Economics Of Processing Cassava Into Garri And Pellets In Kogi State, Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Agricultural Engineering AE

Economics Of Processing Cassava Into Garri And Pellets In Kogi State, Nigeria


This study was conducted to investigate the economics of cassava processing into garri and pellets in Kogi State. Data were collected from 100 cassava processors (22 males and 78 females) and analysed to describe socio-economic characteristics, identify and describe various technologies used in cassava processing, ascertain gender roles, estimate the influence of socio-economic characteristics on income of processors, determine profitability and identify constraints militating against the processors of cassava in the study area. Multi-stage random sampling techniques were employed in the selection of local government areas, communities and processors on who structured questionnaires were administered. Descriptive statistics, gross margin, rate of return on investment and multiple regressions were used for analysis. Results shows that majority of the processing fell within the middle age group (31 – 50 years) with an average years of processing experience of 22 years; mostly women with an average of 8 persons per household and 7 years of schooling. Traditional technologies were employed by the cassava processors with low level of men’s involvement relative to high involvement of women in cassava processing activities. Six out of nine explanatory variables were significantly related to income. These include; age, gender, education, experience, access to credit and number of labourers in the cassava processing enterprise. Processing cassava into garri and pellets were profitable, although processing cassava into garri was more profitable with gross margin of 22,700 and profitable index (PI) of 0.04 than pellets with gross margin of 13,100 with profitable index (PI) of 0.33. The major constraints facing the cassava processors in the study area include: poor storage facilities, high cost of processing inputs, poor road network for the transportation, bulkiness of fresh tubers, unstable weather and shortage of labour. The study therefore recommended that improved cassava processing technologies should be made available to the processors to enhance productivity and acceptability of their products, capacity building of the cassava processors for their improved profitability in the cassava processing enterprise, regular visits by agricultural extension agents for quick adoption of improved cassava processing technologies, stabilization of prices of agricultural commodities through the provision of a functional marketing channel and provision of storage facilities with good road network for improved production.

Chapter One


1.1 Background Information

The food problems in Nigeria and other developing countries can be reduced or even eliminated by intensifying agricultural production (Asiedu, 1989). It is based on this that emphasis of agricultural research for many years has been mainly on increased food production. One of the crops where considerable increased production level has been noticed is cassava. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer with the total production of 38 Million tonnes in 2005 (Food and Agricultural Organization, 2006). The major area where the crop is grown extends from the south coast to the middle belt (Ogbe, Dixon and Alabi, 2003). By zone, the North Central produces about 7 million tonnes of cassava a year thus ranking first on the per capita basis of 0.72 tonnes/person in 2002 (PCU, 2003). Within the zone Benue and Kogi are the largest producers of cassava in the country (IITA, 2004).

Cassava was introduced m the republic of Congo from South – America about 400 years back (Nweke, 2004) and it forms the staple part of the diet in many of the African countries. Since its introduction, it has spread through Sub-Saharan African to become the dominant staples in the diet of the people. Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, Thailand and Zaire are the biggest producers, each producing over 10 million tones and together accounting for over 63 percent of World’s production (CBN, 2004). Among the root tuber crops, it ranks first accounting for about 55 percent in the Sub-Saharan African (Hahn and Keyser, 1995). Cassava became popular with the introduction of SAP (Structural Adjustment Programme) in 1986. This programme made imported cereals to be more costly, making cassava a relatively cheap source of energy. Increasing trends in output has made Nigeria the World leading producer of cassava since the beginning of the 1990s with an estimated output of 40 million metric tones per annum and an average yield of 10.2 tonnes per hectare (Nigerian National Report, 2006). Cassava is uniquely important as a reserve against famine (IITA, 1999; Philip, 2005) it has gained advantage over yam to some extent due to its ease of cultivation, high resistance to drought, ability to grow in exhausted soils and its adaptation to wide range of ecologies (NRCRI, 1986). According to Enete (1995), cassava may in fact hold the key to land use intensification in Africa. Another of its comparative advantage over other crops is its efficient production of cheap food energy, its availability all year round as well as its high degree of tolerance to extreme conditions. According to Nweke, Dixion, Asiedu and Folayan (1994), these qualities contribute enormously to alleviating food crises in Africa.

After harvest, cassava roots are processed to stop physiological and microbial spoilage, reduce the cynogenic glucoside content and convert the roots to other products that are more acceptable (Asiedu, 1989). Major products derived from cassava are garri, akpu, starch, flour and abacha and other cassava based products.

Garri is one of the products of cassava consisting of gelatinized and dried cassava particles. It is creamy white or yellow depending on the type of cassava used or addition of palm oil. It is a convenient product because it has a long sheif life and it is in a form which is ready to eat. Garri may be soaked in hot or cold water depending on the type of meal desired and this makes it attractive to urban consumers.

Cassava pellets is obtained in two different methods. First the cassava roots are peeled, cut into small pieces and left to dry under the sun after spreading them on rafters or on gathered straws. The dried pieces are later stored in bags; these bags are often kept on rafters built over a fire place to prevent insect and fungal attack. When flour is required, the dried cassava pieces are pounded in mortars and taken to the mills for grinding. The flour so obtained is sieved and ready for use. Second, the fresh pieces are soaked to ferment and soften. The softened roots are collected and water pressed out. The fermented pieces are then sundried, collected and stored. When necessary dried pieces (pellets) are grounded into cassava flour.

