Gender Roles and Challenges of Small Scale Cashew Nut Processing Enterprise in Enugu North, Nigeria is a well-researched topic, it is to be used as a guide or framework for your Academic Research.
Small scale cashew nut processing enterprise is important in meeting the needs of the local processors and strategic in the current transformation agenda of the government. The study examined the gender roles and challenges of small scale cashew nut processing enterprises in the Enugu North Senatorial zone of Enugu State. Seventy-two small scale cashew nut processors were identified and interviewed to elicit information for the study. The study revealed that youths on the whole were found to be more effective in most of the activities of cashew nut processing namely packaging (M=2.0), grading (M=1.90), sizing (M=1.50, and cleaning (M=1.50). On the other hand, men played a more effective role in two processing activities- shelling (M=2.0) and
peeling (M=2.0) while women played a more effective role only in one activity- roasting/frying (M=1.80). It was found that all the respondents (100.0%) were still using local processing methods like open pan roasting. About 19.0% of the respondents processed 3-5kg per day while 12.4%, 2.2% and 1.4% processed 6-8kg, 9-11kg and 12-14kg per day respectively. The challenges of small scale cashew nut processors were chemical burns (M=3.86), damage of kernels by fire through nonregulation of heat (M=3.67), high cost of kernels (M=3.57), and excess heat affecting the body. The study concluded that the contribution of cashew nut processing enterprise to the transformation agenda was hampered by the use of local processing equipment which also adversely affected the livelihood survival of local processors.
Cashew (Anacardium Occidentale L.) was introduced into Nigeria between 15th and 16th centuries by the Portuguese explorers (Ventakarama, 1996 and Togun, 1997). Cashew nuts produced by the plant are a very important fruit crop. They are popular treats found on grocery and health food store shelves across the world. Locally they are eaten as food after processing/frying and usually seen in pale, ivory-colored/coated white nuts. The nuts are packed with energy containing
about 1 gram per ounce of energy while the fleshy succulent parts attached to the nuts are eaten raw or processed into wine/juice and other beverages for human consumption (Hanlon, 2000). Apart from being a source of useful products and by-products for food, medicine, and industrial applications, cashew tree also gives a useful shade, acts as an ornamental and alley tree, and is suitable for control of soil erosion,
particularly for the protection of watersheds and dams (Ezeagu, 2002). Prior to the cultivation and production of cashew in Nigeria in the 1950s, the plant had survived in the wild for more than four centuries. The long term neglect of the cashew industry in favor of oil production and exploration left Nigeria behind in competing for the global market worth of $1 billion. Research into processing, marketing, and economy of cashew commenced in 1972 by the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria in Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO, 2000) Cashew nuts are a very rich source of minerals. Minerals especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium are concentrated in the nuts. A handful of cashew nuts a day in the diet would provide enough of these minerals and prevent diseases caused by their deficiency. Selenium found in cashew nut is an important micronutrient, which functions as a co-factor for antioxidant enzymes such as Glutathione peroxides, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body (www.nutrition-and-you.com/cashew-nut.html).
The income of cashew nut is enhanced through proper and efficient processing. The main objective of processing is to remove the valuable cashew kernels from the shells with as little damages as possible. This is because of whole nuts command higher prices than the broken ones. In spite of this well-known fact, cashew nuts are processed locally using
manual techniques like frying ovens constructed with metal such as open pans and open drums by some households (men, women, and children). Local cashew nut processors usually made up of youths, women and men are engaged in this enterprise as a means of livelihood. Through this method, most of the products are consumed locally in rural, semi, and urban areas. The future of the enterprise lies in the secondary processing stage, which entails a higher level of
transformation that targets mainly export markets and local/urban markets too. The technology systems entail nut cleaning, calibration and storage by grade, washing and humidification, roasting, centrifugation, and cooling. They also involve shelling and kernel shell separation, kernel drying, peeling, grading, sorting, and packing for the market (Ezeagu, 2002).
The local processes involved in cashew nut processing are labor-intensive requiring vigorous activities that are time-consuming. Local method of processing requires many hands (both household family labor and hired labor). The quality of the cashew nut obtained through this method is poor. The nuts are not standardized presenting lots of differences in size, finishing, and roasting. In the face of the foregoing, the study sought to: ascertain the socio-economic status of small-scale cashew nut processors; determine roles performed by men, women, and youth in the processing of cashew nuts; examine cashew nut processing methods and quantity processed per day; and determine challenges facing small-scale cashew nut processors (enterprise).