TRACTOR SERVICES CHALLENGES AND CURRENT DEMAND TRENDS BY SMALLHOLDER FARMERS IN NIGERIA
Many smallholder farmers, particularly those in developing countries do not practice mechanisation such as the use of tractor due to some plethora of issues among which include: lack of demand, problematic supply model and failed mechanisation programmes. Based on the problems associated with smallholder mechanisation and the roles lack of demand played in past mechanisation programmes, this research investigated the characteristics and the challenges of tractor service providers, as well as the analyses of the current demand trends by the sampled smallholder farmers for tractor services, while forecasting the future demand in Delta and Benue States of Nigeria. The study employed a snowball sampling technique to collect field survey data from 20 private tractor service providers (SMEs) and 6 government tractor service providers in four local government areas of Delta and Benue States. Descriptive statistics, weighted mean score and trend analyses were used to interpret the result. The study finds that tractor services provide employment for rural dweller, particularly male; use less of household labour and the majority of those involved own only a tractor. Among the different challenges such as the inability of smallholders to pay a high price, long distance to get mechanic, and the high cost of maintenance/high cost of the spare part; too few qualified tractor mechanics is ranked the most severe challenge. While both SMEs and government tractor service providers face some common challenges, poor maintenance and corruption predominates government tractor services. There has been a constant increase in the demand for tractor services by the smallholder farmers from 2013 to 2016 and the demand is forecast to continue. Based on the different challenges associated with the provision of tractor services to the smallholder, it was suggested that the government should support market driver tractor service provision
Tractor services, smallholder farmers, demand trend. government, Nigeria
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