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Title: Rice in the small farm production systems of inland valleys in the Bida area of Nigeria
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080838/00001
 Material Information
Title: Rice in the small farm production systems of inland valleys in the Bida area of Nigeria
Series Title: Rice in the small farm production systems of inland valleys in the Bida area of Nigeria
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Ashraf, Malik.
Publisher: Dept. of Food & Resource Economics, University of Florida
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Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
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Table of Contents
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        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
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        Page 2
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        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Back Cover
        Page 14
        Page 15
Full Text


Malik Ashraf*

* Agricultural Economist, International Institute of Trop Agriculture, Nigeria.
Presently Visiting Professor, Department of Food & Resource Economics,
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

October 1988


Over the past 15 years rice production in West African countries has
increased faster than any other food crop. Most of the rice production has
occurred under rainfed conditions and without any major governmental support.
Irrigated rice is less than 9% of total rice area and contributes only 19% to
the total rice production in the region. Most of the rice in the region is
produced by small scale farmers with farm sizes of less than 5 hectares.
Among the various rice ecologies, upland and inland valleys are most important,
producing two-thirds of the total rice in West Africa.

Due to various biophysical and economic factors, wetlands are likely to
become more important for rice production than uplands in the future. On
uplands rice crop has higher yield risks than competing cereal and root crops.
Also weeds and soil fertility are more serious problems on uplands than on
lowlands. With population pressure increasing and uplands becoming
increasingly eroded, more and more unused lowlands will be cleared and brought
under cultivation. Lowlands can sustain cultivations for longer periods than
uplands. Rice is the only cereal crop adapted to swampy lowland conditions.

In a number of West African countries where rainfall is high and inland
valleys are wide spread, rice cultivation is extensive and rice is a staple
food. In other countries rice is a preferred food and the consumption is
limited only by the available supplies. As most African countries have either
banned the importation of rice or limit the importation due to lack of foreign
exchange, prices in the local market have increased sharply. Rice has become a
cash crop and is easy to sell in local markets.

Compared to other lowlands such as mangrove and flood plains, inland
valleys are easily accessible, relatively easy to cultivate and can be easily
integrated with the crop production activities of surrounding uplands. Thus a
greater food production potential can be realized by matching technological
needs with improvement opportunities of inland valleys. West African Research
and Development Association(WARDA), International Institute of Tropical
Agriculture(IITA), and International Rice Research Institute(IRRI), have thus
far focused mostly on irrigated rice and have made little progress in
developing improved technologies for the rainfed rice in West Africa. Not much
is known about the rice production systems practiced by farmers in the inland
valleys. This paper is aimed at filling a part of this information gap. The
study was undertaken in Niger State in Nigeria and represents that part of the
West African region which has 900 to 1200 m.m. rainfall.

Crop production systems in humid and sub-humid Africa are quite complex.
Technologies developed elsewhere, generally, do not fit the local conditions

and are often rejected by farmers. This is particularly true for the rice crop
which is produced under much more diverse environments in Africa than, for
example, in Asia where most of the improved technology for rice crop has been
developed under irrigated conditions. Very little is known about the produc-
tion systems which African rice farmers are following, although information on
these is essential for the development of appropriate improved technology.

The purpose of this study is to describe the major production systems for
the rice crop grown in inland valleys and to identify the underlying factors
which may explain differences in the production practices. More specifically
the objectives of the study are:

a) To identify major production systems for rice crop for the inland valleys,
b) To quantify input-output relationship for rice production and develop
cost of production and net return analysis for the various systems.

Although crop production systems in Africa are generally diverse, the
diversity of production practices for the rice crop can be simplified according
to the physical environments of land type and soil moisture conditions. Rice
ecologies are characterized by distinct sets of physical environments and
within each environment production methods are less variable. Rice production
methods for upland, inland valleys, flood plains, and coastal mangrove areas
are expected to be quite different from each other due to the differences in
soil type, amount and quality of water, etc. This study looks only at the
production systems for the inland valleys. A large sample of inland valleys
representing various physical conditions of valley size, slope, and moisture
level would have been ideal. For such a coverage the accessibility of inland
valleys, farmers ability to provide quantitative information and abundance of
research resources are required. None of these conditions were available. For
example, farmers lack standard measuring units to describe the size of their
fields and amounts of inputs.

