1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Agriculture is an important sector in the economic development and food security in many countries including Nigeria. It supplies the food needs and raw materials for agro-allied industries and most times through cassava production creates job opportunities and income for the rural dwellers; thus act as a tool for improving the living standard of the people (Food and Agricultural Organization, (FAO) 2011). However, despite the effort made by Nigerian farmers to increase food production, their productivity is still very low. Factors contributing to agricultural growth according to Igbal, Ahmad and Abbas (2012) include increased used of agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc), technological change (result of research and development effort) and technical efficiency (affected by flow of information, better infrastructure, availability of funds and farmers managerial expertise).
Akobundu (2013), opined that poor cultural practice, poor soil fertility, lack of access to improved crop varieties, pest and disease and poverty are major factors affecting output negatively. Attainment of food security in any country is usually an insurance against hunger and poverty both of which impede economic development. This is why all developed and some developing countries make considerable efforts to increase their food production capacity especially for those crops that have comparative production advantage in order to reduce hunger and poverty. Cassava (manihot esculenta) is widely cultivated in Nigeria where it plays vital role in the food security of the rural economy because of its capacity to yield under marginal soil condition and its tolerant of drought (Ezedinma et al 2013). Bamidele, Babatunde and Rasheed (2015), affirmed that cassava’s comparative production advantage over other staple crops in Nigeria serves to encourage its cultivation even by the resource poor farmers. The principal strategy of Nigerian government is to promote agricultural development programmes aimed at increasing food production particularly in the rural areas in order to improve food self-suiciency while generating income through processing and marketing of surplus products to reduce poverty. The National Special Programme for Food Security (NSPFS) is one of such programmes aimed at reducing food insecurity.NSPFS came as a result of Nigeria participating in the World Food Summit of November 2010. As one of the Low Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCS), she requested for assistance under the United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agricultural Organisations’ (FAO) Special Programme on Food Security (SPFS).