The Impact Of Soil Quality On Cocoa Yield In Nigeria
Free (open access)
O. A. Amusan & F. O. Amusan
The Southwestern region of Nigeria is the largest administrative region in Nigeria; it occupies about 30 percent of Nigeria and has an estimated population of about 40 million. Over 50 percent of the area is categorised as rural areas of which about 90 percent of the people depend on farming for their livelihood. Over 90 percent of Nigerian cash crop cocoa is produced in the cocoa belt of the Southwestern region, but both cash and food crops have consistently declined in the last few years. This phenomenon constitutes a threat to food security and calls for efforts to explain the downward trend and make recommendations for improvement. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the soils of some areas in Southwestern Nigeria for cocoa on the one hand, and identify factors affecting cocoa yield on the other. A novel technique that combines soil survey with socio-economic analyses was adopted. Socio-economic surveys covered resource quality and constraints to agricultural production, whereas soil sampling and analyses were carried out to assess the contribution of soil to yield. Three locations having similar agro-ecological features were selected, namely Ibadan, Ife and Akure. Cocoa farmers were randomly selected and interviewed on their farms using standardised questionnaires to elicit information on factors affecting crop yield. Relationships between cocoa yield and variables presumed to influence yield were determined using linear multiple regressions. Soil organic C, Age of farm soil, and ECEC were identified as the major constraints to yield. Other variables are related to biophysical and management factors. It is recommended that emphasis should be placed on soil management techniques that conserve organic matter and enhance the nutrient and water holding capacity of the soils. Policies that would enhance sustainability of agricultural land use and crop marketing are also required. Keywords: cocoa yield, food security, land use, linear multiple regressions, soil organic C, soil quality.
cocoa yield, food security, land use, linear multiple regressions, soil organic C, soil quality.