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Adoption of selected improved cassava varieties among smallholder farmers in SouthEastern Nigeria
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Cassava is a dominant component in crop mixtures in South-Eastern Nigeria. It is a preferred food security crop among smallholder farmers, because it can tolerate drought, low soil fertility and its production requires minimum external inputs. Various constraints have been shown to affect the widespread adoption of improved cassava varieties. This study examines various factors influencing the adoption of selected improved cassava varieties by smallholder farmers in Abia State, Nigeria, using the probit model. A multi-stage random sampling procedure was used to select 510 cassava farmers from 17 Local Government Areas of Abia State in 2007. Results of the study showed that 56.5% of the respondents were females. The majority (90.2%) consisted of those who were in their productive years. Most (78.8%) of the respondents were married, 83% attended formal schools; while75% had a household size of more than 5 persons. All the respondents were basically small-holder farmers; with 47% full time, 50% of the respondents had secured tenurial arrangements; 93% had more than 6 years of farming experience and 82.2% of them had adopted improved cassava varieties. Results indicated that 74% of 510 farmers who responded adopted improved cassava varieties, either solely or in combination with local varieties. The most popular varieties were NR-8082 (38.6% of total adopters), TME-419 (36.7%) and TMS-980505(12.9%). Marital status, household size, farm size, cassava maturity period and tenurial status were negatively and significantly related to adoption. Cassava yield and average income had a positive relationship with the adoption of the improved varieties. Implicit in these results is that policies should be aimed at introduction and prompt release of high yielding and early maturing cassava varieties, and converting tenurial arrangements of land to more secure forms.