EFFECTS OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS ON THE PROFITABILITY OF CASSAVA BASED FARMERS IN IHITTE UBOMA L.G.A IMO STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) was introduced in central Africa from Brazil, South America in the sixteenth century by the early Portuguese explorers. It was probably the emancipated slaves who introduced cassava into the southern part of Nigeria, as they returned to the country from South America through the islands of Sao Tome and Fernando Po,which were Portuguese colonies off Nigeria’s shores at that time.
It is a staple crop that is mostly grown in many tropical countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America (Ohadike 2007).Cassava did not become important in Nigeria until the end of the nineteenth century when processing techniques were introduced, as many more slaves returned to their
motherland. Cassava is a root tuber being cultivated in rainforest and derived savannah zones of Nigeria. It is one of the most important staple food crops in sub-Saharan Africa, and its average consumption exceeds 300 kg per person annually in some areas of Africa. Its hardy, nature gave it a better edge over other arable crops of the tropic (Odoemenem 2011). Compared to other tropical crops, cassava is more tolerant to poor soil fertility, it is drought resistant, hardy to pests and diseases. More so, its roots are storable in the soil for months after they mature (without getting spoiled). These attributes combined with other demographic and economic considerations are therefore what IFAD recognized in the crop as lending itself to a commodity-based approach to poverty alleviation (FAO 1995).
Cassava as a staple food crop has some inherent characteristics which make it attractive, especially to the rural subsistent farmers in Nigeria in that it is rich in carbohydrates especially starch and consequently has a multiplicity of end users. It has poor protein and other nutrients though its leaves are a good source of protein if supplemented with amino acid methionine despite cyanide contained (FAO 2003). It is available all year round, which makes it preferable to other more seasonal crops like grains, beans and other staple crops for food security.
Furthermore, cassava is important in all spheres not only as a food crop but even as a major source of income for rural household farmers. Nigeria is currently the largest cassava producer in the world with an annual production of over 34 metric tons a year (Raphael 2008). Cassava is highly consumed in processed forms in almost all parts of Nigeria. Its use in industry and livestock feed, is well recognized, but is gradually increasing especially as import substitution becomes prominent in the industrial sector of the economy.
As a cash crop, the export drive for the crop increased the demand for cassava and promoted its cultivation (CBN 2004). Cassava generates cash income for the largest number of farming households in comparison to other staple food crops. It is produced with relevant purchased inputs as often as and in some cases more frequently than other staple food crops. More so, a large proportion of total production that is probably larger than that of most staples counterparts by rural farmers is planted annually for sale and the households’ immediate consumption.
It is a latex-producing crop which reaches a height of 1.8 to 3.6 meters, depending on the variety propagated. Cassava is cultivated for its tuberous roots, from which cassava flour, breads and tapioca are derived. It is in demand for several reasons, as (Oloyede 2004) it is used to feed livestock, and the root tuber is very important raw material in garri (Cassava powder) production, ethanol and industrial starch pellets(Raphael 2008).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Food production in Nigeria no longer keeps up with population growth thus creating a wide gap between the demand and supply of food (Abdulrahaman, 2013). This is evident in the observed food deficit and the upward trend in the price of food stuff.
According to Eze (2009) a lot of effort has been directed at finding appropriate institutions for organizing millions of small scale farmers towards achieving food security (through increased food production) and agricultural cooperative society has been described as the appropriate vehicle for harnessing and polling the resources of millions of small holder farmers producers together to enjoy the benefit of large scale production. The agricultural sector in Nigeria, (Daramola, 2004) is made up of forestry, livestock, fishing, food and cash crops such as yams, cassava, maize, cocoa, groundnut and oil palm. The country is largely endowed with natural resources that are necessary for the development of agriculture. such resources include abundant land supply, human and forestry resources. The country has a total land area of about 98.3 million hectares out of which 71.2 million hectares (72.4%) are cultivable but only 34.2 million hectares (34.8%) are under use.
According to Bakare (2013) and African Development Fund (2005), rural Nigeria is divided into seven agro-ecological zones; i.e. semi-arid, found only in the northern region; the savannah, found in the northern and middle region; a small highland area found in the middle and southern region; a larger transition environment of savannah derived from the forest overlapping the southern and middle regions; mangroves in the Niger Delta; freshwater swamps in the Niger Delta and Lowland rain forest in the south.
The agro-ecological setting and technology base, in principle, determine the production systems. Two major production systems dominate these zones: (i) the traditional production system, which is found in all parts of the country and consists of land holdings of less than 2 ha (Obinyan, 2000) with a variety of food crops intended for consumption purposes mainly and (ii) the improved irrigation production system which comprises the improved small scale irrigation using low-lying or water logged areas for crop and livestock production as well as large-scale mechanized and/or commercial irrigation farming systems. A number of studies have indicated that agricultural production in Nigeria is still characterized by small farm holders (Onugu,2008; Obinyan,2000; Ijere and Mbanasor,2000).
Perceptibly, the socioeconomic characteristics of the small farm holders have crucial ramification on agricultural production. Food production could be affected by the farmers age, access to credit, gender, farm size, educational level, farming experience etc. it is on record that 50% of world’s population is dependent on subsistence agriculture (Guy, 2001; Obinyan, 2000; Olujenyo, n.d). Finally several research has been carried out on socio-economic factors influencing agricultural production among co-operative farmers but not even a single research has been carried out on effct of socio-economic factors on the profitability of cassava based farmers in ihitte uboma L.G.A of lmo state.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The main aim of the study is to determine the effects of socio-economic factors on the profitability of cassava based farmers. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1. to determine the effect of socio-economic factors on cassava based farmers.
2. to determine the factors affecting cassava based farmers in ihitte uboma L.G.A of lmo state.
3. to determine the extent to which cassava is profitable to farmers.
4. to proffer possible solutions to problems.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the effect of socio-economic factors cassava based farmers?
2. What are the factors affecting cassava based farmers in ihitte uboma L.G.A of lmo state?
3. What is the extent to which cassava is profitable to farmers?
4. What are the possible solutions to problems?
1.5 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: socio economic factors has no significant effect on the profitability of cassava based farmers in Ihite Ubom L.G.A, Imo State.
H1: : socio economic factors has significant effect on the profitability of cassava based farmers in Ihite Ubom L.G.A, Imo State.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study on effect of socio-economic factors on the profitability of cassava based farmers will be of immense benefit to the people of ihitte uboma L.G.A of lmo state in the sense that it will enlighten the people of ihitte uboma L.G.A the need to which farming should be encourage in their local government.
It will also be of great advantage to the government. If government create job opportunities to the citizens of that community and empower them in the area of agriculture and the need why people should embrace agriculture. It will also educate the people in involving themselves in entrepreneurial skills and this will enable them to be self dependence. Finally the study will contribute to the body of existing literature and knowledge to this field of study and basis for further research.
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
The study on effect of socio-economic factors on the profitability of cassava based farmers is limited to ihitte uboma L.G.A of lmo state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
CASSAVA is an important root crop consumed as a staple food, boiled, baked or ... name for the plant.
PROFITABILITY is the ability of a given investment to earn a return from its uses.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC as a measure of ones combined economic and social status.
FARMERS is a person that is engaged in agriculture.