This study was carried out to examine returns to cassava processing in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. The specific objectives are to identify the various products from cassava in the study area; estimate costs and returns to cassava processing; and identify constraints to cassava processing and marketing. A multi-stage and purposive random sampling technique was employed to obtain primary data from 120 respondents used for the study., It was observed that majority of the processors were females (54.2%) with an average age of 40 years, mostly with one form of education or the other (83.3%). The study revealed that four cassava products namely garri, fufu and starch were the major products from cassava processing in the. Analysis of the costs and returns revealed that processing cassava to garri gave the highest Gross Margin even though processing cassava to all the three to sun-drying of cassava products during rainy season. of various degrees. The study therefore recommends the need for processors to have access to infrastructural facilities and improved processing technology to enable them take advantage of the emerging market-oriented cassava products so as to improve their means of livelihoods.
Keywords: Cassava Processing, Gross Margin, Ibesikpo Austan Local Government Area, Akwa State, Nigeria
1.1 Background to the Study
Food is a basic necessity for life and all people need it for survival. The Agricultural sector of Nigeria provides food for the growing population and income for millions of smallholders. It provides employment for about 65 percent of the labour force for industrial development and also raw materials for industries (Abdullahi, 1986).
Cassava is a major staple food in Nigeria. A staple as defined by (IITA, 2007) is one that is eaten regularly and which provide a large proportion of the population’s energy and/or nutrients. Cassava serves this function as it is eaten raw or in processed form. As a result of growing urbanization, cassava has become an essential part of the diet of more than 70 million Nigerians (FAO, 2003). The estimated per capital consumption of cassava in Nigeria is 238Kcal (Cock, 1985).
According to Nyerhovwo (2004), 80 percent of Nigerians reside in the rural areas especially Akwa Ibom State and they eat cassava meal at least once a day and when compared with rice and maize, cassava has a carbohydrate content which is about 40% higher than rice and 25% more than maize. Also, it is the cheapest source of calories for both human and animal consumption. Hence, cassava plays a major role in the country’s food security. Furthermore, in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State cassava generates income for its producers, processors, transporters and marketers and it serves as raw material in industries such as bakery, textile, paper, plywood and confectioneries (Babaleye, 2004; FAO, 2003). Given the advantages that cassava exhibit such as ability to grow on marginal lands, low input requirement and high drought tolerance, the roles of the crop have increased. These have made it an important commodity for intervention by the government and stakeholders in the Agricultural sector.
Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with an average annual estimate of 46 million metric tonnes and a global market share of 19 percent (Phillips et al, 2004; Hillocks, 2002). From year 2012 till date Nigeria increase to 54 million tone making it the largest producer (FAO 2012). Azogu, (2010) asserted that within 4 years the quantity of cassava produced in Nigeria increased by 10 million tonnes. Also, demand for cassava and its products have increased in both the national and international markets. This is as a result of the increased use of the crop for food by human and livestock and as an industrial raw material. The increase in demand has also been occasioned by on-going government policies that are aimed at encouraging production, utilization and export of value-added cassava products coupled with rapid population growth which has brought about the need for more convenience food. Thus cassava has the potential to fuel its commercialization in Nigeria.
According to Ezedinma et al, (2007), the Nigerian cassava production system has some challenges. Cassava production is concentrated in the hands of resource- poor smallholders who cultivate less than 2 hectares of land using rudimentary tools. The average yield per hectare is put at 10.7 tonnes which is not enough to meet the present demand. In addition, cassava output is mainly for the traditional food market. 90 percent of cassava output is consumed, 5-10 are processed into primary raw material and about 2 percent are secondary raw materials. Furthermore, two types of markets exist for cassava products which are: the traditional food-oriented market and new emerging market for cassava products. Babatunde, (2011) stated that presently in Nigeria, agricultural products are underutilized for income generation and cassava is not left out. Cassava roots are prone to wastage due to inefficient harvest and post-harvest handling. Furthermore, there is inadequate information on income opportunities that exist in cassava processing activities.
Lawal and Jaiyeola, (2007) opined that value addition improves the shelf life of agricultural products and generates income for participants. Since most government interventions and policies are aimed at integrating the rural poor into the mainstream of the economy, one of the ways of achieving this is by adding value to their produce. The evaluation of the present state of small scale cassava processing is therefore imperative. In order to tap the full potential that cassava presents there is therefore the need for a study on value addition to cassava and the factors that are likely to influence value addition so that rural communities whose livelihoods depend on it will benefit from the present traditional food market and new emerging markets.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Despite her position as the world leader in cassava production, Nigeria is yet to tap the full potential embedded in cassava. The country still imports some cassava products like starch due to underutilization of available resources (Kirsch, 1996a). Cassava processing is mostly done by women using traditional method which is labour intensive and time consuming. Various initiatives on cassava are yet to yield the expected results. This may be due to the fact that they do not take account of the economic circumstances under which cassava is processed occasioned by inadequate statistics of those who engage in different cassava products particularly at the grassroots level.
In Akwa Ibom State, it is generally observed that there is low level of investment in small scale cassava processing. This is evident in the preponderance of women most of whom are resource poor in cassava processing enterprises. Inadequate empirical data on value addition to cassava processed might be the bane of the inability of the enterprise to attract the necessary attention of private entrepreneurs in the sector. This therefore portends negative consequences for the food security and employment generation situations in the State. It is important to note that socio-economic characteristics and some other variables can affect the amount of value added to cassava products and these have not been considered over time.
It is also important to state that in addition to the common problems faced in cassava processing and marketing such as price fluctuation poor industrial application of cassava product among others, processors often differ in the extent to which they experience the constraints. Against this background, this study intend to address the following research questions:
1. What are the socio-economic characteristics of cassava processor in the study area?
2. What are the various products from cassava processing?
3. How much value is added to processed cassava?
4. What are the constraints to processing of cassava products?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to carry out an analysis of economics of cassava processing in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State the study area.
The specific objectives are to:
i) to examine the socio-economic characteristic of cassava processor in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
ii) identify the various products from cassava in the study area;
iii) determine the costs and returns to cassava processing;
iii) assess the constraints to cassava processing ;