An assessment of the role of non-farm sources in household income diversification in Oyo State
Agriculture is the major income source in Nigeria’s rural areas. Climatic variability and rising cost of agricultural inputs and household consumables without corresponding rise in agricultural product prices are however driving noted rural farmers to adopt alternative livelihood strategies. Charcoal production has now become a significant source of supplementary income for residents of rural communities in several parts of Nigeria. This study assessed the role of non-farm sources in household income diversification in Oyo state with focus on the contribution of charcoal production and its implication for sustainable development. Participatory rural appraisal techniques of Focus Group Discussion (FGD) and structured interview/questionnaire were adopted. Results of the social survey indicated that farming is still the dominant activity in the region with about 80% of the respondents involved. Households employed an average of 2 income activities with share of off-farm income and Herfindahl Diversification Index of 0.68 and 0.78 respectively, showing a high magnitude of diversification. An adaptation cycle was also constructed based on their current realities, to guide specific interventions. Formalization of production activities and development of other economic activities were suggested to ensure sustainability of forest resources in the area.
Key Words: Agriculture, Charcoal, Household income, Forest management