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Aim: This study was conducted to investigate the economic implication years after an outbreak of armyworm among the smallholding farmers in Ekiti State, Nigeria.
Methodology: A combination of purposive and snowball sampling techniques were used to select 60 respondents in four communities of the State. Thematic information from the semi-structured questionnaire related to the socio-economic characteristics of respondents, their enterprise characteristics, farmers’ perception of significant constraints militating against maize production in the study area, as well as the efficacy of management strategies adopted by the respondents. Data was analyzed with descriptive statistics and Tobit regression.
Results: The study revealed that maize farming was mostly on smallholdings owned by males within the active age of 35 years. These farmers practised mixed cropping system whereby maize is planted with other crops in a shifting cultivation pattern. Also, the respondents identified lack of inputs, lack of fund and credit facilities, climate change, disease and pest outbreak, inadequate storage and processing facilities, and imperfect information dissemination as significant constraints militating against self-sufficiency in maize production. The most debilitating of these constraints was the outbreak of the Fall armyworm, which ravaged maize farms. Information gathered revealed that higher percentages of the respondents combated this notorious pest with the use of synthetic chemicals alongside other management approaches. The result of the gross margin revealed that net return per hectare to maize production was N27, 510. The Tobit results revealed that only pests’ infestation in the previous year and age were significant with maize output loss.
Conclusion: The Fall armyworm outbreak resulted in an economic downturn for maize farmers in Ekiti State.
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