Land tenure and agricultural intensification by women farmers in Nigeria Effects on crop commercialization

Olubunmi Olanike Alawode, Yetunde Olasimbo Mary Oladokun, Mololuwa Mayowa Awotunde


Women make essential contributions to agriculture by playing a large role in food crop production. They require land as source of rural livelihood and monetary strengthening through land right security. Women’s ownership of land and property can be potentially transformative, not only as a store of value, but also as a means of acquiring other assets and engaging in a range of markets. However, women have lower access to productive resources (land and capital) compared to their male counterparts. Women are generally influenced on account of unbound land rights, particularly because of their victimization on their access to, possession and control of land. Commercialization is sometimes associated with the adoption of new technologies, which may further reduce the role of women due to poor access to land. This paper broadly examines land tenure and agricultural intensification by women farmers in Nigeria, and their effects on crop commercialization. Specifically, this paper examines land tenure systems, analyzed agricultural intensification and evaluated crop commercialization among women farmers in Nigeria. The Nigeria General Household Survey (GHS) 2018 were used. Data for 1,962 women farmers were extracted from the dataset. These include socioeconomic characteristics of women farmers as well as information on land tenure systems, agricultural intensification and crop commercialization. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics to examine land tenure systems, Ruthenberg Index, Labour Use Intensity, and Fertilizer Use Intensity to analyze agricultural intensification, Crop Commercialization Index (CCI) to evaluate crop commercialization and Tobit Regression Model to measure the effects of land tenure systems and agricultural intensification on crop commercialization among women farmers in Nigeria. Results show that the total number of plots held by women was 2,378 and the average farm size cultivated was 0.43hectare. Women gained access to land mainly by inheritance (42.9% of the plots).  Though there are restrictions on land inheritance by women in some cultures, they have been able to have access to farm plots by land market; through outright purchase (39.9%) and rent (8.4%). Results on agricultural intensification show that the mean land use intensity was 0.26(±0.26). Also, on the average, labour use was approximately 55mandays/hectare and fertilizer use was 728kg/hectare. Crop commercialization results show that almost three-quarters (71.10%) of the women farmers were market oriented at different levels (0%<CCI<100%), 28.9% were fully subsistent (CCI=0%) and 2.30% fully commercialized their farm produce (CCI=100%). The mean CCI was 29.5(±31.3), meaning that only 29.5% of the quantity of the crops produced was commercialized. Tobit regression results show that land tenure systems and agricultural intensification have positive significant effects on crop commercialization among women farmers in Nigeria. Crop commercialization is low among women farmers. Land access and intensification improve crop commercialization by women farmers in Nigeria. There should be upgrading of informal land rights to legally enforceable rights for women farmers to provide greater protection (tenure security) for the women. 


Land Rights, Land inheritance, Crop commercialization, Labour use intensity, Land use intensity, Fertilizer use intensity

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