Marketing Agricultural Product Of Rice In Ebonyi State

Marketing Agricultural Product Of Rice In Ebonyi State


Sometime in the past, long before oil rigs, pipe lines and refineries become part of the country’s physical and economic land scope, Nigeria fed its over 120 million population from its agricultural output.

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Then agriculture was the major revenue source for Nigeria. It was a surprising thing that agriculture suddenly lost its prime position in the economy’s revenue contribution to a sudden upsurge in crude oil production. Not withstanding, whatever may be happening in the agricultural sector of the nations economy, agriculture still continue to be the broad base of the economies, as well as the most dominant sector in terms of the volume of employment generation for the teaming labour force of the country. It is an obvious thing that most governments never failed to acknowledge the important and impact of agriculture in our national life but they have failed to give it the needed attention.
Consequently, upon the above statements, one would smartly ask what about the nations? This is relevant to known because marketing obviously serves as the life wire of the economy without which there will barely be the need for any production in the economic complexities of today’s societies different form what obtain in the early man’s subsistence economy.
Thus the truth is not far fetched, it is contended that efficient marketing of agricultural products can indirectly increase their production by reducing waste and thereby increasing marketable surplus. At this point, looking into the marketing of Ebonyi’s agricultural product is called for because since production is adduced the most basic process in the world economy, marketing is the second most basic process only to production. (i.e.agriculture). Both had therefore remained, and will continue to remain complementary in order to fulfill the task of satisfying man’s needs.
In the same manner, it is necessary to focus our search light, especially at this time, on the marketing of agricultural product in Ebonyi state particularly in appreciating the fact that the prices of rice continues to rise higher and biting even harder including in the rural areas the base of agricultural activities of the state. Thus, it becomes most important at this juncture to appraise the marketing process of agricultural products in the state as  this could be one of the reasons why there is still  evidences of agriculture constituting a very important sector of the Nigerian economy.
Finally, Inyimagu rice mill which serves as a case study is a rural area in Abakaliki local government of Ebonyi state. This place has enough landmass, which make settlers/ farmer their main occupation. They product rice, cassava, pineapple, groundnut, maize, vegetable etc in this study the focus will be marketing of rice in Ebonyi state.
In carrying out some of its functions, Inyimagu rice mill engages in the production and marketing of agricultural products. But one can ask,
(i)    How efficiently and effectively is this community performing and handling these two functions?
(ii)     Are its production units producing, and if yes, is there sufficient or enough supplies from the production unit?
(iii)     What is the nature of existing marketing system of these establishment and is the system appropriate?
(iv)     Are they satisfying the demand of her markets?
Before answers to the above questions can be supplied, research work must be conducted and carried out. This study therefore intends to research on these questions to find out what the situation is in Inyimagu Rice Mill
The purpose of this study is strictly to provide answers to the problems earlier defined. Accordingly, the study aims at carrying out an empirical and detailed study on the production and marketing of agricultural products of rice.  In doing this, the researcher intends to:
1.    Investigate and appraisal the production and marketing activities of the establishment.
2.    Consequent upon the appraisal, the study intends to find out the production and marketing problems of Inyimagu Rice Mill.
3.    Know the role of marketing function that should be performed by Inyimagu Rice Mill in the course of marketing its products will be established.
4.    Lastly the study is geared towards making recommendations. Such recommendations will aim at improving the production and marketing activities of Inyimagu Rice Mill thereby helping them to achieve it objectives.
This research work is significant in many ways.
(i)    One, it will provide the researcher an opportunity to match the classroom theoretical knowledge to which she is more familiar and the practical aspect of her programme that involves interaction with people, her market proper.
(ii)    It shall add to whatever is already known in relation to agricultural products marketing in Ebonyi state, and possibly, depending on the finding of the research, suggest new trend in the marketing functions and efforts with a view of making agricultural  products more readily available and at an affordable price.
(iii)    The result of this work shall enable Inyimagu Rice Mill  review its production and marketing activities so as to adopt  the consumers needs, thereby positioning itself well for a healthy and planned growth.
(iv)    The nation at large will benefit from the study in that the improvement in the operations of Inyimagu Rice Mill resulting from this study will increase production and marketability of agricultural products.
Finally, other social needs such as provision of employment opportunities will be expose through the study too. Through effective and efficient agricultural marketing and consequent realization of profit, the farmers will be motivated and induced to invest more in agriculture and search for improved means of production in order to increase output.
In this research I assume the following:
1.    That Inyimagu Rice Mill will have marketing department as well as marketing manager.
2.    The using of the 4p’s in marketing of the rice to their customers.
3.    The management and all the respondents will read and answer the questionnaire honestly and objectively.
Finally, that Inyimagu Rice Mill will also have sales force in marketing of rice.
This study sought answers to the following research questions:
1.    The supplies from the production unit are sufficient?
2.    Is marketing system existing in Inyimagu Rice Mill
3.    Is the demand of their consumer satisfied?

