxen and tractors, and is therefore not likely
One Naire (N) is equal to $1.50.
2This can be deduced from the results in Table 2 in which all
models have fallow land.
3This is likely to happen because of the high population growth
rates and the inability of the non-agricultural sector to absorb much of
the increase in population.
Table 2. Results of Linear Programming Models Using Different Levels of Technology
In The Zaria Area of Northern Nigeria
Linear Programming Models
Indigenous technology Improved technology
average Labour Labour Labour Labour
farm restriction (1) restriction (2) restriction (1) restriction (2)
A B C D E
Land availability (acres):
Upland 8.1 8.1 8.1 8.1 8.1
Lowland 1.0 1.0 1.0 1 1.0
Total labour used (hours) 1753 1543 1822 1588 1996
Months in which no surplus
labour is available Apr, June,July May, June Apr, June,July May, June
Nov, Jan. July, Nov. Nov, Jan. July, Nov.
Sole crops (lowland) 0.8 0.5 1.0 0.6 1.0
Sole crops (upland) 1.2 0.9 1.8 0.0 0.0
Mixtures (upland) 5.3 4.7 4.5 4.6 5.5
Sole crop (upland): Sorghum 0.8 1.8
Total (acres) 7.3 6.1 7.3 6.0 8.3
Net return (N) 173.36 185.61 218.17 187.60 222.67
Percent increase in net return over B 17.83 1.01 20.00
Are food needs satisfied? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
1 and 2The monthly labour distribution reflected the degree of agricultural activity. With labour restriction (1) the labour
availability was the same as that actually used on the average farm. With labour restriction (2) labour availability in each
month was the non-family labour actually hired in each month on the typical farm, i.e., A, plus the time actually spent by family
members on farm A during June, the peak labour month for family labour. In other words it assumes that in any month family
members will be prepared to spend as much time on farm work as they do during June. Source: (Norman, 1970)
to be commonly adopted. One interesting point to note from the results
in Table 2 is that using more of the traditional resources (land and labour)
does require the employment of greater monetary resources, primarily for
hiring labour. This implies that even in the absence of improved tech-
nology credit may play an important role in facilitating the enlargement
of the farm business.1
(3) Adjustment of prices.
Profits and therefore incomes can be increased under ceteris paribus
conditions by raising the prices received by farmers for their products
and/or by reducing the costs of the inputs.
(a) Product prices. In Nigeria at the present time food crop
marketing is not controlled while export cash crops are marketed through
marketing boards. In the case of food crops it would seem price support
programmes would only be justified if the present marketing system exploits
the farmer and if such a programme would not turn the terms of trade against
the urban sector, which benefits greatly from relatively cheap food. Hays
(1973) has undertaken a study which indicates that farmers receive 69
percent of the final retail price for their grain. He found the relatively
wide margin between the producer and consumer, was however, not due to
exploitation, but rather to the length of the marketing chain, i.e., up to
seven middlemen. The question is could a government controlled system do
any better? The history of the Nigerian Marketing Boards suggests that
this is doubtful. Rather the solution as Hays suggests is to allow the
free market to operate but to try and increase the farmers' share of the
1This however, does not necessarily suggest that institutional
sources of credit should be advocated for this purpose, in the absence
of improved technology.
final retail price by continuing to improve communications, e.g., by
building roads and disseminating price information through the news
media, introducing standard volume or weight measures and encouraging
farmers to organise in groups, e.g., as cooperatives, in order to
eliminate some of the links in the marketing chain. Unlike food crops
there is a stronger case that can be made for government intervention
in the marketing of export cash crops. Initially the Nigerian Marketing
Boards were established to help the farmer but slowly developed into
taxing institutions by giving farmers low prices for their products and
using the resulting trading surpluses for development rather than stabili-
zation purposes (Helleiner, 1966; Olayide, 1971). In the last two or three
years, with the apparent stagnation of the agricultural sector, the fallacy
of this has been recognized and the producer prices for these cash crops
have been raised substantially. Analysis presented elsewhere (Ogunfowora,
1972; Norman, 1970) indicates that substantial increases in the incomes
of farmers could be achieved by a 50 percent increase in export cash crop
prices, in spite of the fact that sufficient food supplies for the family
would still be produced.
