The broad objective of the study was to analyse Raphia palm wine (RPW) marketing in South-South Nigeria (SSN). The specific objectives were to: (i) analyse the productivity of resources used in RPW production; (ii) analyse the determinants of technical efficiency of tappers; ( iii) analyse the structure of RPW market in the area; (iv) describe the marketing channels and distribution of RPW; (v) estimate the level and determinants of profit in RPW tapping and marketing (vi) estimate the level of market integration for the product; and (vii) identify the constraints faced by RPW tappers, marketers and consumers in the study area. The study was conducted in South-South Nigeria (SSN) using the survey method. Multistage random sampling technique was used in selecting three states (Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers) out of the six states (Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers States) that make up South-South Nigeria. Two markets were randomly selected from each of two local government areas randomly selected from each state, after which a total of 10 RPW tappers, marketers and consumers, respectively, were randomly selected from each market to give a sample size of 120 RPW tappers, marketers and consumers, respectively. Total sample size was therefore 360. Three sets of pre-tested structured questionnaires were administered to the respondents according to their categories using trained enumerators to obtain primary data that were used to realise the objectives of the research. Furthermore, four-day local market prices for RPW in selected markets in the states were collected for a period of six months starting from September, 2012 to February, 2013 and these were used to determine the integration of RPW markets in the study areas. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics, such as, stochastic frontier production function, Gini Coefficient, Gross margin analysis, multiple regression analysis and market integration function. Sixty-six percent of the tappers were married. They were all males (100%) and a good number of them (50%) were in their productive ages of 30-49 years with as many as 74% of them without formal education. A large proportion (92%) of the marketers were married with a large number (66%) of them being females and 66% also were in the age bracket of 30-49 years, with as many as 97% of them having little or no formal education. The consumers were made up of married (58%), males (72%) of which only 42% were in the age group of 30-49 years with a high percentage (84%) of them not exceeding primary school education. Number of Raphia palm stands, variety of palm stands, family labour, hired labour and years of tapping experience were statistically significant (p>0.01) in relation to RPW output even though there was a record of inefficiency in the productivity of resources (gamma = 1). The test of marginal effect after frontier showed a 7% and 21% increase in RPW output for every additional unit of hybrid Raphia palm tree and palm stand tapped, respectively. However, the marginal effect of tapping duration was negative, causing a 9% reduction for every additional day of tapping. There existed a positive correlation among the degree of tappers’ inefficiency and their age (0.0224) and years of tapping experience (0.0130). Access to market information (-0.0123), household size (-0.0720), level of education (-0.0004) and access to credit ( -0.0020) exhibited negative correlations with the tappers’ degree of inefficiency. RPW market was profitable at both the tappers’ and marketers’ levels, concentrated and with complex distribution channels. Raphia palm wine markets in the three states were integrated. Both tappers and marketers of RPW in the study area faced such very serious problems as poor/lack of access to formal credit facilities, inadequate finance for business expansion and low shelf life of RPW. Consumers faced very serious problems of high transportation cost, adulteration of RPW by retailers and low shelf-life of the wine.

1.1    Background Information

Beverages are essential part of human diet because of their liquid content (Edmund, 1952). From earliest time, man has sought for drinks which are palatable and refreshing. Two categories may readily be recognised: non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. Ordinary beverages that do not contain alcohol are commonly referred to as soft drinks (Batchelor & Webber, 1948). These include a great variety of preparations. They nearly all have high sugar content and so are good sources of energy. The United States is the outstanding consumer of soft drinks, using an estimated 50 000 000 bottles a day (Edmund, 1952; WHO, 2004). Fruit juices are the simplest kind of soft drinks, consisting of the extracted juice alone, or with sugar and water added. The most familiar types of fruit drinks are lemonades and orangeade. Others include orange juice, grapefruit juice, tomato juice, pineapple juice and palm wine. Raphia palm wine (RPW) is one of the most important and also one of the oldest fermented beverages drunk throughout West Africa (Edmund, 1952; Otedoh 1972; Jeffrey, 1975; Akinrele, 1976; Otedoh, 1987; WHO, 2004). The World Health Organization (WHO) refers to it as a traditional alcoholic beverage widely consumed by about two billion people worldwide (WHO, 2004). The organisation further clarified that, the RPW was outside the western beer, wine and spirit categories and also outside the control of local governments. Nigeria is among the top 30 positions of adult per capita consumption of fermented wine beverages. The largest drinkers are the wine producing countries of Europe, followed by Uganda, Nigeria, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and Sao Tome (WHO, 2004). Presently, Raphia Palm is among the mandate crops of the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research, (NIFOR). The Institute has the mandate to research into the biology, production, and utilization of the crop. A lot of land mark achievements have been made in this direction, notable of which is the preservation of the fresh RPW through bottling to up to 12 calendar months. This is very important because it would encourage the inhabitants of the growing regions to appreciate this natural resource and invest in its cultivation.

Raphia palm (RP) is found from Gambia through the Guinea forest zone of West Africa to Cameroon, Gabon and Congo and possibly to Angola. It is occasionally cultivated, e.g. in Nigeria. Outside Africa, it is grown in India, Freetown Peninsular, Malaysia and Singapore (Mann & Wendl, 2009). There are many species of the RP and they all belong to the family Palmea. Twenty species of the palm have been identified in Africa. They are R. Realis, R. Australis, R. Ruwenzoriea, R. Gentiliana, R. Textilis, R. Malombe, R. Hookeri, R. Rostrate, R. Palma-pinus, R. Monbullorum, R. Vinifera, R. Taedigera, R.laurentii, R.africana, R. Mannii, R. Longiflora, R. Mambillensis, R. Farinifera, R. Sudanica and R. Sese. Otedoh (1976) identified eight of the 20 mentioned species of the RP to be indigenous to Nigeria. They are; R.farinifera, R. africana, R. Longiflora, R. Regalis, R.vinifera, R. Mambillensis, R. Hookeri and R. Sudenica. Of these eight species of Raphia identified as indigenous to Nigeria, R. hookeri is the most dominant tree crop within the coastal fresh water swamps (Ndon, 2003). Three varieties of Raphia hookeri have been distinguished: R.hookeri var. hookeri, Raphia hookeri var. Rubrifolia Otedoh, and Raphia hookeri var. Planifolia Otedoh. Locally, different forms of Raphia hookeri are recognised. In Nigeria, RP grows naturally and abundantly in the South-South. This area is characterised by rain forest, fresh water swamps, lakes and other wet places. It also contains the bulk of proven oil reserves in Nigeria. The oil reserves in Nigeria make it one of the largest producers of oil in the world (Onakuse & Eamon, 2007). The inhabitants of this region are found in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers States. They depend on fish and other mangrove resources for their livelihoods, including Raphia palm...

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