The following hypotheses will be tested:
1.    There is Adequate supply, of rice from production unit of Inyimagu Rice Mill.
2.    The existing marketing system of Inyimagu Rice Mill is appropriate
3.    Is demand of rice from customers of Inyimagu Rice Mill satisfied?
This study covers only Inyimagu Community, their management and settlers in Abakaliki local government of Ebonyi state for want of time and resources to cover other Rice Mill.
Finally, the study also delimits itself to rice only which is one of the products produced by Inyimagu community.

For easy apprehension and convenience, the researcher wished to split this chapter into two broad sections. The first section shall be the theoretical background of the work a sort of plat form on which the research work shall rest. The researcher believes will give the readers some insights into what the topic is all about.
The second section – the review of related literature, shall consider and judge carefully the works of other people in  related area in the past. This review shall expose us to the mode and outcomes of others’ works in related area in the past.
The main objective of all marketing efforts is to satisfy consumers’ wants at profit so that producers of the means of satisfying these wants will be adequately compensated and be able to continue in business. It involves all activities directed towards identifying the needs of the consumer creating form for these needs and converting these needs into wants. According to Kotler (1990) marketing is simply refers to any “human activity directed at satisfying needs and wants through exchange process”. Rodger (1965) also defines marketing as the primary function of management that organizes and directs the aggregate business activities involved in converting the consumers’ purchasing power into effective demand for a specific goods or service so that organization objective is achieved. Owing to the foregoing definitions, the fundamental responsibility of marketing is the satisfaction of human needs (food, shelter and clothing) and wants (association, prestige, education, marriage etc).
Marketing of course, does not take place just because there are some needs and wants to satisfy and perhaps the means (money and products) of satisfying them are available.  Rather marketing takes place when the consumer decides to part with his money or other valuable for the product he decides to have. Agriculture on the other hand according to Kohl and UhI (1980) is refers to “the art and science of the cultivation of the land for purposes of growing foodstuff for both human and animal consumption”.  So, marketing of agricultural products refers to the parting of money for agricultural product by a consumer or resellers or the way round, the parting of the product for money by the producer (farmer) or trader. In a simple language, it is the performance of those activities that direct the free flow of agricultural products to the ultimate consumers and industrial users at a profit so as to keep the farmer in his farming operations.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that marketing is not restricted to the business firms. But its scope of terrain cuts across everything individual does which have effects on or some bearings on the other person in the society. Thus what the farmer in the remotest area of the state does is of very great important to marketing. It is worth of note that there will hardly be anything like “business” in the first place, if there is no production, be it agricultural or industrial. An appraisal of the above definition x-rays that marketing is all about the performance of economic activities, with integrated managerial effort, aimed at satisfying customers/consumers’ wants. So, marketing is variously defined but with these ingredients stated above forming bedrock. Thus, the faculty of marketing, Ohio State University, U.S.A once defined marketing as “the process in a society through which the demand for economic goods and service is anticipated or enlarged through the conception, promotion, exchange and physical distribution of such goods and services”.
However, a lot of factors have played to make Nigerian not well disposed about the practice and purpose of marketing not with standing Nigeria’s capitalist nature more like than socialist.
In other words, marketing is the most neglected area of managerial function in Nigeria (and) is the area in which the nation’s development needs are most or greatest.
To this effect, even industrialists hardly or appreciate the marketing implications of their business undertakings before going into it. Worst still for the agriculturist, or better still for the farmer who farms because it is his “tradition vocation and so need not bother himself about the marketing of his outputs. Moreso, not with standing what is happening presently, we need marketing concept and perspective in the handling of our agricultural products because “marketing management tries to satisfy consumers within the content or tenet of the environments and the firms resources and objects by creating and designing appropriate marketing mix i.e 4ps” Kotler (1990). By marketing mix, the researcher is referring to the internal variables of marketing, product, place, promotion and price, the four P’s. All these substantially and enormously affect the marketing of any product, agricultural product inclusive.
PRODUCT: It refers to anything an object, a service or an idea etc that can be offered for exchanged and capable of satisfying consumers needs and wants. If we agree with Kotler (1990) that “a product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, acceptances, use or consumption, (and that)it includes physical objects, services, personalities, places, organizations and idea,” then we will see every reason why agricultural outputs are products. Following the study of Jacobson and Aaker on “the strategic role of product Quality”, it was shown that product quality helps to advantageously and favourably determine its acceptability and as a means of gaining competitive and comparative advantage in the market.
PLACE: (Distribution). Having satisfied that a seller’s products are of good quality, the marketing problems have not all solved. As a matter of fact, “Place” as one of the 4P’s hold the prime position in making a product sell or otherwise. This refers to transportation, physical distribution/handling, storage and all other related activities which see or ensure that not only does the product get to the point of sale but reach the final point of consumption in good form/order. Physical handling \distribution according to Kotler (1990) “consists of all activities related and concerned with moving the right amount of the right product to the right place at the right time” which without, action sales will not be made or taken place. The choice of a channel of distribution is considerably influenced by the market characteristic which are not merely a matter of customers, but their purchase behaviour and decision making also.
In the same manner, customer service levels of inventory planning/management, warehousing and servicing, store/depot location decisions are not only important but collectively determinants of what modes of transportation employed by companies. Thus, a realistic view of physical distribution system in that the network  consists of one or more storage point(s) interconnected by series of transportation linkages” Stanton (1993).
PROMOTION: The promotion of a product could come by way of novelties, demonstrations, sample, contests, special offer deals, trade fair, packaging, designs, premiums, coupon, incentives etc. Quoting American marketing association, promotion implies all those sales activities that supplement both personal selling and advertising and harmonize them and help to make them effective such as displays, shows and expositions, demonstrations and other non-recurrent selling effort not in the ordinary routine.
PRICE:  This is the only important element in the marketing mix that produces revenue, the other elements produce costs. However it is the most sensitive and most difficult of the 4P’s to handle by the marketer. As a result, the role and relevance of price-product relationship in marketing cannot be over emphasized. The task is even more difficult in the Nigerian market where price indexing is the thing in practice.
Moreover, the average Nigerian agricultural producer may part with his product at a reasonable market prices down the channels of distribution. “there are too many cases of unfair dealings with the customers through various profiting practices. (and) many Nigerian retails take joy in quotation of prices that give them more than fair profit at the expires of the customers”. This development slows down the tempo and rate of marketing activities in the market place and leads to not clearing or disposing off all products brought to the market for sales. No doubt, in the case of agricultural products where at best, there is very inefficient and inadequate facilities for storage and preservation purposes, this could lead to preservation purposes, this could lead to wastage and malnutrition.
Consequently, the saying “man has to eat” is a reminder that food is essential not only in human terms, but also in terms of the political survival of any government. This fact underpins the reason why some notable scholars have written different articles on the production and marketing of farm products. The aims of such articles have primarily based on improving the production and marketing of agricultural products.  The first among the reviewed works was the research work of Osuji C. O (1980) on “Rice Marketing in Abeokuta  L.G.A of Ogun State of Nigeria. A functional Approach “This research was conducted with a view of ascertaining.
i.    The portion of marketing costs that goes to transportation.
ii.    The portion of the marketing margin that goes to the intermediaries (that is wholesalers and retailer) and to, determine both the cost and period of   storage.
Stemming from these objectives, Osuji hypothesized that:
i.    The markets for agricultural products are loosely inter-related, that prices of the same commodities vary very significantly from one market to the other.
ii.    There is no competition between whole selling and retailing trades, thus prices differential between spatially separated markets tends to be greater than transportation costs.
iii.    Rice marketing margins are not consistent with marketing costs.
The data for the study were collected from rice farmers, wholesalers and retailers in Abeokuta L.G.A of Ogun State by means of questionnaires and observations. Osuji C.O. observed that there is no striking difference between prices at the source of production and consumption, that distribution of rice at Abeokuta is essentially performed by middlemen, classified into farm gate middlemen as the group or class of distributors who restricts their trading activities to the village inspite of their occasional or rare trips to outside market”. This resembles the group of middlemen Ilori called collecting middlemen.
