Factors affecting stakeholders’ preferences for cowpea grains in selected parts of Nigeria
Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.Walp) is an important food security crop. It provides food and income for many small-holder farmers in Africa. As a food source, the grains contain large quantities of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fiber. In spite of the high nutritional value of cowpea, the crop is underutilized in most households and commercial eating houses in Nigeria. Several factors have been reported as constraints affecting the consumption and utilization of the crop in Nigeria, but have not been documented. This research was conducted to identify the factors affecting the utilization of the crop and determine the stakeholders’ preferences that will increase the demand and consumption of cowpea grains in Nigeria. The study was carried out in Ibadan in Oyo State and Zaria in Kaduna State in Nigeria, with a total of 318 respondents. A descriptive research design was used to collect data which were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) IBM version 20 and Microsoft Excel spread sheet. From the social demography result, the respondents were from six different category of stakeholders in the cowpea value chain mainly from breeders (3.7%), farmers (36.0%), marketers (12.7%), food vendors (6.7%), nutritionists (2.6%) and consumers (38.9%). This implies that the respondents were knowledgeable about the factors affecting the cowpea utilization. The two factors identified to affect the utilization of cowpea were culinary qualities (63.0% of respondents) and removing dirt (37.0% of respondents). Among the culinary qualities, the major quality preferred was reducing the cooking time (42.9% of respondents), followed by improved taste (31.7% of respondents), and value added products such as cowpea in powdered form (19.0% of respondents), and canned cowpea (6.4% of respondents). A total of 47.2% of respondents preferred the duration for cooking cowpea for 21-30 minutes as against the 40-60 minutes most cowpea varieties cook for. These findings indicate that cooking time is still the major factor affecting the utilization of cowpea grains. Therefore, improving this quality and other utilization attributes will increase the demand and consumption of cowpea grains.
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