In the 1960s Nigeria relied heavily on the Agricultural sector for economic development (contributing over 70% of the GDP). But with the oil boom of the 1970s, the contribution of agricultural sector fell drastically to the extent that the nation became an importer of major agricultural commodities in the 1980s (Husseni, 1996). Agriculture contributed an average of 74.6% to the Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) in 1960 and with the neglect of the sector, the contribution to the GDP dropped to 1.3% between 1996 and 1999 (Zanna, 2000).

Government, aware of this dangerous trend has since put in place various policies and programmes geared towards resuscitating the sector. These measures and programmes include, the National Accelerated Food Programme (NAFP); River Basin Development Authority (NALDA); National Fadama Development 1; National Fadama Development II, etc. They are some of the Programmes of Federal Government aimed at boosting the country’s food production and foreign exchange earning.

The anticipation that oil may not continue to dominate the economy in the future, as crude oil is an exhaustible asset, substantiates the need for an alternative source of foreign exchange.

Anyanwu et al (1997) noted that the drop in price per barrel of oil from $ 28 to $14.0 during the serious oil glut of 1986, is a clear indication that the economy will critically depend on the agricultural sector when crude oil is exhausted in future.

Nigeria possesses the potentials to produce vegetables that could be exported to earn the much needed foreign exchange. It was reported that Africa and Caribbean countries pioneered the export of vegetables to Europe 30 years ago (CTA, 1992).

Mc Collum  (1998) was of the view that vegetable industry contributed heavily to the economy of the United States of America, with an estimated net return of about $ 5 million per year. The report added that this would be a favourable source of hard currency for African countries.

In the same vein, another report of Swaminathan (2001), shows that vegetables are grown only 6 – 7% of gross cropped area but contributed more than 18.8% of the gross value of agricultural output and 52% of export earning from total agricultural produce in India. This is due to high yield and higher price available in the international market.

In Nigeria, if vegetable is grown in commercial quantity could serve as foreign exchange earner. Countries like Kenya and Morocco export huge amount of vegetables, which are priced and bought in the New Convent Garden Market London, (Common Wealth Secretariat, 1992). Vegetables have multiple roles in Nigeria as a source of employment. Mc Collum (1998), noted that millions of people are employed in vegetable related activities like manufacturing and supplying of machines, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, packages, and that the present outlook indicates that the vegetable industry would continue to be an important and profitable branch of agriculture.

Vitta (1998) stated that vegetables are principally grown for food and with the increase in the world population; there is the need to have more than one cropping season, which cannot be dependent on rainfall. The importance of vegetable production is indicated by the government of Nigeria in her FADAMA I and II Programmes, which enable farmers to grow vegetables round the year.

The small – scale fadama irrigation project being implemented through the state – wide Agriculture Development Project (ADPs), by the introduction of low cost, petrol – driven pumps, along with various types of drilling technologies is geared towards tapping shallow ground water (World Bank, 1992).

The National Fadama Development programme (NFDP) was initiated following the recommendations of the World Bank in its report of 1989 tilled “NIGERIA – STRATEGY FOR AGRICULTURAL GROWTH”. It identified the development of small scale irrigation for the production of off-season high value crops in order to increase the productivity, income, living standard and development capacity of the rural poor in Nigeria (Falusi, 2000). To that effect, the World Bank funded the National Fadama Development Project I (NFDP – I), which lasted between 1993 and 1999, and was implemented in Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, Ebonyi and Kebbi States etc. Considerable success was recorded as there was progress against the general trend towards irrigated agriculture in the 1980s (Sulaman, 1998, World bank, 2003).

Consequently, the National Fadama Development Project II (NFDP – 2), a six-year programme was launched in 2004. The Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) coordinated the project, but the actual implementation was at the state level in an estimated 1574 Fadama Communities in twelve participating states that met the agreed eligibility criteria (Blench and Ingawa, 2004). The project, among other things, focused on rural infrastructure investment as well as enhancing productivity and income of fadama users.

An FAO (1996a) report on Peri-urban irrigation development through Fadama shows that in the year 1995, short product cycles and rapid adjustment to market demand and climatic conditions resulted in a surprisingly high, regular income to peri-urban farmers as well as to market entrepreneurs in India.

In Ebonyi State, there was great enthusiasm on the part of the farmers that participated in the project I. This was shown by the formation and registration of 130 Fadama users Association (FUAs), ( EBADEP 2000).

