Ethics and quality assessment of cowpea grains sold in southern markets of Nigeria
The study examined the supply side of cowpea markets in two states of Nigeria. Specifically, quality status; grades of cowpea grains sold and effect of ethics on sales, quality and price were determined. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to select four hundred cowpea grain sellers in the study areas. Questionnaire was used to collect primary data using a modified cost route approach. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze primary data collected. In every bag of cowpea grains, good grains accounted for 70%, while bad grains accounted for 30%. Bad grains were divided into five groups, undersize (10.64%), broken (9.08%), dead (4.32%), unwanted materials (4.02%) and seed of other crops (1.65%). Good grains in each bag had the financial value of seven thousand, four hundred and twenty Naira, while the bad grains had the financial estimate of three thousand and seventy nine Naira given a unit
price of ten thousand five hundred Naira per bag of Iron white cowpea grain. The consumers can increase their utility by 25% without an increase in current price if processing aspect of marketing was properly carried out. Three thousand and seventy nine Naira was paid for zero utility derived
from bad grains sold in the study area. Unethical trade practices had a reducing effect on cowpea quality but price had an increasing effect on quality. Unethical trade practices had a reducing effect on price but quality and qualntity were at variance with fairness. Ethics shift the intercept of mean sales downward but not significant. The study established that cowpea grains sold in the study area did not guarantee quality assurance for consumers and quality did not conformed to internationally acceptable standard.
Keyword: Cowpea, Quality assessment, food, grain, Nigeria