Thus to develop reliable information on farmers' existing production
methods and practices a small sample of 4 inland valleys of different size,
soil type, topography and moisture regimes was selected for the study. For
the selected inland valleys access to market, credit, extension information and
other support services were similar and typical of the area. Also the
surrounding upland types and cropping systems were similar. Thus it is
expected that any difference in the production practices among rice fields is
caused by physical differences among field sites and how farmers integrate rice
crop in their overall farm plans.

For the 4 inland valleys a total of 106 rice fields/plots cultivated by 86
farmers were selected for detailed study. Crop input and output data were
collected through observation and monitoring on a daily basis. Each rice plot
was measured by the research technician. Labor input time was recorded for
each farm operation as and when the task was undertaken.

Rice is one of many crops which farmers grow in the Bida area. Thus the
timing of rice production activities and amount of labor and capital resources
committed to rice crop are related to farmers overall food production objec-
tives. Farmers' land resources consist of 75% upland fields and only 25%
lowland in the inland valleys where rice is grown. The area of inland valleys
is limited and it is shared among farmers according to the traditional land
distribution system. The inland valleys have been cleared by the village
communities and rudimentary water control structures consisting of a head dike
and a peripheral irrigation channel for some inland valleys are constructed.
The field activities for rice production, therefore, include the tasks of land
preparation, planting, weeding, application of fertilizers, harvesting,
threshing and transportation of produce.

Land Preparation
Rice crop in inland valleys is grown on flat seedbeds. Farmers practice
two methods of land preparation to prepare rice seedbeds. They are (a) tilling
the fields by first making big heaps or mounds and ridges and later spreading
the heaps and ridges and (b) flat tillage by turning over the soil. Flat
tillage is performed few days before planting rice, while mounding and heaping
is done earlier in the season depending upon the slack labor period and the use
of lowland during the dry season. If dry season crops are grown, fields are
mounded immediately after the rice crop is harvested in December and mounds are
spread as soon as the dry season crops are harvested just before planting rice.
When dry season crops are not grown in paddy fallow mounds are usually prepared
4-6 weeks before and spread when planting of rice is undertaken. Although the
mechanical aspects of mounding and spreading method is similar in both cases we
treat them separately because of differences in the duration for which fields
stay in mounds and the associated soil microbial activities, intensity of land
use and their consequences on labor constraint and farm productivity. Thus for
the purpose of summarizing results, we classify rice fields into old mounded
fields (where dry season crops are grown), newly mounded fields, and flat
tilled fields.

Presently 48% of inland valley fields are planted to dry season crop which
are grown on big mounds and ridges. For these fields land preparation for rice
crop is done by spreading and leveling of old mounds. The labor input for
making mounds in this case is assigned to the dry season crops. In 30% of rice
fields land preparation involved both making and spreading of mounds and the
remaining 22% fields were prepared by flat tillage method. In the first case
tillage is simpler and considerably reduced compared to the other methods.

For the three field types classified above, the land preparation timing is
different. For more than 80% of mounded fields spreading and leveling is done
between 15 August and 15 September in contrast to 50% of flat tilled fields
where tillage was done between 15 July and 15 August. In the remaining fields
the land preparation occurs at the later date (Table 1).

