Factors influencing processors’ willingness to engage in mechanized palm fruits processing in Abia State, Nigeria
The study investigated factors influencing processors‘ willingness to engage in mechanized palm fruits processing in Abia State, Nigeria. Purposive, multi stage and random sampling technique was used for selecting 90 palm fruits processors across the three agricultural zones in the state. Primary data were collected for the study using a close-ended structured questionnaire. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, gross margin and binary probit model. The study found that traditional technologies are widely practiced among palm fruits processors in Abia state than mechanized processing. The gross margin of the palm fruits processors was ₦74,960.00 with net return of ₦72,230.00 and profitable index (PI) of 0.38. The result of the binary probit model showed that the explanatory power of the specified variables as indicated by the pseudo R2 value of (0.772) was relatively high and good while the overall goodness of fit as reflected by Prob>Chi2 (0.000) was also good. Out of the nine explanatory variables specified in the model, six (education, household size, experience, income, extension visits and membership of cooperative) were statistically significant at 1 and 5%. Some of the notable challenges facing the processors include high cost of processing input, high cost of transportation, fluctuation of prices of products, poor road network, labour intensive nature of palm fruit processing and inadequacy of labour supplies for palm fruit processing among others. Based on these findings, the study recommended provision of soft loans to processors for acquisition of modern processing machines, creation of awareness and capacity building training for palm fruits processors in the use of modern processing machines.
Keywords: Palm fruits, palm oil, traditional, mechanized processing, willingness to engage
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