Marketing Of Agricultural Produce In Ihiala Lga, A Case Study Of Watermelon

The study was carried out to examine the economics of watermelon marketing in Ihiala LGA, Anambra state. Primary data were collected from a sample of 79 watermelon marketers selected from four major markets of Ihiala anambra State.

Original price was: ₦ 3,000.00.Current price is: ₦ 2,999.00.



The study was carried out to examine the economics of watermelon marketing in Ihiala LGA, Anambra state. Primary data were collected from a sample of 79 watermelon marketers selected from four major markets of Ihiala anambra State. Descriptive, budgetary and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. The results showed that 53.2% of the respondents were between 31- 40 years of age while 24.1% were younger. More males (59.5%) than females were in the business and the Hausa tribe dominated the market may be due to the supply source of the watermelon. Seventy-five75% of the respondents were married, while majority of the respondents (54.4%) had no formal education and most of these respondents had only between 1-5 years in the business. The study also revealed an average gross margin per respondent of ₦ 30,584.45 per month while benefit to cost ratio and rate of return were 1.62 and 0.62 respectively. The profitability and efficiency ratio also revealed that watermelon market is profitable and efficient. It was also revealed that there was price discrimination and product differentiation in the market based on size and quality of the product while traders association exists only at retail level. Regression models revealed that tribe of the marketers, amount of initial capital and type of seller were the determinants of gross margin in watermelon marketing.
























1.0                                                        INTRODUCTION

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus L.) is a crop of the family cucurbitaceae which is appreciated by many people across the globe being a fresh fruit with low calories. It is highly nutritious, with high water content that helps quench-thirst and contains vitamin C and vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. According to Adekunle et al.(2009), watermelon also has Potassium which helps control blood pressure and prevent strokes. It is considered to originate from Africa, though Livingstone found it growing wild in 1854 on the continent of America. In Nigeria, watermelon grows well both in the humid and drier savanna agro ecologies but because it requires warm climate and relatively long growing season, and drier climates make foliar diseases less destructive (Adeoye et al., 2009).

The global consumption of the crop is greater than that of any other cucurbit but as important as this crop is, few people are aware of its market potentials (Adeoye et al., 2009). Watermelon is the most preferred exotic vegetables among Cabbage, Cucumber, Tomato and others in Ibadan Metropolis. This group of vegetables generates better returns, provides more employment and income to the farmers than the indigenous vegetables (Adekunle et al., 2009). It was reported that quality and maturity are of prime importance in marketing watermelon followed by synchronizing the local harvest time with time of short fall in supply from the northern part of Nigeria where large scale production is carried out under irrigation (Afolabi, 2004). As reported by Aremu (2011) socio-economic characteristics of vegetable farmers greatly influence their productivity, costs and returns and eventually their profitability. Similarly, socio-economic characteristic affects decision making and level of use of conventional inputs and other technology (Adebayo and Onu, 1999).

Watermelon has become one of the fruits with high demand in Nigeria and a single fruit may cost between five to seven hundred naira in some States such as Lagos, Abuja and Oyo States. These States receive several tonnes of watermelon daily and yet, supply is always less than demand across the country (Nigerian Dailies, 2010). According to Adeoye et al. (2009) watermelon seeds are excellent sources of protein both essential and non-essential amino acids and oils. The seeds contain about 35% protein, 50% oil and 5% dietary fibre. It is also rich in micro and macro nutrients such as Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, and Iron. Beside the red flesh, the Arabs consumed the salted and roasted watermelon seeds as snacks while the fruit is regarded as a major source of income to an average resident of Bara in Bauchi State of Nigeria. The production of watermelon is mostly from the northern part of the country due the availability of suitable weather condition and hence, the Hausa tribe dominate the market. As the awareness of the health benefits of the crop increases in Nigeria, there is now high demand for it especially in the south-western Nigeria. This thus implies encouragement and higher income to farmers.

Recently, watermelon has now become a common fruit that both the rich and poor are craving for and it is not uncommon to see the marketers selling the fruit along the major and minor roads of the urban Nigeria. In order to meet customers’ needs at various levels, the marketers now sell different sizes either as a whole or sliced forms. This makes the fruits more affordable for the consumers. Though watermelon production is considered a lucrative business in Nigeria, little is known on how to ensure its efficient distribution in a way that will maximize the economic returns to both the farmers and the marketers; this may be due to its newness to the markets in South-western Nigeria. This dearth of information on marketing of watermelon makes its marketers to have less profit compared to what they could have made. The major objective of this study is to analyse the marketing of watermelon in Ihiala LGA, Ananbra State. Specifically, it (i) examined the socio-economic characteristics of watermelon in the study area. (ii) examined the profitability of watermelon in the study area. (iii) examined the market conduct and performance of watermelon in the study area (iv) examined the factors that determined the gross margin of watermelon in the study area. This study will reveal the employment opportunities embedded in marketing watermelon which has never been fully explored due to its newness in the study area. This study will also serve as a guide manual to prospective investors on watermelon marketing and investment decisions.

