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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5374
Vol. 13, No. 4, 2013, pp. 7944-7956
Bioline Code: nd13059
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 13, No. 4, 2013, pp. 7944-7956

 en UTILIZATION OF COCOYAM IN RURAL HOUSEHOLDS IN SOUTHWESTERN NIGERIA
Agbelemoge, A

Abstract

Cocoyam is a traditional crop and a cultural foodstuff in Nigeria. It has not received much research attention in spite of its great adaptability to varying farming systems and its nutritive and commercial food values. The crop is a yam substitute that occupies an inferior food status in the study area. It is mainly cultivated by women and in most cases planted as an intercrop in a previously established farm. It is, therefore, regarded as a lazy man’s crop and consequently a poor man’s food. The aim of this study was to revive the acceptability of cocoyam as foodstuff in order to solve the food crisis, which Nigeria has been experiencing since 1978. A structured interview schedule was used to obtain information from randomly selected 322 respondents from 24 cocoyam producing communities in four states in the region: Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun and Lagos states. The question items included personal and socio-economic characteristics of respondents and cocoyam utilization. The data were described using frequency counts, means and percentages while multiple regression analysis was used as inferential statistics to determine the relationship of the independent variables to the dependent variable. Results revealed that 64% of the respondents were males and 84% were married. Their ages ranged from 20-70 years with a mean of 44±16 years. About 68% of them were literate with 58% of their spouses literate. They were mostly (39%) farmers and artisans (12%) with no secondary occupation, only 28% of the farmers produced cocoyam but almost all (97%) of the respondents consumed cocoyam. Cocoyam was utilized in 24 different ways in three categories of unprocessed solid, processed solid and powder in the study area and utilization level was 20%. The multiple regression analysis was significant at p< 0.05 and R=0.3469, meaning that the independent variable:socio-economic characteristics had jointly accounted for 35% of cocoyam utilization level. F value was 5.334. The variables that contributed positively to utilization level were producers of cocoyam, sources of cocoyam and cocoyam being brought home from journey while cosmopolitan, flexibility on food choice and decision makers on menu contributed negatively. Commercial processing of cocoyam to flour for baking, canned foods, baby food formulae and other cocoyam products are recommended to increase utilization. Farmers were advised to increase cocoyam production in the study area.

Keywords
Utilization; cocoyam; household; southwestern; Nigeria

 
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