(b) Input prices. It is of course not easy to control the prices
of certain inputs, e.g., labour, land, interest charged by moneylenders,
etc. In discussing reducing prices of inputs,one therefore usually thinks
of elements of improved technology, e.g., fertilizer, herbicides, etc. It
has been suggested (RERU, 1972) that a preferable approach to that
1That is rent since farmers only hold usufructuary rights
to the land.
suggested in (a) above would be not to raise the prices of cash (export)
crops too much but to use more of the trading surpluses of the marketing
boards in the subsidization of the cost of the new technology, e.g.,
fertilizer. This strategy would have at least two clear advantages. First,
as well as having the advantage of encouraging the adoption of the new tech-
nology by reducing the cost per unit, it would provide a more certain way of
ensuring that at least some of the increase in incomes that would result,
would not be spent on consumption. Secondly, the recent increases in cash
(export) crop prices could divert farmers away from food crop production and
thus contribute to further increases in food prices which would increase
pressure for higher wages in urban areas. The main modern technological
input is fertilizer. This is not crop specific in its application and
therefore an approach of continuing to heavily subsidise inputs could benefit
both food crops and cash crops and also areas where no cash crop, which
comes under the jurisdiction of the marketing board, is grown. Govern-
mental subsidies for fertilizer, seed dressing, herbicides, etc., could
provide a firm basis for increasing farm incomes and production. Although
as yet no analysis has been done on the impact on farmers' incomes of
such a policy it has been shown that the demand for fertilizer could
greatly increase (Ogunfowora and Norman, 1973).
(4) Adoption of improved technology.
It is of course obvious that relevant)improved technology has to
be available before it can be adopted. Is there improved technology
available? According to the information in Table 1 the answer is
definitely yes but the analytical results in Table 2 indicate this
conclusion is not so definite.' Although model D does indicate some
payoff to the improved technology this is not so striking as would be
expected. Model C utilising greater amounts of traditional inputs
under indigenous technological conditions indicated potentially a much
greater increase in income. However, it is also apparent that the
biggest payoff comes with a combination of greater capital, a higher
land availability and labour utilisation base, and the improved tech-
nology, i.e., model E. Once again as in (2) above the importance of
monetary resources is emphasised both for the purchase of the extra
labour required and the improved technology. The apparent inconsistency
between the relative values of the improved technology as expressed in
Tables 1 and 2 can be resolved by an assessment of its relevance to the
farms programmed in Table 2. Two and possibly three points which raise
doubts about the validity of the improved technology are as follows:
(a) The farms in Table 2 face a labour rather than land constraint.
De Wilde (1967) has bemoaned the failure of people to recognize the
potential significance of the seasonal labour constraint1 while Collinson
(1968) has stressed the importance in such situations for the technology to
fit in with seasonal labour requirements of other crops grown by the farmer.2
Thus land intensive technology will likely only appear in optimal farm
plans (based on a profit maximisation goal), if it is very profitable
(relatively to other crops), and/or it does not require much higher labour
inputs (particularly during the labour bottleneck period) than other
1This is a difficulty for technical scientists to grasp who are
accustomed to thinking in terms of the return per acre.
2After all the farmer is interested in maximising his income,
subject to a security constraint, not from one crop but from the farm
business as a whole.
crops. The problem of this becomes particularly apparent in the crop
enterprises recorded in Table 1. Cotton is a good example of a crop
which according to recommendations should be planted earlier than is
done traditionally. This immediately brings it into conflict with the
weeding bottleneck for food crops in June and July (Norman, Hayward and
Hallam, 1973). In spite of its much greater profitability under improved
technological conditions it is therefore not competitive with other
possible crop enterprises as can be seen by the fact that it does not
appear in any of the optimal farm plans, in Table 2.
