1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Plantain belongs to the family Musaceae and the genus Musa. It is a perennial herbaceous plant, 2 to 9m tall, with an underground rhizome or corm. The principal species are Musa paradisca (French plantain), Musa acuminata (Gross Michel and Cavendish) and Musa corniculata (Horn plantain). The cultivars of plantain are French plantain, French horn plantain, false horn plantain and horn plantain. Plantain thrives on a wide range of tropical and sub-tropical climates. It requires an optimum temperature of 300 C, mean monthly rainfall of 100mm, pH 4.5 and 7.5 and sandy loam soils. Plantain originated in South India and moved to South East Africa, from where it spread to Central and West Africa, it is believed to be the oldest cultivated fruit in West and Central Africa. Plantain is grown as a staple food in 52 counties and worldwide on about 12.5 million acres. World production of plantain was estimated in 1985 at 25 million tones. Of this, 19.6 tones was projected for Africa, Latin America was the second place producer at 4.1 million tones. Annual production in Nigeria is 1,855,000 metric tones. In Nigeria, plantain is produced in large quantities in Edo, Delta Ogun and Ondo states. Other producing states are Rivers State, Cross River, Imo, Anambra, Lagos, Kwara, Benue, Plateau, Kogi, Abia and Enugu. Plantain cultivation is not limited to big plantations, but is often grown in small orchards which some times go unnoticed. Plantain is an important staple crop, supplying up to 25% of the carbohydrates for approximately 70 million people in humid zone of sub-Saharan Africa. In Edo State, as in other humid forest zones of the country, plantain is consumed as a staple crop. It is either consumed boiled alone, or used to make porridge or boiled and pounded with yam or cassava (called fufu in Nigeria), it can be roasted on heated charcoal (women on the roadside generally sell it), it can also be fried when ripe and this is called “dodo” or the unripe or slightly ripened plantain pulp can be fried in vegetable oil to obtain plantain chips known as “pekere” in Nigeria. Plantain chips are the most popular plantain products in Nigeria. These are sold on the streets or by small and medium scale companies, which deliver them to supermarkets. Unripe plantain is traditionally processed into flour in Nigeria. The flour produced is mixed with boiling water to prepare amala (also known as ‘elubo’ in some parts of Nigeria). Plantain flour contains 10% of residual humidity and can be hermetically packed in plastic sachets and stored for many months without deterioration of its qualities The demand for plantain has increased tremendously in the last one decade as a number of local processing industries have emerged which use it industrially for making bread, cakes, biscuits and so on.
Cocoyam originated from Asia and about forty (40) species are mostly grown in West Africa (Asumugha and Mbanasor, 2002).Cocoyam,both Xanthosoma species and Colocasia species belong to the family (Aracea).The cocoyam specie colocasia esculata in sub-Sahara Africa was introduced to this continent one thousand or more years ago from South East Asia while cocoyam specie Xanthosoma Mafafa was introduced more recently from tropical America (11TA, 1992; FAO, 2005a). Nigeria is the largest producer of cocoyam in the world, accounting for about 37% of the total world output (FAO, 2007b; NRCRI, 2009). From 0.73 million metric tones in 1990, cocoyam production in Nigeria rose to 3.89million metric tones in 2000 (Ojiako et al; 2007;) and further by 30.30% to 5.068 million metric tones in 2007 (FAO, 2007b). Further estimate in Nigeria, showed a figure of 5,387 million metric tones out of 11.77 million metric tones of world output of cocoyam per annum since 2008 (FAO STAT, 2010). Cocoyam ranks third in importance after cassava and yam among the root and tubers crops cultivated in Nigeria (FAO, 2005a, National Breau of Statistics, 2006, Okoye et al; 2008). Cocoyam both Xanthosoma sp and colocasia sp is an important staple food in the plant family, cultivated in South Eastern and South Western part of Nigeria (Onyenweaku et al, 2005; Ojiakor et al, 2007; Chukwu et al, 2009). It is a food security crop variously grown by resource poor farmers especially women who often intercrop it with yam, maize, plantain, banana, vegetable (Ikwelle et al, 2003). Cocoyam is highly medicinal for diabetic patients because it has low starch content, is easily digestible and contains protein more than the other root tubers. The leaves of colocosia esculenta have been shown to be a rich source of folic acid, ribo flavin, vitamin A and C, calcium and phosphate (Arene and Ene, 1987). The leaves are consumed because they are rich in protein and vitamins while the root is rich in carbohydrates and minerals (Duru and Uma, 2002). Cocoyam is a useful cover crop and the corms are ready to harvest in 8 – 12 months (Uguru, 1996). The corms and cormels are boiled, baked and tubers are sometimes ground to produce paste for use in stews and soups. Also in Southeast Asia, cocoyam leaves are consumed as a green or dry vegetables and the stem is either cooked or eaten on its own or together with other dietary staples or pounded into flour (Serem et al; 2008).The dried peeled corms are grinded to produce flour which is considered to be as palatable as cassava flour but more nutritious (Igbokwe, 2004).
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
The poor attention on agricultural as an alternative to national revenue especially the cultivation or farming of plantain and cocoyam in Nigeria as been a problem that has stemmed from the discovery of crude oil. The lack of attention on agriculture as has partly contributed to the current economic challenges due to the over dependence on oil revenue. this has regrettably increased the level of poverty in the country thus the economic recession currently underway in Nigeria.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of this study is to examine the economic effect of plantain and cocoyam farming in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study are;
1. To study the economic need for farming of plantain and cocoyam in Nigeria.
2. To examine the level of plantain and cocoyam farming in Nigeria.
3. To study the contribution of plantain and cocoyam to the economy of Nigeria.
4. To assess the benefit of plantain and cocoyam farming on agricultural development in Nigeria.
5. To recommend ways of improving plantain and cocoyam farming in Nigeria.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the economic need for farming of plantain and cocoyam in Nigeria?
2. What is the level of plantain and cocoyam farming in Nigeria?
3. What is the contribution of plantain and cocoyam to the economy of Nigeria?
4. What is the benefit of plantain and cocoyam farming on agricultural development in Nigeria?
5. What are the ways of improving plantain and cocoyam farming in Nigeria?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: There is no economic effect of plantain and cocoyam farming in Nigeria
H1: There is an economic effect of plantain and cocoyam farming in Nigeria
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of immense benefit towards the development of the agricultural sector more especially the farming of crops like plantain and cocoyam as it would economically improve the economy as agriculture has been proven to be a potent revenue generator for economies in the world. The study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter through the provision of adequate literature in the subject matter.
1.7. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to the economic effect of plantain and cocoyam farming in Nigeria using Bayelsa state as a case study.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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