The Role of Cassava in Improving Rural Food Security and Income among Farmers in Abia State, Nigeria

  • U Apu
  • E Oragwam

Abstract

This study examined the role of cassava in improving food security and income among farmers in Abia State, Nigeria. The study was conducted in Umuahia South Local Government Area (LGA) of Abia State, Nigeria. Multi-stage random sampling procedure was used in selecting a total of one hundred and forty four (144) cassava farmers, which constituted the sample size for the study. Simple random sampling procedure was used in selecting six out of the eight cells in the area. Three rural communities were randomly selected from each of the six cells, giving a total of eighteen rural communities. Eight respondents were randomly selected from the list of cassava farmers in each of the eighteen rural communities, giving a total of one hundred and forty four respondents on the whole. Data collection from the respondents was facilitated by the use of structured questionnaire. Data analysis employed simple descriptive statistics such as frequency counts and percentages as well as multiple regression analysis. Results showed that majority of the respondents (56.30%) were males while (43.80%) were females.. Results also revealed that majority of the respondents (54.20%) were married. Majority of respondents (61.10%) were within the age range of 31-50 years. Majority of the respondents in the area (67.15%) could read and write and can therefore exploit various sources of information to boost their cassava production enterprise. Regression results of the determinants of the level of income of the respondents revealed that five out the seven coefficients of explanatory variables were significant, meaning that any change in any of these variables resulted in a change in the income of the respondents. Positive relationships were established for farm size, farm input(s), household size and extension visit. However, a negative relationship was established for age. Furthermore, the analysis of the determinants of factors influencing the level of food security among cassava farmers in the area revealed that positive relationships were established for extension visit, and farm input(s) ,while a negative relationship was established also for age. The positive relationship indicates that an increase in any of the explanatory variables resulted in increase in food security in terms of cassava output from farmers. The conclusion is that massive cassava cultivation is capable of significantly improving rural food security and income among farmers in the study area and the county at large. It is therefore recommended that relevant farm inputs should be provided for farmers at the appropriate time and should also be subsidized. Also, more extension agents should be employed in order to improve upon the number of visits of extension personnel to farmers in the state.
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print ISSN: 1119-944X