Marketing of pineapple is as essential as its production since an effective marketing system helps to harmonize demand and supply and stimulate production. The study therefore analyzed returns to group marketing of pineapple in selected market of Osun state. The data for the study were randomly collected from twenty marketing groups (with five members from each group) with structured questionnaires. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, marketing margin and regression technique. The results show that 85% of the marketers gained considerably from group marketing and revealed a 10% reduction in loss of fruits when compared to the individual marketing effort. Marketing margin ranges from N26.92 to N1, 003.8 per dozen of pineapple. Marketing efficiency ranges from 1.01 to 1.35 with an average pooled efficiency of 1.17. The regression analysis revealed purchase cost, transport cost, labour cost, and cost of losses as significant factors influencing selling price of pineapple. Major problems identified by this type of marketers were difficulties in evacuating the fruit from farm to assembling center, high cost of transportation and poor state of available storage facilities.
Pineapple is a delicious fruit with fine flavour and high nutritive value. Its content makes it a good raw material in confectionery industries for making sweet, fruit drinks and household food additives (Hasegawa, et al, 1996). It has a medicinal value and a fragment consumption of pineapple juice immunes one against fever parasites (Hasegawa, et al, 1996). Marketing of pineapple cannot to be overemphasized considering the number of industries springing up which make use of pineapple as raw material for their production.
The national objective of the Agricultural Policies (increased food sufficiency and export) can only be achieved through efficient marketing (David, 1999). Food marketing problems are connected with reduction in the production of most crops in Nigeria. Defective marketing system is also responsible for the poor functioning of the agro- processing industries in Nigeria (Abdullahi, 1983) Defective marketing system could have significant adverse effect on the marketing margins and efficiency of the marketers because of inadequate storage facilities and transportation hazards. Most of these problems cannot be solved by an individual marketer but by collective effort. This collective effort is expected to reduce losses and transaction cost more in group than with individual effort.
Pineapple marketing is characterized mainly by the problem of perishability among others. Often, marketers are compelled if not forced to sell their fruits at a very low price to avoid huge wastage or total loss and this reduces their marketing margins and efficiency. Okunmadewa (1999) showed that there are few rural farmers involved in contractual and cooperative marketing given the importance of gain from this type of marketing structure. Individual marketing is constrained by level of resources and information. Thus, there is the need to address the following: What gains do the marketers derive from collective marketing? To what extent has this system of marketing influence marketing margin and efficiency? To what extent has this marketing system reduced the inherent problems of marketing faced by an individual marketer? The study therefore seeks to investigate gains to marketers from group effort. More specifically, the objectives of the study are to:
(i) examine socio-economic characteristics of the respondents that influence group marketing;
(ii) identify the activities influencing group marketing;
(iii) determine the marketing costs, marketing margins, and marketing efficiency a
(iv) Determine the factors that influence selling price of pineapple fruits by group marketers.
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