The study was undertaken to assess farmer’s practices in processing and marketing of crayfish in Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria. Ninety crayfish farmers systematically selected from two zones, four blocks and twelve circles formed sample for the study. An interview schedule was used to collect data while percentage, mean score and multiple regression were used in data analysis. Findings show that the majority (95.6%) of the respondents processed their crayfish by smoking, using fire wood (87.7%). On the average, they produced 12.52 bags (1bag=19 kg) of crayfish monthly and packaged/stored them in big cellophane (73.3%) and raffia (72.2%) bags. Greater proportion (81.1%) of the respondents sold their crayfish after processing to retailers (61.1%) at local markets (91.1%). They earned
N169,000 (approximately 551 US Dollars) and made expenses worth N57,400 (approximately 187 US Dollars) monthly from crayfish business. Hence, their monthly profit was N111,600 (approximately 364 US Dollars). Eighty four percent of the respondents indicated dry season and specifically November (55.6%) as season and month of the highest sale of crayfish. Age (t= 2.372; p= 0.021) and quantity (bags) of crayfish processed in a month (t= 3.032; p= 0.003) were determinants of monthly income of the crayfish farmers. Inability to pay for labour during processing due to lack of cash (M=1.79) and having eye problem due to smoke from the open fire and backache due to prolonged bending down during smoking/processing of crayfish (M=1.78) were major challenges of the respondents in processing of crayfish. Unavailability of credit and competition from other crayfish marketers (M=1.62 each) were major challenges of the respondents in processing of crayfish. The study recommends that extension agents, researchers and business administrators should teach and boost the competencies of the farmers on modern ways of processing and marketing of agricultural products through government and non-government sponsored trainings and workshops. This will boost both quality of crayfish and agricultural products processed, marketed, consumed locally and possibly create opportunity for their exportation and more income.
Key words: Farmers, processing, marketing, crayfish, Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria.
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