Experimental Agriculture



FACTORS AFFECTING THE ADOPTION OF LEGUMINOUS COVER CROPS IN NIGERIA AND A COMPARISON WITH THE ADOPTION OF NEW CROP VARIETIES


S. MORSE a1c1 and N. McNAMARA a2
a1 Department of Geography, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AB UK
a2 Diocesan Development Services, POB 114, Idah, Kogi State, Nigeria

Abstract

This paper presents the results of:

(a) On-farm trials (eight) over a two-year period designed to test the effectiveness of leguminous cover crops in terms of increasing maize yields in Igalaland, Nigeria.

(b) A survey designed to monitor the extent of, and reasons behind, adoption of the leguminous cover crop technology in subsequent years by farmers involved, to varying degrees, in the trial programme.

Particular emphasis was placed on comparing adoption of leguminous cover crops with that of new crop varieties released by a non-governmental organization in the same area since the mid 1980s. While the leguminous cover crop technology boosted maize grain yields by 127 to 136% above an untreated control yield of between 141 and 171 kg ha−1, the adoption rate (number of farmers adopting) was only 18%. By way of contrast, new crop varieties had a highly variable benefit in terms of yield advantage over local varieties, with the best average increase of around 20%. Adoption rates for new crop varieties, assessed as both the number of farmers growing the varieties and the number of plots planted to the varieties, were 40% on average. The paper discusses some key factors influencing adoption of the leguminous cover crop technology, including seed availability. Implications of these results for a local non-governmental organization, the Diocesan Development Services, concerned with promoting the leguminous cover crop technology are also discussed.

(Accepted July 3 2002)


Correspondence:
c1 Corresponding author: Email: s.morse@reading.ac.uk