Marketing margin is the difference between producer and consumer prices of an equivalent quantity and quality of a given commodity (Afolabi, 2009: Vanessa and Jonathan, 1992). Olukosi et al. (2005) viewed marketing margin as the difference in price of a given commodity as it moves from the primary producer to the ultimate consumer. Adekanye (1988) claimed small margin to be an evidence of efficient marketing but Vanessa and Jonathan (1992) refuted that gross marketing margin cannot be treated as an indicator of economic performance since such low margin may exist together with inefficient use of resources, poor coordination and poor consumer satisfaction including disproportionate profit level.

Market structure is defined as those characteristics of an organization of a market which seems to influence strategically the nature of competition and pricing within the market (Olukosi et al., 2005). Adegeye and Dittoh (1985) referred to market structure as concerned characteristics of the market which are believed to influence its nature of completion and price formation. The setup of the market consist of the degree of concentration of buyers and sellers, integration, product differentiation and the degree of competition between buyers and sellers (Afolabi, 2009). Afolabi (2004) reported that majority of the sellers of agricultural product used both open display and persuasive methods to draw the attention of customers while Imuodu and Afolabi (2002) concluded that market structure for agricultural product in Nigeria is not perfectly competitive due to collusive tendencies of sellers in forming associations for particular product.

1.1                              BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Fruits and vegetables are of great nutritional value (Idah, Ajisegiri & Yisa, 2007). They are important sources of vitamins and minerals, thus, essential components of human diet. Vegetable production forms a substantial percentage (about 25%) of the major food crops cultivated in the tropics and so it is the source of livelihood for a considerable section of the population (Kra & Bani, 1998).

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is one of the world’s most important vegetables as the crop is grown both for its fruit and the vegetative parts which are highly nutritious (Schippers, 2000). It is a member of the cucurbit family commonly referred to as Cucurbitaceae (Huh, Solmaz & Sari, 2008), a warm-season crop related to cantaloupe, squash, cucumber and pumpkin (Georage, Darbie & Kelley, 2000). It is an important horticultural crop, mostly known for its sweet and juicy fruit, grown commercially in areas with long frost-free warm climates all over the world (Robinson & Decker-Walters, 1997; Jeffrey, 2001; Prohens & Nuez, 2008). Baba, Yelwa and Sanchi (2014) as well as Adeoye, Usman and Badmus (2011) reported that watermelon global consumption is greater than that of any other cucurbit. It accounts for 6.8% of the world area devoted to vegetable production (Guner & Wehner, 2004).

According to Onyemauwa (2010) watermelon is consumed throughout the world and it is mainly cultivated in the tropical countries. China is the leading country in the production of watermelon followed by Turkey, Brazil, United States, Egypt and Russia Federation (Huh, Solmaz & Sari, 2008; FAOSTAT, 2008). In Africa, watermelon accounted for 5.4% of the harvested area devoted to vegetable production in 2008, and this contributed to the world watermelon production with 4.6% of 99,194,223 metric tons (FAOSTAT, 2008). In Nigeria, the crop has a wide distribution as a garden crop, while as a commercial vegetable; its cultivation is confined to the drier savanna region of Nigeria (Daudu, Ajayi & Ndor, 2008). Nigeria produced more watermelons in 2011 (139,223 tons) than Kenya which is the leading fresh produce African exporter, with 66,196 tons and South Africa that produced 77,993, tons (Alfa-nla, 2012). The largest production of the crop comes from the Northern part of Nigeria, where the suitable agro ecology is found. However, a reasonable quantity of the crop could still be grown in other agro ecologies with intensive management and is still economically feasible (Bosede, Olubunmi & Balogun, 2012).

Watermelon reaches consumers through the marketing system. Marketing is concerned with all stages of operation, which facilitate the movement of the commodities from the farms to the consumers. Marketing has economic value because it gives form, time and place utility to products and services (Asogwa & Okwoche, 2012). Therefore, increase in marketing activity of watermelon would enhance the provision of more and better produce at low price to increased number of people which would enable marketers to generate more income and increase welfare.

The marketing channel of watermelon is an important part of its cost, and its location to the market may shorten the path of the distribution from producers to consumers and makes the marketing process simple and efficient (Egbuna, 2009). Efficiency in the marketing of watermelon is borne on the platter of an efficient market information provision (Oguntola, 2006). In fruit marketing, farmers and marketers determine the flow of information from the farm to the market place and this consequently influences the market performance.

