Farm Labour Structure and Its Determinants among Cocoa Farmers in Nigeria

K.A. Oluyole, O.A. Dada, O.A. Oni, S. Adebiyi, O.O. Oduwole

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Farm Labour Structure and Its Determinants among Cocoa Farmers in Nigeria

K.A. Oluyole1,, O.A. Dada1, O.A. Oni2, S. Adebiyi1, O.O. Oduwole1

1Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan, Nigeria

2Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Abstract

Nigerian agriculture is characterized with the use of hoe-cutlass technology. This is because in Nigeria, most farming activities are carried out with the use of human labour. Hence, labour is a limiting factor in agricultural production in Nigeria. In cocoa production, there is an information gap regarding the structure of labour used. In view of this, it is therefore imperative for this study to investigate the structure of farm labour as well as the determinants of labour use in cocoa production in the study area. Stratified sampling technique was used to select one hundred respondents from the study area. Two high cocoa producing Local Government Areas (LGAs) were selected and from each LGA, five communities were randomly selected. Ten cocoa farmers were randomly selected from each community. The data collected from the respondents were analysed with descriptive as well as multivariate regression model. Descriptive analysis shows that majority (80%) of the respondents are small scale holders having between one and five hectares of cocoa farm. Most (44.0%) utilized sharecropping source of labour. Ninety-four percent of the farmers utilized hired labour for farm clearing while 61.0% and 51% of the farmers utilized family labour for harvesting and on-farm cocoa processing respectively. All the farmers used male labour for farm clearing while 60.0% utilized female labour for harvesting. The result of the multi-variate regression analysis shows that wage rate (p < 0.05), farm size (p < 0.01) as well farm income (p < 0.01) significantly affected the use of labour for cocoa production in the study area. The result of hypothesis testing shows that there is a significant relationship between labour structure and farm size, wage rate and labour cost. The paper however recommended that rural infrastructural facilities should be provided as this would encourage the youths to stay on farms thereby increases farm labour strength.

Cite this article:

  • Oluyole, K.A., et al. "Farm Labour Structure and Its Determinants among Cocoa Farmers in Nigeria." American Journal of Rural Development 1.1 (2013): 1-5.
  • Oluyole, K. , Dada, O. , Oni, O. , Adebiyi, S. , & Oduwole, O. (2013). Farm Labour Structure and Its Determinants among Cocoa Farmers in Nigeria. American Journal of Rural Development, 1(1), 1-5.
  • Oluyole, K.A., O.A. Dada, O.A. Oni, S. Adebiyi, and O.O. Oduwole. "Farm Labour Structure and Its Determinants among Cocoa Farmers in Nigeria." American Journal of Rural Development 1, no. 1 (2013): 1-5.

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1. Introduction

Agricultural production is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy; considering the fact that over 80 percent of the economically active populations are involved in agricultural production and that over 90 percent of the food consumed in the country is from the local agricultural production. It is the second largest earner of foreign exchange; next to the nonsustainable petroleum sector, and also it provides a ready market for industrial products [1]. Nigerian agricultural sector is dominated by small-scale farmers whose farms vary between 0.10 and 5.99 hectares in size and constitute about 80.35% of all the 29,800 million farm holdings in Nigeria. Their farmers used traditional technologies called hoe-cutlass culture and their capital structure is in form of small tools and predominant usage of family labour [2]. Human labour is about the only main source of labour available to smallholder farmers in Nigeria. Smallholder farmers contribute over 85% of domestic agricultural output in Nigeria, hence, human labour accounts for domestic food supply in Nigeria. Therefore, the needs to continue supplying food the ever-growing Nigerian population anchors on human labour productivity. In Nigerian agriculture, hired labour is predominantly used. In fact, it carries 88% of the total labour used on farms [3]. Apart from hired labour, the other types of labour that could be employed are family labour and cooperative labour. The availability of labour has been found to have impact on planting precision, better weed control, timely harvesting and crop processing [4]. Therefore, labour is a major constraint in peasant production especially during planting, weeding and harvesting [5]. According to [6], rapid growth in population which increases farm labour supply exerts so much pressure on land and reduces farm size per hectare. Empirical evidence has shown that available labour force comprised mostly of old people to the exclusion of young men and women within the active working age thus having a negative impact on agricultural productivity. This is because the role of youths in agricultural production cannot be over-emphasized [7, 8]. The increasing absence of people within the active age could be attributed to farm drudgery, absence of social infrastructure in the rural areas, poor farm income and generally low life expectancy in rural areas [9, 10, 11]. As a result, young people within the active working age to cope with the challenges of modernizing agricultural production are compelled to migrate to urban centre in search of better job opportunities and improved standard of living. This development has not help agricultural productivity as it has left farming in the hands of the old, the illiterates and very few young energetic men who could not leave village perhaps only due to unavoidable circumstances [12]. The implication of the foregoing is the decreasing availability of an energetic population who could cope with the task of farm operations. According to [13], the estimated rural population in the 1970s accounted for 75% of the total population and within the same period, the sector accounted for only 57% of the nation’s total labour force. Worse still, the rural farm population accounted for only 16% of the total active labour force in Nigeria.

