BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Labour is ad key factor of production as well as a source of livelihood to billions of people worldwide (Sehneider, 2005). Nigeria's agricultural production is highly labour intensive. Over 90% of non-mechanized production systems depend on human labour, and for mechanized production systems, between 50 and 60% of the tasks depend on human labour (Olayide, 2002; Shaib et al., 2010). Family lubour constitutes over 76% of farm labour and human labour is about the only form of farm labour available to farmers and farmers contribute over 80% of total domestic avricultural output, it therefore means that, human labour accounts for domestic food supplies in plateau State und Nigeria in general (Shaib et al., 2010), At present there is no indication that all farm activities will be mechanized in plateau State and most other States in Norther Nigeria in the nearest future, Ajibefun et.al, (2000) noted that hired labour contributes 88.0% of the total labour use on farms thus emphasizing its importance in agricultural activities. Hardwick (2011) observed that total supply of labour depends on factors such as the size of the population, its age composition and certain institutional factors. Labour is one of the factors of production which involves family, hired, cammunal, friends and relatives (Nmadul and Adebola 2015), Labour includes those that are rated on daily or hourly basis (Panwal 2006). Sometimes, the jabour is being negotiated for the work on a specific area of farm or the farm us a whole, Labour can also be defined as a continues impute and therefore Is available on hourly and daily basis. Hence, it cannot be stored in anticipation of the next job requirement. Olukosi eto! (1988) state that this characteristic emphasizes the need to provide productive year-round work for full time employees to take advantage of the continues flow of labour servives Labour is the group of productive service provided by human physical effort, skill, and mental power. lt is the work input of people-not the people themselves (Olukosi etal 1988) . Labour is the too] with which capital and managerial skills are used to extract profit from the land. Labour input is usually measured in man-days or sometimes mon-hours (Bervidova, 2001). Various studies on farm Inbour supply discovered that human labour on the farm is not homogenous and job contents differ, For instance, King (2009) found that in general, men performed heavy preparation such as land preparation while women and children performed lighter operations such as planting. fertilizer application and weeding. The study also confirmed that separote wage rates are obtained for these lnbour categories. The availability of labour has been found to have impact on planting precision, better weed control, timely harvesting and crop processing (Oluyole et al, 2007), Oluyele & Sanusi (2009) noted that maize is one of the major staple crops in Nigeria, The report ofa food consumption survey shows that maize was the most often consumed staple crop with 20% of the population eating itat least once a week (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, 2004), Current maize production in Nigeria is about 8 million tonnes and averape yield is 1.5 tonnes per hectare, The average yield is low when compared to the world average of 4,3 tonnes/ha. It is even lower when compared to average yield from other African countries like South Africa, Mauritius and Egypt with average of 2.5 tonnes/hn, 3.8 tonnes‘ha and 7.1 tonnes/ha respectively (Food and Agriculture Organization 2009), This is asa result of Several problems associated with agriculture and over the years agricultural production has drastically reduced (0 fundari and Ojo, 2006}.
There has been a growing gap between the demand for maize and its supply In Nigeria and Inbour is a major constraint in maize production and agricultural production as a whole (Gocowski and Oduwole, 2005), The Nigerian economy had substantially depended on agriculture as a source of food products, raw materials for industrial sector and foreign exchange earnings (Arene and Mkpado, 2002). It is the dominant sector in the Nigeria economy and the second largest earner of foreign exchange next to the non —sustainable petroleum sector (Ayanwale, 2(002). Agriculture, as a strong and efficient sector in the past had a multiplier effect on the nations” socio-economic and industrial fubrie, This was reflected on its multifunctional nature os the largest employer of labour foree, which accounted for 72.9% in 1961, 88% of export revenue with aver 60% contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) (FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation) of United Nations, 2007). These needs were however met mainly by subsistent farmers and at that time agriculture was characterized by scarce capital input, high labour supply, abundant land and simple tools (Osugiri, 2007). Over the years, however, the relative contribution of the Nigeria agricultural sector has been declining, its contribution to export revenue decline from 43% in 1970 to 5% in 2008 (CBN, 2009). Similarly the percentage contribution of the sector raw materials to merchandise export has fallen significantly from 11% in 1965 to about 0.01% in 2003 (WDI, 2006). In addition, the contribution of agricultural sector to the nation gross domestic product which stood at over 60% in the 60s has declined to 33.4% (Shittu, 2008). This decline has been attributed to the neglect of agricultural sector in pursuit of oil revenue, with its attendance mass movement of economically active population who hitherto engaged in agricultural sector to non-farm sector. This massive movement of predominantly young and educated members of the rural farm household has great implication on the nation agriculture. According to Shittu (2008), it leads to (a) Rapid Urbanisation (b) Demographically unbalanced population (c) Scarcity of labour (d) Low productivity in agriculture. Therefore, given the relevance of labour to agricultural production in developing countries such as Nigeria, this study is designed to provide answers to the following research questions:
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
In view of the above, the broad objective of this study ois to assess the economics of labour use among maize farmers in kanke L.G.A in plateau state. The specific objectives are:
JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
Given the importance of farm labour supply in maize and agricultural production, studies are required to provide information that could guide the prospective maize farmers on those effects and factors that are likely to affect the supply of labour use on the farm. Unavailability of technology and decreasing availability of an energetic population who could cope with the task of farm operations has reduced agricultural and food crop production (Qiao and Datom, 2000). An alternative suggestion was to introduce labour intensive technology that required an increase in farm labour supply (Francis, 2011). The cost of purchased inputs in capital intensive technology could be replaced by fimily labour by providing farmers with the potential for more profit while al the same time protecting the environment (Tegegne et al., 2001), This research will serve as a guide to policy makers in plateau State. It will sharpen policy focus with a view to improving the livelihood of maize farmers by dealing with those factors affecting farm labour supply mane production, A study of this nature will add to the existing body of knowledge
Ho: There is no significant relationship between sources of farm labour and maize production,
Ho: There is no significant relationship between type of labour use for specific activity in maize
production and farm output.
Ho: There is no significant relationship between labour cost and maize output in the study area.
Ho: There is no significant relationship between labour supply and jts determinants for maize
production in the study area.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of immense benefits towards agricultural output in Nigeria in general and maize cultivation/output in particular. The study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing a further study on the subject matter.
The study is restricted to the economics of labour use among maize farmers in Kanke LGA of plateau state.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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