In determining the factors that influence wholesalers margin and the relationship between the retail prices and the wholesale price the study used ordinary least Squares Multiple Regression Analysis “t” and “f” statistics. Regression equations were also used to capture the coefficient of some of the marketing functions as storage and processing. The result from the marketing functions as storage and processing.
The result from the study disclosed that:
i.    Wholesalers performed marketing function according to or in line with the cost they incurs
ii.    The margin for both the wholesalers and retailers were comparative by lower to what obtained in other developing countries. Wholesalers gross margin was about 49% while profit margin was 34% of the total marketing margin. The retailers profit margin on the other hand was as low as 6%.
iii.    Thirdly, it was discovered that the wholesalers were not exploitative even though marketing costs might be high. This implies that a high marketing cost does not necessarily mean market inefficiency. Wholesale and retrial prices were not arbitrarily fixed or put by the middlemen. These findings therefore concluded that the charge of exploitation often leveled against the middlemen and which cannot be substantiated, evidence insufficiency of physical marketing supporting facilities such as storage facilities, inaccessibility of the feeder roads, and the under utilization of the rice mills which resulted in high processing costs.
A second reviewed literature was the work of C.O Ilori (1967) in his article captioned “Economic organization of traditional markets in Yoruba Land”. He delved into the marketing of farm products. The survey on which his study is based was designed to study the trading activities of the sedentary traders in the markets. Since his study is limited to the sedentary trader only rather than involving all the stages of distribution, he discussed in a general way the various channels most commonly used in the distributive trade.
According to him, two important factors govern the channel through which a farm product passes to reach the ultimate consumer. He listed the factors as “the form in which the product is sold, (the more processed a product is, the longer the chain of distribution tends to be) and the type and proximity of markets (the nearer the market to the producing points or areas, the shorter the chain of distribution tends to become)”. In the distribution of these products he saw farm products being poured into a reservoir from which they trickle down through (to) the exchange levels. At each exchange point or juncture, there is a market and goods either continue down the system or leak out into the hands of the consumer. He was of the opinion that distributors normally wait for buyer who may be consumers, retailers or wholesaler to come and make purchases. This shows that little or on effort is made by sellers or producers to push their goods through the distribution channels by sales promotion and advertising. The above statement reaffirms Osuji’s dispensation that wholesalers were not exploitative.
Infact, distribution system he opined is made up of large number of (numerous) buyers and seller each obtaining his supplies at the efficient for his own peculiar circumstances or situations. Bouer (1    983) agreed on this when he observed that “in the southern part Nigeria and the Gold Coast, everybody is involved in trade and this is scarcely an exaggeration”. Illoris reason was due to lack of specialization by trade. Such deficiency creates a forum where sellers in one level of distribution can also participate in other levels. In share of same idea, Bouer(1983) put it in this way in general all those who engage in a particular stage of distribution are also likely to participate in subsequent stages.”
A third reviewed literature was the work on “the food and Fiber System: How it work” by D.J Bowersox (1975) the secretary, U.S Department of Agriculture. He noted that the process of meeting food and fiber needs involves much more than farming. He further observed that, “Food marketing encompasses all the business activities involved in the flow of products and services from producer to consumers. It includes many activities beyond the farm gate farm input supply, for exchange, as well as both marketing and processing of agricultural products’. Since the concept of marketing is universal, the above definition of food marketing also applies/ holds to Nigeria and in Ebonyi state.
Food marketing system is usually a complex and long chains of channels, which include the farmers, the bulkers, wholesalers, retailers and the consumers. It also involves the use of varied marketing facilities, for storage, preservation and transfer among others. Darrah (1971) held/ shared the same view. According to him, “marketing is a productive process that adds form, place time and position utility to farm commodities”. The value so added in the food marketing process complements the original productive process of farming and makes such product more useful to human need.
However, in Nigeria where we still have seller’s market. It is a different ball game altogether. This stems from the fact that most products are in short supply, and as such consumers (buyers) pay less attention to whether or not the marketing process has added the necessary value adequately to complement the productive process of farming. This proves that the statement that “the consumer is king” has its limitations in the present day market of Ebonyi state, Nigeria, and infact most developing countries of the world.
Also reviewed was the work of C.R Handy and Ptaff (1975) on “consumer satisfaction with food products and market services”. They found out that the overall ruler and co-coordinator of marketing activity of any solely private enterprise economy (such as Nigeria) is the consumer. Of Course, the mentally of marketing (as we saw in our earlier definitions) any agricultural product, is basically the satisfaction of consumers. Both scholars’ opinion was that food marketing firms serve as means to this ultimate goal and that any attempt to not recognizing and respecting the primary of consumer preferences in the economic system would see the firm(s) falling out of grace with consumers and the entire society. These scholars brough to the core once again that “the consumer is king”. Yes, this may be so, but certainly the degree of his kingship varies from one economy to another.
Thus in Nigeria, as observed above, (the doctrine of consumer sovereignty) does not hold too much water due to severe and perennial shortages of essential too items and other commodities. The above statement does in any case contradict the researchers’ assertion that “consumers exercise by their sovereignty over the food industry by their dollar voting, rewarding firms and activities that please them and withholding approval from others’. Without prejudice to the foregoing, the fact remains that although consumers may be ignorant, fickle, irrational and capricious, the more successful firms are those who obey them as the kings which they are. So in Ebonyi state, consumer preference and Naira votes still direct the trend of production in a great many factories. Koh’s and Uhi(1980) share this view entirely. According to them, although food processors might prefer square tomatoes to round ones due to easier handling and packaging, or flour millers prefer white flour packed in 25kg leather bar to brown flour in 50kg synthetic bags, in both cases, they is no choice, no alternative than to abandon their own preferences for those of the market in so far as the later are strong enough. “failure to observe this would not only entail unnecessary expenditure in sales campaign planning and execution but may also send them folding and tumbling out of the market”.
In this work, it was further proved that the basic tack of the retailer is the provision of services. The retailer anticipates the customers want, acquired same at prices reasonable enough to porting his pricing them at a profit or competitively for resale purposes. The retailer also displays attractively (conspicuous displays) the wares in his store in such a way to lure/induce customers into his store, and too, endeavours to locate his store at a very strategic place for the sake of customers’ convenience. According to Hecker “one big job facing the food retailer is to receive the merchandise into the store, prepare it for display, price it, place it on the shelves and finally check it out”. His efficiency and expertise in handling these problems determines the price his customers will willingly want to pay and more importantly too his store traffic records.
Lastly reviewed was the work of Martin kriesbery (1989) in his article titles “marketing of food in Developing Nation-second phase of the war on Hunger’. Only his own contribution on the marketing of food was captioned. In the study, it was observed that the problem of world hunger lies on distribution of goods. This goes to support earlier observation made by Abel and Rajko (1970) that “the world probably will continue to have excess production capacity by (1990). Any problem on food shortage world arise out of the distribution of productive capacity of commodities among countries”. Kriesbeing enumerated factors that account for the pressure on food supplies and on the scale of marketing operation. The factors comprise population, rising income levels and migration of rural people to the urban areas of development countries.  His study revealed that the problem of developing countries on food lies mainly on the inadequacy of their marketing system in that;
i.    If the marketing system does not serve the interest and needs of the consumer there is a disincentive to higher production.
ii.    If the system does not bring the food to the consumer when he needs it and at prices he can afford them, higher production will have little effect on the war against hunger.  The study then recommended that food marketing in developing nation could be modernized or over hauled by:
a.    Encouraging more food production for commercial marketing.
b.    Reducing the losses in moving commodities from produces to consumers.
c.    Increasing the nutritional value of food.
d.    Increasing the processing and preserving of food.
e.    Supplementing commercial channels of distribution.
Keiesbery’s assertion that the problem of developing countries on food lies mainly on the inadequacy of their marketing system is doubtful and questionable.  While it will be agreed that the efficient food distribution can indirectly increase food production by reducing wastes and thereby increasing marketing surplus, the problem of developing countries on food is mainly a combination or interplay of insufficient production and inadequate marketing system.  This is evidenced by massive importation of food items by developing countries and the inability of such items to reach certain segment of the market mostly the rural dwellers.
Thus, a close study of the reviewed literature will disclose their relevance to and bearing on the problem of study.  As a matter of fact, all of them directly or tangentially deal with the marketing of agricultural food crops.  So it is the candid opinion of the researcher that the foregoing literature review exercise will be very handy and of great help in doing justice to the research problem at hand.