Table 1: Dates of land preparation and planting of rice according to
method of land preparation in inland valleys of Bida area,
Nigeria, 1987

Spread New mounds Flat
Activity/ old Make Spread tillage
Date mounds
(% rice fields)
A. Land Preparation
June 15-30 1 14 --
July 1-15 1 26 2
July 16-31 13 34 3 34
Aug 1-15 11 9 15
Aug 16-31 36 17 26 32
Sept 1-15 38 71 17
100 100 100 100

B. Planting

July 1-31 12 3 27
Aug 1-15 14 7 20
Aug 16-31 32 23 30
Sept 1-15 34 42 16
Sept 16+ 8 25 7
100 100 100

Land preparation tasks are very labor intensive and they are performed
manually with the use of hand held tools. Land preparation for 60% of fields
was completed over a 10 day period and for the remaining fields seedbed
preparation took between 11 and 30 days. Farmers plant rice as they prepare
portions of their rice field. Thus most of rice fields have variable planting
dates. In general 80% of old mounded fields are planted within the dates of
August 1 to September 15. In newly mounded fields 66% of planting is done in
the month of September. For the flat tilled fields 77% of rice planting is
completed between July 1 and August 31. Thus land preparation method affect
the planting time for rice crop. Direct seeded rice is planted somewhat earlier
than the transplanted rice. In the four inland valleys surveyed 90% of direct
seeded rice was planted between the dates of July 1 and September 15, while 90%
of transplanting occurred between August 15 and September 20 (Table 2).

Planting methods
Two methods of rice planting are used by the Bida farmers; direct seeding
of pre-germinated seed and transplanting of seedlings. Dry seeding is not
practiced due to late planting and soil being saturated during mid-rainy
season. When seeds are planted most farmers either plant by dribbling method
or using foot to cover the seeds. Seeds are never broadcasted, rather planted
in stations with 8-12 seeds dropped at one location. Similarly while
transplanting, 6-8 seedlings of 6-8 weeks old are planted at one station.
Between rice hill stations a distance of approximately 25 cm x 50 cm is
maintained for ease of weeding with the use of hand hoes.

Table 2: Date of planting of rice in inland valleys according to
location of field and planting method in Bida area,
Nigeria, 1987

Field Location Planting Method
Planting Valley Valley Direct Trans- Overall
date slopes bottom seeded planted
( % rice fields)
July 1-31 6 16 19 5 14
Aug 1-15 23 11 17 8 14
Aug 16-31 34 28 30 28 29
Sept 1-15 34 29 25 39 30
Sept 16+ 3 16 9 20 13
100 100 100 100 100

In the Bida area 60% of the rice fields are planted using the direct
seeding method while the remaining 40% are planted by the transplanting method.
About four-fifths of fields located on the slopes or sides of inland valleys
are sown directly while 45% of valley bottom fields are transplanted. Farmers
planting method is determined by the planting date, field location and land
preparation method. On fields where early or late mounding is practiced
transplanting is just as common as direct seeding. However, most flat tilled
fields are direct seeded and planted early in the season. Another reason for
direct seeding of flat tilled plots is due to the poor quality of seedbeds.
Soils are not pulverized or puddled and fresh weeds and grasses buried under
the soil are not fully desiccated.


Next to land preparation weeding of rice is the most labor using activity
and it occurs at the busiest period. First weeding is done by turning over the
soil with the help of hand hoes. Second and third weeding involve a
combination of the use of hoe when weeds are dense and hand pulling when weeds
are tall and fewer. All 106 rice fields received first weeding. More than
three-fourth of fields also received second weeding, while only 34% of rice
fields received a maximum of three weedings. More weeding is done on valley
bottom fields than on side slopes. Similarly more weeding is done on transpl-
anted rice than to direct seeded rice.

A significantly greater proportion of the valley bottom fields and the
transplanted rice were weeded two and three times than the fields on valley
slopes and those direct seeded. For example, 39% of the valley bottom fields
were weeded three times as compared to only 17% of fields on valley slopes, and
46% of transplanted rice fields were weeded three times as compared to only 17%
of the direct seeded rice fields. This is because of different weed mix, longer

LNUL. uiir WCj-C L&LUZ6 L. WL.LCLU CCu AC %AZ W==L L.Uncjr wcj~c W L w ci c u .L
after the weeds were overgrown. More than 70% of the fields received first
weeding as late as 31 to 60 days after sowing. Similarly for 67% of those
fields which received second weeding it was as late as 60 to 90 days after
sowing. In general weeding on transplanted rice fields occurred a few days
earlier than direct seeded rice fields (Table 3).

