Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Background to the institute of...
 Determining research priorities...
 Research program of RERU
 Four phases of RERU's research...
 Overview of RERU's major findings:...
 Strategies to improve agricultural...
 Measures to increase the rate of...
 Research programme of RERU
 Back Cover

Group Title: Paper - Overseas Liaison Committee, American Council on Education - No. 6
Title: Inter-disciplinary research on rural development
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00054833/00001
 Material Information
Title: Inter-disciplinary research on rural development the experience of the Rural Economy Research Unit in Northern Nigeria
Series Title: OCL paper - Overseas Liaison Committee, American Council on Education no. 6
Physical Description: 46 p. : ; 28cm.
Language: English
Creator: Norman, D. W ( David W )
Publisher: Overseas Liaison Committee, American Council on Education
Place of Publication: Washington
Publication Date: 1974
Subject: Economic development -- Research -- Nigeria   ( lcsh )
Rural conditions -- Nigeria   ( lcsh )
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 43-46.
Statement of Responsibility: by David W. Norman.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: On cover: Development from below.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00054833
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000118769
oclc - 01471947
notis - AAN4631

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Background to the institute of agricultural research and RERU
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Determining research priorities in the Institute of Agricultural Research
        Page 10
    Research program of RERU
        Page 11
    Four phases of RERU's research program
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Overview of RERU's major findings: problems faced by farmers in the northern states of Nigeria
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Strategies to improve agricultural incomes
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    Measures to increase the rate of adoption of improved technology
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
    Research programme of RERU
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Back Cover
        Page 47
Full Text

Below V


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
Zaria, Nigeria

OLC Paper No. 6 Overseas Liaison Committee
April 1974 American Council on Education

American Council on Education

The American Council on Education is an organization whose membership includes over 90% of all doctorate-granting institu-
tions in the United States, 80% of all bachelors and masters-granting institutions, 38% of all regularly-accredited two-year institu-
tions, 191 educational associations and 57 affiliates. Since its founding in 1918, the Council has been a center for cooperation and
coordination of efforts to improve American education at all levels.
The Council investigates educational problems of general interest; stimulates experimental activities by institutions and groups
of institutions; remains in constant contact with pending legislation affecting educational matters; acts in a liaison capacity be-
tween educational institutions and agencies of the Federal Government; and, through its publications, makes available to ed-
ucators and the general public, widely used handbooks, informational reports, and volumes of critical analyses of social and
educational problems.
The Council operates through its permanent staff, commissions and special committees. Its president, Roger Heyns, was
formerly Chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley and Professor of Psychology and Education at the University of
Michigan. The Council is housed at the National Center for Higher Education at One Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.

Overseas Liaison Committee

The Overseas Liaison Committee of the American Council on Education is a specialized organization of scholars founded to
promote communication between the American academic community and higher education in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America,
Asia, and the Pacific.
OLC is a working committee of twenty-one university scholars and administrators selected for their specialized knowledge of
higher education, for their willingness to devote time to program design and execution, and to represent the varied structure of
American higher education. They are given administrative and program support by the Secretariat in Washington.
Funding for OLC programs is provided by grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford Foundation, a con-
tract with the U.S. Agency for International Development, and grants for special projects from public and private agencies such
as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

OLC Members

1973174 COUNCIL

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,
Smithsonian Institution
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
University, CHAIRMAN
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
Development Foundation
Wayne A. Schutjer, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics
and Rural Sociology, Pennsylvania State University (effective
September, 1974)
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


Karl W. Bigelow, Professor Emeritus, Teachers College,
Columbia University
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

Table of





















"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,
Rand Corporation.


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"

(UNESCO, 1970).

*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

by RERU.

(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.


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.


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.


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

level studies.

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



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


Basic studies

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


Change studies

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 ** ,*


.4 .1

Yield (Ibs.)
Costs (N)
Net return (N)
June July hours



Yield (Ibs.)
Costs (N)
Net return (N)




3512 8000
14.31 17.13
69.98 -t7174.87

I -

/I1 I

26.40 /1I5-

28.85 I- ~


I. L

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 :> '' ")/ ,/ *


Yield (Ibs.)

Costs (N)
Net return (N)
June July hours

ML 320
SG 685

Not available

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
Central State.

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.

,) /2



/- 1

s"Li ".,

~: = 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.


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
growing cotton.

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
improved technology.

S- 21

(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

that period.

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.


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)
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.
Cultivated acres:

Indigenous technology
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

Improved technology
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.


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

be reduced.

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.


A summary of the research programme since the inception of RERU

is as follows:


Village studies

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.

Other studies

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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19. Hays, H.M. The organisation of the staple food grain marketing
system in northern Nigeria: a study of efficiency of the rural-
urban link. Manhattan, Kansas State University, 1973.
(Ph.D. dissertation).

20. Hedges, T.R., (1963). Farm Management Decisions. Englewood Cliffs,

21. Helleiner, G.K., (1967). Peasant Agriculture, Government, and
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22. Helleiner, G.K., (1966). Marketing boards and domestic stabilization
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23. Hopper, W.D., (1965). Allocation efficiency in a traditional Indian
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51. Wharton, C.R., (1968). Risk, uncertainty and the subsistence farmer.
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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.

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