Assessment of agricultural risk management practices among rural farmers in Osun State, Nigeria
The study specifically identified types and sources of agricultural risks to which farmers are exposed; determined their knowledge and perception of agricultural risks; analyzed current risk management practices adopted and determined the degree of vulnerability of the farmers to agricultural risks with a view to providing information for Agricultural Extension workers to enable them to disseminate appropriate information on agricultural risk . The study was conducted in Osun State of Nigeria using the three Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) agricultural zones namely Ife/Ijesa, Osogbo and Iwo. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to select 150 rural farmers from Ife/Ijesa zone, 120 from Osogbo zone and 90 from Iwo zone, making a total of 360 respondents sampled for the study. However, only 351 questionnaire and interview schedule administered were properly completed and returned. Data collected were described with mean, standard deviation, frequency counts and percentages while inferential statistics like Chi-square, Pearson Product Moment Correlation (PPMC) and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Tobit Regression and Factor Analysis were used to make deductions. The results revealed that surplus produce (glut) (84.6%), low demand for produce (82.3%), high cost of inputs (81.8%), sudden fall in price of goods (78.9%), pest/disease outbreak (77.5%), poor seeds/animal foundation stocks (76.4%), insufficient funding (76.1%), unfavourable weather condition (drought/heavy rainfall) (75.5%) and floods (73.5%) were the common types of risks identified by the farmers. About 78.5 percent had high knowledge of production risks, 89.6 percent of marketing risks, 58.8 percent of the respondents had high knowledge of financial risks. Slightly above average (53.7%) of the respondents had high knowledge of human/personal risks while 93.1 percent had low level of knowledge in legal risks. The results further show that most of the respondents moderately perceived all the identified farm risks in the study area. The findings revealed that slightly above average (55.3%) of the farmers had a very low level of awareness of agricultural insurance scheme and low degree of vulnerability to all the identified farm risks. The findings revealed that marital status (χ2 = 869.82), major occupation (χ2 = 119.31), gender (χ2 = 119.70), religion (χ2 = 327.70) and types of farming (χ2 = 224.73) had significant association with farmers’ risks management practices at both 5% and 1% significant levels. Also, age (r = 0.358), farm size (r = 0.271) and years of formal education (r= 0.107) were the correlates of agricultural risk management practices among farmers. It was revealed that there was no significant difference in the risk mangament practices associated with farming across the three agricultural zones of the study area. In conclusion, rural farmers were quite aware of most of the risks associated with farming, their level of risk knowledge was also high and their risk perception was moderate. These enable the farmers to adopt some perceived effective agricultural risk management practices.