Nigeria is the largest producer of plantain in West Africa, having an annual production of about 2.4 million metric tons, with about 49% of farming households producing plantain as their main crop. Presently in Nigeria, plantain production is becoming a significant economic activity for income for both large scale and small-holder farmers, and it is one of the primary commodities for investment across the south zone in Nigeria, occupying a strategic position for rapid food production. With the potential for industrial processing of plantain, which has recently been adopted, and the increased interest in production by small and large-scale farms in the country, it is believed that Nigeria will continue to be one of the world’s largest producers of plantain. In view of the significant contributions of plantain to the economic development and food security of both rural and urban households in Nigeria, it is imperative to understand the network, linkages, flow, volume and value added among actors in the Plantain Value Chain. Hence, the main objective of this study is to analyze the various activities of the key actors in the plantain value chain across the southwest region.
The study was carried out in southwestern, Nigeria. The region was selected because it is one of the major centers of plantain production in Nigeria. Large volume of plantain is traded in urban centers located in the zone. Also, the prospect for value addition is promising due to the presence of emerging processing industries (Adeoye et al, 2013). The zone is made up of six states namely Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo States. It falls on latitude 6o to the North and latitude 4o to the south. It is marked by longitude 4o to the east. It is bounded in the North by Kogi and Kwara states, in the east by Edo and Delta states in the south by Atlantic Ocean and in the west by Republic of Benin.
Using random sampling technique, the study collected data from 300 producers and sed the snowball sampling technique in selecting 15 marketers, processors and consumers per state to give a total of 45 respondents for marketers, processors and consumers respectively. Based on the study objectives, data collected were analyzed with the use of descriptive statistics, Heckman selection model, multiple ordinary least square (OLS) regression, Stochastic frontier production function, Harrod-Domar growth equation, and the Commercialization index (HCI). Results show that plantain production is mainly dominated by males who are monogamously married with an average household size of 7. The mean age of the farmers is 49 years ± 13 years with Osun state having older farmers and majority has at least primary school education. The average farm size is less than I hectare (0.67ha). Majority of the farmers (82%) belong to farmers association while about 64% also belong to cooperative societies.
Results further suggests that majority (90%) of the farmers require 180,000 to fill the financing gap being presently experienced so as to produce at the frontier level. However, the mean credit amount per season that farmers in the study area had access to was, ₦13,215. The access to credit among the farmers was positively influenced by their need for credit, the value of their asset and membership of cooperative society while credit procedure and interest charged on credit negatively impacted on access to credit by farmers. However, the amount of credit eventually gotten by the farmers was positively influenced by the need for credit and land ownership.
The average technical efficiency of plantain producers in the study area is 0.53 with a standard deviation of 0.13 and the average quantity of bunches produced annually by farmers is 617 bunches with a standard deviation of 438 bunches, while the mean annual income from plantain production by the farmers is ₦304,369.8 with a deviation of ₦287,404.5. Plantain farmers cultivated plantain majorly for the income it generates for the household as the greater majority of the farmers (94%) sell their plantain than consumed at the household. Motorcycle is the most used mode of transportation by the farmers, as majority (63%) use motorcycle in transporting plantain from their farms to the major points of sales before vehicles are used by purchasing marketers. The major factor that the farmers consider in determining price of their plantain is the period of the year (off-season and on-season) and the major constraints faced by these plantain producers is finance in the form of credit, representing 46%. This is closely followed by the menace of pest and disease representing 16%.
Plantain marketing in Southwest involves mainly the marketing of fresh plantain, plantain chips and plantain flour. Plantain marketing in the southwest is largely dominated by the female gender as represented by 96% in the study and result further shows that majority of the marketers(60%) are below the age of 40 years with most of them (72%) being monogamously married. The greater majority (80%) of the marketers had at least primary school education, 76% of them have household of between 4 and 7 members and many of the marketers (62%) belong to marketer’s associations. Study further showed that vast majority of the plantain marketers (about 91%) are involved in marketing fresh plantain, about 7% are involved in marketing plantain flour while those who market plantain chips are only about 2%. Those involved in plantain chips marketing are young men, representing 4% of the marketers. Many of the marketers are involved in plantain marketing mainly because of its market acceptability, easy sales and the quick income it generates. Majority (76%) of the marketers use personal funds in their plantain marketing business and 70% of the marketers use vehicular transportation to move plantain especially fresh plantain to their points of sale or major markets. Close to half (47%) of the marketers depend heavily on the season or the period of the year in determining the price of their plantain product. This is more common with fresh plantain and plantain flour.
Plantain flour marketers have the highest mean annual net income (₦97,000) closely followed by fresh plantain marketers (₦84,015.96) and then marketers of plantain chips (₦72,700). Also, in terms of marketing efficiency, plantain flour has the highest market efficiency (2.22) followed by fresh plantain (1.58) while plantain chips marketers has the least efficiency in terms of marketing. Lack of finance is the most limiting (46%) amongst the other constraints as many of the marketers complained of not having enough funds to do the business as they would have loved.
