Evaluating Food Security and Poverty Among Cereal Farmers in Fadama III+ AF, Niger State, Nigeria

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Abstract

The issue of food security and poverty within farming households has garnered significant attention from both policy makers and stakeholders within the agricultural sector. Understanding the dynamics and concepts associated with these challenges is crucial in addressing the persistent cycle of poverty and food insecurity, both in Nigeria and on a global scale. This study focuses on the assessment of food security and poverty levels among cereal crop farmers operating under the Fadama III+ additional financing program in Niger State, Nigeria. The objective is to provide empirical insights that can contribute to enhancing the food security status of cereal farmers within the study region.

The specific aims of this research include describing the socio-economic characteristics of cereal crop farmers, evaluating the food security and poverty status of these farmers, identifying the key determinants influencing their food security and poverty status, examining the impact of food security and poverty on cereal crop output, and analyzing the challenges faced by cereal crop farmers in the study area.

Employing a three-stage sampling technique, a total of 207 respondents were selected for participation in the study. Structured questionnaires were administered to collect relevant information, which was subsequently analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistical methods. The analysis employed the Foster, Greer, and Thorbecke (FGT) poverty measurement model, logit regression, and Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression model.

The findings of the socio-economic characterization revealed that a significant proportion (36.27%) of cereal crop farmers fell within the age bracket of 31-40 years, with an average age of 39 years. The majority of respondents were male (95.70%), married (91.30%), and possessed tertiary education (55.35%). The mean household size was 15 individuals (23.10%). The average farming experience was 20 years, with a mean farm size of 4 hectares and a mean income of ₦481,034.8 per farming cycle. The results also indicated limited extension visits (39.10%) and an average cooperative membership duration of 6 years (36.70%).

The assessment of food security and poverty status demonstrated that a substantial majority (59.90%) of cereal crop farmers were not food secure, with the FGT poverty measure indicating that 41.50% of farmers were living below the poverty line. The depth and severity of poverty were measured at 59.73% and 39.80%, respectively.

The logit regression analysis unveiled significant positive associations between income and extension contact at the 10% probability level. Conversely, years of education, household size, and cooperative membership demonstrated negative significance with poverty status at the 5%, 1%, and 5% probability levels, respectively. The study also revealed that factors such as age, education, household size, farm size, farming experience, extension contact, poverty status, and food security influenced cereal crop output.

The primary constraints encountered in cereal production within the study area encompassed challenges related to road infrastructure, flooding, inadequate credit facilities, high labor costs, insufficient storage capacity, limited irrigation resources, inadequate input supply, scarcity of arable land, poor soil fertility, and weed-related issues. Recommendations include increased involvement of non-governmental organizations, farmer groups, and cooperative societies in farmer education and training. Furthermore, the provision of storage facilities is crucial to mitigate annual waste, ultimately contributing to poverty reduction and the sustainability of food security.

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