Social capital dimensions and its implications on poverty status of rural farm households in Abia state, Nigeria
The study examined the influence of social capital dimensions on poverty status of rural farm households in Abia state, Nigeria. Multistage random sampling technique was employed in collecting data from two hundred and four (204) rural farm households in local institutions using structured interview schedule. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, poverty indices, and tobit regression model. The result of social capital dimensions revealed that households belong to at least two associations and had 32.4% index of membership density. The percentage heterogeneity and decision making index were 50.78% and 77.82% respectively while percentage meeting attendance index of the households was 25.05%. The percentage Cash and labour contribution index were low with values of 25.05% and 25.60% respectively. The result of the poverty indicators of the rural farm households in local institutions showed that the poverty line (mean monthly household expenditure) of the farm households was N16, 259.80 per month or N195, 117.60 per annum. The incidence of poverty otherwise called the head count ratio was 0.6863 while the coefficient of poverty gap (poverty depth) was 0.4458. The tobit regression result of the social capital factors influencing rural farm household poverty revealed that the coefficients of cash contribution index, heterogeneity index and decision making index were negative and significant at 1.0% alpha level while the coefficient of membership index was positive and significant at 10.0% risk level. In terms of policy, the autonomous local institutions should be integrated into the current poverty alleviation programme of the government and making them channels for loan delivery with a view to strengthening the financial capacity of its members as well as achieving the Millennium development goals of reducing poverty by half.
Keywords: Social capital, poverty, local institutions, farm households