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Cocoyam is highly perishable and considerable economic losses occur after it is harvested. This is as a result of rot, sprouting and other physiological changes. These losses could be reduced through efficient storage, processing and marketing. This study is about economic study of cocoyam marketing in south-east Nigeria. It specifically ranked market participants preference for cocoyam cultivars and the reasons for such preferences. It showed the main marketing channels and socio-economic and institutional factors affecting the choice of marketing channels. It showed the structure and conduct of cocoyam marketing and socio-economic and institutional factors affecting the volume of cocoyam marketed. It estimated the costs and benefits of cocoyam marketing as well as the net income of six storage methods. It assessed the effectiveness of six storage methods. The study was guided by null hypotheses that socio-economic and institutional factors did not determine the choice of marketing channels; that socio-economic and institutional factors did not determine volume of cocoyam marketed; that the mean income of farmers, wholesalers and retailers did not significantly differ and that the mean cocoyam rot of the six storage methods did not significantly differ. A total of 260 marketers comprising 100 producers, 60 wholesalers and 100 retailers were selected through stratified random sampling techniques. Data were collected from both primary sources. Primary data emanated from various questionnaires and weekly/monthly monitoring of the six storage methods. Descriptive statistics such as tables, charts, percentages and mean and inferential statistics such net income analysis, four firm concentration ratios, Herfindahl-Hirschman Index and Gini-Coefficient, Multinomial logit regression model, correlation analysis, Ordinary least square regression model and Analysis of Variance were used to achieve the objectives. The results showed that producers, wholesalers and retailers preferences for cocoyam cultivars depended on culture and food pattern more than anything else. It also showed that four firm concentration ratios and Herfindahl-Hirschman Index did not indicate oligopolistic behavior although their Gini-coefficient showed unequal distribution of market sale. The average net income of producers, wholesalers and retailers per year were ₦204,246, ₦3,650,000 and ₦474,000 each respectively while the net income of the six storage methods were ₦56.92, ₦47.96, ₦47.80, ₦43.36, ₦15.25 and ₦3.00 per kg respectively. Approximately 33% of the variations in the volume of cocoyam marketed were explained by socio-economic and institutional variables. The multinomial logit regression analysis has R2 value of 0.56 and showed that age and storage cost were significant (P < 5%).The correlation results for objectives iii and vi showed that distance to market, family labour, size of land allocated to cocoyam income from other sources and purpose of marketing were significant at (p < 0.001) and thus contribute to improvement in marketing. The Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) showed statistically significant difference (P < 0.01) in the mean income of farmers, wholesalers and retailers as well as the mean disease severity of the six storage methods. So, the first, second, third and fourth hypotheses were rejected, while the alternatives were accepted. The study therefore, recommended that government should build the capacity of market participants through seminars. Additionally financial/technical support should be provided especially to the commercial farmers. There is also need for agricultural-chain partnership between the farmers and processors.
1.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Cocoyam (Colocasia spp and Xanthosoma sagittifolium) originated from Southeast Asia. It was introduced into Nigeria and other West Africa countries in 16th and 17th centuries Bown, (2000). It is third largest root and tubers in south-east Nigeria after cassava and yam in terms of production and acreage Nwagbo, Okorji, and Ugwu (1987). Cocoyam is grown for its edible starchy corm and leaves.
Table 1.1: World Production of Edible Aroids (cocoyam)
Source: FAOSTAT, 2010
FAOSTAT, (2010) estimated the production of cocoyam in Nigeria in 2008 as 5,387,000 metric tons out of a total of 11.77 million metric tons of world output of cocoyam. Coastal West Africa accounts for 90% of the global output with Nigeria accounting for 50% of this (FAOSTAT, 2010). World cocoyam production increased slowly from 10.7 to 11.77 million metric tons between 2003 and 2008 (Table 1) (FAOSTAT, 2010). The table also shows production of cocoyam in Nigeria between 2003 and 2008. Production of cocoyam was approximately 46% from 2003 to 2006 in Nigeria and then decline to 45% 2007 and rose up again to approximately 46% of world output in 2008.
Cocoyam is a popular root and tuber grown and marketed in the study area where it is relatively consumed in large quantities. It thrives well in warm, humid forest areas where high annual rainfall and long wet season are conducive for its optimum yield. Considering that this climate makes up about 80 percent of land mass in South-east Nigeria, an efficient and effective cocoyam marketing system that will increase production cannot be overlooked.