(b) It is seen from the results in Table 2 that crop mixtures
(growing several crops on the same field at the same time) are very
significant in all the farm plans. One of the reasons for their popularity
is that they permit a great deal of flexibility in the timing of farming
operations and therefore can help alleviate the demands of the weeding
bottleneck period in June and July (Norman, 1973). As a result they tend
to be relatively more remunerative than sole (single) crops under indigenous
conditions in terms of labour expended during this period.1 This means
that sole crops under improved technological conditions have also to compete
for adoption with a more serious competitor than sole crops under indigenous
conditions, i.e., crop mixtures under indigenous conditions. In addition
to the problem of seasonal timing of resources, particularly labour, sole
crops under improved technological conditions often suffer from the problem
of a lack of flexibility in the timing of the operations which can cause
1And also in fact, in terms of land.
farmers difficulties in their adoption. The relevance of the improved
technology could be greatly enhanced by research workers devoting some
resources to making the improved technology more competitive and flexible
by incorporating it into crop mixtures.I
(c) Another important factor in determining the relevancy of the
improved technology is not only its profitability but the variability in
that return. The nature of the programming exercise given in Table 2 has
not permitted this to be taken into account but because of the low incomes
there is no doubt that this will be an important factor in determining
the farmers attitude to its adoption. Here again crop mixtures are in a
strong competitive position since the variability in their return in
value terms is lower than that of sole crops.
Therefore, in conclusion, there is no doubt that for small farms
relevant improved technology exists, but for the middle sized farms
(Table 2), as opposed to the larger farms which can justify oxen, there
are some limitations to the improved technology available at present.
However, the time is rapidly approaching as population increases when
lit is of course, a very complicated subject and it is questionable
just how much in the way of research resources should be devoted to it in
Terms of the potential payoff. The Institute for Agricultural Research,
Ahmadu Bello University, has never explicitly stated that the recommended
practices are only applicable to sole (single) crops. Unfortunately,
however, since the recommended practices arose from experiments which of
necessity were carried out on sole crops, the interpretation that they
are only valid for crops grown under such conditions, has tended to be
implicitly assumed. This impression has been further encouraged by the
fact that the demonstration plots undertaken by the Ministries of Natural
Resources in the northern states are undertaken on sole crops.
2This is mainly because different crop species are not equally
affected by variations in weather, insects, diseases and prices.
this technology will become relevant to larger numbers of farmers.1
The remaining part of the paper discusses in more detail the
conditions necessary to ensure that improved technology is adopted and
to suggest what levels of improved technology should be offered.
VIII. MEASURES TO INCREASE THE RATE OF
ADOPTION OF IMPROVED TECHNOLOGY
Earlier in the paper it was mentioned that, providing the
relevant technology is available, government programmes for bringing about
agricultural development should concentrate on three factors: programmes
designed to convince and encourage farmers to change; programmes to
ensure that the farmers will be able to purchase the inputs necessary to
bring about the change; and programmes to deliver the inputs in sufficient
quantities to the right place at the right time. These programmes may
seem obvious but it is very rare that all these operate together in one
(1) Convincing the farmer.
Many factors contribute to convincing the farmers of the desirability
and practicality of increasing their well-being. They must of course
want to change (Bailey, 1966) and since they are rational individuals
(Blair, 1971) there must be good reasons for convincing them to change.3
The myth that traditional farmers have some target level of income and
IMuch of the technology available at present could become much
more relevant as soon as suitable herbicides have been recommended.
2For example one northern state did not have any fertilizer to
distribute in 1973.
3In French-speaking countries in Africa the "animation rurale"
approach has often been used in awakening farmers' receptivity to change
and encouraging them to exercise some initiative in bringing about this
change (UN, 1971).
have no desire to obtain more has long been exploded. Like anyone else,
they will consider the effort (cost) of obtaining extra income in
relation to the satisfaction (benefits) that income gives. If the
probability that the potential benefits outweigh the costs is high,then
they will be interested in making efforts to obtain the extra income.
