Exploring the Perceived Health Benefits and Utilization of Moringa Tree Products Among Rural Households in Nasarawa State, Nigeria.
This study investigated the perceived health benefits and utilization of Moringa oleifera products among rural households in Nasarawa State, Nigeria. The research focused on describing the socio-economic characteristics of the rural households, determining the extent of Moringa oleifera utilization, examining the perceived health benefits of its usage, identifying factors influencing its utilization, and assessing the constraints associated with its adoption in the study area.
A total of 244 respondents were selected using a multi-stage sampling technique, and structured questionnaires were employed to gather primary data. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics and attitudinal measuring scales, such as the Likert rating scale.
The findings indicated that the majority of respondents (60.7%) were aged between 31 and 60 years, with an average age of 40 years. Additionally, most respondents (84.0%) had received some form of formal education (primary, secondary, or tertiary) with an average of 13 years of formal schooling. The study revealed that Moringa leaves were the most widely utilized Moringa product (utilized by 99.2% of respondents), followed by Moringa fruits/seeds (89.8%), Moringa roots (87.7%), and Moringa barks (64.3%). In terms of extent of utilization, Moringa leaves, fruits/seeds, and roots recorded the highest utilization rates among the Moringa tree products in the study area.
Regarding the perceived health benefits of Moringa oleifera tree products, respondents agreed on their effectiveness in treating High Blood Pressure, which was ranked first among the health benefits. The study employed Logit regression to analyze the data, resulting in a Pseudo R2 of 0.4189 and a statistically significant Chi-squared statistic of 141.01 (p<0.01), indicating a good fit for the overall model. Various variables such as marital status, household size, education, farming experience, cooperative membership, access to credit, types of Moringa products used, purpose of utilization, and perceived health benefits were found to influence the extent of Moringa oleifera tree products utilization.
The major constraints identified by the respondents included inadequate finances to purchase Moringa products, poor access to credit facilities, and insufficient extension services, ranked as the top three constraints, respectively.
In conclusion, the respondents displayed a positive perception of the health benefits associated with Moringa oleifera tree products, and Moringa leaves, fruits/seeds, and roots were the most commonly utilized tree products. The study recommends creating adequate awareness through extension agencies about the benefits of utilizing Moringa oleifera tree products.
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