Open Access Original Research Article

Adoption of Napier Grass [Cenchrus purpureus (Schumach.) Morrone] among Livestock Farmers in Botswana: Challenges and Future Prospects

K. Mogotsi, M. Koobonye, K. Galesekwe, M. Odubeng

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 16-28
DOI: 10.9734/jaeri/2020/v21i830158

In order to assess the current adoption level of Napier grass [Cenchrus purpureus (Schumach.)] in Botswana as well as identify barriers hindering its uptake and effective use, data collection was done through a field survey of purposively selected sample of livestock farmers in North East District and adjacent parts of Central District. Findings of the study indicated that even though farmers’ overall perception towards Napier grass was positive, adoption levels were still low. Numerous challenges in Napier grass production included recurrent droughts, non-irrigation, limited access to planting/propagation material, shortage of labor, poor agronomic practices as well as lack of technical knowledge on management and utilization of the fodder grass. Even though adoption levels are still low, opportunities do exist to accelerate future uptake. For example, farmers proposed strategic interventions such as well packaged and targeted education on Napier grass production, subsidized borehole drilling, equipping and water reticulation for irrigation of fodder crops in their farming areas and more technical support from extension officers. Going forward, in order to achieve increased impact with Napier grass, the current extension approach in dissemination and adoption can therefore be effectively targeted primarily at farmers likely to accept and use the technology, instead of expecting every farmer within an agro-ecological zone to comprehensively implement the recommended technology disregarding feasibility, profitability and acceptability of such introduced fodder technology to individual farmers.

Open Access Original Research Article

Insecticidal Activity of Ageratum conyzoides (Asteraceae) Aqueous Extracts against the Grasshopper Zonocerus variegatus (Orthoptera: Pyrgomorphidae)

Dongmo Tonleu Ingrid, Seino Richard Akwanjoh, Manjeli Yacouba

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 29-36
DOI: 10.9734/jaeri/2020/v21i830159

Ageratum conyzoides (Asteraceae) is an annual plant with insecticidal activity against some insect pests. The present study was designed to evaluate the insecticidal activity of aqueous extracts (infusion and maceration) of A. conyzoides against the pest grasshopper Zonocerus variegatus (Orthoptera, Pyrgomorphidae). Concentrations of 0, 10, 30, 100 & 300 µg/ml were prepared and administrated through injection to grasshoppers. Mortality rate was recorded for adult grasshoppers each day until the 9th day of treatment. Results revealed a significant increase (p < 0.05) of mortality rate with increasing concentrations of the two plant extracts. Plant extracts at 300 µg/ml induced 100.00 ± 0.00 percent mortality of adults Z. variegatus after 4 and 5 days for A. conyzoides infusion and maceration respectively. No mortality was registered after treatment with 0 & 10 µg/ml of the two plant extracts. Male mortality rate tended to be higher than that of female at the same concentration. Also, infusion tended to significantly increase (p < 0.05) mortality rate than maceration at the same concentration. Phytochemicals screening have shown that the presence of saponins, tannins, triterpenoids and alkaloids in the A. conyzoides aqueous extracts may be responsible for the insecticidal activity of this plant. These phytochemicals may therefore be exploited and serve as suitable alternatives to synthetic insecticides against the grasshopper Z. variegatus.

Open Access Original Research Article

Competency Improvement Needs of Farmers in Afforestation for Preventing and Controlling Soil Erosion in Kogi State, Nigeria

Abu Mohammed, Ogbonnaya Elom, Ogechukwu Onah, Nnennaya Sinachi Monwuba

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 37-45
DOI: 10.9734/jaeri/2020/v21i830161

Farmers’ lack of awareness of agricultural activities that contribute to soil erosion and competencies needed to prevent or control the menace through afforestation contributed to unprecedented hardship, the farmers, stakeholders and individuals in Kogi state. The purpose of this study was to determine competency improvement needs farmers in pre-planting, planting and post-planting operations in afforestation and recommend for a way forward in containing the challenges. Three research question and three hypotheses guided the study. The study made use of survey research design; it was carried out in Kogi state. The population for the study was 1,244 made up of 834 registered crop farmers and 410 Agricultural Extension Agents. The sample of the study was 540. A random sampling technique (Balloting) was used to select 330 registered crop farmers out of 834 and 210 Agricultural Extension Agent out of 410 respectively. The instrument for data collection was a 49 items questionnaire titled: Competency Improvement Needs of farmers Questionnaire (CINFQ). The instrument was validated by three experts. Cronbach Alpha method was used to determine the internal consistency of the instrument and a reliability coefficient of 0.82was obtained. Five hundred and forty (540) copies of the questionnaire were administered to the respondents for data collection, but 534 copies were retrieved and analyzed. Weighted mean and Improvement Needed Index (INI) were used to answer the research questions while t-test statistics was used and test hypotheses of no significant difference at the probability of 0.05 level of significance at 532 degree of freedom. It was found out that farmers needed improvement in all the competencies in pre-planting, planting and post-planting operations for enhancing their skills in afforestation practices on their farms and that of their neighbours as a means of reducing the impact of soil erosion in the area of the study. It was recommended that the identified competencies should be used by the extension agents to re-train farmers on the practice of afforestation along with crop production and soil conservation to reduce soil erosion menace in the State.

