ENTREPRENEURIAL COMPETENCY NEEDS OF SECONDARY SCHOOL GRADUATES AND FARMERS IN COMMERCIAL PLANTAIN PRODUCTION IN ABIA AND IMO STATES
The study focused on identification and packaging of entrepreneurial competencies in commercial plantain production for training secondary school graduates for employment and retraining farmers for proficiency on the job in Abia and Imo States. Seven (7) research questions were developed and answered by the study -while three (3) null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance. The population of the study was 1460 made up of 644 agricultural science teachers, 766 extension agents and 80 registered plantain farmers. The sample for the study was (362) made up of 129 agricultural science teachers, 153 extension agents and 80 registered plantain farmers. Four (4) sets of structured questionnaire were developed for obtaining data from the respondents. The four (4) sets of the structured questionnaire were face validated by five (5) experts. Cronbach Alpha method was used to determine the internal consistency of the four (4) sets of structured questionnaire. A reliability coefficient of 0.88 was obtained for plantain nursery questionnaire, 0.95 for plantain plantation questionnaire, 0.90 for plantain processing and marketing questionnaire and 0.84 for training questionnaire. The data collected were analyzed using weighted Mean and Improvement Need Index (INI) to answer research questions and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to test the hypotheses of no significant difference at probability of less than or equal to 0.05. The study found out that: secondary school graduates needed 98 entrepreneurial competencies in plantain nursery, 89 in plantain plantation management and 101 in plantain processing and marketing for employment in commercial plantain production enterprise. Farmers needed improvement in 98 entrepreneurial competencies in plantain nursery, 89 in plantain plantation management and 101 in processing and marketing in commercial plantain production. The study also found out that there was no significant difference in the mean ratings of the responses of Agricultural Science teachers, Extension agents and plantain farmers on 96 out of 98 competencies in plantain nursery enterprise, 86 out of 89 in plantain plantation management enterprise and 99 out of 101 in plantain processing and marketing needed by secondary school graduates for employment in commercial plantain production. Based on these findings, the study recommended that Abia and Imo States governments should direct the administrators of skill acquisition centres in the two States to integrate the identified competencies in commercial plantain production and packaged plantain programmes in (nursery, plantation establishment, processing and marketing) into programmes of skill acquisition centres for training secondary school graduates for employment and retraining plantain farmers in the two states for competence on the job.