The higher the level of profitability of the innovation and the lower
its variability, the greater will be the chance of a relevant innovation
being adopted (Wharton, 1968). The extension worker plays a key role in
convincing the farmer, by demonstration, of the potential profitability
and dependability of the improved technology.2 The significance of the
extension worker cannot be overemphasised, even after the demonstration
phase, since it is he who has to provide the managerial expertise with
reference to the improved technology, in order to ensure that farmers
obtain the full benefits from its adoption.3
(2) Ability of farmers to purchase the improved technology.
Even if the farmer is convinced of the value of the modern
technology he may not adopt it because it is too expensive and he does
not have the cash when it is necessary to purchase it. It is likely that
1This can be helped to some extent by appropriate pricing policies
on the output or preferably input side (see page 27).
2Wharton (1968) has stated that it is the farmer's subjective
evaluation of profitability and dependability of the improved technology
that will influence his decision whether or not to adopt it and not any
ofjective measurements done by someone else. This implies the importance
of demonstrating the improved technology on the farmer's own field.
3This discussion has assumed that convincing the farmer to adopt
the improved technology is purely a production problem. However, it is
appreciated that if farmers do adopt it and production does increase there
may well be very soon a reduction in profitability and therefore incentives
because of a marketing problem.
it would be easier to convince farmers to adopt it if it is cheaper.
This could be done as was suggested earlier by larger input subsidies
rather than by raising the prices of the cash crops and thereby reducing
the trading surpluses of the marketing boards.
However, although larger input subsidies will make their utili-
zation relatively more profitable as far as the farmer is concerned, it
will not eliminate the need for cash. This is obvious from the cost of
non-labour inputs given in Table 1. Considering that a farming family's
average income is in the region of N200 to N400,it is not difficult to
justify the contention that some form of institutional credit is required.
The Nigerian Federal Government has recognized this in the current Develop-
ment Plan by setting up a National Agricultural Credit Bank specifically
for this purpose (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1970). Although previous
government credit programs have suffered from the low rate of repayment,
it is hoped that future loans to farmers will be administered in such a
way as to reduce the rate of default. Whether or not cooperatives or some
other institutional arrangement is desirable has not yet been firmly
(3) Availability of inputs.
Finally, although the farmers may be convinced of the value of the
modern technology, and, with the provision of credit, may be in a position
to purchase the inputs, it is essential that the inputs are available in
1RERU is at the present time undertaking three studies in this
area. Unfortunately cooperatives in several of the northern states are
located in different ministries from the Ministry of Natural Resources, and
there is some opposition to the idea of using them for this purpose. Also
the past history of cooperatives in the northern states has not been good.
the area in convenient sized units at the right time. This may seem an
obvious statement but because of the dispersed nature of the agricultural
sector such a seemingly simple operation can cause enormous logistical
problems. Government agencies still are primarily responsible for the
input distribution system. However, because of the many other functions
that such agencies are expected to perform, it has been suggested that
consideration should be given to the possibility that at least part of
this should be transferred to private organizations (CSNRD, 1969). There
is a great deal to be said in favour of this approach especially since
safeguards can be introduced by government agencies to prevent exploitation
of farmers by commercial enterprises.
The Need for Dual Recommendations
As was noted in the proceeding section it is rare for all the
three programmes to be in one place at one time. Indeed it is at the
present time beyond the financial and administrative resources of govern-
ment to undertake this approach everywhere. In view of this the following
strategy is suggested.
