Impact of Improved Agricultural Technology Adoption on Sustainable Rice Productivity and Rural Farmers’ Welfare in Nigeria
Introduction Agriculture holds the key to broad-based economic growth, poverty reduction and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This is due to the importance of the sector for SSA economies, the extent of rural poverty and the dependence of 50 million small farms on agricultural incomes (Schaffnit-Chatterjee, 2014). Thus, one of the overarching goals of Nigerian agricultural development goals is increasing agricultural productivity for accelerated economic growth and development. As stated in Diagne et al. (2009), productivity increases in agriculture can reduce poverty by increasing farmers’ income, reducing food prices and thereby enhancing increments in consumption. Based on this assertion, the Department for International Development (2003) estimated that a 1 per cent increase in agricultural productivity reduces the percentage of poor people living on less than US$1 a day by between 0.6 and 2 per cent, and they also concluded that there is no any other economic activity capable of providing such enormous benefit for the poor. Observably, it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the food needs of the ever increasing world population through land area expansion or relying on irrigation (Datt and Ravallion, 1996; Hossain, 1989). Therefore, the quest to generate an increase in agricultural productivity has necessitated the development and dissemination of cost-effective, yield increasing improved agricultural technologies such as fertilizer, improved seed of many staple food crops and improved land management practices. The fact remains that much of the needed increase in productivity could be achieved through the adoption of these yield enhancing improved agricultural technologies. In addition, the potential benefit to be derived from the increased productivity is not limited to the farmers alone, but the entire farming community stands to benefit. Such activities according to Mwabu et al. (2006) can increase the value of locally produced crops, generate local employment, stimulate local cash flow and, through processing, marketing and related activities, can bring about improvement in socio-economic status and the quality of life. One of the major findings in the literature in relation to improved agricultural technology adoption is the fact that it contributed immensely to the green revolution in Asia.