Prior to the colonization of most African countries, tree cropping was mainly undertaken by men folk. But studies, such as [14, 15] have shown that colonial economy adversely affected traditional pattern of task allocation. These studies noted that there was a disruption in the pre-colonial division of labour between sexes in the rural communities as a result of male absenteeism from the countryside. In line with the fact that wage employment draws men away from their own farms, and western education changing men’s attitude about agriculture, many women were found doing what was traditionally meant for men. In several parts of sub-Saharan Africa, women undertake up to 70 percent of production, processing, and marketing of agricultural products.

In the less developed countries, because of the level of poverty, children who grow to school age grow up under a blanket of diseases, malnutrition, lack of food and inadequate schooling. In these circumstances, for the family households to be able to get themselves sustained, children are drift into the labor market. It is estimated that worldwide millions of children work, although the world generally agreed that it is unacceptable for children under specific age to do certain type of work. International Labor Organization [16] defined child labour as labor furnished by persons below their official minimum age of employment. Child labour is any farm activity in which children (less than 18 years) are involved that warrants loss in school days and/or time. It is defined to mean all farms or farm related activities that the opportunity cost is schooling for children between 7-17 years. Child labour that affects the intellectual development of the child, though satisfying an immediate (short termed) need, will in a future period negatively influence the productivity of the factor of production (labour).

With the foregoing, it could be observed that human labour plays a very significant role in agricultural development especially in the developing countries in which the level of technological development is still very low. In view of the importance of labour in agricultural production, this study was designed to investigate the structure and determinants of farm labour in the study area. The study was undertaken through the following objectives:

(i)  to determine the structure of labour used for cocoa production in the study area.

(ii) to assess the determinants of labour supply for cocoa production in the study area.

Hypothesis: There is no significant relationship between the structure of labour and its determinants.

2. Methodology

The study was carried out in Ondo state, Nigeria. Ondo state lies within the Southwestern part of Nigeria with the total area of about 20,595 hectares. The state is characterized by heavy rainfall with climate following usual tropical pattern. The state is predominantly an agricultural area and most of the inhabitants (about 70%) are farmers [17]. The farmers engage primarily in the production of cocoa but often intercropped with kolanut, oilpalm, plantain and banana. Also, food crops like cassava, maize, yam and vegetables are cultivated. Stratified sampling technique was used to select respondents from the study area. Two high cocoa producing Local Government Areas (LGAs) were selected and from each LGA, five communities were randomly selected. Ten cocoa farmers were randomly selected from each community thus making a total of one hundred respondents selected for the study.

Structured questionnaire was used to collect information from the respondents and the data retrieved from the information was analysed using descriptive statistics as well as multivariate regression model. Descriptive statistics such as frequency, percentages, mean, standard deviation, minimum and maximum were used to analyse the socio-economic variables of the farmers as well as the structure of labour used for cocoa production in the study area. Regression model was used to evaluate the determinants of the use of labour for cocoa production in the study area.

The model could be represented thus:

Where:

Z = Vector of dependent variable and it represents the quantity of labour (in mandays) used by ith farmer for cocoa production in the study area,

β = Vector of unknown parameters,

e = Random error term,

X = Vector of explanatory variables and i is the number of respondent cocoa farmers. The explanatory used in the model includes:

X1 = farming experience of farmers (years);

X2 = household size;

X3 = labour cost ();

X4 = wage rate ();

X5 = farm income ();

X6 = farm size (hectare);

X7 = farm input ();

X8 = cocoa output ().

