n South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences - Socio-economic consequences of technical change in palm fruit processing in Osun State, Nigeria : economics




The traditional palm fruit processing method is basically manual, but is currently undergoing changes. This study identifies the stages that have been mechanised in traditional processing methods and the socio-economic implications of the technical change to assist decision-making on the superiority or otherwise of the mechanised (modern) method over the traditional method used by processors in Osun State of Nigeria. Primary data were collected during the 2004 production season with the aid of a structured questionnaire on the production resources and outputs of the two methods. These were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics, budgetary technique dominance and sensitivity analyses, and attitudinal measure. <br>Results indicate that only two (pounding to form paste and cracking) of the stages identified in the traditional method were mechanised in the modern method. This resulted in greater efficiency of palm oil extraction, higher labour productivity, more income to stakeholders, greater market orientation, increased volume of operation and unchanged product types and quality. Other consequences are the creation of one additional group of stakeholders (machine owners), dominance, resilience to adverse yield and machine charges by 27 per cent and 150 per cent, respectively; more favourable attitude, less drudgery and health hazards, less labour requirements (female) and lower processing time in the modern method than the traditional method. This made the modern method a better choice, which could boost palm oil production at the aggregate level.


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