STRUCTURE, PATTERN AND PROBLEMS OF YAM PRODUCTION AND MARKETING IN BENUE STATE, NIGERIA
The purpose of this study is to investigate the structure, pattern and problems of yam production and marketing in Benue State, Nigeria. The specific objectives are to: examine the socio-economic characteristics of yam farmers and the volume of yam production in Benue State. To examine the socio-economic characteristics of yam traders and the structure and pattern of yam marketing. To investigate the contribution of the middlemen and yam marketing associations towards marketing of yams, and methods of transportation in Benue State. To examine the prob-lems and prospects of yam production and marketing in Benue State. The period of fieldwork was between November, 2011 and October, 2012. Data were generated using primary and secondary sources. The primary source was questionnaire technique while the secondary data were sourced from books, journals, official documents, conference and seminar papers. The respondents were yam farmers, wholesale and retail yam traders, lorry drivers and market officials selected from two communities in each of the 23 Local Government Areas. The data were analyzed using both descriptive and quantitative techniques. This include the use of Stata. 13 Econometric Statistical Package, tabular and graphical presentation of results. The Ordinal Logistic Regression Analysis was used tor determine the relationship between the socio-economic characteristics of farmers and traders on volume of yam production and sale of yams respectively. The Reilly’s Law of Retail Gravitation was used to determine the trade areas of Benue State. Marketing margin analysis was estimated and it showed that average marketing cost was N858.6 per 45 kilograms of yams and the net margin was N614.6. The average marketing efficiency in the area was 76.0 per cent. The total marketing margin shows that the wholesalers share was 63.8 per cent and the retailers share was 75.2 per cent. The middlemen’s share of marketing margin is higher than that of the yam farmers. The result shows that yam production is not mechanized and it is characterized by small holdings, and the markets are organized on periodic basis. Some of the problems of yam production and marketing include: land tenure system, transportation, inadequate storage facilities, climatic factors, instability in price and lack of processing machines. The study recommendations include: provision of good roads, storage facilities and improved processing techniques.