Open Access Original Research Article

Cost-benefit Analysis of Rating Scale and Criterion Reference Assessment Technique for Determining Students’ Performance in Rice Production in Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Ogbonnaya Elom, Francis Madueke Onu, Mohammed Abu, Ogechukwu Onah, Nnennaya Sinachi Monwuba

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 46-59
DOI: 10.9734/jaeri/2020/v21i830162

The objectives of the study were to determine the difference in costs of ingredients, the benefit in percentage score of students’ performance and the difference between the benefit in percentage score of students’ performance determined through the two assessment modes RS and CRAT- by implicating rice production in Ebonyi State. The study adopted quasi-experimental design. The population of the study was 570 made up of 20 teachers of agricultural science and 550 students offering agricultural science for the Senior Secondary School Examination (SSCE) in Ikwo and Ivo Local Government Areas of the state. The sample of the study was 100 made up of 60 senior secondary II students and 40 teachers of agricultural science. Four sets of instruments were utilized for data collection. The reliability of the content- validated RS items was determined using Cronbach alpha formula which yielded a coefficient of 0.82.Split-half and Kudder-Richardson (K-R 20) was utilized to determine the stability of the test items which yielded a coefficient of 0.80. Procedural steps was adopted to administer and collect data from the two schools using the RS and CRAT items. Data collected was analysed using percentage, weighted mean and sign test to answer the research questions. Real limits of numbers were utilized to take decision on percentage. The study found out that the estimate cost of CRAT was cheaper than that of RS by ₦13,643.20. The study also established the benefit of CRAT (over RS) which can be utilized as a substitute to “alternative to practical” mode of determining students’ performance in rice production. It was recommended, among others, that external examination bodies should infuse the use of CRAT into their examination policy and that teachers of agricultural science should seek for training in CRAT development for use in determining students’ performance in relevant areas of agriculture.

Open Access Review Article

Effects of Season Variation on Water, Feed, Milk Yield and Reproductive Performance of Dairy Cows in Smallholder Farms in Eastern Africa

Ongadi Patrick Mudavadi, Mpolya Abraham Emmanuel, Gachuiri Charles, Muyekho Francis Namasake, Lukuyu Adubwa Bernard

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 1-15
DOI: 10.9734/jaeri/2020/v21i830157

Aim: The smallholder dairy industry in Eastern Africa continues to be characterized by seasonality driven milk fluctuations and reproductive performance of dairy cows. In this review, we present important effects of changes in seasons on water, feed quantity and quality, milk yield and reproductive performance of dairy cows in smallholder dairy farms.

Methods: We considered peer-reviewed publications from 1990 to 2019, and extracted any information pertaining to the effects and intensity of changes in seasons and implications on water, feed quality and quantity, milk yield and reproductive performance.

Results: Seasonal variation in rainfall, characteristic of the East Africa region, is strongly reflected in cropping and feeding calendars. Hence, 305-days lactation milk production per cow in Eastern Africa ranges from 850-3150 kg/cow/year, which has not increased, partly because of lack of improvement in nutrition and management, but also due to slow genetic selection of breeds that matches available feed to milk yield and reproductive performance. High milk fluctuations arise mostly because of farmers’ dependence on rainfall for feed production and rarely make provisions for preserving fodder for the dry season, as there isn’t adequate forage (fodder and pasture) even during the wet season.

Conclusion: For the smallholder dairy farmers to remain competitive, it is important to increase the dairy value chain capability to manage implications of changes in seasons on milk yield and reproduction. Therefore, in order to overcome the current seasonal changes, we have discussed technological interventions in adoption of practical, sustainable farmer-led strategies for optimizing water and feed production, milk yield and reproductive performance in Eastern Africa. We have also identified knowledge gaps where research is needed to guide dairy value chain stakeholders on how to ameliorate current seasonal changes or that we expect will occur in the future.