Factors Affecting Sustainability Of Melon (Egusi) Production In Rural Farming Households Of Southwest, Nigeria
Abstract, American Journal of Agricultural Research, 2016
Melon crop plays important roles in the farming system and in the nutritional diet and economic well-being of West African rural dwellers. However, there has been continuous decline in the melon yield in last two decades. Also, cultivation of melon is not without challenges like every other arable crop in southwest Nigeria. Hence, this paper focused on factors affecting melon (egusi) production in rural farming households of southwest, Nigeria. Multi-stage sampling technique was used in selecting 108 respondents from twenty villages in three LGAs of Oyo State, Nigeria. Primary data were collected using interview guide and analyzed using descriptive statistics and multiple regression analysis. Results showed that 80.10% of melon farmers were males and 87.04% were married with a mean age of 41 years. Many (47.20%) of the melon farmers did not have formal education while 36.10% attended primary school. The mean year of farming experiences was 16 years. The farmers cultivated melon seeds obtained from their previous harvest (81.0%) and purchase seeds from the open markets (19.0%). Melon output declined from 376.53kg/ha in 2012 to 280.70kg/ha in 2014. Result of regression analysis showed that production input and socio-economic characteristics of the respondents (t = 0.19) have significant influence on melon output at p < 0.05. The study concludes that melon yield is declining in the study area. Hence, it is recommends that extension agents should teach the melon farmers improved farming practices that can enhance higher productivity and better yield for sustainable melon production to be achieved in the study area.