Saturday, June 16, 2018
AGRIBUSINESS: Women and cassava processing in Nigeria.
Women and cassava processing in Nigeria. Women are the key players in cassava production and processing in Nigeria. They are involved in the planting, harvesting, processing, distribution and sales. Cassava processing operations include peeling, grating, fermentation, pressing, roasting, cooking and milling. The constraints women still face in cassava processing include manual peeling which is time consuming and tedious, natural fermentation process which takes a long time, inadequate processing equipment, lack of storage facilities, high transportation cost, high processing cost, lack of funds, unstable agricultural policies, ineffective linkages in the value chain, and lack or delayed technical support of extension services. Their productivity is due to low input technologies, lack of resources as a result of poverty and inadequate government support. Research technologies for small scale cassava processing have not adequately addressed the problems of women cassava processors in the gender perspective such as in the design of female-friendly tools for hydraulic pressing for ease of operation.This can be addressed by Many of the cassava processing equipment produced by researchers are yet to be adopted by the rural processors Empowering women cassava processors effectively therefore requires gender responsive research approach, educating the women through sensitization and training and government intervention by gender mainstreaming of agricultural policies to tackle issues relating to cassava processing in the cassava value chain. Key areas in educating the women processors include training on standards for cassava products and improved food safety practices, sensitization on industrial uses of cassava in order to encourage them to diversity their products to increase income generation and use of cassava waste in generating biogas to save processing cost.