Correlation analysis was used to test whether there is significant relationship between labour structure and its determinants. The model is stated thus:

Where: ∂ = Correlation coefficient;

Yc = Labour structure (1 = family labour, 2 = hired labour, 3 = reciprocal labour, 4 = casual labour, 5 = sharecropping );

X = Determinants of labour structure (household size, farming experience, farm income, wage rate, farm size and labour cost.);

N = Number of observations.

3. Results and Discussion

Table 1. Socio-economic characteristics of farmers

Table 1 shows the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents. The table shows that 76% of the respondents were males showing that a greater proportion of cocoa farmers in the study area were males. The dominance of the males over the females may be attributed to the fact that male children are considered in the inheritance of farm land in the study area. Also, females are involved in off-farm activities such as buying and selling of farm produce, storage of crops and packing of farm produce while their male counterparts were highly involved in tree crop production most especially cocoa in the study area. Table 1 also shows that 86% of the respondent farmers were married. The large percentage of those who were married connotes that marriage is highly cherished by the people of the study area and could lead to an increase in household size which has implication on family labour supply. It could also observed from the result that 66% of the respondents had more than eight members as household size. Meanwhile, the mean household size for the study area was nine showing that a greater proportion of the respondents had large household size. This has a great implication on family labour supply as large household size has tendency to supply more family labour. This is in consonance with [18], that cocoa farmers with large household size are capable of readjusting to sudden changes in labour supply at peak periods of labour demand. Table 1 also shows that 65% of the respondents had formal education while just 35% of the respondents had no formal education. This has an impact farmer’s productivity as farmer’s productivity increases with increase in the farmer’s level of education [19]. It could be observed on the table that 80% of the total respondents had farm size between one and five hectares while just 1% of the respondents had more than ten hectares farm. This is a typical characteristics of Nigerian farmers. Most Nigerian farmers are small scale farm holders and this has been the bane of agricultural development in developing countries. One of the causes of small holding farms is the use of crude implements such as hoes and cutlass and lack of technical know-how that may be required to cultivate large farms.

Table 2 shows the type of labour used by the farmers for cocoa production. The table shows that most (44%) of the farmers in the study area used sharecropping while 18% and 16% of the farmers used reciprocal and hired labour respectively. Meanwhile, only few (8%) of the farmers used family labour. The result however showed that sharecropping is mostly used as source of labour for cocoa production in the study area.

Table 2. Type of labour used for cocoa production

Table 3. Type of labour used for different farm activities

Table 3 shows the type of labour used for different activities in cocoa production in the study area. The result shows that 94% of the farmers used hired labour for farm clearing while only 6% used family labour indicating that hired labour is predominantly used for farm clearing in the study area. It could also be observed in Table 3 that 66% of the farmers used hired labour for seedling planting and 34% of the farmers used family labour for the operation. As for fertilizer application, 6% of the farmers used family labour for the operation while 25% used hired labour. However, there was no response from 69% of the total farmers as regards the use of labour for fertilizer application. Their response was that they don’t use fertilizer on their farms. This finding is in consonance with [20] who claimed that most cocoa farmers do not use fertilizer for cocoa production on their farms. Eighty-nine percent of the farmers used hired labour for chemical application while just 11% used family labour. It could also be observed in Table 3 that 61% and 51% of the respondent farmers used hired labour for cocoa harvesting as well as on-farm cocoa processing indicating that on the average, hired labour was used for these activities in the study area.

Table 4 shows the type of gender used for different farm activities for cocoa production in the study area. The table shows that all (100%) of the farmers used male for farm clearing while none of the farmers used female for farm clearing. Hence, male is predominantly used for farm clearing in the study area. Results also shows that 92% of the farmers used male for seedling planting while 8% used female indicating that male is predominantly used for seedling planting in the study area. Twenty-six percent of the farmers used male for fertilizer application while just 2% of the total farmers used female for the operation. There was no response from seventy-two farmers as regards the use of labour for fertilizer application. As for chemical application, 94% of the respondent farmers used male and just 6% used female for the operation. However, 60% and 75% of the farmers used female for cocoa harvesting as well as on-farm cocoa processing indicating that females are predominantly used for these operations in the study area.

