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Background of the Study

       Rice is a leading cereal crop in many countries and is grown in all continents. It is the principals of staple food in the diet of more than half of the world’s population. Processing and marketing of rice in Nigeria started as far back as 19th century with the white grain species known as (Oryzasativa) which was introduced into the country about 100 years ago Grist (2004), IITA, (2005) WARDA (2006), Vanguard (2007). Since then, processing and marketing of rice has been increased in Ohuakwu L.G.A of Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Major areas where rice is processed and marketed in Nigeria include Kastina, Oyo, Ebonyi, Borno. It is usually processed by the processors using milling machines in combination with other grains milled along with it such as cassava, maize, yam, melon, sorghum and cowpea. WARDA (2006), processing of these crops provides food and cash income to the marketing. The processing and marketing of rice offers employment to a large number of people and provide raw materials for our growing industries, for instance, studies has shown that rice bran contains about 13-17% oil, which is useful in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries (Grist, 2003). It bran and other by-products after processing can also be used in the manufacture of sugarcane, detergent, Herbicides, Alcohol, starch, glass been estimated, that as at 1999, 5.2% in rice processing and marketed in Japan was used in making wine while 4.4% for making cakes and 1.1% in the manufacture of sugar.

       In early 1999, breweries in the united state were reported as using about 25% of all rice processed in that country for human consumption. The increase in rice consumption has continued to rise at a rate faster than the rate of growth in population (Adeniyi, 2005). Nigeria according to Myantang (2000) is the largest processors and marketers of rice in West African. It has experienced the fastest in consumption of rice as compared to any other food crops over the past 25years. Presently, rice consumption in the country out weighted the local production of rice and the imported rice annually. During 2001-2005, with the recent ban imposed on the importations of rice in Nigeria. Local market prices have gradually raised. This increase in price of rice is affecting the economic position of the buyers and consumers in Ohaukwu L.G.A of Ebonyi state. The importance of processed rice is seen mainly from two factors, one is the ease with which processed rice can be preserved and prepared for the table. The fact that urbanization is rising faster than the rise in national population, means that the urban population is rising faster than over all population. Processed rice substitutes in particular tuber and root crops, as well as other grains (maize, sorghum and millet) in supplying the required income that the marketers need. As a result of the recent ban and restriction by the government, the increase in processed rice now has to be met from domestic production (Vanguard, 2006).

Statement of the problem

       The processing and marketing of rice in Ohuakwu local government area of Ebonyi state are hampered with the under lined problems:-

  1. INADEQUATE PROCESSING AND STORAGE FACILITIES: The processors are experiencing a poor processing facilities. Many of the processing machine used in the processing of this products are old and in soghoricated which makes the processing sub standard and presents the products unacceptable compares to the foreign one which they machine are of standard and quality for effective and efficient processing.
  2. POOR INCOME: Income has been one of the major problem in which the processors complained of during my research. The processors were with the view that there should be an increase in the processing system be an increase in the processing system to encourage this level of income. They concluded that profits are made from the number of bags processed pen-day. However, the processors are experiencing low processing techniques from 2005-2008, causing poor income from the processors as a result of low production and market price variations.
  3. DISTANCE MARKETS: Some of the markets in which this essential commodity are to be sold are not near. Markets are very far from the production site. The marketers finds it difficult to purchase this products because of scattered markets more less little market information about the price of this product are made available to them.

       At times, due to distanced market, the producer encounter wastage before marketing of this essential commodity (rice).

  1. LAND SCARCITY: Land which should be allocated to the processors as the processing centers are owned by the community or individual which is not easy to release to centers for this study. Some site mainly in some part of the market are provided for processing which lacks structures, spacing destoining, grading, packaging etc.
  2. GOVERNMENT ATTITUDES: Government decision on price and production are not sufficient and stable credit facilities, loans, subsides, fringe benefits extension services which government should provide to assist and support the marketers, the processors etc are not provided. Reluctancy and challancy in processing and marketing in the study area has taken place as a result of poor contribution and elightments programme from the government.
  3. URBAN- MIGRATION: youth and young agric graduates who are at the right position to be empowered are not given any training on how to replace the old people in the labour force system by creating some agro-based industries and granting loans to encourage youths on agriculture and self-dependently rather politics and social life are given priority.
  4. INADEQUATE AGRO-BASED INDUSTRIES: the study area has few agro-based industry, which are not enough to cater for the processing aspects. All the processing are done at the Okwu market, Ezzamgbo market and majority rice mill Izzi which is far to many of the intending users.

Purpose of the Study

       The main purpose of this study is to investigate the processing and marketing of rice in Ohuawku L.G.A pf Ebonyi state and specifically the study tends to;

  1. Determine the available processing centers in Ohaukwu L.G.A.
  2. Determines different stages in rice processing in the marketing of rice.
  3. Determine the impact of processing in the marketing of rice.
  4. Determine steps to improve processing and marketing of rice.

Significance of the Study

       These that will benefits from findings of this study are. Rice marketers, processors, consumers, students under going study in agricultural sciences and researchers. Rice marketers employ all possible measures to ensures the Availability of this essential product in the   market. They encourage the producers and the processors by reviewing to them some workable mechanisms that could be used for a efficient and quality production and processing. Marketers make profits from the commodity processed. The rice processors by the stages of production, process the product before it could be sold to the consumers. The processors make profits form the quality of the product, processed per-day. This corresponds to the efficiency and quality of the processing machine. The processors serves as a medium, which prepares this essential commodity in grade before consumption. The consumers derive some level of satisfaction from the processing of this vital products. At times of the price of rice increase, the income of the consumers are likely to fall the opposite becomes the case. The consumers benefits depends on the stabilization of rice commodity and quality of rice processed and marketed for effective demand. In order to attain maximization of satisfactions the processors should process largely to encourage high demands from the marketers and consumers. The students undergoing study in agricultural science should be well equipped with sound knowledge and information concerns effective and efficient production techniques programmes, workshops, field strips, financial assistance should be provided for research services. Modern machines in processing, location of market site and all profitable mechanism to enhance and improve productivity should be highly and technically processed.

RESEARCHER: Processing and marketing of rice in Ohuawku local government area of Ebonyi state is a high researched work. The researchers should given correct information at all times. Due to this study, the researcher found out some the problems that hinders processing and marketing of rice and proffers solution to eradicate those adversities and top bring this study into meaningful state.

Research Questions

  1. How many rice processing center are there in Ohaukwu L.G.A.
  2. What are the stage of processing rice in Ohaukwu.
  3. What is the impact of processing in the marketing of rice.
  4. What are the steps to improve rice processing and marketing in Ohaukwu.

Scope of the Study

       The research concentrated on Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state. However, it should be noted that some researchers have been carried out on the state but much findings are yet to be done with regards to artificial scarcity of processors. Rice caused by price fluctuations. Precisely, the purpose of the study is due to the financial insecurity of the research. This also will lead to reduction in the number of questionnaire administered to the respondents. Time factors was a serious constraints since a research of this types needed more adequate time for elaborate information collected.

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