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. Multistage 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.