Market performance is an appraisal of the process of marketing and how successful its aims and objectives are accomplished (Eronmwon, Alufohai & Ada-Okungbowa, 2014). Kohls and Uhl (1985) defined market performance in terms of how effectively and efficiently the marketing systems perform what the society and the market participants expect of it. It is often a complex notion mainly because of the multiple and often conflicting goals for the marketing system. The market performance is determined by the structure (numbers and sizes of firms, degree of product differentiation, and conditions of entry) and conducts (firms’ price, product, and promotional strategies) (Kohls & Uhl, 1998). Profit and marketing efficiency are most frequently used measure of market performance (Olukosi, Isitor & Ode, 2005). Marketing efficiency shows the degree of market performance. Adegeye and Dittoh (1985) defined agricultural marketing efficiency as the movement of crops and livestock from the producers to consumers at the lowest possible cost which is consistent with the provision of the services consumers’ desire. Improved efficiency is a common goal of farmers, food marketing firms, consumers, and society. Efficient marketing plays a crucial role in an economy. This role becomes more evident in areas where there are high rate of urbanization (Olukosi et al., 2005).

Ajewole (2015) reported that watermelon is highly relished as a fresh fruit in different parts of the world because of its thirst-quenching attribute in addition to many other identified nutritional values and advantages. The consumption of the commodity in the recent times has witnessed remarkable development as it cuts across all socio economic classes. In the study by Onyemauwa (2010), watermelon was found to be good for all human consumption and livestock needs as it contains most of the basic daily nutritional requirements of the body and other essential nutrients that prevent human health problems like cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack and other cardiovascular disease. Watermelon could be eaten raw when it is fresh after being washed and sliced into bits. Its nutritional values include low calories, lycopene which is an antioxidant that prevents cancer and other diseases, vitamin A, vitamin C, protein, carbohydrate, fibre, potassium, calcium, iron, fats and up to 92% of water (Onyemauwa, 2010). These are all necessary for good health and development of human and livestock needs. Hence, it is referred to as “the chief of the world’s luxuries and king over all fruits of the earth” (United States Department of Agriculture, 1998).

1.2                                         PROBLEM STATEMENT

Fruits and vegetables such as watermelon are important sources of vitamins and minerals and are thus essential components of the human diet (Egharevba, 1995). The high demand for this vegetable fruit is not met in the Eastern part of Nigeria due to unfavourable climatic condition (Okonmah, Agbogidi & Nwagu, 2011). Consequent upon this, there has been increased trade and commerce activities surrounding these commodities. Efficient marketing of watermelon is important to ensure its all-year round availability due to its high demand by consumers (Ekerete & Asa, 2014).

The potentials of watermelon as a cash generating crop is significant for farmers especially those residing near the urban areas. Recent reports indicate that exotic vegetables production generally generate higher profit, provide more employment and income to the farmers than those of indigenous vegetables (Isibor & Ugwumba, 2014). According to Oguntola (2006), watermelon is the most preferred among five other exotic vegetables such as cantaloupe, squash, cucumber and pumpkin examined in Ihiala LGA, Anambra State, Nigeria. Dovie, Witkowski and Shackleton (2003) noted that trading and consumption of watermelon is vital to livelihood and entrenchment of food security in some parts of South Africa. Trevor (2008), in his study in Northern Ghana also noted that watermelon serves as an important source of revenue to farmers especially in times of unfavourable weather conditions since it is able to withstand harsh weather conditions as compared to other crops. In Nigeria, Isibor and Ugwumba (2014) reported that watermelon marketing is a source of employment and income generation for many people especially women and adolescents.

In spite of its importance globally, watermelon has its peculiarities and challenges in its marketing. In India, marketing of watermelon is confronted with issues like problem of transportation, the use of numerous agents and mobile traders and lack of an organized marketing system among others (Varmudy, 2012). Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) (2011) and Tuffour and Dokurugu (2015) asserted that like other agricultural goods in many African countries, fruits, watermelon inclusive, usually rot in farms due to either poor or unavailable transport facilities. Marketing system in Nigeria is faced with perennial problems of inefficiency and ineffectiveness due to inadequate market infrastructural facilities, transportation and pricing system (Onyemauwa, 2010; Adakaren, Ahmadu & Chidebelu, 2012). Adugna (2009) noted that as high as 30% losses in vegetables are recorded during transportation from point of production to point of consumption.

