Manyong, V.M, R. Asiedu and G.O. Olaniyan
Farmers’ perceptions of, and actions on, resource management constraints were investigated from a participatory rural appraisal survey with about 600 yam growers in a major yam-growing area of Nigeria The results indicated that, contrary to many conventional views, women (35% of survey farmers) are widely involved m yam production. Women were found to be more efficient in yam production than men. Women achieved a higher benefit: cost ratio (women 3.43, men 2.94). Fewer women than men were marginal yam growers i.e. with a benefit: cost ratio below 1 (women 13.5%, men 21.4%). The major constraints in yam production for both sexes were pests and diseases m the field and in storage such as scale insects (Aspidiella hartii (Cockerell), (Hom: Diaspididae), yam tuber beetles (Heteroligus spp), nematodes (Scutellonema bradys (Steiner et Lettew), Adrassy and Pratylenchus spp. Filipyer), and viruses. Other field constraints such as weeds, declining soil fertility, labour cost, and lack of staking materials were of less importance. This is probably because land is still abundant in the area and the high returns from the crop (average benefit: cost ratio was 2.98) overshadow the high intensity of labour. Overall, the study shows that a large majority of farmers had no solution to most of the perceived problems. The existing technologies were considered ineffective, unavailable, or expensive. The paper concludes that gender and control of pests and diseases should he an integral part in the process for the development of sustainable yam production systems in West Africa.