Inyimagu community  is a government created community purported to provide job and food for the country.  It performs a vast range of Agricultural activities based on improved practices.  Under the programme, these settlers are supplied with improved crops varieties at subsidized rates and also posted to them some Agricultural extension staffs to direct them on what to do and how to do it, by the ministry of Agriculture.
Such assistance is in line with one of the objective of government in creating this community, which is, undertakes the large-scale multiplication of improved seeds, livestock and food for the country.  An examination of these activities in terms of their characteristics as well as their pattern of linkage and interaction is deemed basic to understanding the production and marketing of products of the community, such an examination is believed will points out possible direction for improvement.
The activities are discussed with reference to the following:-
1.    Production areas and characteristics of the products
2.    Existing marketing system.
3.    Evaluation of the existing marketing system.
Inyimagu community  produces a number of agricultural product bases on improved practices.  The settlers in the created villages of the community are the producers of Inyimagu community products through improved agricultural practice programme.  These products are: Rice and others such as cassava, maize and garden produce.
4.1.1 Palm oil:  It is grown in open fields that have average rainfall for almost the year round.  These crops shed their fruits very easily.   So that much of the fruits are wasted on the farm especially when harvesting is delayed.  Inyimagu community cultivates rice at all the created villages.  The management stated that rice is their major product.  To verity the authenticity of the claim question 4 were asked which of the products are produced by Inyimagu community.
Table 1:  Response Rate for Products Produced by Inyimagu community
Products    No                  Of  Response.    Percentage of Response.
Palm oil    11    10.7
Cassava    23    22.3%
Rice    44    42. 7%
Maize    15    14. 6%
Garden produce    10    9.7%
TOTAL    103    100 %
The above table shows that 42.7% which is the highest percentage of response goes to rice.  Thus, the management claim that rice is their major product was justified by the settler’s response.  Though the community was crated in 1962, rice production was started in 1963.  Each settlers has rice plantation area ranging from 9 acres to 12 acres (ie 3 3/5 hectares to 4 hectares).
Rice:  Rice is grown in irrigated fields and swampy grounds near rivers or other fields that have heavy rainfall for almost the year round (upland).  These crops shed their grains very easily, so that much of the grains are wasted on the farm especially when harvesting is delayed.  Rice is cultivated in the three created villages of the community.  Each settler has a hectare of landmass for cultivation of rice.  The community started rice production in 1964.
Maize: It is a cereal crop normally planted during the early rain of the years.  It has high demand for local and industrial consumption.  In the area, of livestock feeds and processing of corn flour.  Usually, a high proportion of this crop is lost through insect infestation and contamination during production storage.  Inyimagu community cultivates maize at the three villages the community started the production of maize in 1963.
Cassava: it is a root tuber plant normally planted during the early rains of the year.  It has also high demand for local and industrial consumption.  In the area of industry, cassava is used in manufacture of livestock feeds and processing of flour and cassava starch.  Usually, a high proportion of this plant is lost through pest infestation, wild bush burning and contamination during production and storage.  Inyimagu community cultivates cassava at all the three village.  The community started the production of cassava in 1962.
Garden Produce:  (Vegetables)
Inyimagu community also cultivates vegetable at all the village in he community. Among the vegetable produced by the community are:  garden eggs, tomatoes, pepper, melon, felfania (ugu) etc.  All these vegetable produced are necessary for local consumption.  Usually, a high proportion of these vegetables are lost through pests infestation, wild bush burning and rotten during production storage.  Inyimagu community  started the production of vegetable in 1964 at all the three villages.
The existing marketing system of Inyimagu community will be discussed with particular reference to the following:
a.    The marketing outlets.
b.    Distribution of the products
c.    Pricing
d.    Promotion
The marketing outlets
Inyimagu community rice mill has no specialized or functional marketing outlet.  It is expected to have functional farmers co-operative, which could not actualize due to civil war, which broke off in 1966.  This co-operative would have charged with the duty of marketing the commodity’s product.  Still the community have as its marketing outlet, the production area.  More so, from the organizational and functional point of view of this marketing outlet, it is more of a sales outlet than marketing outlet.  “Selling focuses on the need of the buyers”.  Theodore evil (1960.45).  Selling is preoccupied with the seller’s need to convert his product into cash while marketing concerns itself with the idea of satisfying the needs a of customers by means of products and the whole cluster of things associated with creating, delivering and finally consuming them.
Distribution of the Products
Conventionally, most agricultural products are sold directly to the consumers.  This could be because of the perish ability nature of these products.  In other to find out the situation in Inyimagu community, the researcher asked (settler and management) respondents what their channel of distribution is?
Table ii:  Summarizes their response
Channel of Distribution Table
Response    No of Respondents    % of Responses
Producer  Ultimate Consumers    37                  36%
Porducer    Middle Agents consumers    66                  64%
Total    103                100%
The above table shows that of 103 respondents.  36% or 37 said that their channel of distribution is from producer to ultimate consumers.  64% or 66 respondents said that their channel of distribution is from producer to middle agent to ultimate consumers.  This shows that the distribution channel of Inyimagu community is not a conventional one.  In other words, the community sells indirectly to the ultimate consumers.  The probable reasons could be since they product for mass consumption, they want their produce to reach as many people as possible and also sell off large quantity of these products to avoid much wastage and deterioration due to lack of storage facilities.
Infact, the settlers sell to individual customers as much quantity as he could buy.  The sellers equally extend their sales to nearby local markets in their area of operation.  This behavior could be as a result of the reasons earlier mentioned.  That is to ensure that they sell off all they produced to avoid wastage.
Price:  Price represents the quantity of resources that must be given up in other to enjoy a particular product or service.  Every product or service has its price for it is through price and payment thereof, that producers recover their costs of production and achieve their margin of profit.  Inyimagu rice mill has no pricing objectives.  Settlers sell their wares at prices agreed by the buyer.  That is to say that price are determined by the bargaining habit of the customer.  The settlers aim at selling off all they produce.  In doing so, they do not maintain any pricing policy.  This offers different prices to buyers buying the same quantity and quality of product from the same marketing outlet.  To ascertain the views of the settlers on the prices of these products, they were asked how they will rate the price of the products of Inyimagu rice mill in comparing with similar agricultural products in the market.