(a) Top priority should be given to ensuring that improved inputs are
available to farmers everywhere.1
(b) The IAR should provide two levels of recommendations for improved
technology (Norman, 1973).
i. The intermediate level of recommendations would be advocated
when there are a large number of farmers per extension worker,
1Also pricing policy for these inputs should be reviewed in the
light of comments on page 27.
i.e., 2,000-3,000:1, as is the case at the present time
in most northern states. The recommendations would be
based on a level of input at which average value product is
at a maximum.1 Since managerial expertise with reference to
the improved technology is not readily available (extension
worker concentration is low) the risk of adopting the
improved technology is correspondingly high. Therefore the
levels of recommended improved inputs are relatively low.2
The potential profitability of the improved inputs will
therefore not be as high as the advanced level of recommenda-
tions, but in the absence of the extension input risks will
ii. The advanced level of recommendations would be advocated
when there are fewer farmers per extension worker, e.g., less
than 500:1 and,in the case of the land intensive technology
presently available,where population densities are high and
therefore farms are small.3 These recommendations would be
based on a level of input at which marginal value product
equals marginal factor cost, i.e., the optimum quantity of
1This is analagous to the highest return per unit of outlay approach
suggested by Collinson (1968).
2It is likely that in such a situation farmers will apply the
improved inputs in a crop mixture framework, a system they are confident
of. This in fact is what often happens now. As a result IAR has issued
advice but not recommendations (proved experimentally) on use of improved
inputs in crop mixtures.
3The technology at present available is more suited to such farms.
Also such farmers, because of a land constraint,will be more open to change,
since they need to adopt the improved technology in order to continue to
obtain a livelihood from agriculture.
input in terms of profit maximisation. The greater
concentration of extension staff will enable them to provide
the managerial expertise (concerning the improved technology)
to the farmers thereby helping them to reap the full benefits
of the technology while at the same time reducing risks and
variation in the return.
(c) That credit programmes would only be introduced in areas in which the
advanced levels of recommendations are being extended.
APPENDIX A. RESEARCH PROGRAMME OF RERU
A summary of the research programme since the inception of RERU
is as follows:
Until recently the main area of emphasis has been in studies
carried out in a total of 13 villages in four of the six Northern States,
i.e., North West (1967-70), North Central (1966-72), North East (1967-68)
and Kwara (1969-70) To assess the impact of urban areas on the factor
and product markets, two or three villages were picked in each area
differing in ease of communication with the main city in that area.
Research in each area has in general followed a similar pattern with the
initial population enumeration and field mapping (using aerial photographs)
being done cooperatively by all three disciplines. Each discipline has
then undertaken responsibility for a specific study. Geography has con-
centrated on constructing land use maps in each of the study villages in
the three far northern states and has investigated the problems of densely
populated areas with specific reference to the three villages in the Sokoto
area (North West State) and the resulting tendency towards seasonal
migration. Research by rural sociologists has emphasized the determination
of factors influencing the readiness to change with specific reference to
the study villages in the Zaria area (North Central State) in the hope that
1Work in fact was undertaken in five different areas. At the
request of the State Government two different areas were picked in Kwara
this will give some idea as to how future changes should be introduced.
In one of the Sokoto study villages (North West State) a study has been
made of the traditional lines of authority and communication to under-
stand how these could increase the effectiveness of extension programmes.
The main thrust of the agricultural economics work has been in undertaking
farm management surveys in all the study areas. However, more recently
in the Zaria study villages (North Central State) these have been comple-
mented by a consumption study, a grain and legume marketing study and a
utilisation of credit study.
A number of other basic studies have also been undertaken as a
result of specific requests from government, specific interests of research
workers, etc. Those undertaken include: in geography an examination of
Zaria (North Central State) as an urban centre on the surrounding rural
area and a study to determine land utilization in relation to soil and
land types in the Hadejia Flood Plain (Kano State); in rural sociology
the influence of occupation (farming versus wage earning) of men on the
life patterns of women and children; and in agricultural economics a small
study of fruit and vegetable marketing in the Sokoto area (North West
State), and a study of the marketing of cowpeas in various parts of North
West and Benue Plateau States.
The research programme with regard to the change studies is at
present being concentrated in three broad groups. Much of the field work
of projects listed in this part of the summary is still underway.