There are as many as seventeen forms into which cassava may be processed in Africa (Hahn, 1989; Gebremeskel, 1989) and the forms into which cassava is processed and consumed is said to be dependent on cultural food habits, tastes and preferences of the people.

It is believed that some crops are produced by men and some by women (Ajayi 1995). Over the years women have become a strong productive force in subsistence agriculture. They are involved in almost all phases of food production and they execute certain farm operations that are thought to belong to men (Okorji, 1985). Adegeye, et al (1999) asserted that women are active in the cassava industry and that they are more predominant in the processing and marketing than the men folk.

Gender is a term associated with roles and responsibility of males and females in the society. It is the socio-cultural differences between males and females as against the biological differences (Sinkaiye, 2005). The interrelations of these roles produce a mutual understanding of each other’s capabilities and constraints. The focus of gender analysis is on the experiences of men and women as the members of the society. According to the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, it is a concept used in social science analysis to look at roles and activities of men and women (IITA,, 1996).

This study concentrated on the processing of cassava into gari and pellets (flour) being the two most important commodities that are produced from cassava in commercial quantity in the study area. These two commodities are widely utilized for human consumption among the different socio-economic groups in contributing enormously to energy intake of the population of the study area. A survey conducted by the Kogi Agricultural Development Project (1999) on the processing and utilization of cassava showed gari and pellets as the most common among the various ethnic groups. They are consumed in various forms and are also known to be major source of income for the processors. Among the urban and rural poor these products are known to be consumed at least once a day. This is in line with Nweke (2004), that in Nigeria cassava is consumed daily and sometimes more than once a day.

1.2 Problem Statement

The most basic form of malnutrition in the developing countries is the under consumption of energy and protein known as the protein energy malnutrition (PEM) and it is a manifestation of household food insecurity (Cabal, 2000). Protein is more expensive than energy but studies over the last 30 years have showed that the deficiency in energy is a more serious problem than protein deficiency. A study by Food and Agriculture Organisation showed that almost all protein requirement are met while that of energy is lagging behind (FAO, 1999).

Furthermore, the deep population growth in the Sub-Saharan Africa exacerbates the problem. The sixth world food survey showed a very high population growth rate with only a slight increase in dietary energy supply (FAO, 1996).

This situation is further aggravated by food losses that occur as a result of inadequate storage facilities and poor processing technologies. According to the FAO (1995), poor processing is the major cause of post-harvest losses in the world with special emphasis on developing countries such as Nigeria and poor processing has been shown to be associated with inappropriate technologies. Current research emphasis should therefore be conducted to assess appropriate technology for increasing food availability. Studies in which cassava processing technologies has been captured include that of Kolawole, Agbetoye and Ogunlowo (2010) and Odebode (2008) but economic aspects of cassava processing into various forms were not captured. Also, Asogwa, Umeh and Ater (2006), Oluwasola (2009) and Ibrahlm (2009) who carried out a survey on cassava processing excluded the technological aspect involved in cassava processing. It is also imperative to state that none of the empirical studies cited above captured gender contributions in cassava processing. These economic issues constituted the gap that this study aims to fill to estimate economics of cassava processing into garri and pellets while identifying the cassava processing technologies in use in the area. Also, gender influence on cassava processing activities have not yet been analyzed to access involvement of men and women in the study area which is one of the major concern of this study.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to investigate the economics of processing cassava into gari and pellets in Kogi State.

The specific objectives are to:

  1. Describe the socio-economic characteristics of cassava processors;
  2. Identify and describe the various technologies utilized by cassava processors;
  3. Ascertain the gender roles in cassava processing; ‘
  4. (iEstimate the influence of socio-economic characteristics of the processors on their income.
  5. Determine the profitability of processing cassava into gari and pellets;
  6. Identify constraints militating against the processors of cassava in the study area;

1.4 Hypotheses

  1. There is no significant difference between the mean contributions of men and women in cassava processing activities.
  2. There is no significant relationship between socio-economic characteristics of the processors and their income.
  3. Processing cassava into garri and pellets is not profitable.

1.5 Justification of the Study

This research work is necessary as it will guide processors and the potential processors in the adoption of processing techniques that will make for delivery of high quality and sustainable quantity of selected cassava products to the consumers. Knowledge of a more viable technology will also help in the proper allocation and re-allocation of resources which will enhance efficiency and productivity.

It is hoped that the findings would be a guide to agricultural engineers in the choice, design and fabrication of tools and equipment suitable and gender specific thereby reducing drudgery. This study will help processors to understand the costs and returns accrued to them, how the returns can be improved leading to a better standard of living thereby alleviating poverty. It will also bring into lime light health implications and dangers associated with various traditional techniques of cassava processing.

Finally, the empirical findings and suggestions based on the study will be of help to policy makers and to interested research scholars as useful reference point.

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