Table 3: Interval between planting and weeding of rice crop according to
field location and planting method in inland valleys of Bida area,
Nigeria, 1987

Weeding No./ Location Planting Method
Interval Valley Valley Direct Trans- Overall
days slopes bottom seed plant
(% rice fields)
A. First weeding *
< 20 17 3 29 13
21-30 13 14 9 22 14
31-40 22 23 20 27 23
41-50 30 25 37 10 26
> 51 35 21 31 12 24
100 100 100 100 100

B. Second weeding *
<40 14 4 23 12
41-50 14 22 6 40 21
51-60 14 19 19 17 18
61-70 29 16 29 3 18
>71 43 29 42 17 31
100 100 100 100 100

C. Third weeding *
< 60 25 34 6 58 33
61-70 31 29 26 28
71-80 7 6 5 6
> 81 75 28 59 11 33
100 100 100 100 100

Of the 106 rice fields 100% received first weeding, 78% of fields were
weeded twice,and only 34% of rice fields were weeded three times.

Farmers lack organic manures to improve the fertility of their crop land
but have practiced the traditional bush-fallow system to restore the soil
fertility. Increasing population pressure on land has forced farmers to abandon
the bush-fallow system and cultivate the inland valleys on a permanent basis.

LuL LLL zers. nDouuu Lwice as many rieLas on valley DOuroms receive rertliizer
as on' valley slopes. Planting method did not affect the fertilizer use. About
80% of farmers applied fertilizer in a single application and only 20% applied
in two applications. Most commonly used fertilizers were NPK compound, Urea,
Sulphate of Ammonia, and Single Super Phosphate. There is a uniform price for
all types of fertilizer (N 10/bag of 50 Kg) and farmers use reflects the type
available in the area. The fertilizer application rate varied widely and it
was not related to the area of field. On average, 2-3 bags of fertilizer were
used for a plot of rice.

Fertilizer application timings are directly associated with the weeding
timing. About 22% of farmers applied fertilizer just before first weeding,
another 23% with first weeding and the remaining 55% after first weeding.
Fertilizer was applied by broadcasting over the field. For 45% of cases and
for those farmers who perform weeding by turning over the soil, some fertilizer
gets buried under the soil along with weeds. Farmers fertilizer application
practices are quite poor both in methods and timings of application. Farmers
also lack information on the appropriate type and rate of fertilizer use.

There are some 10 to 12 rice varieties grown in the Bida area. Most of
these varieties are semi-improved type being released in the Seventies by the
National Cereals Research Institute. Among others Mambechi, Majelesa, Tsadu,
Mars, and F15 are the most commonly grown rice varieties. These varieties are
semi-photoperiod sensitive and their season length may vary depending upon the
date of planting, field moisture and solar radiation levels. We observed
season lengths of 115 to 120 days for Mambechi, Majelesa and F15 varieties and
' 0Dr __ /-C- C3 -- _- -t -_ i __' -1 I .

yield losses. Harvested crop is assembled around a threshing pit which is
usually located on the upper slopes of inland valleys.

Threshing of rice is done manually by striking plants on wooden log or on
the sides of a dug in pit. Usually there is a considerable time lag between
harvesting and threshing of rice. Farmers take turn to engage community labor
for threshing rice crop. Only one-third of the farmers manage to thresh within
one week after harvesting. Fifty percent of farmers manage to thresh within 2-3
weeks and 17% of farmers are delayed upto 5 weeks to thresh their crop. Rice
straw is not used, it is either burnt or grazed by the "Fulani" cattle.

