ADOPTION AND DISADOPTION OF SWEET POTATO (IPOMOEA BATATAS (L) LAM) PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING TECHNOLOGIES BY FARMERS IN SOUTH-EASTERN NIGERIA
This study sought to determine the adoption and disadoption of sweetpotato production and processing technologies by farmers in the South-east zone of Nigeria. The specific objectives were to: determine the level of awareness of the sweetpotato production and processing technologies among farmers in the zone; determine the extent of adoption and disadoption of the sweetpotato production and processing technologies by farmers in the zone; examine the determinants of adoption and disadoption of the sweetpotato production and processing technologies in the study area and identify the constraints to the adoption of sweetpotato production and processing technologies in the zone. Using the multistage sampling technique, and the structured interview schedule as instrument, data for the study were collected from a sample of two hundred and seventy (270) sweetpotato farmers in the zone. Percentages, mean scores, probit analysis and exploratory factor analysis procedure were used as statistical tools for data analysis. The findings of the study showed that majority (79.63%) of the farmers (270) were aware of the sweetpotato production technology, whereas the processing technology recorded a low level of awareness. With regard to the extent of adoption of the sweetpotato production practices, majority (37.9%) of the farmers adopted the use of ridges and mounds, as well as improved sweetpotato varieties, while majority (40.2%) of them rejected the recommended plant spacing of 30cm x 100cm on ridges and 25cm x 100cm on mounds for both sole and intercropped systems. Most (34.2%) of the farmers used the 2-node and 5/6-node vine cuttings as planting materials, as well as time for planting of sweetpotato, weeding regime of one major weedring at 4-6 weeks after planting, inorganic fertilizer application of 400kg of NPK 20:10:10, earthening-up practice, timely harvest of root tubers and pest and disease control measures. The extent of disadoption of the sweetpotato production technology was low. In the processing of fermented sweetpotato fufu flour, majority of the farmers adopted the practices of peeling and washing of sweetpotato root tubers, cutting of the root tubers into 2.5mm-3.0mm chips, fermenting of the chips by soaking in water for 24 hours, draining of water from fermented chips and sun-drying of chips on raised platforms or oven-drying at a temperature of 50oC. Majority of them also mill the dried chips properly to produce the flour and package the flour in polyethylene bags or air-tight containers. With regard to the extent of adoption of the practices involved in the processing of unfermented sweetpotato flour, most of the farmers adopted the innovation of peeling and washing of root tubers of sweetpotato, grating of the root tubers into mash and dewatering of the mash in a clean bag. Majority of the farmers also adopted sun-drying the dewatered mash on raised platform or oven-drying at a temperature of 50oC, milling the dried mash and packaging the flour in polyethylene bags or air-tight containers. In processing of sweetpotato starch, majority of the farmers adopted the practices of peeling and washing of the root tubers, grating of the root tubers into mash, dewatering of mash in clean bags and mixing dewatered mash with quantity of water that is 10 times the volume of mash. Other practices adopted by majority of the farmers included sieving of mash with muslin cloth, sedimenting, decanting and collection of starch, sun-drying of starch on raised platform or oven-drying at a temperature of 50oC, milling of the dried starch and packaging in polyethylene bags or air-tight containers. Household size, labour, land and health significantly influenced the adoption of the sweetpotato production and processing technologies. Age, marital status and participation in credit system were important in predicting farmers who will continue to use the sweetpotato technologies, while sweetpotato problems significantly influenced the disadoption of the technologies. Production/processing complexity problems, economic problems, poor technical information and pathological problems were the main constraints to the adoption of the sweetpotato production and processing technologies. It was recommended that researchers, policy makers and administrators of extension services consider seriously these issues which constitute limiting factors to increased sweetpotato production and processing in the study area.