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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development

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Cassava processors’ awareness of occupational and environmental hazards associated with cassava processing in south-western Nigeria.

A Oyegbami, G Oboh, O Omueti

Abstract


The processing of this popular root tuber into different products (gari, fufu, pupuru) is not without hazards both to the environment, the processors, and even the consumers. This study, therefore, investigated cassava processors’ awareness of occupational and environmental hazards associated with and factors affecting cassava processing in three states - Oyo, Ogun and Ondo in South-western Nigeria. A total of 380 cassava
processors were purposively and randomly selected from the three states. Data were collected through the use of structured interview guide using the participatory and focus group approach with the assistance of experienced enumerators. The data were analysed using frequency counts and percentages. Results from the study showed that majority (68.9%) of the respondents involved in cassava processing were females, 65.7% are between the ages of 31-50 years which means that they were still in their
active age, 48% have between 4-6 persons as household size, 64.2% had one form of education or another which is a good indicator of their level of understanding especially where a technology involves a little technicality. Another 55.5% of the respondents took cassava processing and marketing as their primary occupation. A larger percentage (74.5%) of the respondents indicated that the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) is their source of information. The result also showed that processor’s awareness of occupational hazards associated with the different stages of cassava processing vary because their involvement in these stages
also varies. They were also aware of environmental hazards associated with cassava processing. Majority (97.7%) of the respondents combined conventional and modern methods of cassava processing. Majority of the respondents also complained of lack of water (78.4%), lack of effective channel for cassava effluent (64.5%), lack of labour (80.3%) and unstable price of cassava products (70.3%) as major factors affecting cassava processing in the study area. It is, therefore, recommended that for
proper channeling be made for cassava effluent, cassava peels should be sun-dried and used as livestock feed, government and the community should provide a borehole or a deep well as this will improve cleanliness of the environment cassava products. Key stakeholders can also participate in the design of processing site from inception so as to reduce the problems faced by cassava processors during processing.



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