1Falola, A., 2Fakayode, S. B. & 3Banjoko, I. K.

1Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management, University of Ilorin, Nigeria
2Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Nigeria
3Department of Agricultural Technology, Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, Nigeria

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The quest to achieve food security and at the same time make production of underutilised species a profitable venture necessitated the focus of this study. Among other objectives, the study determined the profitability of cocoyam production, the technical efficiency of the farmers and the factors that influenced commercialisation of the crop. Data were obtained from 140 cocoyam farm households using interview schedule. Data collected were analysed with descriptive statistics, cost and returns analysis, stochastic frontier model, household commercialisation index (HCI) and regression tool. The result obtained indicated that majorities of the farmers were male, married and less educated, had no access to extension services, small-scale and financed their operations mainly with personal savings. The outcomes of gross margin, return to farm management and labour, gross ratio, operating ratio and return to capital invested by the farmers indicated that cocoyam production is a profitable enterprise. The result of the technical efficiency of the farmers also suggest that opportunity still exists for increasing productivity through increased efficiency in use of existing farm technology. The outcome of the HCI of the farmers indicated a gap of about 51 per cent which implies that cocoyam production is market-oriented. The study further revealed that the significant factors influencing cocoyam commercialisation were educational level, farming experience, farm size, modern technology and age of the farmers. To improve on this, agricultural development agencies should encourage young and educated individuals to actively engage in cocoyam production in Osun State by providing the necessary incentives such as fund and inputs.

Keywords: Cocoyam, Profitability, Food security, Technical efficiency, Market-oriented, Osun State