Effect of the national special program for food security in alleviating poverty among smallholder farmers in Abia State, Nigeria
The interrelated problems of poverty and food insecurity have been jointly tackled by UN Food and Agriculture Organization through National Special Program for Security (NSPFS). To what extent this program has impacted on food product marketing and poverty level of smallholder farmers’ in Abia state, Nigeria was the primary objective of this study. The incidence and depth of poverty amongst the farmers as well as effect of the program, especially its micro-credit component on their farm revenue, profit and consumption expenditures were specifically investigated. Simple Random (SRS) technique was used to select 180 smallholder farmers
consisting of 90% participants and 90 non-participants in the special food programs. Cross sectional primary data were collected using structured questionnaire. Head count ratio and paired treatment (t- ratio) were used in analyzing the data. Descriptively, 4.4% of the farmer participants
lived below poverty line as against 55.6% non-participating farmers living below poverty line in the state. Inferentially, the t-test revealed statistically significant positive effects of the program on revenue, profit and consumption expenditures of the participating farmers. The study
recommended expansion of the program to include at least three quarters of smallholder farmers in the state, especially women, who apparently were not equally represented in the program. Involvement of more smallholder farmers in the program would reduce number of food unsecured and poor farmers in the country.
Keywords: Micro credit, farm revenue, food security, product marketing, small holder farmers