Although Nigeria annually invests substantial amounts of resources in agricultural research, extension and the supply of modern inputs crop yields are low and have not improved over the years, probably because of the low adoption rate, on the farms, of the available technologies. The smallholders practise a mixed cropping system in which each grows a wide range of crops—some mainly for home ... [Show full abstract] consumption and others for sale. However, crop research centres are established on a crop-by-crop basis and the socio-economic aspects of crop research are under-emphasised. This could produce technologies that are irrelevant to the cropping system and hence unacceptable to the farmers.Relatively literate and highly capitalised farmers are likely to adopt more improved inputs in crop production than the relatively illiterate and less capitalised farmers and farmers generally employ more of such modern inputs in the production of ‘cash’ crops than in the producton of ‘food security’ crops. However, the concentration of extension efforts on relatively literate farmers with high capital resources, as is done at present, may not result in a substantial increase in crop production because there are only a few such farmers and economy of scale in the cropping system does not seem to be high. Increased production of crops is likely to depend on a larger number of smallholders employing more modern inputs than is the case at present.More smallholders could be made to employ more modern inputs by various methods such as extension emphasis on crops produced for sale to increase the cash income—and hence the capital base—of many of the smallholders, the use of an adult education programme to upgrade the literacy rate of a large number of the smallholders and a research administration system which would encourage technical and social scientists to conduct cropping systems research co-operatively in order to generate new technologies relevant to the cropping system.