The study was designed to analyze the marketing of banana and plantain in Enugu State. The specific objectives were to: describe the socio-economic characteristics of banana and plantain marketers; identify the marketing channels for the crops, examine the structure of the marketing system for both crops, estimate their marketing margins at both wholesale and retail levels, estimate the rate of price transmission and market integration among banana and plantain markets, and identify the constraints facing the marketing of both crops. The study adopted survey research design. Multi-stage sampling technique was employed to compose a sample of 160 respondents (30 wholesalers and 50 retailers for banana, and 30 wholesalers and 50 retailers for plantain). Data for the study were collected from both primary and secondary sources. Time series data on retail prices of banana and plantain from 2007 to 2011 were obtained from Enugu State Agricultural Development Programme (ENADEP). Primary data were collected using structured questionnaire. Data collected were analyzed using Gini coefficient, marketing margin analysis, Johansen co-integration test, Vector error correction model, and descriptive statistics. The result showed that majority of the respondents (87.50%) were females with average age of 35 years, 76.20% of them were married while 41.20% attained primary education. The mean scores for household size and marketing experience were seven and 13 years respectively. Also, 78.30% of the wholesalers obtained their products in heaps directly from producers while 21.70% bought from rural assemblers. Most of the retailers (78.00%) obtained their products in bunches from wholesalers while 28.00% bought from producers. Furthermore, the results of the Gini coefficient for banana and plantain retailers and wholesalers showed low levels of inequitable distribution of income amongst them. However, inequalities existed more at retail level than at the wholesale level. The mean marketing margin for plantain (21.62%) and banana (13.68%) retailers showed that there was a significant difference between them, while the marketing margins for plantain (11.65%) and banana (10.58%) wholesalers did not differ significantly. The analysis of price transmission and market integration showed that the Error Correction coefficient (-0.22 and -0.25) measured by the error correction mechanism (ECM) for the rural and urban prices of banana had low rate of price transmission, while the ECM result (-0.12 and -0.30) for the rural and urban prices of plantain indicated also a low rate of price transmission; though, showing the presence of market integration. Also, low capital/initial investment, finance, high cost of transportation and heavy imposition of tax/levies are significant constraints to plantain and banana marketing in the study area. The study therefore recommended that government should set up fiscal and monetary policies that will stabilize price for consumable products like banana and plantain, and that government should reduce the high inequality that exists among retailers by making available adequate credit to market participants at appropriate interest rates. Finally, government should formulate and implement policies targeted at improving infrastructures such as roads and providing market information outfit that disseminates information timely to marketers for improved marketing of banana and plantain.
1.1 Background of the Study
Three out of every four people in developing countries live in rural areas; 2.1 billion people live on less than 2 US dollars a day and 880 million on less than 1 US dollar a day (Damme, 2009). Majority of these people considered poor depend on agriculture either directly or indirectly for their livelihoods (World Bank, 2007). The 2008 World Development Report (WDR) stresses the important role agriculture can play in achieving the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing by halve the number of people suffering from extreme poverty and hunger. The 2008 WDR further draws attention to the fact that agriculture has unique features embedded in its ability to: function with other sectors as an economic activity for livelihoods, produce faster growth, reduce poverty and sustain the environment (Godoy and Dewbre, 2010).
In agriculture-based economies, agriculture generates an average of 29% of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and employs 65% of the labour force (Damme, 2009). In Nigerian economy, agriculture remains one of the largest sectors, where it plays an important role as food provider, employer of labour and foreign exchange earner, contributing about 40% of the GDP, broadly defined with crops accounting for 85%, livestock 19%, fisheries 4% and forestry 1% (Federal Ministry of Finance and National Food Reserve Agency, 2008). Agriculture also employs about 77% of the working population and accounts for 70% contribution to GDP of the non-oil sector (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2006; Mang, 2009). However, Ayinde, Adewumi and Ojehomon, (2009) noted that the increase in farm output has not led to a corresponding increase in the earnings of the vast majority of farmers. One of the factors emphasized as being responsible for the imbalance is a poorly developed agricultural marketing system for major food staples, leading to high rate of spoilage, rising farm product prices and huge importation of food by government.
Banana and plantain (Musa Spp.) are among the major staple food throughout the humid tropics of the world (Chander, 1995). They are major food crops in the humid parts of Africa and are major sources of energy for millions of people in these regions. Banana and plantain fruits have diverse uses to millions of Nigerians and they have always been important traditional staples food for both rural and urban populace in Nigeria (Philips, 1995; Baiyeri, 1996). Nutritionally, unripe banana and plantain are sources of iron, while ripped ones provide mainly energy (Achike, Okoroafor and Mkpado, 2011).
Musa spp. constitute a rich energy source with carbohydrates accounting for 22% and 32% of fruit weight for banana and plantain respectively, and rich in vitamins A, B and C, as well as minerals and dietary fibre necessary for healthy growth (Honfo, Kayode and Tenkouano, 2007). The dense caloric content coupled with nutritional quality makes Musa spp. one of the most important and regularly consumed staple foods in Nigeria and other sub Saharan African countries (Ajayi and Aneke, 2002; Lusty, Akyeampong, Davey, Ngoh and Markham, 2006). Banana and plantain provide cash income and employment to the rural populace in the producing countries like Nigeria. The crops have become a key source of revenue as they are not only traded within the region, but also exported to other countries of the world (Ortis and Vuylsteke, 1996 in Adejoro, Odubanjo and Fagbola, 2010). The status changes from food to food/cash crop and enhances its importance. They are useful in the management of common diseases such as diabetes, ulcer and tonsillitis and are also considered a major component of livestock feed (Babatunde, 1991; Food and Agricultural Organisation, 2007).
According to Ajayi and Mba (2004), banana and plantain have similar features of Musa spp. and provides an important source of carbohydrate, minerals, vitamins and revenue. Banana and plantain cultivation has become a feature of great socio-economic importance from the point of job creation and food security. These crops produce fruits throughout the year, the major harvest occurs in the dry season (December to March). During this period, many food crops are in short supply or difficult to harvest (Alves, 1987 as cited in Achike et al, 2011). Banana and plantain thus, contribute to food security, provide employment, diversification of income sources in both rural and urban areas, as well as contributing to the Gross National Product ( Nkedah and Akyeampond, 2003; Ajayi and Mba, 2007). In view of the importance of banana and plantain, marketing of the products become pertinent to meet the needs of consumers and also to increase income of the producers and the marketers in Enugu State.
Marketing of agricultural products such as banana and plantain is said to involve everything that happens between the farm gate and the consumer including processing, storage, assembling, wholesaling and retailing (Taleke, 2010). Agricultural marketing is the main driving force of economic development and has a guiding and stimulating impact on production and distribution of agricultural products (Mussema, 2006). The transformation of the production system requires the existence of efficient market system that can transfer the products from the points of production to the required market at the least possible cost (Lutez, 1994).
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