Analysis of Garri Production in Ishielu LGA: A Tool For Food Security
1.1 Background of the Study
Cassava is one of the most important staple food crops grown in tropical Africa. It plays a major role in efforts to alleviate the African food crisis because of its efficient production of food energy, year-round availability tolerance to extreme stress conditions and suitability to present farming and food systems in Africa (Halm and Keyser 1985, Hahn et al 1987).
Traditionally, cassava roots are processed by various methods into numerous products and utilized in various ways according to local customs and preferences. In some countries, the leaves are consumed as vegetables and many traditional foods are processed from cassava roots and leaves.
Improvement of cassava processing and utilization techniques would greatly increase labour efficiency, incomes and living standards of cassava farmers and the urban poor, as well as enhance the shelf life of products, facilitate their transportation increase marketing opportunities, and help improve human and livestock nutrition.
Garri is produced from the roots of cassava plant (manihot esculenta). It is the most popular form in which cassava is processed in the West African sub-region (Ihekoronye and Ngoddy, 1999). Garri is also a product obtained when cassava is fermented and fried. It is a staple food in Nigeria, eaten equally by both rich and poor (Okaka, 2001). Odemelen (2007) also asserted garri as flour produced from mashed cassava roots which been subjected to fermentation for times between 6 and 72 hour. Among all, garri is most commonly consumed by Nigerian households. It is a fast income generating commodity. Sani (1994) and Nweke (1999) remarked that cassava roots and garri production are both available in large quantities in many Nigeria markets throughout the year for sale to retailing consumers or wholesale traders.
In Nigeria, there are two colours of garri, white and yellow. The yellow garri is prepared by adding palm oil to the mashed cassava pulp after the manual peeling with knife to expose the pulp, and washing in clean water and then grinding in machine, while some add palm oil during frying to prevent burning and to reduce the hydrocyanic acid (HCN), which makes it to be considered superior in some area (Asiedu, 1994). However, white garri is prepared without adding any palm oil to it. In the south eastern region, the yellow garri is more expensive than the white one due to the fact that white garri is considered to have higher HCN level than yellow garri (Odemelan, 2007).
Garri is consumed by several millions of people regardless of ethnicity and socio-economic class making it the commonest meal amongst the rich and poor. It occupied a very important significant place in the diet of West African people both the rural and urban populace. This is because of its cheapness, ease of storage and case of preparation of consumption (Agbo, 2008). Meanus (1994) and Ezedinma (2003) indicated that over 58%of cassava root in Nigeria is washed due to inefficiency in processing, and that diversification of food forms and uses of cassava roots could create employment and wealth for farms households.
Garri processing and marketing have become first growing enterprise because of the enormous benefit therein. As a result, garri is no longer served only as basis household foodstuff, but essentially as a quick cash commodity.
1.2 Problem Statement
High increase in population and increase in urbanization had led to high demand for garri in Nigeria. This also resulted in Keen interest in industrial production of garri because of ban on importation of some staple food such as rice and maize by the federal government.
Almost 85% of the Nigeria population consume cassava products everyday in various forms such as garri, akpu, starch and flour. And out of the 85% about 68% show more interest in the consumption of garri product (IITA, 1988).
Nigeria has suffered considerably from food shortages brought about by a relatively high rate of population growth and lagging rate of production (FAO, 2008). Hungry seasons and food shortages are common and there seasonal variations in the intake of principal staple and supplementary foods (Tomer 2003). Garri is produced to a very large extent in Ebonyi state where the economic life of the majority depends on the food item. It is doubtful if a day will pass in the life of an average household in the state and Ishielu in particular, that garri is not consumed. It should be realized that agricultural production is incomplete unless the product reaches the consumers to meet their needs. In order to ensure adequate production of garri in the study area, an effective return to the producer should be made.
In view of the problem, the study seeks to find possible solution to the following research questions.
- What are the socio-economic characteristics of the garri producers in the study area?
- What is the production level of garri in the study area?
- Is garri production profitable in the study area?
- What are the marketing channels open to garri producers in the study area?
- What are the constraint confronting garri producers in the study area?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to carry out the analysis of garri production in Ishielu local government area of ebonyi state.
Specifically, the objectives are to;
- describe the socio-economic characteristics of garri Producers in the study area.
- analyze the production level of garri in the study area.
- evaluate the cost and returns of garri production.
- identify and describe the various marketing channels open to garri producers.
- analyze the effect of socio-economic characteristics on output of garri production in he study area.
- identify constraints confronting garri producers in the study area.
Ho: The socio-economic characteristics of the garri producers do not significantly affect the garri production in the study area.
1.5 Justification of the study
The importance of garri as a staple foodstuff in Nigeria especially the southern part particularly in Ishielu cannot be over emphasized. One of the numerous problems the average Nigeria, the former is facing is the non-available of steady and stable markets for his produce.
However, the study is to analyze the economic importance and relationship between cost and returns in garri production in view to determine the profitability of garri production. This will precisely help the intending investors, dealers and merchandize to determine the profitability of the venture. It will also help the marketers and producers to take wise decision for greater innovation or garri production if the need arises.
This study will help to provide an insight into the activities of garri producers in the study area, their production incentives and constraints. This study will also help in providing the relevant information to stakeholders in garri production, so as to improve the efficiency of the production in the study area. Again, the study will be useful to extension personnel involve in the processing of agricultural products by providing the knowledge needs of garri producers.
Moreover, it is also hoped that the study will highlight on the possible link between credit use and increase in income and more importantly on its contribution to poverty alleviation in the study area.
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