Plantain processors in the study area consist majorly of micro-processors who are involved in processing plantain to prolong the shelf life of the crop. Plantain processing is largely dominated by the female gender as represented by 93%. Majority (83%) of the processors are below the age of 50years with 74% having at least primary school education. Majority (71%) of the processors are monogamously married with 73% having household size ranging from 1 to 7.
The most common plantain product processed by plantain processors are plantain chips, plantain flour and, roasted plantain. Market acceptability and improved shelf life of plantain are the major motivating factors for plantain processors to be involved in plantain processing. More than half (52%) of plantain chips processors sell their plantain chips mostly directly to individual buyers and 68% of plantain flour buyers are individual consumers. Plantain flour processors have the highest net annual income (₦146,470) followed by plantain chips processors (₦113,600), while roasted plantain processors have the least (₦57,500) net annual income. The average monthly cost incurred by plantain processors is highest for chips processors (₦7,175.80) followed by plantain flour processors (₦6,705.56), while roasted plantain processors have the least cost (₦3,538.75). However, plantain flour processors have the highest monthly profit (₦12,824.35) followed by plantain chips processors (₦10,225.80) and then roasted plantain (₦6,874).
Most of the processors get their fresh plantain from itinerant bulk gatherers who go from farm to farm to gather plantain into bulk and then sell either at a specific location near the farms or at the local market. Majority (46%) of the processors got their funds from loan obtained from cooperative society while 30% of the processors are using their personal funds in the plantain processing business. Financial constraint in the form of lack of credit facilities is the highest constraint faced by plantain processors, followed by irregular supply of fresh plantain upon which the processors depend heavily for their business.
Plantain consumers consist of those who consume plantain products in its various forms. Half of the consumers interviewed are from 40 years and below while the remaining half is above 40 years of age with 94% of them having at least primary school education. About 63% of the consumers are females with the remaining being males and a total of about 86% of the consumers are married and living with their spouse(s). Majority of them (75%) have household members ranging between 5 and 10. Also, majority (87%) of the consumers are village consumers while the remaining are consumers who dwell in cities across the study area. Thus for about half (47%) of the consumers, farming occupies the highest source of income. Expenditure on food takes the largest share of household expenditures, closely followed by education. Study shows that the mostly consumed plantain products by consumers is fried plantain (Dodo), followed by cooked plantain mostly by village consumers. However, city plantain consumers consume fried ripe plantain (Dodo), plantain chips (ipekere) and plantain flour more than village consumers while village consumers consume cooked plantain and roasted plantain more than city plantain consumers. Majority of the consumers (43%) consume plantain because they believe it is nutritious, closely followed by those (28%) who consume plantain because of the taste. Fried ripe plantain is the plantain form mostly prepared by consumers in their households and this is followed by cooked plantain.
The mean weekly expenditure on the various forms of plantain by consumers in the study area is ₦455.65 ± ₦226.43 and the average income proportion spent monthly on plantain by consumers is 3.25% ± 1.98%. The average price per bunch is ₦512.5. The frequency of plantain consumption weekly among city consumers is higher than that of village consumers. Village consumers get their raw plantain directly from the farmers followed closely by local market while city consumers get raw plantain mostly from the markets in their neighborhood and others purchase directly from plantain retailers.
It can be concluded from the results of this study that plantain production in the study area is largely small scale and constrained majorly by lack of finance in the form of credit for the farmers to embark on large scale plantain plantations.
The marketing of plantain is dominated by females who are financially constrained and depend on their meager personal funds, especially for fresh plantain marketers. The lack of finance coupled with irregular supply of plantain, especially during off season, affects the volume of plantain marketed. Transportation of fresh plantain remains a major challenge for fresh plantain marketers resulting to losses and hence reduced profit. Availability of vehicles specially designed for transportation would go a long way in reducing marketer’s losses and ensure improved income. Marketing of plantain flour is more profitable and efficient and should be encouraged especially during off-season when fresh plantain is scarce.
Plantain processing in the study area is largely done by micro-processors who use crude methods of processing as they are also constrained by finance to be able to access modern means of processing plantain and thus produce less volume of processed plantain. The processors are largely women and they help in solving the challenge of quick ripening and spoilage of plantain by processing it into plantain flour and unripe fried plantain chips. There is a need for a concerted effort to provide these processors with modern processing equipment. This will encourage further production and ensure employment as well as improved income for the various actors in the plantain value chain.
Plantain consumption cuts across various status and age grade and this makes plantain an important food security crop in the study area. It is mostly consumed at home as fried ripe plantain (dodo) and in the cooked form. Plantain flour consumption is more common in the cities across the region due to its perceived health benefits while unripe fried plantain chips serves as snacks easily consumed by city dwellers as well as travelers across the study area. The perceived nutritious values, as well as taste of the various forms of plantain product are the main drivers of plantain consumption.
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