STATUS OF POSTHARVEST PROCESSING OPERATIONS OF SOYBEANS IN RURAL NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF BENUE NORTH-WEST SENATORIAL ZONE
This study was conducted to investigate the level of technology used for the postharvest processing and handling of soybeans in rural Nigeria using Benue North-West Senatorial Zone as case study. The approach for carrying out the study was the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) technique. Data were collected using focus group discussions and questionnaires to obtain information from soybean farmers on their methods and level of technologies of postharvest processing. A purposive random sampling approach was used for selecting farmers for participation in the study. Accordingly, a structured questionnaire was designed and administered to 800 farmers from amongst who there were 591 respondents. More information was collected from eight groups of farmers who were organized into focus groups of discussants. Each focus group comprised between eight and twelve members, giving a total of 87 discussants across the study area. A total of 36 research questions were contained in the structured questionnaire while 12 questions were asked during the group discussions. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results from the research indicated that all the postharvest processing operations of soybeans namely; threshing, cleaning, drying, chemical treatment, packaging, transporting and storing were performed manually. However, a very small proportion of the farmers engaged in mechanized threshing (5.2%) and cleaning (0.3%), respectively. In certain communities such as Abwa-Mbagen in Buruku Local Government Area, some farmers did not remove broken and infected soybeans before bagging. The use of manual processing methods in the study area impacts negatively on the quality and quantity of soybeans that finds its way to the market. This constitutes a disincentive to farmers as they are unable to maximize their gains from their production efforts.