During the past decades, products of cocoyam were mainly consumed at home in South-east Nigeria. Their nutrient content carbohydrates, protein, fats, crude fiber, ash, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, Niacin and vitamin C are more digestible when compared to other root crops (Chukwu, Nwosu, Madu, Chinaka and Okoye, 2008). However, recently, there has been an increase in output and commercialization of cocoyam. Also as the processes of urbanization progresses in Nigeria, an increasing share of national food
consumption takes place at locations other than where food is produced. The marketing system must develop well to satisfy the local demand and to provide necessary services as producers sell in markets distant from where consumers buy food items (Enete, 2003 and FAO, 2009).
Cocoyam marketing, like any other agricultural marketing, encompasses everything that happens between the farm gate and the consumer, including processing, storage, assembly, wholesaling, and retailing of cocoyam (Kohl and Uhl, 1985; Takele, 2010). Cocoyam industry consists of primary production by producers as well as creation of form, space and time utilities by other market participants. Economic study of cocoyam marketing is viewed as obtaining scientific evidence on the situation of cocoyam marketing and identification of potential intervention as a way of assisting the industry in contributing to socio-economic development of the nation. However, going by the estimated figure of postharvest losses in cocoyam, Chukwu, et al, (2008), reported about 50% economic losses after two months and about 95 % after five months as a result of rots, sprouting and other physiological changes. This is pointing to poor access to agricultural chain partnership, rural infrastructure, storage, processing and market for cocoyam. Storage participants used six main storage methods for cocoyam among which are storage in the basket in storage house, on the floor in storage house, storage in the shelf in storage house, storage in raised platform in the barn, heap in barn, bury in the barn. However, reliable information is not available on the relative effectiveness of these methods in reducing losses in fresh weight, rots and other changes.
Cocoyam is produced beyond the needs of the households and they desire to use the surplus in satisfying their other needs. Producers have three main options for marketing their produce. At the beginning of the marketing channel producers either sell directly to consumer or to other participants (retailer or wholesaler) depending on various factors. Other participants in the market channels such as retailers or wholesalers not only create possession utility by transferring cocoyam from surplus to deficit region but also enhance the value of cocoyam in terms of form, place and time for consumers.
However, transaction costs and other institutional and socio-economic factors could limit the volume of supply of cocoyam as well as the preferences for marketing channel. Scientific information on social and other institutional characteristics that affect marketing are needed urgently for improving the volume of cocoyam marketed as well as the decision to participate in cocoyam distribution. Imperfect market information for buying and selling; lack of cash, and credit availability to finance short-run inventories; insufficient facilities for
storage and transportation, no uniform system of grade and standard to facilitate trading at a distance, have been recognized in various studies (Mainville, 2004; Hernandez, 2009; Jari, 2009; Take, 2009; Takele, 2010). Thus attention is required in these areas for improvement of volume of supply as well as choice of marketing channels.
To unleash the potential contribution that this industry could make to improve income and food security of rural poor, assessment of costs and benefits are needed as they are the critical determinant of returns to farmers, traders and other participants in the commodity chain as determined by retail food prices they face. The major components of the analysis of marketing margin consist of gross marketing margin, net marketing margin and farmers’ share of consumers’ price. The net marketing margin accrues to the middlemen as profit (Mainville, 2004; Hernandez, 2009; Jari, 2009; Taka, 2009; Takele, 2010).
Marketing of cocoyam requires special attention also because of the diversified nature of demand of the final consumers. Cocoyam may be needed by consumers for the treatment and prevention of blood sugar disorder due to its low glycemic index (slow sustained release of energy to the body) (Daniells, Hughes, Traynor, Vawdrey and Astridge, 2009). A clear understanding of supply determinants as well as factors affecting the decision to participate in different market channels can contribute to the action and efforts of those actors that aim to implement market-led development strategies. Analysis of cocoyam marketing system will also ensure information on economic values of cocoyam and factors hampering the industrial development such as poor access to local markets infrastructure and transport facilities necessary for cocoyam sub-sector development. The outcome of market led development is to assist in sustainable development of the industry by increasing the available information on more market opportunities necessary for generating employment, increasing income, reducing poverty and increase supplies for healthier consumer nutrient.
1.2: STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In South East Nigeria, information on preference for cocoyam cultivars and their reasons for such preferences are needed for identifying the cultivars with highest demand and thus high potentials for improving the income of players. Marketing of cocoyam is also constrained by socio-economic and institutional factors required for maintaining standards and improving competitiveness. It is constrained by technical factors such as lack of post-harvest handling knowledge, storage and limited market (Babatunde and Oyatoye, 2009; Okoye, Dimelu, Okoye and Agwu, 2009; FAO, 2009; Enibe, Chidebelu, Onwubuya, Agbo and Mba, 2008; Jones, 1994; Hay and McCoy, 1977). The consequences have been seasonal glu
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