Demand for Forest Foods (snails and mushrooms) in Umuahia and Ikwuano Local Government Areas of Abia State
Olowoyo FB, Mustafa MO, Okelola OE, Balogun RB, Adejoba OR, Odeyemi SA, Okpara IG, Adetunji AS
Demand for forest foodswith specific reference to mushroomsand snails in Umuahia and Ikwuano local government areas of Abia State, Nigeria were studied. The socio – economic characteristic of respondents, various reasons for consumption, cultural, nutritional and medicinal value; frequency of use of food and nutrients, attributes attached to selected forest product and period of availability were addressed. Simple random sampling was adopted. Structured questionnaire were used for households in Ikwuano and Umuahia. A total of (120) one hundred and twenty questionnaires were administered among eight (8) villages. Data obtained were subjected to simple descriptive statistics. The results showed that the nutritional value of mushroom is the highest with about 85.2 per cent out of the respondents agreeing and medicinal value of snail was accepted among 67.0 per cent of the respondents. The frequency of use from the study showed that mushroomand snail had 42.3% and 44.4% seasonal usage respectively. The major attributes attached to mushroom and snail was their moderate sweetness among 85.7% and 88.1% of the respondents. The two results indicated a significant descriptive (P<0.05) contribution of the independent variables on the quantity of food and nutrients consumed. The period of availability is been determined by month of harvest. The study shows that 39.8 percent of the respondents agreed that mushroom is available mostly between January and March while 54.55 per cent of the respondent agreed that snail is available almost all the year round between February and December. Availability, nutrient and seasonality determined the consumption of these foods by the Igbo people of Ikwuano Area and Umuahia. In these communities, foods are eaten not only for their nutritional values but also for their medicinal and socio-cultural significance.