Nigerian agriculture is dominated by the substance and small-scale farmers who produce the bulk of food requirements in the country. Despite their unique and pivotal position, the small holder farmers belong to the poorest segment of the population and therefore, cannot invest much on their farms. The vicious circle of poverty among these farmers has led to the unimpressive performance of the agricultural sector (Ajibefun 2002). According to Ajibefun and Daramola (2008), resources must be used much more efficiently, with more attention paid to eliminating waste. This will lead to an increase in productivity and incomes. http://gistareaventures.com
Cassava is a perennial wood shrub with an edible rot, which grows in tropical and subtropical areas of the world like Asia, America and Africa. It grows to above 3.5m in height has broad canopy-shiny leaves of the shape of a human hand and attractive white and pink flowers. The varieties of these species of plant are divided into two groups, namely sweet and bitter cassavas. Cassavas are cultivated in the tropics for their starchy, tuberous roots (Hahn 1984).
Cassava can be grown on a wide range of soils and can yield satisfactory even in acidic soils where most other crops fails (Hahn 1984), the crop has continually played very vital role, which include income for farmers, low cost food source for both the rural and urban dwellers as well as household food security (Nweke 1996). In Nigeria, cassava is generally believed to be cultivated by small scaled farmers with low resources (Ezebuiro et al 2008). It all plays a major role in the effort to alleviate the food crisis in Africa, the food and agricultural organization of the united nation (FAO 2004) estimated cassava production in Nigeria, in 2002 to be 3 million metric tons.
Cassava can be a major source of income in Africa. The cash income from cassava performs well across a wide spectrum of ecological zones. It therefore benefits farmers across broader swathe of ecological zones cassava is, likewise, less expensive to produce. It tolerates poor soil, adverse weather and pests and disease more than other major staples (Nweke, 2004). The crop puts ready money and food in the very vulnerable segments of the society.
Every nation attempts to address the prevalent issue of food security. In Nigeria, agriculture provides food for the teeming population and contributes about 33% to the across domestic product (GOP) of the nation (Bureau of Africa, 2010).
The sector employs about one-third of the total labor force and provide a livelihood for the bulk of the rural popular (FMARD, 2006). Total area devoted to agricultural cultivation is about 30.7 million hectares with farmer’s cultivating less than 2ha on average and operating with simple hand tools (Nestle 1999).
The paucity of appropriate technology makes their small holders’ farmers to depend mainly on natural systems for sustenance.
Cassava (Manihot escullenta) tubers are one of the staple food stuffs for the people living in the tropical one. The potential productivity of this crop is extremely high (Nestle 1999). There is a notion that more farmers are engaged in cassava cultivation on due to its cheap cost of production.
The importance of cassava in Nigeria is based on its ability to provide about 15% of all the food energy and 10% of all the protein content of the daily diet of tropical Nigeria (F.A.O. 1990). Again cassava can be processed and used as an adhesive, for producing alcoholic drinks and also industrial , producing alcoholic drinks and also industrial alcohol, cassava can processed into chips and pellets which are mainly used for livestock, poultry and fish feeds, it is also used as binders and filer for tablet production, used as sweeteners that is starch derivatives such as glucose and fructose, used to impart sweetness and texture to soft drinks, confectionaries, jaws and canned fruits (Jerry 1995) Jerry 1995 added that the production and trading of this crop offer-employment to about 60% of the rural dwellers.
Agricultural development progrmme (ADP) records in Ihiala shows that 100%of the farmer grow more cassava that other crops. In a field where cassava is grown in combination with yam and other crops, yam is considered to be the main crop where there is no yam, cassava becomes.
The main crop (Okorji; 2001). Currently cassava is playing major role in the export structure of Nigerian economy. This view has been supported of by survey on the extent of yam cassava production and utilization which maintained that cassava has displaced other root crops some extent in the southern Nigeria owing to its easy way of cultivation and its high field per hectare (Philip, 1997).