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Table III Shows their response
Rating of Price of Inyimagu community Products with Market Prices of Similar Products
Response    No of Re2spondents     % Of Response
Costly               10                9.7%
Cheap                 26              25.2%
Relatively costly                 42              40.8%
Relatively cheap                 25               24.3%
Total                103               100%
The above table shows that out of 103 respondents, 9.7% or 10 responded that the price are costly, 25.2% or 26 responded that the price are cheap while 40.8% or 42 respond that they are relatively costly. 24. 3% or 25 responded that they are relatively cheap.  Thus greater percentage of the respondents was of the opinion that the prices are relatively costly.
4.2.4 Promotion:  Promotion is any activity undertaken by an organization to promote the marketability or sale ability of its products, ideas, or services.  It has three main components, which include personal selling, advertising and special sales promotion.  Inyimagu rice mill has ready market for most of its products.  Owing to this and the community’s ignorance of what promotion is, promotional activities are often completely neglected.  To ascertain how the consumers are being informed of the products, the settlers and the management were asked what are the means of informing consumers of Inyimagu community.
Table IV shows their responses
Means of Informing Consumers of Products of Inyimagu community.
Response    No of Respondents    % Of Response
Through Advertising    0    0%
Through settlers    70    68%
Through handbills    13    13%
Through middle Agents    20    19%
Through special sales promotion    0    0%
Total     103

