ANALYSIS OF POVERTY-ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION NEXUS AMONG ARABLE CROP FARMERS IN PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA

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Abstract:

The study analysed the poverty-environmental degradation nexus among arable crop farmers in Plateau State, Nigeria. Using multi-stage sampling technique, 265 farming households were randomly sampled from 9 communities spread across three Local Government Areas of the three agro-ecological zones in the State. Primary data generated from farming household heads through well-structured questionnaires were mainly used for this study. The household’s socio economic characteristics, income, expenditure, value of “free” natural resources, and information on factors that lead to environmental degradation dominated the bulk of the data. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics (mean, frequencies and percentages), Tobit regression, Foster, Greer and Thorbecke (FGT) index, Likert scale and probit regression model. Descriptive statistics revealed that the means of the farming households’ age and years spent schooling were 47 and 7 years respectively. On the average, these farming households have 11 persons and farmed an average of 5 hectares. The total average monthly household expenditure was N67,5934 out of which 46% was spent on food and 23% on natural resources. Fuelwood accounted for the highest natural resource used with 41%. The Tobit regression analysis revealed that the number of years spent in school was significant (P<0.01) while farmer’s income and size of farmland were significant (P<0.05). An increase in any of these variables would result to a probability of a decrease in the poverty level of the farmers. Age of the farmers was significant (P<0.10), implying that a unit increase in the age of the farmers, would result to the probability of increasing poverty. The monthly mean per adult equivalent household expenditure (MPAEHE) was N3,940. A poverty line of N2,627 was estimated, based on this poverty line, the FGT measures show that 42% of the farming households in the study area were poor. Out of the several causes of environmental degradation, not planting of trees because of non-ownership of farm lands was ranked as the first. The result of the Likert scale shows that most of the mean scores laid between 3.03 – 3.89 which implied that most of the farmers experienced moderate degradation on their farms. The probit regression result revealed that the quantity of wood collected, number of animals allowed to graze and length of time they graze were significant (P<0.01). A unit increase in any of these variables would lead to the probability of an increase in the poverty depth of the farmers. Knowledge of natural resource conservation was significant (P<0.05) and farm size was significant (P<0.10). Increasing any of these variables by a unit, would result to the probability of decreasing poverty among the households. Majority (69%) of the farmers deliberately make ridges on their farm lands against the gradient to serve as a control against washing of the topsoil. In conclusion, the study indicates that there is a direct relationship between poverty and environmental degradation. It is recommended that policy makers and managers of poverty alleviation programmes should identify the poor at community levels for policy targeting. Also, farmers, environmentalist, researchers and the government should form a synergy to abate environmental degradation.

ANALYSIS OF POVERTY-ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION NEXUS AMONG ARABLE CROP FARMERS IN PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA

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