Analysis Of Farmers' Perception Of Moringa Oleifera As An Intercrop In Sabon Gari Local Government Area Of Kaduna State, Nigeria
There is evidence that farming systems are becoming unsustainable as the population increases and the amount of agricultural land available has also decreased (ICRAF, 2007 and KARI, 2012). It is characterized by frequent droughts, famine and climatic variations which affect both the community’s livelihood and livestock. Moringa with arable crops (such as cowpea, pepper, carrot, tomato, onion etc.) intercrop has been suggested as an intercropping that could serve as an opportunity to improve agriculture at smallholding level. The adoption of this farming system and approaches depends not only on socio-economic conditions and household conditions but also on how farmers perceive this novel technology based on their level of awareness of its importance.
The satudy by Ojeleye, et al (2014) showed that about one-third of the sampled households are food insecure with a shortfall of about 15% of their daily calorie requirement. This study also revealed that majority of the households are subsisting on less than the minimum required calorie per capita per day as the household size of the food insecure significantly lower the per capita calorie consumption of households. Ojeleye et al., (2014) observed that this could have negative impact on the food security situation of rural households in the study areas.
Moringa oleifera is highly nutritious crop cultivated mostly in all parts of the world. It is a valuable food crop, grows very fast and even beyond food it serves many benefits. It has been used to fight against malnutrition, especially among young ones and lactating mothers. Its various plant parts are used for different purposes. It is the richest plant source of Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. Minerals present in this tree include K, Mg, Ca, Mn, Zn, Cu, and Fe. Its various parts are used for the treatment of various diseases. It is resistant to drought duration because of long taproot system. Its cultivation is very simple and requires fewer efforts. It plays an important role in conservation of soil, water, and mitigating climatic change (Singh, Jyoti and Singh, 2019). This plant thus could be a promising alternative to smallholders’ nutrient needs and livelihood sustenance as well when it is incorporated as intercrop.
Alamu, (2002) et al., (2008) defined intercropping as the growing of two or more crops simultaneously or during parts of the component crop life cycle on the same piece of land. It provides the farmer with a variety of returns from land and labour, often increases the efficiency with which scarce resources are used, and reduces the risk of high dependency on a single crop that is susceptible to environmental and economic fluctuations. Farmers have generally regarded intercropping as a technique that reduces risks in crop production; if one member of an intercrop fails, the other survives and compensates in yield to some extent, allowing the farmer an acceptable harvest. Pest levels are often lowered in intercrops, as the diversity of plants hampers movement of certain pest insects and in some cases encourages beneficial insect populations. (Hugh and McSorley, 2000).