The consumption of exotic vegetable including watermelon has been on the increase but the cost of executing various marketing functions have made the price to increase more than necessary and has made some consumers to relent in its consumption (Nya, Okorie & Eka, 2010). This is partly because most of the watermelons marketed in Southern parts of Nigeria are usually produced in the rural areas of Northern Nigeria. The quantity of watermelon available for consumption and the price paid by the consumer depends on how efficient the marketing system of watermelon functions. Watermelon marketers experience lots of problem in trying to meet demand for the vegetable due to fluctuation in supply. It is a perishable agricultural produce and cannot be stored over a long period of time.

Watermelon has long been regarded as a minor crop in Nigeria and thus, has attracted little marketing research attention, in comparison to other major food crops and cash crops. Several studies have been conducted with respect to watermelon production in Africa, of which some focused on the economic analysis of its production based system (Adeoye et al., 2011), income and factor analysis of watermelon (Oladele, 2015), traditional knowledge with respect to the cultivation and uses of watermelon in Mozambique (Munisse, Andersen, Jensen & Christiansen, 2011). Though Onyemauwa (2010), Kainga (2013), Isibor & Ugwumba (2014) and Olumide (2015) concentrated on the marketing margins and marketing efficiencies of watermelon in their studies in urban areas of South-West and South-South of Nigeria, available literatures showed that limited researches were conducted along the costs, market margin, marketing efficiency, market structure and conducts of watermelon in Anambra State.

Economic Research Service (1994) reported that in terms of price, there is considerable variability in watermelon prices within the year due mostly to seasonal changes in the volume of production. The distribution and availability of watermelon in Anambra State tends to be inadequate and inefficient. The product is rarely produced in the study area and its external influx could pose high cost of marketing on the product and implicitly the price of watermelon very exorbitant. In view of the rising demand for watermelon in the State in the face of inefficient marketing (FAO, 1997), therefore, it is pertinent and relevant to analyze the performance of the watermelon marketing in Ihiala LGA, Anambra State, Nigeria.

1.3                                                OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The broad objective of this study was to analyze the performance and the economy of watermelon marketing in ihiala LGA, Anambra State, Nigeria.

The study addressed the following specific objectives:

  1. describe the socio-economic characteristics of watermelon marketers (wholesalers and retailers);
  2. describe the rate at which watermelon is marketed in anambra state.
  • Describe the response of the buyers of watermelon.

1.4                                                        PURPOSE OF STUDY

The objective for which this study was carried out were;

  1. To determine the effect of storage, transportation and efficient marketing of agricultural products
  2. To examine the effort of price and availability of these products to the area where they may be needed
  3. To make recommendations for further studies based or findings.

1.5                                  SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

From the statement of problem, it is know that the framers in anambra state face two major problem of the sate and transportation in the process of marketing their farm products.

The role of transportation in the agricultural development stated that from time immemorial agriculture and transportation have co-existed inseparably because the source of food and economic produce must be reasonably accessible and on being collected and distributed to markets and factories where they are needed.

Economic theories argue that production is complete when goods get to the hand of the ultimate consumers or users and in this senesce the study of storage and transportation Problems in marketing become most inevitable since storage and transportation  is not primary importance in the market of foodstuffs. The problem they pose should be investigated and of improvement suggested.

1.6                                    SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study is the marketing of agricultural products in anambra state through there were many areas connected with this, the researcher hard settled with selected local government area in anambra state. This researcher study was limited to geographical area of ihiala in anambra state and its environment.

Ihiala in Anambra state was considered a good study because this is a state with the great member of farmers or producers of agricultural product hence considered the marketing of agriculture product in some marketing.

In addition  to being one of the largest states marketing agricultural product, there are some number of markets being considered like ose market Onitsha,  okiti market, ogbaru, atani market and others

With regards to the population of anambra state and with it having the number of agricultural product, in the markets, the researcher was convinced that the information gathered from this market and farmers would be good enough to describe the marketing of agricultural products in anambra state.

1.7                                                  RESEARCH QUESTION

Consequently, the following research questions have been carried out in the course of the study:

  1. a)     What are the socio-economic characteristics of watermelon marketers?
  2. b)     What are the marketing channels of watermelon?
  3. c)      What are the market structure and conducts of watermelon market in the study area?
  4. d)     What are the net marketing returns of market participants?
  5. e)      How efficient is watermelon market in the study area?
  6. f)       What are the variables that determine the net returns in the market?
  7. g)     What are the constraints associated with watermelon marketing in the study area?

1.8                                                         PROJECT ORGANISATION

The work is organized as follows: chapter one discuses the introductory part of the work,   chapter two presents the literature review of the study,  chapter three describes the methods applied,  chapter four discusses the results of the work, chapter five summarizes the research outcomes and the recommendations.



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