SOCIAL CONTEXT OF HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT AMONG PRODUCERS OF PALM OIL AND LOCUST BEANS IN OSUN STATE, SOUTH WESTERN NIGERIA
Human capital development is invariably linked to skill acquisition and sustainability of any trade including palm oil and locust beans processing. Palm oil and African locust beans possess widespread food and non-food usefulness. Hence this paper examines the social factors responsible for the continual sustainability of these industries despite the discouraging production milieu. The study used a synthesis of the literature in addition to a qualitative data collected from four focus group discussions involving a total of thirty-six processors and three key informant interviews with palm oil and locust beans producers from selected rural communities (Oloba-ogundarin and Gbogan) in Osun State. The communities were purposively selected due to high involvement in oil palm and locust bean production respectively. The study found that human capital development efforts among palm oil and locust beans producers was through social learning which takes the form of learning-on-the-job and the younger ones participating in the trade alongside their family mentors. The predominant use of local methods and implements in production of palm oil and locust beans. Production of palm oil and locust beans production were highly profitable depending on the scale, season and expertise. Labour was divided across gender lines with women been often involved in processing and trading of palm oil and locust beans, while men served as harvesters. The paper advocates for training by government or NGOs on modern methods as well as the procurement of modern machineries to make their work less cumbersome and eliminate stress.
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