Evaluation of the contributions of selected non-timber forest products to food security and income generation, in Imo State, Nigeria
The study examined the contributions of three non-timber forest products (NTFPs) to household food security and income generation in rural areas of Imo State. The research methods involved field visits and the use of semi-structured questionnaire. Nine hundred (900) copies of the research instrument were administered to rural households in the State using multi-stage and systematic sampling procedures. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Z-test and Foster-Greer-Thorbecke (FGT) metric. The result revealed that 98% of the respondents consumed the three NTFPs as food and 1.7% used the species for medicinal purposes with only 4.0% utilizing the NTFPs as means of income generations in Imo State. The consumption of the three species (i.e. Pentaclethra macrophylla, Monodora myristica and Gnetum africanum) as foods were highest in Owerri and Okigwe Zones (98.5%) and least in Orlu Zone (96.6%). A higher percentage (6%) of the respondents utilized the species for income generation in Owerri Zone compared to 3% and 2.5% recorded for Orlu and Okigwe Zones respectively. For medicinal purposes, the uses of the three NTFPs were limited with only 2.7%, 1.7% and 0.7% confirming their utilization for the purpose in Okigwe, Orlu and Owerri Zones respectively. There were significant differences in mean annual incomes of those that traded in the NTFPs and those that did not (P<0.05), and those who traded in the NTFPs recorded a higher mean annual income compared to non-NTFPs traders. The poverty severity in Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe Zones were 7%, 9% and 12% respectively, which implies that for the rural households to live a moderately poor life, leaving above 2 USD a day, additional ₦ 10,972.12, ₦ 14,881.08 and ₦ 11,476.83 will be required to the current annual mean income, respectively.
Keywords: Consumption, income generation, livelihood, poverty severity, agricultural zones