D. P OKON
(Agric. Sci. Unit)
Vocational Education Department, University of Uyo Akwa Ibom State – Nigeria
In Nigeria, many traditional diets are based on cereals or starches and fresh fruits and vegetables are not priority food items. Therefore, under-consumption of fruit and vegetables is among the top ten risk factors leading to malnutrition associated with the prevalence of chronic diseases. Marketing fruits and vegetable has been an on-farm or village – oriented effort as a by-product in a largely self – sufficient rural economy. Lack of sanitation, poor access roads, inefficient storage facilities, poor means of transportation to most major city markets has constituted major marketing problems for fresh fruits produced in rural areas. This therefore calls for linking fruits and vegetable farmers through mobile network services to Agricultural Market Information Services (AMIS) for the enhancement of Agricultural value chain, whereby shifting the farmers view away from subsistence to more commercial market – oriented farming, by the Agricultural Extension officers available in the area. This will help farmers to make better business decisions, improve their bargaining power, increase their income and hence, sustain rural development. Also, provision of mobile finance tools that would facilitate farmers’ access to agricultural credit, savings, insurance, transfer or payments will essentially make targeted value chains more efficient and effective. It is recommended that government, donors, non-governmental organizations and other developmental organizations should provide and subsidize these services for fruit farmers in particular and other small holder farmers to promote agricultural market information services and farmers’ financial sustainability in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.