Small scale processors’ engagement in cassava postharvest and households’ food provision in Imo State, Nigeria
This paper examined smallholder cassava processors‘ involvement in post-harvest activities for ensuring households‘food provision in Imo State, Nigeria. A multi-stage random sampling technique was used in selecting one hundred and eighty (180) respondents across the three agricultural zones of the State. Data collected were analyzed with both descriptive and inferential statistics. Result showed that Majority (82.2%) of the processors were married females. Also, a large population of the respondents (28.5% and 30.6%) belonged to the age bracket of 41 – 50 and 51 – 60 respectively. Most of the processors (52.8%) had secondary education and majority (65.0%) of them had contact with extension services every fortnight. More than one-third (35.6%) of the processors earned less than N2, 000 monthly from cassava processing. Out of the 5 cassava post-harvest livelihood activities listed, only process and market garri (3.16), process and market odourless fufu (2.52) recorded moderate level of involvement of the respondents. From results of the study the respondents also showed that their involvement in cassava post-harvest livelihood activities enabled them to make moderate/modest (3.31) provision of food for their households. Also, a chi-square goodness of fit = 386.55 at P<0.05 showed a significant association between household food provision status and livelihood activities such as; owning/operating processing center (t-ratio=-1.986), processing/marketing fufu (t-ratio=2.967), processing/marketing flour (t-ratio=2.413), processing/marketing starch (t-ratio=-2.458). This is an indication that the respondents combine lots of livelihood strategies in addressing the challenges of hunger and household food insecurity. The paper therefore recommended the re-structuring of the extension service system to provide the needed services to the processors in terms of technical advice which will help them maximize the benefits of post-harvest technologies. Also, policies that will encourage the rural processors in diversification is recommended.
Keywords: Cassava, Small scale, Processors, Livelihood activities and Household foods