Vegetables are important protective food for the maintenance of health and prevention of disease. They contain valuable food ingredients, which can be successfully utilized to build up and repair the body (Bakhru, 2003; Edet and Etim, 2007). Vegetables are valuable in maintaining alkaline reserve in the body. They are valued mainly for their high vitamin and mineral content (Barkhru, 2003).
Vegetables production has become very popular in many countries of the world due to its importance in the diet of the people. Okra is the most important fruit vegetables crop and a source of calorie (4.55Kca/kg) for human consumption. Chriso and Onah (2005); Katung and Kashina (2005) documented that Okra is consumed throughout Nigeria. It ranks first before other vegetable crops (Babatunde, 2004; Dantata and machunga, 2007), and that is why Feasibility studies Business plan Nigeria has put together this article
Okra as vegetable crops belong to the genus Abelmoschus, family malvaceae and has two main specie; Abelmoschus esculentus (L) moench and Abelmoschus cailllei (Siemonsma, 1982).
It is important vegetable especially in West Africa, India, Brazil and the United States (Kemble, et al., 1995; Echo, 2000; Alimi 2004). Okra production constitutes about 4.6 percent of the total staple food production in Nigeria in the year 1970 – 2003 (Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN, 2004). It is commonly grown as vegetable crops in tropics. Okra production and cultivation has been widely practices because of its important to the economic development and can be found in almost every market in Africa.
Varieties vary by plant height, size of fruit, colour, early or late maturity etc, though it can be categorized as white velvet, green velvet, long pod, lady finger, dwarf green pods (Udoh et al., 2005). It contains 88% of water, 2.2% of protein, 10% of carbohydrate, 0.2% fat and vitamin A, B, C. According to CBN (1996), the average growth rate of vegetable crop including Okra produced in Nigeria between 1989 and 1993 was 14.0% compared to 6.4% of cassava, 18% for palm oil and 3.8% for maize.
The economic importance of okra cannot be over emphasized. Okra contains carbohydrate, protein and vitamin C in large quantities (Adeboye and Oputa, 1996). The essential and non essential amino acids that okra contains are comparable to that of soybean. As a result it plays a vital role in human diet, it can be consumed boiled, fried or cooked for the young immature fruits. In Nigeria, Okra is usually boiled in water resulting in slimy soups and sauces, which are relished. The leaves, bud and flowers are also edible.
The fruit also serve as soup thickeners (Schippers, 2000). Okra leaves are considered good cattle feed, but this is seldom compatible with primary use of the plant. Okra mucilage is suitable for medicinal and industrial applications. It has medically food application as a plasma replacement or blood volume expander. Industrially, okra mucilage is usually used in glaring certain papers and also useful in confectionary among other uses