This study focused on rice husk generation and utilization among households in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to: describe the socio-economic characteristics of households in Ebonyi State; evaluate the perception of respondents on the effects of rice husk generation and utilization on the environment; estimate willingness to pay (WTP) for the removal of rice husk from the environment; determine the socio-economic factors influencing the respondents WTP for the removal of rice husk from the environment; determine the extent of rice husk generation and utilization in the study area; and identify the constraints to rice husk utilization among households in Ebonyi State. Hypothesis: Socio-economic characteristics of households do not significantly determine their willingness to pay for the removal of rice husk from the farmland. Purposive sampling technique was used to select rice production and rice milling areas while random sampling technique was used to select the respondents. Data were collected by the use of structured questionnaire. Data collected were analysed using mean score, contingency valuation method (CVM) - (tobit regression) and F-test. The result of the analysis showed that rice husk is generated in large quantities in the study area while rice husk utilization is still at rudimentary stage. Annual income, years of education, farm size, age and farming experience were positively related to households willingness to pay for the removal of rice husk from the farmland at 5% probability level while household size and distances of homes/farms from rice milling centers (RMCs) were inversely related to WTP with the pseudo R2 value of 77%. The mean WTP for the removal of rice husk from the environment was N960. The result from mean score used to identify the constraints to rice husk utilization indicated four major constraints to include: lack of awareness; cost of transportation; lack of environmental concern and insufficient information about proper use. Recommendation: Government should commercialize rice husk utilization since the findings showed that it was generated in high quantity in the study area to offer employment to people and at the same time solve the environmental problems created by uncoordinated disposal of rice husk that causes land air and water pollution and conserve the nation’s finite reserve of petroleum.

1.1      Background of the Study
Nigeria is West Africa's largest producer of rice, producing currently an average of 3.1 million metric tonnes of paddy rice annually (International Rice Research Institute, 2015). Rice cultivation is widespread within Nigeria extending from the northern to the southern zones with most rice grown in the eastern and middle belt of the country (Fakayode, 2009). The demand for rice has increased at a much faster rate in Nigeria than in other West African countries. For example, during the 1960’s, Nigeria had the lowest per-capita annual consumption of rice in the sub-region, averaging 3kg (Oselebe, Ogah, Odo, & Ogbu, 2013). Per-capita consumption levels grew significantly at 7.3% per annum, averaging 18kg in the 1980’s and 22kg in 1995-1999 (Oselebe et al., 2013). By 2008 it rose to 32kg, with per capita consumption in the urban areas averaging 47kg (Adejumo-Ayibiowu & Bamidele, 2010). Rice production rose gradually over the years with area expansion driven by population growth and urbanization, to surpass other major rice producing countries (Daramola, 2005).

Rice is an important staple food for approximately half of the world population (Slayton & Timmer, 2008). More than 70 countries produce rice though China, India and Indonesia are the major producers (FAOSTAT, 2012). To produce rice, co-product such as rice husk is generated in the rice milling process. This husk accounts for approximately 20-23% of total paddy rice weight (rice crop weight) (IRRI, 2008). Rice husk is one of the most widely available agricultural wastes in many rice producing countries of the world (Kumar, Sangwan, Dhankhar, Mor, & Bidra, 2013). Husks also known as hulls are the hard protecting coverings of grains of rice to protect the seed during the growing season. It is one of the potential biomass sources, but light and bulky. The husk is formed from hard materials. The husk is mostly indigestible to humans. It is removed from rice seed as a by-product during the milling process, and forms 20-23% by weight of the paddy processed. The quantity of rice milling by-products generated in Nigeria annually was estimated at about 1,032,993.6 metric tonnes (National agricultural extension and research liaison services & Projects coordinating unit, 2004). Rice husk is used as a value added raw material for different purposes. It possesses various properties that make them suitable for bioethanol production (Sudiyani & Muryanto, 2012). Rice husk biomass is made up of three polymers like cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin. Rice husk like other lignocellulosic biomass feedstock has been explored as the cheapest feedstock for bio-ethanol production. It is essentially free as waste product from agricultural sector and forest residues. Utilization of these wastes could solve the disposal problem and reduce the cost of waste treatment (Sudiyani & Muryanto, 2012). When rice husk is incinerated, ash is obtained which is called rice husk ash (Megawati, Wahyudi, Sediawan, Hary, Sulistyo & Muslikhin, 2010).

The rice milling process involves cleaning, hulling and post-hulling processes (whitening, polishing and grading), which combined will produce several rice by-products. The percentage of rice by-products is dependent upon several factors, such as the milling rate and variety of rice. An ideal milling process will yield 20-23% husk, 8-12% bran depending on the milling degree and 68-72% milled rice or white rice, depending on the variety (IRRI, 2009). During the milling processes, the husks are removed from the raw grain to reveal whole brown rice, which may then sometimes be milled further to remove the bran layer, resulting in white rice. Rice husk is a common agricultural residue (IRRI, 2009).

The Federal Government of Nigeria has focused on agriculture as a means of diversifying the current crude oil dependent economy and rice is one of the agricultural products that have been earmarked for scaling up. Rice husk is produced in large quantity in the three agricultural zones of Ebonyi State of Nigeria namely; Ebonyi North, Ebonyi Central and Ebonyi South. Rice husk dumps are increasing in alarming proportions in these regions especially in Abakaliki where Abakaliki rice mill industry which is the first milling industry in Ebonyi state is located. For every 1000kgs of paddy milled, about 220kgs (23%) of husk is.....

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Item Type: Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 82 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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