CASSAVA: ADDING VALUE FOR AFRICA - STRATEGIC MARKET INITIATIVES THAT SUPPORT WEALTH CREATION FOR WOMEN ALONG THE CASSAVA VALUE CHAINS IN SOUTHWEST, NIGERIA
Keywords:Smallholders, women, cassava, market, wealth and food security
Empowering and creating wealth for cassava producing and processing smallholder farmers (of which women constitute the majority) through value addition and competitive market led opportunities for inclusive growth in agriculture is very important to counter poverty and ensure food security. This study attempts to examine the extent to which Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (C : AVA) project in Nigeria has created market led opportunities for smallholder farmers of cassava roots in Southwest Nigeria from 2008 to 2010. Data were collected through interview schedule administered on 237 randomly selected farmers who are participants in C: AVA project registered with the Agricultural Development Project (ADP) in Ogun, Ondo States and Justice, Development and Peace Movement (JDPM). Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta from Ogun State and Ondo State respectively. Data were analyzed descriptively by using measures such as frequency distribution, table, percentages and Chi-square. .The study revealed that 60% of the respondents were men and 40% were women. Men were more educated than women with 28.6% of women farmers having no formal education when compared with 10.3% of men. The difference in income between the third and the fourth quartile was very high compared with other quartiles and the mean income earned by male farmers was more than twice the mean income earned by female farmers. With regards to the level of production there was an increase in the yield of cassava roots on the farms surveyed from the average national range of 10-12 tonnes/ha in 2008 to an average range of 20-25 tonnes/ha in 2010. These improved varieties resulted in an average yield advantage of about 65% over local varieties. Owing to the observable increase in yield, farmers in the study area increased the hectares under cassava from an average of 0.5-1.5 ha in 2008 to an average of 10.0-20.0 ha in 2010. The average annual income of women farmers increased from $1000 in 2008 to an additional average income of $1700 in 2010. Chi-square analysis revealed significant associations (p<0.05) between yield of improved varieties (Ï‡2= 29.187), gender (Ï‡2= 50.632), value addition (Ï‡2= 32.547), improved technologies (Ï‡2= 29.507); Types of market (Ï‡2= 14.743), group membership (Ï‡2= 10.973), capacity building (Ï‡2= 68.490) with income. The study concluded that C: AVA has provided systematic development of specialization in which women cassava roots producers/processors produce specifically for multiple markets to ensure wealth and household food security for women and their households.
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