Table 4. Gender of labour used for different farm activities

Table 5 shows the age structure of labour used for cocoa production. The table shows that 98% of the respondent farmers used adult for farm clearing while only 2% of the farmers used under aged children for the same operation. This is quite obvious in as much farm clearing is a tedious work, hence it is only the adults that could have such a required strength to carry out such an operation. As regards planting of seedlings, 92% of the farmers used adults for the operation and just 8% used under-aged children for the operation. Therefore, it is adults that are predominantly used for cocoa planting in the study area. These findings conform with the UNICEF’s (United Nations Children Fund) recommendation that under-aged children should not be used to produce cocoa. Table 5 also shows that 100% of the farmers used adults for chemical application and on-farm cocoa processing while 99% of the respondent farmers used adults for cocoa harvesting.

Table 5. Age category of labour used for different farm activities

Table 6 shows the wage rate for different operations carried out on cocoa production in the study area. The table shows that the mean wage rate ranges between N514.00 ($3.43) and N583.50 ($3.89). The result revealed that farm clearing had the highest mean wage rate of N583.50 (($3.89)) while fertilizer application had the least mean wage rate of N514.00 (($3.43)). However, it could be said that farm clearing had higher wage rate because it is more tedious than fertilizer application. The mean wage rate for other operations were N563.04 ($3.75), N565.15 ($3.77), N559.69 ($3.73) and N557.65 ($3.72) for planting of cocoa seedlings, chemical application, harvesting and on-farm cocoa processing respectively.

Table 6. Wage rate (in Naira) for different farm activities

The result of regression analysis was shown on Table 7. The table shows that out of the eight variables investigated, three variables were found to have significantly affected labour use among the respondents. The significant variables were wage rate (p < 0.05), farm income (p < 0.01) and farm size (p < 0.01). Wage rate significantly and negatively affected labour use. This is quite obvious because wage rate determines the extent to which labour could be used. When wage rate is low, more labour could be employed and vice versa. The negative sign complied with the apriori expectation and it indicates that as the wage rate decreases, this will give the farmers an opportunity to use more labour. Farm income also significantly and positively affected labour use. Increase in farmers’ income enables farmers to employ more labour for farm activities, this is because farmers with high income will be able to pay labour wages more and hence will be able to use more labour than the farmers with low income. The positive sign shows that as farmers’ income increases, labour use also increases. Farm size was also found to be significantly affected labour use. This is because the extent to which labour would be used is determined by the size of the farm. Large sized farms would require more labour than small sized farms and vice-versa. The positive sign of the coefficient of the variable indicates that as income increases, labour use also increases.

Table 7. Regression Result on the Determinants of Labour Use Among Cocoa Farmers

The result of hypothesis testing was shown on Table 8. The result shows that there is a significant relationship between the structure of labour and farm size, wage rate and labour cost. However, there is no significant relationship between, the structure of labour and household size, farming experience and farm income. Also, there is a positive relationship between labour structure and farm size, wage rate and farm income while there is a negative relationship labour structure and household size, farming experience and labour cost.

Table 8. Result of Correlation analysis showing the relationship between structure of labour and its determinants

4. Conclusion

Sharecropping is the type of labour that is mostly used for cocoa production in the study area. Sharecropping is a system in which the sharecropper provides all the labour required for cocoa production and will later entitled to a certain proportion of cocoa proceeds realized from the farm. More tedious operations such as farm clearing, planting of seedlings as well as chemical application were mostly undertaken by men while less tedious operations such as harvesting and on-farm cocoa processing were mostly undertaken by women. In all the operations, adults were predominantly used to carry them out while under-aged children were not majorly used in all the operations. Wage rate, farm income and farm size significantly affected labour for cocoa production. This was statistically shown in Table 7.

Based on the empirical findings, the study therefore gives the following recommendations.

(i)  Since income of farmers was found to have significantly affected labour use, therefore, farmers’ income should be strengthened so as to be able to employ more labour for the farm activities. Enhanced income can be achieved by encouraging farmers to use improved technologies during establishment and maintenance of cocoa farms. This will improve the farmers’ output and hence their income.

(ii) Rural infrastructural facilities should be provided as this would encourage the youths to stay on farms thereby increases farm labour strength. If the supply of labour is high, therefore the wage rate may be forced down and this would encourage farmers to employ more labour for farm activities.

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