keywords: Labour productivity, labour index, small scale processors
The study examined labour productivity in palm oil processing in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State. The study used random sampling technique to select 60 smallholder palm oil processors. Data were collected with questionnaire through primary sources. The collected data were analysed with descriptive tools, cost and return, labour index and regression analysis. The findings showed that processing an average size of ten fresh fruit bunches (FFB) took approximately 8.5 h. In the process of processing the palm fruit, fruit digestion, oil clarification and bunch threshing made more intensive use of labour as they accounted for 4.6 h out of 8.5 h used in the eight stages of the processing. They accounted for N1, 537.50 of total labour cost of N2, 411.25. Labour cost formed 44.56% of the total cost of processing the 10 FFB. The findings further showed that the processing of the 10 FFB was profitable with net return of N1, 788.75. The result further indicated that labour productivity index was 2.99 implying that labour is productive in palm oil processing at a small scale level in the study area. The result of the regression analysis showed that educational level, processing experience, and wage, were positively signed and significant at 5 and 1% levels, respectively, while age inversely and significantly influenced the palm oil processing. Therefore, to increase labour productivity and reduce cost of labour in this enterprise, policies should aim at provision of modern technologies in palm oil processing in order to reduce the cost and intensive nature of labour in the palm oil processing and hence increase the productivity of labour.