HomeAsia Pacific Journal of Multidisciplinary Researchvol. 2 no. 2 (2014)

The Ecological and Demographic Imperatives of Land Fragmentation in Ute Districts of Vandeikya Local Government Area of Benue State, Nigeria

Daniel Serki Ortserga

Discipline: Geography



Abstract - This study set out to investigate land fragmentation in Ute Districts of Vandeikya Local Government Area of Benue State in Nigeria with a view to gaining insight into its nature, extent and effect on the socio-economy of the area. To achieve this objective, 129 farm plots together with their owners were randomly selected and studied. Dimensions of individual plots and distances between plots and owners’ residences were determined through field measurements. A questionnaire survey was also conducted to obtain information on number of plots held per farming household in the area. In addition, aerial photographs taken over the area in 1977 and topographical maps of the area as well as reports were studied to get baseline data on the extent of fragmentation in the past. Analysis of data showed that, average size of farm plot in 1977 was 0.171 hectare, and declined to 0.149 hectare in 2009. Mean number of plots per farmer in 2009 was 5.37 and mean number of plots cultivated in the same year was 3.68, while range of plot holdings was between 2.67 and 10.00. Using Januszewski’s index of fragmentation, a value of 0.173 was derived, indicating extreme pulverization of farm plots in the area. It was also found that farm plots were not only small, but also scattered over space. The study noted the diseconomies of land fragmentation arising from its severe limitation on mechanization and input investment in farm enterprise. It however recommends support for fragmentation in the area as a realistic response to ecological and demographic imperatives and as a way of stabilizing the socio-economy. It also recommends diversification from agriculture to other gainful activities in the area to augment proceeds from the small and inappropriately distributed farm plots.