The above table shows that out of 103 respondents none of them said that consumers are informed of their products through advertising 70 or 68% of the respondents said that consumers are informed of the products through settlers.  13 or 13% said that consumers are informed of the products through handbills.  20 or 19% said that consumers are informed of the products through middle agents.  5 or 5% said that consumers are informed of the products through special sales promotion.  This shows that the community has no program for advertising and special sales promotion. The above statement is substantiated by argument adduced by one the settler that since we can sale all that we produced there is no gain keeping a high flame under a boiling pot.
In discussing the evaluation of the existing marketing system of Inyimagu community settlement, the outlines to be followed are:
a.    Nature and organization of the marketing outlets.
b.    Product strategy.
c.    Place strategy.
d.    Pricing strategy.
e.    Promotion strategy.
Marketing Outlet
By allowing the farmers or setters to perform the marketing functions, Inyimagu rice mill entrusts its marketing functions in the hands of non-marketing professionals.  It was earlier mentioned in this book that Inyimagu rice mill has no specialized marketing department or unit.  The farmers know more of the technicalities of cultivating principles and little if none about marketing concepts.
None of the farmers has any specialized training in marketing.
Product Strategy Evaluation
The product strategy of the community is not encouraging.  The community is helpless over what becomes its product mix.  Same goes for its strategy and positioning.  From observation, one would possibly say that rice mill is resting on its oars as far as product strategy is concerned.  As a matter of fact, the settlers sell their products not as a result of any possible marketing efforts on their parts but because as the saying goes, a healthy mind thrives in a healthy body and so man must eat to maintain his equilibrium.  More so, the supply of agricultural product is seasonal.  During periods of harvest, these settlers are faced with the problem of storage that they quickly sell away their products at give away prices.
Distribution Strategy Evaluation
The community’s way of distribution, which aims at reaching the consumers through the middle agents, is quite okay.  This is because; the middle agents provide most of the argumented services to the product needed by the consumers, which the settlers do not provide.  These agents also try their best to add some pep into the products they handle.
However, it is not uncommon seeing traders who buy foodstuffs like yams, vegetable, tomatoes etc. wash or rewash them before selling same.  But from observation, there is still a lot of room for improvement, and government should feel concerned about this.
The settlers also provide storage services in the community.  Storage is important because it preserves goods from spoilage and adds value to them by way of keeping them through periods of harvest or low need and value to post harvest periods when demand may be even higher.  Storage therefore is the surest, quickest and most effective way of increasing the marketable output of the community and the satisfaction of the consumers alike.  It is also the key to effective adjustment of demand and supply trends throughout the season such that both the farmers, traders and consumers economic welfare will be enhanced.  In the community presently, there is a very low level of availability of storage facilities.  Farmers still store their farm outputs in very simple, crude and outdated ways including the use of barns, pits, roof racks, grass soils etc.  Not only these methods are very inadequate, they are also comparatively inefficient as they have no full proof to the attacks of hard weather conditions, pests and bacterial actions.  Under this traditional system of storage, there is practically nothing or very little for storage of fruits and vegetables.  As a result, farmers do everything humanly possible to dispose off these commodities as soon as they are harvested.
Pricing Strategy Evaluation
There is no systematic pricing policy in the community.  Most of the community’s products are not strictly homogeneous, and even where there are such factors as transportation, the tempo of marketing activities in different locations and with individual farmers, yield crop variety, supply and demand movement, approach of festivals, changing diet habits combine to make prices differ significantly.  Thus prices for most commodities are settled by the time consuming process of haggling between the buyers and sellers.  There are also no strict units of measurement.  For instance, where as cigarette cups are mostly used for measurement of grain produce-garri melon, rice, maize etc.  Though “Magic” cups still abounds, other commodities like yam, cassava, have no easy way of measurement except by basketful, heaps of hundreds or holding up the individual tubers for weighing purposes.  Generally, however, farmers here are always conscious of the prices they place on their products especially when they involve the easily perishable crops.
Promotion Strategy Evaluation
One of the fundamental responsibilities of good organization is the responsibility of informing their customers properly.  Even in the periods of shortages, it is a remarkable marketing strategy to inform the consumers of the reasons for shortages and when normal supply will likely commence.  This aspect of marketing mix is completely absent in the community under study that is, there is little or no advertising in the marketing of agricultural products of Inyimagu rice mill  Since the community is confident about steady sales and ignorant of the functions of promotion, there seems to be no need of spending money on promotional activity.  In the words of one of the settler.  “what is the need for advertising or promoting the products when we can sell all that we have for sell”

