Determinants of participation of rural farm households in non-farm activities in Kwara state, Nigeria: a paradigm of poverty alleviation
This paper attempt to examine the factors that determine non-farm occupations among rural farming households and to what extent has livelihood strategies improved the wellbeing of their households. Primary data were generated through random sampling of 200 respondents from four (4) Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Kwara State, Nigeria through field surveys. Descriptive statistics, double hurdle models and Foster-Greer-Thorbecke (FGT) index were employed in the analysis. The result confirmed the assertion that economic factors are often the most important determinants of searching for non-farm job. The proceeds from non-farm activities were used mainly either for consumption (34.5%) to minimize the income fluctuation or, to supplement the working capital (26.5%) for their primary occupation through purchase of farm inputs. The results also indicated that the factors that influence the rural farming household decision to participate in non-farm activities showed slight variation from those influencing level of decision (livelihood strategies) taken to engage in non-farm activities and where it does, not by the same magnitude and direction. For instance, distance travelled and adjusted household size was found to significantly influence the farmer's decision. In contrary, education, poverty status and per capita income did influence the level of participation significantly. Of the sampled 200 respondents, 49.5% live on less than US$1 a day which portends extreme poverty and about 87% on less than US $1.5 a day. Concerted effort by stakeholders must encourage continuous farming throughout the year through irrigation to avoid part-time farming which may become the dominant farm model.
Key Words: Extreme poverty, rural households, service sector, Nigeria