PRODUCTIVITY OF CUCUMBER OUTPUT IN IKONO L.G.A
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Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is one of the most important exotic vegetables in the country. It is the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world and known to be one of the best foods for body’s overall health (Natural News, 2014). It is one of the most popular members of the cucurbitaccae family. Cucumbers are a valuable source of conventional antioxidant nutrients including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. It is acknowledged that increased agricultural productivity would help in attaining the needed food security. Enhanced productivity is a combination of measures designed to increase the level of farm resources as well as to make efficient use of resources (Adeyemo and Kuhlmann, 2009). Productivity and efficiency of resource use in the production must be sustained in order to benefit maximally from production practices.
The productivity is indicator of overall competitiveness (Cechura et al., 2014). The efficiency, with which farmers use available resources and improved technologies, is important in agricultural production (Rahji, 2005). The efficient use of farm resources is an important part of agricultural sustainability (Goni et al., 2013) and a prerequisite for optimum farm production since inefficiency in resource use can distort food availability and security (Etim et al., 2005). An efficiency measurement is important because it leads to substantial resource savings (Bravo-Ureta and Rieger, 1991). Technically efficient production is defined as the maximum quantity of output attainable by a given input (Pitt and Lee, 1981). According to Njeru (2004), technical efficiency is the ability of a firm to maximize output for a given set of resource inputs.
Cucumber can contribute to economic empowerment if efficiently produced due to the high unit price of the commodity compared to local fruit vegetables. Inefficiency in the use of available scarce resources has been the bane of increased food production. There is scarce information on economics and efficiency of cucumber production in Oyo State. Empirical studies on the technical efficiency of vegetables in various regions of Nigeria include those of Oguniyi and Oladejo (2011), Adenuga et al. (2013), Ayinde et al. (2011) and Adeoye et al. (2011). The studies focused on tomato, pumpkin and watermelon. None of the studies examined the economics and determinants of the technical efficiency of cucumber production in Oyo state. This study is therefore carried out to examine the profitability and efficiency of cucumber production in Iseyin local government area of Oyo state.