Full Length Research Paper
In Africa, the prevalence of aflatoxin contamination in agricultural production places the stability of food security at risk. This study investigated the socio-economic characteristics of farmers; assessed the prevalence of aflatoxin in maize production; identified the aflatoxin control practices used; and estimated the net returns to users and non-users of the control practices. A multistage sampling procedure was employed to select 240 farmers, comprising users and non-users of aflatoxin control practices. Data were collected on farmers’ socioeconomic characteristics, maize farmland cultivated, the proportion affected by aflatoxin as well as quantity and prices of inputs and output from the maize farms with the aid of pretested structured questionnaire and interview guide in a focus group discussion. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and budgeting technique. Results showed that most of the farmers are married (86.7%), with over 20 years of farming experience and active ages of between 41 and 60 years. 42% of their average maize farm of 2.7 ha were affected by aflatoxin contamination. About 28% of the farmers used different types of aflatoxin control practices. A larger proportion (72%) of the farmers did not use any of the control measures. There was a significant difference (p<0.05) in the net returns earned between users and non-users of aflatoxin control practices. It was concluded that use of aflatoxin control practices in maize production should be promoted among farmers in Oyo state as it enhances maize yield and the net returns earned from maize production.
Key words: Aflatoxin control, maize, smallholders, food security, gross margin.
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