Practices towards Artificial Fruit Ripening Among Fruit Vendors in Rivers State
Keywords:Knowledge, Artificial Fruit Ripening, calcium carbide, vendors, Rivers State.
This study investigated the practice of artificial fruit ripening among fruit vendors of banana, plantain, mango and pawpaw in Rivers State. The study adopted a descriptive cross-sectional survey design. Two objectives, corresponding research questions and null hypotheses guided the study. The population for the study comprised all the accessible 1,810 fruit vendors in Rivers East senatorial district. A sample size of 472 fruit vendors was drawn using multi-stage sampling procedure. A validated self-structured questionnaire titled ‘Practice of Artificial Fruit Ripening’ with inter-scale reliability co-efficient of 0.896 was used as instrument for data collection. The descriptive statistics of mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions, while inferential statistics of Z-test and One-Way Analysis of Variance were used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 alpha level. It was found that fruit vendors in Rivers State sometimes practiced artificial fruit ripening using chemical and non-chemical methods. It was also discovered that regardless of their level of education and years of experience in the fruit business, the fruit vendors sometimes indulged in unhealthy practice of artificial fruit ripening. More so, the study revealed significant difference in practice among the fruit vendors in Rivers State based on level of education and years of experience. Based on the findings, it was concluded that the current practice of artificial fruit ripening in Rivers State is not in tandem with global best practices and therefore portend danger to the wellbeing of Rivers people and other Nigerians. The study therefore recommended among others that; community health workers should carry-out regular and effective health awareness campaigns concerning the dangers of using chemicals to ripen fruits. The Government of Rivers State through the Ministry of Agriculture should organise training programmes for fruit vendors on faster, safer, and economically feasible methods of fruits ripening and other post-harvest management techniques.