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1.    Hypothesis one was rejected meaning that there is not enough supply from the production unit of Inyimagu rice mill, which results from the following factors.
a.    Inadequate/Poor Financing
The importance of adequate financing for the smooth running of any organization cannot be over emphasized.  The system of financing the community causes delay in the allocation of funds.  This leads to late planting and low yield, which consequently affects supply of products to the market.
b.    Lack of Storage Facilities
Many agricultural products are perishable products and as such need adequate storage facilities.  The production unit of Inyimagu rice mill lacks adequate storage facilities.  Some of the settlers and management interviewed claimed that it reduces their production and supply to the market.
2.    Hypothesis two was rejected meaning that the existing marketing system of Inyimagu rice mill is inappropriate.  It is deficient with respect of the following.
a.    Lack of Marketing Outlets or Department:
The importance of functional marketing outlet or department in a production and marketing organization cannot be over emphasized.  The absence of this unit in Inyimagu rice mill makes for the community’s poor performance of marketing activities.
b.    Distribution Strategy: Inyimagu rice mill lacks vehicles for transportation of products from production unit to most of urban centers as well as rural areas outside its production units.  Products like palm oil, rice and garden produce are affected by this problem. Almost all he sells are made at the production units. As a result, purchase of these commodities is concentrated in hands of the few who travel down to these areas and those who live around the areas.
According to David Cull Wick (1975:51-57) the major problem for marketing management is how to allocate the available product supplies and maintain goodwill of customers. This is the problem here.
c.    Product Strategy: As earlier stated in the evaluation of existing marketing system of the Inyimagu rice mill, the community is facing an overfull demand state or temporary period of shortage. The shortage is regarded as temporal because there is the possibility of expanding production of the community. According to Kotler, (1976:11) this overfull demand state creates a corresponding marketing task known as demarketing.
d.    Marketing Research: Marketing research makes for coordinated planning and marketing activities. The idea suggested under ideal product strategy is functions of adequate marketing research. Efforts should be made to search for consumer taste and wants.  Adequate use should be made of other established research units whose services have a bearing on agricultural products.
e.    Promotional Strategy: It has been observed that Inyimagu rice mill  does not engage in any types or form of promotion.  To them, it is needless advertising when the existing demand had not been satisfied.  This is a negative approach to marketing and is not encouraging.  Being a government created community, consumers should know about the community and its functions.  One of the uses that it could be directed towards building demand for its new products, creating market awareness and interest.  Infact, the consumers should be informed and advertising is the most effective and efficient way to inform them.
f.    Hypothesis three was also tested and rejected:  This means that demands of customers of Inyimagu  rice mill are not satisfied.  It is deficient with respect to the findings in hypothesis one and two.
This work has been a case study of Inyimagu rice mill. The problem on hand has been to find out:
1.    Whether the production units of the community are producing and if yes, whether there are enough supplies from the units.
2.    If the existing marketing system of the commodity is appropriate and
3.    Whether the community is satisfying the demand of its customers.
In carrying out the study, observations, oral interview and questionnaire methods were employed in the data collection.  Various categories of respondents were interviewed.
In presenting the report, the activities of the authority were viewed from the following perspective namely:-
a.    The production units and characteristics of the products.
b.    The existing marketing system and the demand pattern.
c.    Evaluation of the existing marketing system.

