The study was designed to analyze the effects of agricultural technology on cassava production by small holder farmers in Ekiti state, Nigeria, The study area consists of three agricultural zones. The three zones namely: Ekiti East, Ekiti west and Ekiti central were used for the study. A multistage random sampling technique was used to select 5 LGAs (one was purposively selected from one LGA and the remaining four selected randomly from the remaining two LGAs). Three communities were randomly selected from each the five LGAs giving a total of 15 communities. Finally, in each community, eight respondents (smallholder cassava farmers) were randomly selected making a sample size of 120 respondents. A structured questionnaire was administered to each of the selected respondents. Data collected were analyzed using frequency distribution, percentages, and mean. Cassava production was dominated by males, an active age group, more of married people, the study area was characterized with an average level of education, a fairly large household size and low farm income. The average farm size was low,(0.8 hectares). Farm inputs were mainly supplied by the farmers themselves, types of technologies available were, improved cassava stem, agro chemicals, fertilizer, extension services and irrigation. Improved cassava stem were mostly used of all the technologies available. The level of agricultural technology use was low. Agricultural technology had a positive effect on output for farmers that used it, therefore the null hypothesis was rejected. The major constraints to the use of agricultural technology were high cost of inputs, availability of inputs, lack of technical know-how, and poverty among farmers.
Background of the Study
Agricultural technology is the knowledge applied by man to improve production or marketing processes; it is seen in hybrid seeds, improved crop varieties, pesticides, machinery, fertilizers etc. (Subba, Raghu, Neelakanta and Bhavani, 2004). Also Jeremy, (2013) defined agricultural technology as the tools or machines that are used primarily or entirely in order to support agricultural enterprise in modern agriculture. Agricultural technology is thus a combination of all management practices for producing or storing crop mixture, livestock etc. (Esther, 2004). The objective of technology is to provide more output from a given bundle of production inputs.
Agricultural Technology is quite broad and general, this study will contextualize technology from two classifications which are; hardware technology (embodied in the green revolution model, which promotes hybridization, use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides etc., the use of farm inputs and equipment), and software technology (extension and farming system research). Some of the technologies used for cassava production were reported by Bucyana (2006), they are; biotechnology (production of zero-to-low cyanide cassava, production of genetically improved cassava, mass production of disease-free, pest resistant and high yielding cassava plants, through micro propagation), agricultural engineering (machinery, equipment and tool design for land preparation and harvesting e.g. ploughs, ridgers, cassava lifters, tuber harvester, screw press etc.), bio-intensive integrated pest management, herbicides, fertilizers, water management (irrigation), post harvest technology, training, research and extension on cassava with model villages etc.