CASSAVA PROCESSING AND MARKETING OPTION FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

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ABSTRACT

This study was carried out on the cassava processing and marketing option for sustainable agricultural development. Primary data were collected from 60 males and 60 females randomly selected cassava farmers from 6 villages using a structured questionnaire. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results revealed that 75-93.3% males took part in cassava production operations whereas 66.7-75% females carried out the same activities. Results also showed that all females (100%) participated in peeling, washing, fermenting, grinding and packaging, and 95-98.3% took part in other processing activities compared to less than 79% males who participated in the same activities. Furthermore, respondents engaged in all marketing activities with females recording higher participation in sales of produce/products (96.7%), grading (93.3%), standardization of measurement (93.3%), among others while males participated more in assembling produce (85%). Both gender faced similar constraints and employed similar strategies for improving participation in cassava enterprises. The study concluded that more males than females participated in cassava production while a greater percentage of females took part in processing and marketing. It is recommended that research and extension should target both male and female cassava farmers with appropriate technologies and messages for improved participation in cassava value chain development, which should enhance their income and standard of living.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Recognizing Nigeria’s tremendous Agricultural potentials, the government has accepted the view that the country should resolve to make agriculture the main source of living of the economy and to Benue state.  Agricultural development has to with the increase of the agricultural productivity to be able to generate substantial surpluses.

Cassava is a tuber crop which originated in South America and is grown in tropical and subtropical areas throughout the world. Despite the fact that maize is by far the most important staple food accounting for over half (54%) of the caloric intake of households, cassava is also staple for a large extent of the population. Cassava is the most important crop in Africa by both production weight and value and it provides a similar source of calories as rice. Its drought-tolerance, resilience on marginal agricultural land and ability to be stored in the ground up to three years make it an important food security crop for smallholder farmers (FAO, 2000; Sayre et al., 2011). It is a staple and also a famine reserve crop and can be an important food source when drought and conflict prevent production of other food crops. As noted by Moses, Asafu-Agyei, Adubpfuor & Augustine (2007), cassava-based farming communities cope better in hunger stressed times and uncomfortable situations. The crop provides a reliable and inexpensive source of carbohydrates for people in sub-Saharan Africa, where consumption is the highest per capital in the world (Westby, 2008).

Africa produces over 54% of the world’s cassava with Nigeria taking the global lead with a production of about 54.8 million metric tonnes in 2014 (FAO, 2014). Cassava is grown in all agro-ecological zones of Nigeria but thrives in the rainforest and derived savannah areas. Production is highest in the North-Central and SouthSouth regions (Sahel Capital, 2014).