Analysis of food demand among rural households in Kwara State, North Central Nigeria
AbstractIn spite of the importance of food as a basic human need and major source of nutrients needed for human existence, the effect of high inflation rate on agricultural and food prices has been excruciating. This has in turn affected the poverty level of different households. There is however little information about food demand structure required for appropriate public policy and action for eliminating poverty and endemic malnutrition. This study was therefore designed to assess food demand among rural households in Kwara State. Specifically, the study determined rural households’ food demand; examined the factors that influence rural households’ food demand; and estimated rural households’ food demand elasticities A two-stage simple random sampling technique was employed in collecting data from a total of 425 rural households out of which responses from 411 rural households were used for the study. The main tools of analysis used for this study were descriptive statistics and the Linearized-Almost Ideal Demand System (LA-AIDS) model. The study reveals that roots/tubers, cereals and animal products constituted about 20% each of the budget share of the rural households’ food expenditure. The Linearized-Almost Ideal Demand System shows that food prices, real food expenditure, household size, dependency ratio, place of agriculture as a source of income, farm, size, crop output, household highest educational level and rural households’ food security status were the major factors affecting food demand among rural households in Kwara State.. The study further shows that cereals, fats/oils and vegetables with the expenditure elasticities that were positive but less than 1 could be classified as necessity goods while fruits with expenditure elasticity greater than 1 could be classified as luxury good. Contrary to the law of demand, this study shows that the demand for animal products and fats/oil increased with increase in their prices. In view of the importance of education to food demand, this study recommends the need to intensify efforts at making basic education compulsory in the rural areas. The study also reiterated the importance of increased food production through better access to extension service delivery, agricultural production cum processing facilities as well as the inclusion of increased cereals, roots/tubers and livestock production as priority areas in the agricultural reform programme of the Kwara State government.
Keywords: Food Demand, Rural Households, Food Classes, Budget Share, Linearized -Almost Ideal Demand System
Nigerian Journal of Technological Research