1.1 Background to the Study
Agriculture is the mainstay of many economies. All over the world, the development of an enduring economy goes hand in hand with agricultural development. Agriculture is considered a catalyst for the overall development of any nation. It is thus a critical sector that drives the economic development and industrialization of the developing nation like Nigeria, and also holds the ace for reducing unemployment. Thus, its’ development is critically important for ensuring food and nutritional security, income and employment generation, and for stimulating industrialization and overall economic development of the country (Aliyu 2015).
Agriculture involves the science, practice, and occupation of cultivating land and raising crops. It also involves the feeding, breeding and raising of livestock. The main purpose of agriculture is to provide food and raw materials for human use. It provides food for about 182million teeming population, and contributes about 24.18 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product (National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 2016). However, despite the importance of agriculture in terms of employment generation and its potential for contributing to economic growth, it is still far from being fully exploited (Josephine, 2016). For example in 1960, 1970 and 1980, its contribution was only55.20%, 40.70% and 18% to GDP respectively, while its contribution to the GDP in 1996, 1997 and 1999 only stood at 39%, 39.4 %, and 40% respectively and as at first quarter of 2012 stood at 34.47% National Bureau of Statistics (NBS, 2012).
Agriculture is the main occupation of Kaduna State and major source of livelihood, the sector remains the largest employer of labour, which is key contributor to wealth, income and poverty alleviation. It is estimated that about 60% of Kaduna State citizens are self-employed, and 27% are employed by private enterprises while the remaining 13% are engaged in the public sector. Agriculture and related activities provide employment for 50% of the citizens, while 15% of them are engaged in retail trades, and the manufacturing sector employs just 5% of the population. Another 5% are employed in hotels and restaurants, education or social and personal services. The State Development Plan (SDP) vision for the sector is to be a leading sector in Kaduna State, spearheading sustainable agricultural development and the overall goal of the state is to improve quality of life for Kaduna State citizen ( Bodams, 2015).
Small scale irrigation is one of the most useful irrigation systems designed to increase production and productivity and reduces risk related with rainfall variability and increasing employment opportunity of rural farm households indeed (Surojit, 2016).
Small scale irrigation tomato contributes to the overall livelihood improvement through increased income, food security, employment opportunity, social needs fulfillment and poverty reduction. It Increases agricultural production through diversification and intensification of crops grown, increased household income because of on/off/non-farm employment, source of animal feed, improving human health due to balanced diet and easy access and utilization for medication, soil and ecology degradation prevention and asset ownership are contributions of irrigation farming (Asayehegn, 2012)
Unemployment always increase whenever an economy experienced a recession, and in the case of Nigeria where the unemployment rate was already high and rising even when the economy was growing strongly, it implies a recession would lead to an even sharper rise in unemployment than would normally have been expected,(National Bureau of Statistics (NBS 2017).
Although, the unemployment rate in Nigeria went by 18.8% in Q3 2017 from 13.9% recorded in Q3 of 2016, marking the highest jobless rate since 2009 (Frank2017).On yearly basis, the unemployment rate increased by 4.9 percentage points while quarter-on-quarter it increased by 2.6 percentage points, as unemployment rate was 16.2% in Q2 2017. Therefore, this project would look at the contributions of small-scale irrigation of tomato farming in reducing unemployment, poverty and improving farmers’ livelihood in Ikara local government Area of Kaduna State.
Kaduna state is the highest tomato producer in Nigeria. The Growth and Employment in the States (GEMS, 2015) stated that Kaduna state produced 1,095,513 tonnes of tomato. Ikara Local Government Area alone produced 105,113tonnes in dry season. This vindicates clearly that there is need to conduct a research on small scale tomato production in the study area.
The joint partnership between Springfield Agro and Kaduna State government is expected to reduce the country’s tomato imports and create about 1000 direct jobs for the rural community with a spin-off that will create other indirect numerous jobs to the residents within the community.
With the ban on tomato paste importation, there is the need to look inward. The Ikara tomato processing plant has been in existence there for over twenty years but only operated for two years before it was abandoned. The factory is situated at the tomato belt area of the state. With this, Springfield Agro would be able to address the issue of wastage in the tomato value chain, (Victor 2016).
The people of Ikara Local Government Area of Kaduna State are mainly small-scale farmers. They engage in agricultural production both in the raining and dry seasons. Tomato production is one of the major dry season farming activities in the area. Tomato is a versatile and widely grown vegetable throughout the world in nearly every home garden; both in wet and dry seasons cropping system contribute immensely to the national development. Therefore, the bulk production of tomato is in the dry season cropping system when farmers depend totally on irrigation. Nigeria is ranked the second largest producer of tomato in Africa and fifteenth largest producer in the World (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2014). It is in this regard that this study investigates the economic effect of small scale irrigation tomato farming on employment generation in Ikara local Government area of Kaduna state.
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
Nigeria ranks as the second highest producer of tomatoes in Africa, the country is 15th in the world, (FAOSD, 2016), but Nigeria is not on the list of official exporting countries of tomato or tomato products, rather Nigeria import both fresh and processed tomatoes. A whooping N11.7 billion is spent annually to import processed tomato paste into the country. The productivity and economic value of this vegetable crop in Nigeria is hindered by an array of factors that make its cultivation difficult and cumbersome. Pests and diseases are major factors in the low tomato production; Storage technologies for the fruit need to be modernized to avoid post- harvest losses. Farmers usually practice rain fed agriculture and at the peak of the season there is a market glut that results in very high loss (Jauro 2011).