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Factors influencing the use of selected inputs in yam production in Nigeria and Ghana
In West Africa, yam can be an important crop to reduce poverty and hunger if Research and Development measures identify and properly engage its key production factors for enhanced outputs and better income. Data from 1400 households in Ghana and Nigeria were collected in a multistage random sampling survey (and complementary data from 76 farm family fields) with a structured questionnaire and qualitative interview questions. The results showed that yam is produced mainly with crude inputs/technologies to reduce high dependence on labour, seed production and control of pests and diseases. Yam is produced widely with purchased inputs including seed yam and hired labour; chemical fertiliser, herbicide and pesticides are less often used. Analyses of determinants of use of purchased inputs reveal three serious impediments to expansion in yam production: the increasing scarcity and high cost of hired labour, shortage of suitable land and poor farm roads. As employment opportunities for unskilled labour in urban centres are presently expanding, increased yam production will be hard to achieve without labour-saving inputs for at least some of the production tasks, especially seedbed preparation and weeding, and without improvement in infrastructure.