There were done considering the fact that marketing process cannot be improved in the absence of direct integration of production and marketing.
The state null hypothesis were tested and the findings revealed the following.
i.    That there is not enough supply from the production units of Inyimagu rice mill resulting form the following:
a.    Inadequate/Poor Financing
b.    Lack of storage facilities.
ii.    That the existing marketing system of the community is inappropriate.  It is deficient with respect to the following:
a.    Lack of functional market outlet or unit.
b.    Distribution strategy in which transportation inadequacy was highlighted.
c.    Product strategy in which it was pointed out that the community is facing an overfull demand or temporary period of shortage.
d.    Lack of marketing research.
e.    Lack of promotion activities.

The following probable recommendations were made respectively for the findings in hypothesis.
a.    It is strongly recommended that the system of funding the community be modified in order to make funds available for it on time.   This will enable the community to make funds available to the production units (settlers) before the planting season approaches.  When this is done, it will enable the community to plant and harvest on time.
b.    It is therefore, suggested that adequate storage facilities be provided.  This will enable the community to store he surplus agricultural products during the peak of harvest from its settlers.  Such products should be for resell during periods of shortage.  However, if the settlers are assured of adequate storage facilities, they will be motivated to produce more and this will increase supply from the production units.
c.    It is therefore recommended that functional marketing department be provided.  This will enable the community to effectively handle its marketing activities of product strategy, pricing, promotion, physical distribution, research etc.  The recommended organizational chart is the one that will have a marketing department to be headed by a marketing manager, his immediate subordinates should be the purchasing and store manager, the general sales manager and the marketing service manager.  The purchasing and sore manger will be responsible for purchasing of all the needed inputs for the community.  He will be responsible for all the storage functions on the distribution of these goods to the marketing units for sales.  He should have as subordinates the store office, purchasing officer and the transport office.  The transport officer will assign vehicles for distribution responsibilities.
The general sales manager should co-ordinate the activities of the marketing units.  The salesmen should be accountable to him.  Marketing service manager will be responsible for rendering advertising and marketing research services to marketing officer as required.  His subordinates will include advertising manager and marketing research manager.  The main idea behind this marketing department is to create division of labour.  In as much as there will be co-ordination between the marketing and production units, there will be some elements of specialization.  The production units will be purely responsible for production while the marketing is done by the marketing outlet.  Equally, specialist in marketing will be in charge of all marketing functions.
d.    It is recommended that each production units should have enough vehicles for transportation of finished products.  This will avoid surplus products at one point and acute shortage at the other points.  The production units should also be provided with refrigerated vans for carrying perishable products.
e.    The community should consult agricultural Research Institute at Enugu, and the Nigeria Institute for rice research (NIFRR) in Abia state.  The organizations undertake research and offer advice on the improvement of quality, methods of storage and presentation and services for general agricultural development.  Adequate marketing research is therefore needed.

Thus, the exercise has been an existing one.  It is hoped that it would serve as a basis for any body who wishes to make further research into production and marketing activities of Inyimagu rice mill Inyimagu community.
An exercise of this nature is usually associated with difficulties of various kinds.  Like most research work being conducted in the developing countries, this study is subject to some inherent limitations, which include collection of data, finance and time.
There was problem in collecting primary data.  Some respondents out of fear of exposing societal secrets declined answering questions.  Since the researcher’s motives were not known, some relevant information were either with held or distorted.  There is always the fear of either exposure of business secrets or exposure of certain deficiencies.

There was also problem in collecting secondary data because not much has been written by Nigerian in the area of marketing of agricultural products.  Another problem is finance.  A large sum of money was needed for all the trips undertaken.  Typing of the questionnaire; manuscript and other incidentals were also supposed to have a faire share of the meager financial resources.
Finally, there was time constraint resulting to inability to cover all the relevant area of this study.  Not only was it incumbent upon the researcher to allocate greater part of his time to this paper, it was also almost impossible to avoid encroaching into the management’s of inyimagu community were granted at the management’s convenience and this often conflicted with the researchers time.

Marketing Agricultural Product Of Rice In Ebonyi State

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