EFFECT OF COOPERATIVES MEMBERSHIP ON FARMERS' PREFERENCE FOR IMPROVED MAIZE VARIETY ATTRIBUTES IN OYO STATE, NIGERIA
Background. This study was conducted to investigate the effect of cooperative membership on farmers' preferences for improved maize variety attributes in Oyo State.
Material and methods. A multi stage sampling procedure was employed to select 150 maize farmers for the study. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, conjoint analysis and an ordered probit regression model.
Results. The results revealed that the majority of the respondents were male (82.5%), married (93.8%), fell within the age range of 41â€“60 years (45%), belonged to an organization (91.2%), had a family size of 4 to 7 persons (59%), the majority had formal education (57.7%) and few had access to credit (19%). The results further revealed that the preference range that would deliver the most important maize varieties for maize farmers included the following product attributes; high yield (0.233), high resistance to diseases (0.233), big grain size (0.097), yellow maize (0.030) and early maturity (0.034). The findings also revealed that age of respondents (-0.446), gender (0.838), education (0.320), farm size (0.137), and cooperative membership (0.842) significantly influenced farmers' preference for improved maize variety attributes.
Conclusion. It was concluded that breeders should consider the farmers' preferred attributes in the production of improved maize seeds and the formation of cooperative societies should be encouraged and promoted to facilitate easy access to improved maize seeds by farmers as well as to increase their preference for improved maize seeds. Also, the study recommends promotion of farmers' education on the characteristics associated with each variety, about new innovations and about the disadvantages of having a preference for improved maize seeds without considering the localized problems associated with their maize production.