THE ECONOMICS PROBLEMS OF CASSAVA PRODUCTION IN ITU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
This study is aimed at finding out the cost of economic cultivation of cassava in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. It is one of the world’s most important staple food crops and provides a major source of carbohydrate to those who feeds on it.
Agriculture is the backbone of Itu farmers and cassava production is their area of specialization. Cassava originated from Brazil and was introduced into tropical West Africa by the Portuguese in the 16th and 17th centuries (Woyengi – Ina 1969). Cassava production in Itu Local Government Area is as old as the community itself. Sweet cassava (Manihot Ultilisima) is a member of the Euphobieace species which originated from South Africa and is cultivated in all warm regions of the world (IR VINE 1969).
Cassava was not known in wild state and its evolution as a species is directly linked to selection by man under cultivation. A famine reserve by Colonial governments such as Java and the British in West Africa and Southern India and of cassava processing export industries were established in Makker (Hinton, 1988) given extended maturity duration, cassava cultivation is limited to the tropics and sub tropical.
In Itu, this root crop is only second to yam. This importance is traced to the colonial period when cassava was often famine reserve crop. Some farm holdings in cassava cultivation to the present day support this view. However, cassava today is a commercial crop inter planted so often with other crops. Hardwood stems cuttings usually about 30mm long are planted either on moulds or ridges or on the flat bed. Manuring the soil improves the yield, but little attention with early weeding is beneficial. Cassava is consumed in many forms such as garri, fufu, tapioca, flour, boiled or roasted for consumption and can be consumed or boiled to pigs, and other herbivores. The leaves are eaten as vegetable.
In Itu, Akwa Ibom State generally, there exist extensive trade in garri, cassava is widely produced, just like cash crop with existing market in future. Development of cassava production will require strengthening of the market for the crop. Finance is one of the problems that farmers from Itu encounter because most of the cassava farmers lack finance to purchase planting materials and to hire labour to support the farming operation. Sometimes government give grants, but farmers misused the fund.
1.3 JUSTIFICATION AND BENEFICIARIES
Cassava is an important crop in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. It provides over 80% of the natives of Itu constant food on their table. It is therefore cultivated with pride. The justification of the study therefore is on the fact that there is need to analyze scientifically if cassava production is economically (profitably) viable in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The beneficiaries of the study include the farmers in the village, the clan, the state and the Nigeria in general. Also expected benefits from the study include researchers in the field of agriculture, economics and marketing research units of colleges of education and universities.
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to analyse the problem of cassava production in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The sub-objective include:
Whether or not cassava farming is a lucrative venture in Itu.THE ECONOMICS PROBLEMS OF CASSAVA PRODUCTION