Manual labor is the key production factor in West African agriculture.
All operations are performed manually with the use of small hand tools.
Although family is the principal source of farm labor, hired and communal labor
play important roles for selected farm operations. In the Bida area family
provides 58% of total labor input for rice production, hired workers contribute
7% and communal labor contributes 35% to the total labor input.

Hired and community labor is engaged for land preparation and threshing of
rice; two operations that are labor intensive and whose timely completion is
critically important. Community labor is structured according to the local
organization and farmers take turns using community labor. There are different
types of community groups relating to immediate family members, extended family
members, and large groups of people drawn from one or more village communities.

In the Bida area, women and young children do not participate in field
activities. For the rice crop their participation is limited to the
transportation of threshed paddy to the house. Women usually handle drying,
storage, processing and marketing of rice. Labor input for these activities is
not measured in this study.

On an overall basis Bida farmers use 661 man-hours of labor input for
producing one hectare rice in inland valleys. There are significant differen-
ces in labor input according to the method of rice planting, land preparation
method, and location of the fields. Transplanted rice takes 23% more labor
input per hectare as compared to direct seeded crop. Similarly valley bottom
fields take about 30% more labor input than fields on side slopes (Table 4).

Rice production labor input for one hectare on old mounded fields is 610
man-hours as compared to 762 man-hours for newly mounded fields and 680 man-
hours for flat tilled fields. Thus farmers who grow dry season crops in rice
fallow not only produce additional crops, they also reduce labor input for the
subsequent rice crop. Dry season crops complement by shifting a part of the
land preparation labor input from the busy period of June/July to a less busy
period of January. That is, the land preparation for dry season crops reduces
the labor input for the rice crop.

Table 4 : Labor input (man-hours/ha) for rice crop in inland valleys according
to field location, land preparation type, and planting method in Bida
area, Nigeria, 1987*

Location Land preparation type Planting method
Activity Valley Valley Spread Mound Flat Direct Trans- Overall
slopes bottom old and tillage seed plant
mounds spread
Land prep 180 212 147 304 196 185 238 203
Plant 59 61 51 63 57 54 74 60
Weed 149 244 210 211 255 196 258 217
Fertilize 2 2 2 3 3 2 3 2
Harvest 96 106 107 104 94 107 97 104
Thresh 46 64 58 59 60 54 68 59
Transport 15 16 16 16 15 16 16 16
Total 547 705 590 759 680 614 754 661

* Labor inputs estimated by monitoring a total of 106 rice fields randomly
selected in four inland alleys. Data in the table are averages for 23 fields
located on valley slopes and 83 on valley bottom; 51 fields where old mounds
were spread, 32 where mounding and spreading was done, and 23 fields were flat
tilled; and 65 fields were direct seeded and 41 fields were transplanted.

For the rice crop the most labor using activities are land preparation and
weeding, together they use close to two-thirds of the total labor input. Both
operations occur at the peak labor use periods thus affect the total area
farmer can cultivate in a cropping year. High labor input for weeding is due
to poor water control, poor quality of land preparation, and the use of
inefficient farm tools. Farmers do not know about the labor substituting
technologies such as herbicides and alternate tillage and land management

Overall average rice yield during 1987 was 1.53 tons per hectare. Yield
rates for the late maturing crop is somewhat less than early maturing crop
which may be due to the reduced moisture availability and reduced solar
radiation caused by the" harmattan" dust. Transplanted rice yielded 43% more
than the direct seeded rice. Also yield rates for the valley bottom fields
were 42% greater than the valley slopes or fringes. Related to land preparation
types, old mounded fields yielded 14% more than fresh mounded fields and 12%
more than flat tilled fields. Lower yield rates on fresh mounded and flat
tilled fields indicate the poor quality of land preparation and the instability
of a single rice crop land use system. Leaving fields fallow during the dry
season does not seem to enhance the soil fertility and improve the condition
of the soil. Tillage of land just before planting does not provide enough time
for the desiccation of weeds in the soil. They may have produced negative
effect by tieing up plant nutrients. In fields where tillage is done early in
the season aeration benefits the rice crop by oxidizing the ferrous iron which
reduces the incidence of iron toxicity.