Evaluation of government programmes
In geography this includes a study of the changes in agricultural
land use that are accompanying the development of the Kadawa Pilot
Irrigation Scheme (Kano State), in rural sociology these include studies
on the effectiveness of the Farm Institutes and reasons why many of the
trainees leave agriculture (Kwara State), innovative farmers in North
Central State, responsiveness of farmers to rises in cotton prices (North
Central State), the functioning of Farmers Advisory Committees (Benue
Plateau State) and the introduction and adoption of dry-season tomato
production (North Central State). Studies in the area of agricultural
economics include the analysis of the yields of crops from the demonstration
plots carried by the state Ministries of Natural Resources, studies of the
problems of cooperatives (Kwara State) and the impact of credit and
marketing cooperatives on farmers incomes (Kano and North Eastern States).
Rural sociology and extension have cooperated in a study to determine
the factors responsible for the farmers adoption of cotton growing
recommendations in the Gombe area (North East State) while extension,
agricultural economics and Ministry of Natural Resources North Central
State are cooperating on a study of two different farmer credit programmes,
high and low levels of improved inputs and extension inputs.
Assessment of recommendations at the farmers' level
All the projects involved in this category have involved more
than one discipline. Projects have included the undertaking of observation
plots on crop mixtures (rural sociology and agricultural economics),
observation plots on sole cropped maize (rural sociology and agricultural
economics), assessment of recommendations for cotton growing at the
farmers level (entomology, agricultural economics and North Central
State Ministry of Natural Resources), assessment of recommendations for
cotton, sorghum and maize growing at the farmers level with a credit
component (entomology, extension, agricultural economics and North
Central State Ministry of Natural Resources).
Guided introduction of change
This project which is just commencing and is a logical development
of RERU's work will last at least five years and will test different
combinations of three variables, i.e., different extension methods,
credit versus no credit programme, and assurance of availability of
improved inputs versus no such assurance will be tested in different
villages. The plan is to test only those types of programmes that would
be reasonably feasible for governments to adopt within the next 10 years.
An inter-disciplinary approach is to be used including technical and
social science disciplines and North Central State Government.
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2. Baldwin, K.D.S. (1957). The Niger Agricultural Project. London,
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4. Blair, H.W., (1971). The green revolution and "economic man": some
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19. Hays, H.M. The organisation of the staple food grain marketing
system in northern Nigeria: a study of efficiency of the rural-
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20. Hedges, T.R., (1963). Farm Management Decisions. Englewood Cliffs,
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Other OLC Publications
The Reorganization of Higher Education in Zaire, by William Rideout, March 1974, OLC Paper No. 5.
Nigerian Universities in the 70's, by A. Babatunde Fafunwa, April 1974, OLC Paper No. 4.
Reflections on the Comilla Rural Development Projects, by Akhter Hameed Khan, March 1974, OLC Paper No. 3.
Education Sector Planning for Development of Nation-Wide Learning Systems, by Frederick H. Harbison, November 1973,
OLC Paper No. 2.
Experiences in Rural Development: A Selected, Annotated Bibliography of Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Rural
Development in Africa, by Tekola Dejene and Scott E. Smith, August 1973. OLC Paper No. 1.
Le Developpement Rural: Realisations et Evaluation, Bibliographie annotee de textes choisis sur la planification, la mise en
oeuvre et I'dvaluation du developpement rural en Afrique, par Tekola Dejene et Scott E. Smith, Aoft 1973. Cahier OLC No. 1.
International Directory for Educational Liaison, January 1973. $5.00 in U. S., Canada, and Europe; other countries, no charge.
Repertoire International de Liaison en Matiere d'Enseignement, August 1973.
"Enhancing the Contribution of Formal Education in Africa: Primary Schools, Secondary Schools and Teacher Training Insti-
tutions," by John W. Hanson.
"A Human Resource Approach in the Development of African Nations," by Frederick H. Harbison.
"The Emergent African University: An Interpretation," by C. W. de Kiewiet.
Single copies of OLC papers may be obtained without charge by writing to:
Overseas Liaison Committee
American Council on Education
One Dupont Circle
Washington, D. C. 20036 U.S.A.