Economics of Cashew Harvesting and Marketing in Oghe, Ezeagu Local Government Area, Enugu State, Nigeria
The study is on the economics of cashew harvesting and marketing in Oghe, Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State Nigeria. The study described the socio-economic characteristics of cashew harvesters, including the costs and returns involved in cashew harvesting in the study area. It also examined the factors affecting marketing of cashew and the main constraints in the study area. Simple random sampling was adopted in selecting ten respondents from each of the six out of seven communities that make up the study area. This amounted to sixty (60) respondents. Data was collected through well-structured questionnaires and personal interviews data was analysed using simple descriptive statistics, net cash returns analysis and regression analysis. Socio-economic characteristics of harvesters showed that more than (50) fifty percent harvesters were above 40 years of age. More than (50) fifty percent of harvesters had at least primary education; fifty (50) percent of harvesters had harvesting experience of less than 11years. An average profit of N88997.10 was made per hectare. The regression function showed that 92 percent of the variability of the output of cashew is explain by the variables age, harvesting in years, capital, labour and farm size. Age, harvesting in years, capital and labour were found to significantly affect the output of cashew. These variables were those that had the greatest impact on the output. Unfavourable market prices, high cost of farm input, low yield per hectare, poachers, inadequate storage facilities, pest and diseases were found to be the major constraints militating against the harvesting of cashew in the study area. The article recommended that small holder farmers should be encouraged to establish their own plantation in line with modern specifications. Harvesters should form cooperatives to obtain higher bargain for their cashew nuts. Time utility to be ensured through reliable storage and processing mechanism. It is also recommended that government should assist the farmers to expand their capital base by lowering interest rate on loan to farmers. This will provide the structure to expand output and increase employment.
Harvesters, Capital, Labour, Variability, Time Utility
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