abor is the most constraining factor of production in African
-e assessing yield rates per unit of labor input has greater meaning
d rates measured on land basis. The labor productivity index
as kilograms of paddy rice per man-hour was derived. The labor
.ty index is 1.99 for old mounded fields as compared to 1.37 for fresh
.elds and 1.53 for the flat tilled fields. It is 1.69 for the valley
1Ids as compared to 1.53 for the side slopes. Similarly transplanted
ded 1.81 labor productivity index compared to 1.55 for the direct

analysis of rice yield data and production methods indicate that
alleys and their fields under natural conditions do not represent
production environment. Fields should be treated differently
to soil and moisture conditions. These conditions are related to
.cal features, quantity and quality of seepage water, and soil type.
plantingg method has shown strong affect on yield levels, the choice
ng method is, however, influenced by the location and moisture
; of the fields.

Sthe subsistence farming system of Africa the major elements of the
ice production are labor, seed, hand tools, and fertilizer for some
In the Bida area inland valleys are cultivated by the tenant farmers
larily pay about 5% of rice grain harvest to the land owner. The land
vary from area to area depending on the local tenure arrangements and
ship rights. For rice production the cash costs are for hired labor,
seed, hand tools, and fertilizers if used.

ie farmgate prices and local wage rates the overall cost of production
:op for the inland valleys is N 835/ha (N=$ 0.18), of which N 164 are
s (Table 5). Nearly 80% of costs are made of manual labor and
inputs like seed and fertilizers constitute only a small proportion
total cost of production. There are considerable cost differences
field types, planting methods, and among land preparation types. Costs
tion on valley bottom fields are 26% higher than on valley fringes.
:ed rice has 24% higher costs than direct seeded rice crop. Similarly
where dry season crops are grown and land preparation involves only
ling of mounds the costs are 18% less than fields where mounding and
is involved and 11% less than the flat tilled fields.

production efficiency can be measured by comparing the cost of
i for a unit of output. On the basis of a kilogram of paddy the
i costs are lower for valley bottom fields compared to valley slopes,
transplanted rice compared to direct seeded, and lowest for land

:om fields

Cost Item Valley Valley Spread Mound Flat Direct Trans- Overall
slopes bottom old and till seed plant
mounds spread
( Naira per hectare )
Hired 38 49 41 53 47 43 52 46
Community 193 248 208 267 240 216 266 233
Family 316 408 341 439 393 355 436 382
547 705 590 759 680 614 754 661

Seed2 53 61 59 62 50 50 75 59
Fertilizer3 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
Hand tools 39 39 39 39 39 39 39 39
Land rent4 42 59 59 51 54 48 68 56
Total 701 884 767 932 843 771 956 835

Cash costs 10 169 159 174 156 152 186 164

Costs/Kg paddy:
Cash .1A .10 .10 .12 .11 .12 .10 .11
Non-cash .40 .44 .37 .53 .47 .47 .41 .44
.61 .54 .47 .65 .58 .59 .51 .55

1: Valued at the local market wage rate of N 6/man-day of 6 hours.
2: Reflect the weighted average for direct seeded and transplanted area.
Seed rate used is 40 Kg/ha for direct seeding and 60 Kg/ha for trans-
planting and seed price of N 1.25/Kg.
3: At the rate of 2 bag/ha at a price of N 10/bag.
4: Land rent estimated at the rate of 5% rice yield given to landlord.

