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Abstract

The Returnable Plastic Crates (RPCs) was introduced into the tomato industry due to its effectiveness in curbing tomato postharvest losses in Nigeria; however, the level of adoption remains low. The study examines the factors including the socio-economic characteristics and barriers influencing the adoption of RPCs among tomato traders in Lagos state. The survey was carried out on 93 wholesalers and 152 retailers making a total of 245 traders in fourteen different markets in Lagos. A total of 72 traders were currently making use of the RPC while 173 were making use of baskets and other containers. Frequencies, percentages and Pearson’s chi-square distribution were employed to make useful inferences. The study found out that the income of the trader, their position in the value chain, the sex of the respondent, access to media and being a household head were major socioeconomic characteristics affecting the adoption of RPCs. Also, the inability of the RPCs to contain much tomatoes; high costs associated with the use of RPCs and the familiarity accustomed to the baskets were the major barriers hindering the adoption of RPCs. The study also discovered the overall low level of training programs of reducing tomato postharvest losses and minimal access to credit services among the tomato traders. Therefore, the study recommends appropriate policies that would increase the number and frequency of training programs, credit services and awareness through the media on reducing tomato postharvest losses through RPCs and other technologies. Also, the public and private institutions should pay more attention to the design, cost and availability of RPC to the traders.

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