Supplementing income from farms with income from rural craft: The case study of mat-weaving in Uturu, Abia state, Nigeria
This study on supplementation of income from farm enterprises with income from craft (mat-weaving) was conducted in Uturu in Abia state, Nigeria. Primary objective was to compare farm income with income from non-farm activities, especially from mat weaving; and determine factors that influenced decisions to use income from mat-weaving (rural craft) to
supplement farm income amongst farm households. Seventy-eight (78) farm households who weaved and sold mats were randomly selected from sample of 90 farm households chosen, following a multi-stage random technique. Primary data collected were analyzed with descriptive statistics and a Probit model that took care of limited response variables was subjected to multiple regression analysis. Results showed that farm incomes were low in the smallholder farm households (that dominated food and fiber production) in the area. Amount of income from matweaving
though lower than that from farms and some other non-farm activities was a good source for supplementing income from the farms and others in sustaining livelihood amongst the households on account of many factors including relative ease of producing mats (ingenuity and skill) displayed by affected households. Factors that determined choice of income from matweaving in augmenting income from farms included age of the farmer (decision maker), gender, level of education, ease of mat production, regularity of mat sales, and season in farming calendar. On basis of comparative income advantage the study recommended establishment of cottage centers for rural mat production and sales to gainfully engage farmers and members of their households in the area during off farm seasons and times of lull activities in the farms.
Keywords: mat weaving, rural craft, farming, livelihood cottage center