Using partial budget analysis returns to farmer's resource use can be
measured. The net margin analysis indicates that at the 1987 input and output
prices rice production in the inland valleys is profitable. The level of
profitability, however, depends on location in the valley, method of tillage,
and method of planting. Among the field locations valley bottom section has
more than twice the net benefits of fields on side slopes. Transplanted rice
yields also more than twice the net benefits compared to direct seeded rice.
Similarly reduced tillage fields where only mound spreading was done yielded
two to three times the net benefits of other tillage systems (Table 6).


able 6: Returns to rice production in inland valleys according to location (
the valley,land preparation type, and planting method in Bida arei
Nigeria, 1987

Location Land preparation type Planting method
activity Valley Valley Spread Mound Flat Direct Trans- Overa'
slopes bottom old and till seed plant
mounds spread

ield (ton/ha) 1.14 1.63 1.63 1.43 1.45 1.31 1.87 1.5:
rop value (N/ha) 832 1190 1190 1044 1059 956 1365 111
abor input
(man-hours/ha) 547 705 590 759 680 614 754 66:

ost of Inputs* (N/ha)
Labor 547 705 590 759 680 614 754 66:
Seed, fert. &
hand tools 112 120 118 120 110 109 134 iLi
Land rent 42 59 59 52 53 48 68 -51
Total 701 884 767 931 843 771 956 83.

et margins (N/ha) 131 306 423 113 216 185 409 28:

ret returns to:
Labor (N/man-hour) 1.24 1.43 1.72 1.15 1.32 1.30 1.54 1.4
Capital (N/1N) 2.17 3.55 4.58 1.94 2.96 2.70 4.05 3.3
Land (N/ha) 173 365 482 165 269 233 477 33

Based on market wage rate of N i/man-hour; seed rates of 40 Kg/ha for dire
feeding and 60 Kg/ha for transplanted rice costed at N 1.25/Kg; fertilizer rate
bags/ha at a price of N 10/bag; and land rent assessed as 5% of crop yield giv
o the land owner.

Net returns to farmer's labor, capital, and land inputs are positive for
all the systems. Net returns are highest for the reduced tillage system,
followed by the transplanting method and valley bottom fields. Net returns are
marginal for the valley slopes, direct seeded rice and those fields where a
higher level of tillage was performed. While evaluating the economics of rice
production, returns to labor input which is the major production factor has a
special significance. At the current market price of N 730/ton of paddy and
wage rate of N 6/day net returns to labor input in rice production on old
mounded fields was 72% compared to 54% for transplanted rice and 43% for rice
grown on valley bottom fields. All other field types and management systems
yielded lower returns to labor. Thus higher returns to labor inputs can be
obtained both by economizing the labor use and/or by increasing rice yields. A
higher returns to capital costs indicate that farmers can increase their rice
yield and net farm incomes by investing more resources in improved seed,
chemical fertilizers, and efficient farm tools.

Farmers' rice production practices can be distinguished according to field
types, land preparation methods (especially related to the cultivation of
fields during the dry season), and rice planting methods. Labor constitutes 80%
of the cost of production. Rice yield, cost of production, and net return vary
among different systems. Rice fields located at the valley bottoms, cultivated
during the dry season and where transplanting method is practiced produce
higher yields and net returns. This implies that the productivity of the inland
valleys can be increased by encouraging farmers to grow dry season crops in
rice fallow, use transplanting method, and undertake simple water control
measures to improve the moisture condition on valley slopes.

High returns to purchased inputs suggest that substantial rice yield
increase is possible by increasing the level and improving the method of use of
divisible inputs. This relates to extending information on the proper type,
timing, and method of fertilizer application as well as 'On timely weeding.
Improving local skills to produce serrated sickles will increase the labor
efficiency and reduce rice yield losses by harvesting crop when it is less
brittle. Higher returns to purchased inputs will increase rice production and
farmers' net income.

Presently very high input of manual labor is required for producing rice,
with the result the marginal productivity for labor is relatively low.
Research efforts are needed to discover labor substituting technologies
especially for land preparation, weeding, and threshing operations. These
technologies should be relatively low input and take into consideration the
present use of inland valleys, capacity of the local institutions to support
the adoption, and skills required to master their use.

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