Gender preferred traits on cassava production and processing value chain in Imo State, Nigeria
The study analysed Gender Preferred Traits and its effect on cassava production and processing value chain in Imo State, Nigeria. The study described the socio-economic characteristics of cassava farmers, ascertained the varietal preference of cassava and determined the factors affecting the production, processing and marketing of cassava in the study area. The study also identified gender based constraints on participation in production, processing and marketing of cassava, relative importance of cassava for men and women for food security and income and role men and women play in cassava production and processing activities. Two communities/locations were selected based on the intensity and importance of cassava production to the communities and ease of access. Focus Group discussion was carried out with a total of 27 women and 32 men (59) and 51 individual respondents. Results show that the study area was dominated by farmers whom are married, still strong and agile, educated with long years of farming experience, small household size and farm holdings. Results also show that women dominated in the production of, cassava which ranked the first most important source of income from crops in the two locations. Men and women carry out the same agricultural tasks with the exception of weeding-done exclusively by women and land clearing-done only by men. Seven local varieties were identified, four of which (chigazu, nwageri, nwocha and adanwankwo) were grown in the two locations. Women were clearly more knowledgeable than their male counterparts about cassava varieties. There were no strong or clear gender differences in varietal preferences, with both men and women mentioning both agronomic and cooking qualities. The female farmers harvested, processed, consumed and sold more cassava than their male counterparts. The results therefore call for policies aimed at encouraging younger farmers by granting them more access to land especially the females to enhance the cultivation and adoption of improved varieties. There is also need for increased access to processing facilities, extension contacts, formation of cooperatives and rehabilitation of rural road networks to enhance the adoption of improved cassava varieties.
Keywords: Adoption, Production, Processing, Gender Roles and Preferred Traits