FACTORS AFFECTING ADOPTION OF HAND POLLINATION TECHNIQUE BY COCOA FARMERS IN ONDO STATE OF NIGERIA
1.1Background of the study
Cocoa, Theobroma cacao L (Sterculiaceae), also known as food of the gods, is an important economic tropical tree whose center of origin is thought to be in several native areas of the tropical rainforest of equatorial America or Upper Amazon (Allen and Lass, 1983; Motamayor et al., 2002; Bailey et al. 2005), and grows profitably within latitudes 20ºN and 20ºS of the equator. However, the bulk of the crop is produced within latitudes 10ºN and 10ºS (Anim-Kwapong et al., 2002).
Cocoa is the world’s third most important agricultural export commodity, after coffee and sugar, and a major earner of foreign income for the number of countries that dominate production. It is also a major cash crop in many tropical countries ranking among other key bean and nut commodities in terms of global scale of crop production (World Wildlife Fund, 2006; World Cocoa Foundation, 2010). Farmed on over 7.5 million hectares, cocoa provides a means of livelihood for an estimated 40-50 million people worldwide, including five million cocoa farmers (World Cocoa Foundation, 2010). Smallholder farmers with farms less than ten hectares (ha), grow over 90% of the world’s cocoa, and make little or no use of fertilizers and agrochemicals (International Cocoa Organization, 2005; 2010).
Cocoa is a major economic resource to several tropical countries (Browna et al., 2007; Lanaud et al., 2009). The cocoa sector alone employs over 80,000 small holder farm families (Asamoah and Baah, 2003; Frimpong et al., 2007), representing 19 percent of rural households, and contributing between 70% – 100% of annual household incomes of smallholder farmers (Breisinger et al., 2008). Ghana’s agricultural GDP attributed to cocoa increased from 13.7 percent in 2000 – 2004 to 18.9 percent in 2005/2006 2 (Breisinger et al., 2008). To sustain such remarkable growth in production, there is the need to take a more critical look at the ecosystem to improve on the features of the system which have positive impact on cocoa yields (Gockowski, 2007). West Africa has been the center of cocoa cultivation for many decades as seventy percent of the world’s cocoa is grown in this sub-region (World Cocoa Foundation, 2010), and its production has been documented in agricultural reports since 1556 (Johns, 1999).
Compared to other agricultural activities, cocoa has been a leading subsector in the economic growth and development of several West African countries (Duguma et al., 2001). Ghana is the second largest cocoa producer after Ivory Coast (ICCO, 2007; Filou and Kenny, 2009). Together the two countries represent approximately 72% of world cocoa production (Vigneri, 2007)
1.2 Problem statement
Pollination ecology is the scientific study of plant-pollinator relationships and it involves the life histories, floral phenology, energetics of foraging, distribution, and behavior of individual species as well as the structure and function of natural systems at the level of populations, communities, and ecosystems. The ecological importance of pollinators is crucial (Kearns et al., 1998), but management of pollination systems is relatively new and untried (Kearns and Inouye, 1997). This applies to cocoa with its unique qualities such as the cauliflory and pollination mechanism which are shared by very few tropical plants (Bos et al., 2007). A significant issue of cocoa pollination ecology is the synchronization between pollinator population cycle, the floral phenology of cocoa tree, and the adequacy of pollination (Young, 1983).
Over the years, several workers have established that cocoa is entomophilous, dependent on cross-pollination, and the responsible insects are midges (Forcipomyia spp.) of the family Ceratopogonidae (Posnette, 1950; Entwistle, 1972; Kaufman, 1975; Cilas, 1987; Klein et al., 2008; Groeneveld et al., 2010). Moreover, Winder and Silva (1972) suspected that pollination of cocoa by insects was one extrinsic limiting factor regulating fruit set in cocoa. Cocoa pollination has since 1925 been a subject of interest  and yet very little is known about the mechanisms of pollination that contribute to the production of the fruits and subsequently the yield of the tree . Stephenson (1981) and Bos et al., 2007 reported that over 90% of flowers produced by cocoa trees drop after opening. Consequently only 10% of the total flowers produced pollinate 5 successfully. This low success percentage is even dependent on the activities of midges in the cocoa plantation. Following this, the study will examine the factors affecting adoption of hand pollination technique by cocoa farmers in Ondo state of Nigeria
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to examine the factors affecting adoption of hand pollination technique by cocoa farmers in Ondo state of Nigeria. Specifically the study:
- assess the various types of pollination technique used by farmers in ondo state
- determine the importance of hand pollination to cocoa farmers in ondo state
- assess why farmers prefer hand pollination to other pollination technique in ondo state
- Significance of the study
Given the importance of cocoa to world economy it is not surprising that there is a plethora of documentation on its cultivation. However this study will contribute to the body of literature as it provides information on the pollination techniques used by farmers and the relevance of hand pollination.
- Study hypothesis
The study hypothesis is:
HO: there is no significant difference between factors affecting the adoption of hand pollination
H1: there is a significant difference between factors affecting the adoption of hand pollination
- Scope and Limitations of the Study
The study scope is limited to investigating factors affecting the adoption of hand pollination in Ondo state. the case study is further limited to small scale farmers in the state. Limitation faced by the research was limited time and financial constraint
- Definition of Basic terminologies
Productivity: in this study, Productivity, is a term used to describe the rate of production in an ecosystem, and is an important functional property for both the natural and agricultural ecosystems
Pollination: the transfer of pollen to a stigma, ovule, flower, or plant to allow fertilization
Soil degradation: Soil degradation is the decline in soil condition caused by its improper use or poor management, usually for agricultural, industrial or urban purposes
- Organisation of study
The study is grouped into five chapters. This chapter being the first gives an introduction to the study. Chapter two gives a review of the related literature. Chapter three presents the research methodology; chapter four presents the data analysis as well as interpretation and discussion of the results. Chapter five gives a summary of findings and recommendations.
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