According to available statistics, output from rain-fed vegetable production in Ebonyi State increased from 137 tons in 1994 to 220.6 tons in 1998, and fadama vegetable production rose from 101.2 tons in 1994 to `175 tons in 1998 (Ebonyi ADP, 1999). However, it requires an empirical study to achieve a stable increase in productivity, through efficient and sustainable utilization of existing resources.



The population of Nigeria is increasing continuously and the amount of protein requirement is becoming unaffordable to the rural poor. Consequently, a good percentage of households have fallen back to vegetable consumption as an alternative source of protein leading to an increase in its demand (Saloko, 2000). But the supply of vegetable is grossly and persistently inadequate. This has become a topical issue and most recently to a number of international bodies (Kuta, 2002). A crop yield survey carried out by Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) in 1998 reveals a drastic reduction in the potential yield of some crop varieties. Dry season vegetable produces 0.5 to 1.5 instead of 4 tonnes, Rain –fed vegetables yields 1 to 1.6 tonnes instead of 3 tonnes, a deficit of between 25 to 50% is therefore experienced by farmers for various reasons (Saloko 2000).

According to Adekalu and Ogunjimi (2002), performance of rain-fed and Fadama farmers, in relation to economic viability in the country, has not been encouraging. It is an accepted fact that vegetable production is facing the problem of increasing cost of production. Ditto (2001), asserted that there are unclear signals to whether the Fadama and rain-fed vegetable farmers are making efficient use and management of available farm resources.

Production and price risks are high due to weather uncertainty and poor market infrastructure. Besides, the erratic nature of rainfall has constituted a great constraint to increased vegetable production, among other factors. There is however, ineffective combination of measures aimed at increasing the level of farm resources added to the inefficient utilization of existing resources (Ogunjimi, 2002). Over the years, there are existing gaps in knowledge in the production potentials of these two vegetable systems. To fill these gaps therefore, the following research questions are necessary: What is the level of resource available for rain-fed and fadama vegetable production in Ebonyi State? What are the prevailing enterprise combinations? What are the determinants of farmers resources use efficiency for improved vegetable production? What are the possible returns from the output of rain-fed and fadama vegetable production systems? Can the productivity of the available resources be improved substantially through efficient utilization?

In view of resource constraints, which one of these systems is more profitable. Meanwhile, the government is encouraging fadama development.

This needs to be justified, hence this study.











The broad objective of the study is to carry out a comparative analysis of fadama and rain-fed vegetable production in peri-urban areas of Ebonyi State.

The specific objectives are to:-

  1. compare the socio-economic characteristics of rain-fed and fadama farmers, in relation to resource allocation and output;
  2. describe the rain-fed and fadama farming systems of vegetable production;
  3. compare costs and returns of fadama and rain-fed vegetation production and their relative contribution to household income in a given year;
  4. determine and compare the productivity of resources used in both systems;
  5. identify problems and constraints to resource use;
  6. make recommendations based on the findings.



Based on the research objectives, this study was guided by the following null hypothesis.

Ho:    There is no difference in the effects of socio-economic variables influencing resource allocation and output in both systems.

Ho:    There is no significant difference in resource use and productivity between fadama and rain-fed vegetable enterprises.



Government, in the recent past has embraced policies aimed at enhancing productivity and efficiency in rain-fed vegetable production and extension of improved technologies on fadama (Dry season) farming to small –scale fadama farmers. These serve as important tools in the development of the agricultural sector.

In spite of these interventions, the enterprise has been faced with the problem of low productivity and low income among rural farmers. This is as a result of information gaps on the productivity of resources (Aiyedu 1994).

The ever increasing fluctuations in the output of vegetables in Ebonyi State is something to worry about. At present most of the farm level studies that have been conducted to find out the factors that influence the efficiency and productivity of resources used in vegetable production are mostly based on rain-fed agriculture (Ugwu 1990).

The intention of this study is to update that information gap, having identified the need to increase agricultural production through the stabilization of both rain-fed and fadama farming.

Although the work is limited to Ebonyi State, it is believed that the findings will be useful in other states of the federation in view of the similarities of their vegetable production systems. The study will also be  a useful reference point to prospective vegetable farmers. It will also be useful to researchers, students, policy makers and implementors.