This study is aimed at finding out the cost of economic cultivation of cassava in Itu Local Government Area of AkwaIbom 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.Many development oriented policies have been implemented in Nigeria, especially in the agricultural sector since independence. The Federal Government has made some institutional and policy reforms targeted at improving the socio-economic status of the smallholder farmers. These include Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF), River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs), Agricultural Development Programmes (ADP) and the Cassava Multiplication Programme (CMP) and the School to Land Programme mounted by the Rivers State Government. Available reports showed that many aspects of agricultural production, such as cultivation, marketing, processing, etc were covered (ADP, 2005). The Root and Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP) is an offshoot of the CMP. Nnanna (2010) contended that RTEP is a farmer oriented programme whose beneficiaries are poor households and smallholder farmers but the overall objective of RTEP is to enhance national food self-sufficiency, improve rural households’ food security and income for poor farmers within the cassava belt which include the Southern and Middle belt States of Nigeria (Onyeneke, 2008). Cassava is an important source of dietary carbohydrate, and provides food for over 60 million people in Nigeria (Abdulahi, 2003). Cassava’s adaptability to relatively marginal soils, erratic rainfall; its high productivity per unit of land and labour, the certainty of obtaining some yield even under the most adverse conditions and the possibility of maintaining continuity of supply throughout the year (Nweke, 1994), make this root crop a basic component of the farming system in many areas of Nigeria including Rivers State. Famine rarely occurs in areas where cassava is widely grown, since it provides a stable food base to the food production system. Apart from its use as a staple food to human beings other uses include animal feed formulation, agro-industrial uses (e.g. starch, ethanol, adhesive, fructose/glucose syrup), the peels in organo-mineral fertilizers formulation (Ojeniyi, 2001; Akanbi, et.al.; 2006, Iyagba, 2010). Cassava has become the magic crop in Nigeria as a result of the Presidential initiative on cassava some years ago with good export potential.
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 (ManihotUltilisima) 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, AkwaIbom 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.
1.2 PROBLEMS STATEMENT
1. To find out if there are suitable planting materials in cassava production.
2. To determine if farmers in Itu find cassava production more lucrative.
· To investigate if there are available resources and materials to enhance cassava cultivation in Itu.
1.3 JUSTIFICATION AND BENEFICIARIES
Cassava is an important crop in Itu Local Government Area of AkwaIbom 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 AkwaIbom 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 AkwaIbom State. The sub-objective include:
· To ascertain the factors that hinders cassava production in Itu LGA.
· To examine the various factors which influenced and limit cassava cultivation in Itu Local Government Area.
· To determine the profitability of cassava production in Itu Local Government Area.
· To determine the impact of cassava production on the economic development of Itu LGA
H0:there are no factors that hinders effective cassava production in Itu LGA
H1:there are factors that hinders effective cassava production in Itu LGA
H02:cassava production has no significant impact on the economic development of Itu LGA
H2:cassava production has a significant impact on the economic development of Itu LGA
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the farmers in Itu LGA and beyond, as the study seek to ascertain the factors inhibiting effective production of cassava in the local government, the study will also be of importance to the Local government management, as the study seek to explore the benefit of effective cassava production to the economy of Itu LGA and beyond, as this will facilitate effective financing of the agricultural sector.
The study would also be of immense importance to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing a further study on the subject matter
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers the economic problems of cassava production in Itu LGA of AkwaIbom state. But in the cause of the study, there were some factors which limited the scope of the study:
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Manihotesculenta is a woody shrubnative to South America of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. It is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates.
Cassava (Manihotesculenta) production is vital to the economy of Nigeria as the country is the world's largest producer of the commodity. The crop is produced in 24 of the country's 36 states.
Economic growth is the increase in the inflation-adjusted market value of the goods and services produced by an economy over time. It is conventionally measured as the percent rate of increase in real gross domestic product, or real GDP.
1.9ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter. Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.