Food security status among cocoa growing households in Ondo and Kwara states of Nigeria: A discriminant analysis approach
Cocoa, being a cash crop is mostly cultivated among cocoa farmers without giving much consideration to the cultivation of food crops. There is, however, little evidence on the translation of the income from cocoa production into improved food security by cocoa farmers. This study therefore examined the food security status of cocoa farming households in Nigeria. A simple purposive random sampling technique was used to select 100 cocoa farmers from each of Ondo and Kwara states of Nigeria, thus making a total of 200 respondents used for the study. Information was collected from the respondents with the aid of a structured questionnaire and the data obtained from the information were analysed with Descriptive Statistics, Food Security Index, Surplus/Shortfall Index and Discriminant Analysis. The mean age for the households’ head was 53±16.27 years while the mean household size was 7±4.24 persons per household. The mean per capita food consumption was 2063.15±1343.55 kilocalories and the mean monthly farm income was N27,536.50±29161.74. With food security line of N1,959.00, 44.0% of the sampled households in the study area were able to meet the recommended calorie intake of 2450 Kilocalories per capita per day. The food secure households exceeded the calorie requirement by 0.03% while the food insecure households fell short of the recommended calorie intake by 0.02%. An increase in the value of association membership of household head, off-farm income, farming experience of household head and number of meals taken per day (p<0.05) would improve the food security status of households and hence would shift the households to food security while an increase in the value of household size and per capita non-food expenditure (p<0.05) would worsen the food security status of households and therefore shift the household to food insecurity. The study recommended that there is a need for an enlightenment programme on birth control and that government can subsidize the price of food items as this will reduce the cost of procuring food items by households thus enabling households to be able to increase the number of meals taken per day. Also, cocoa farming households are encouraged to ensure that income from cocoa is partly used to address food insecurity at household level.