MARKETING OF UZIZA IN EGOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA EDO STATE, NIGERIA
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MARKETING OF UZIZA IN EGOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA EDO STATE, NIGERIA

 

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In Nigeria, as in other tropical countries of Africa where the daily diet is dominated by starchy staple foods, traditional vegetables are the cheapest and most readily available sources of important proteins, vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids (Okafor 1983). The nutritional importance of this leafy vegetable is evident in the result of proximate analysis of some leafy vegetables by Okafor et al. (1996) showing that vegetables including uziza (piper guineensis) are valuable sources of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, fats and oils, and proteins. The result showed that uziza (piper guineensis) is very high in moisture content (78. 58%), has high ash content (15.56%), oil (9.3%), protein (18.54%), sodium (3.5ppm), potassium (320ppm), calcium (7.11ppm), magnesium (147ppm), iron (6.12ppm), zinc (2.05ppm) and copper (0.15ppm). The result of this proximate analysis for some other leafy vegetables including bitter leaf (vernonia amygdalina) are prescribed in Table 1 below.
Table 1: Chemical Analysis of some leafy vegetables of Southern NigeriaScientific Name Moisture Ash Oil Protein Na K Ca Mg Fe Zn Cu Mn P 

% fresh % dry % % (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm)

Anetum africanum 37.39 4.72 14.20 10.18 26 126 28.35 4.45 5.23 0.99 0.06 - -

Gongronena latifoluim 71.14 10.94 18.77 62.66 58 336 20.75 56.00 8.17 0.90 0.12 - -

Mynanthus arboreus 75.52 9.83 1.34* 20.01 - - 1.132** - 0.036** - - 2.134** 2.543**

*Piper guineensis 78.58 15.56 9.30 18.54 35 320 7.11 147.00 6.12 2.05 0.15 - -

Vernonia amygdalina 79.67 10.13 4.50 23.24 46 304 40.00 58.00 4.72 0.81 0.10 - -

** Determined as % of dry matter (not as ppm; part per million)

Source: Okolo 1987; Okafor et al. 1996. 

Therefore vegetables are required for daily diet and should consist of at least 30% of our daily food. 
Uziza (piper guineensis) also known as climbing black pepper or Benin pepper is of the family piperaceae. The marketable products include leaf, seed and fruit. This woody leafy vegetables are available at strategic periods in the year, namely the dry season, when the conventional cultivated vegetables are scarce. They therefore contribute significantly to the food security and nutritional well being of the local people in the region (Okafor, 1990).
Like other members of the pepper family, uziza contains (5 – 8)% of chemical piperine which provides the hottest. It is used in West-African cuisine where it impacts both pungency and a spicy aroma to classic West African soup. Indeed, uziza as a spice has been extensively used in history for flavouring and seasoning foods, beverages and medicine (Chukwuma, 2007). 
Present studies have shown that apart from the use of this plant as spice and condiments, they have several other wide applications in the local treatment and management of many diseases. It has therefore been observed that indigenous people value the plant more for their ethno medicinal uses than for spicing foods. For instance, the use of uziza (piper guineensis) in post delivery treatment and restorative soup after childbirth is certainly of more value than as a mere seasoning or flavouring agents (Chukwuma, 2007). The research indicated that warm extract of the fruits are used as antivomiting and antihelmintic. 
The leaves of piper guineensis (uziza) are used for correcting respiratory infections and for female infertility while its fruits are used as an aphrodisiac. However, previous studies in the laboratory have shown that the aqueous extract of uziza (P. guineensis) fruits have been shown to stimulate sexual behaviour of mature male rats. This finding could explain the traditional use of this plant for male reproductive problems, especially those linked to secretion by glands (Kamtchouing, et al., 2002).
According to the researchers, the indigenous people of the study area have therefore developed various ways of harvesting, processing and administering preparations of this plant in the cure of the different ailments. Trade and commercialization of this plant, though informal, constitute dominant enterprise of the local people in the area (Chukwuma, 2007). Domestication is therefore the best way of increasing supply while efficient co-ordinated marketing system that brings this vegetable to the hands of the consumers is very important as it serves as a stimulus to economic development of Nigeria.
Statement of Problems
The marketing of this leafy vegetable varies considerably from farmer to farmer depending on the nature of the vegetable and capacity of the farmers. While marketing changes hands three to four times between producers and consumers, the multiplicity of intermediaries existing in marketing system of vegetables poses a problem (sinha,2003). 
The study will address the following research questions;
what are the sources of this leafy vegetable?
what are the marketing channels of this vegetable?
how much cost is associated with the marketing of the product?
who takes the lion share of the retail price?
what is the socio-economic characteristics of the marketers of this product?
Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to examine the marketing of uziza (piper guineensis) in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State.
The specific objectives are to;
identify the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents and the marketing channel for uziza (piper guineensis) marketing.
estimate the determinants of sale of uziza.
determine the cost, returns, profitability, producers share of retail price and gross marketing margin of uziza marketing 
carryout a functional analysis of gross marketing margin and identify the main problems of uziza marketing.
Justification of the Study
Since an efficient co-ordinated marketing system is a stimulus to economic development, this study is an attempt to look into the marketing of uziza in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State as a means of conveying produce to target consumers and as guide for prospective producers and marketers. 
Although considerable research has been carried out in the marketing of selected vegetables in Nigeria, but there are few studies on uziza and there is no doubt that the findings and other important information gathered during this study will be useful in the following ways.
Policy makers; as a guide to helping policy makers make and implement effective policies that will favour the growth of this sector.
Marketers; as a guide to helping prospective marketers see the inherent profitability of marketing this vegetable and as a result venture into it with confidence.
Producers; to help producers seek for better ways of cultivating this specie of vegetable to meet the ever growing demands of the populace and to scoop their own share of profit.
Nutritionist; to help nutritionist to be aware of the inherent nutrient component of this leafy woody vegetable so as to recommend it as important in daily meals.
Women – to help pregnant women to increase their utilization of this vegetable for post – partum treatment.
Men; to help men to increase their utilization of this vegetable for male reproductive problems, especially those linked to secretion by glands.
Health sector; to help those in the health fields to see and understand the medicinal value of this vegetable and to recommend it as a cheap source for treatment of some health related diseases so as to contribute to improving the health condition of the populace at large.

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