CAPACITY OF AGRARIAN RESOLUTION TOWARDS ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT
The study assessed the capacity of agrarian resolution toward farmer empowerment for household food security in Benue state, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to describe the socio-economic characteristics of the Fadama Farmers; determine the food security status of the Fadama Farmers; determine the factors influencing the Food Security Status of the Fadama Farmers; assess the perception of the Fadama Farmers to the Agrarian resolution; assess the benefits of the Agrarian resolution to the Fadama Farmers toward attaining food security and examine the constraints of Fadama Farmers toward attaining food security in the study area. A multi-stage sampling procedure was used to select 173 farmers randomly for the study. Primary data and secondary sources of information were used and results were collected with the aid of structured questionnaire administered to the Fadama Farmers. Descriptive statistics and inferential statistic such as multiple regressions were used to analyze data including food security score tool. The results revealed that 78% of the farmers were within 31-50 years. Only 4% were below 30 years of age. The mean age of the farmers was 43years. Only 5% of the Fadama Farmers were single while 65% of the farmers were married. A total of 64% of the farmers had 4-6 members in their household and the average household size is 6 members. The result also showed that 79% had between 11-30 years of farming experience while only 2% had farming experience greater than 50 years. Only 25% do not have any form of formal education. All the Fadama Farmers had one form of Extension contact during the cropping season. It was found that only 8% had no access to credit. The socio-economic characteristics of the Fadama Farmers found to be significantly related to the food security in the study area were: farm size significant at 0.1 or 10%, extension contact, access to credit and membership of association were significant at 0.01 or 1% respectively. The findings revealed that Agrarian resolution has been highly beneficial in the area of empowering the farmers through access to credit, service disbursement, capacity building through training, access to farm input and access to market. The study also found out that 25% of the Fadama Farmers were highly food secured, 53% were marginally food secured, 19% were low food secured and 3% were relatively low food secured. These results showed the positive impact of the Agrarian resolution to the farmers. Major problems encountered by the farmers in the study area were labour shortage (93%), pest and disease infestation (92%) and poor access to market (32%). The study recommended that Community Driven Development Approach (CDD) of the Agrarian resolution should be encouraged amongst farmers as it helps in empowering and building the capacity of the farmers towards attaining food security.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
• Background to the Study

Nigeria is an agrarian society with about 70% of her over 140 million people engaged in agricultural production (CBN, 2006). Agriculture is the most assured means of economic growth and development and a reliable key to industrialization; as it makes available the raw materials used in the industries and it is the main source of livelihood for the majority of the rural dwellers. Agriculture provides food for the teeming population and contributes about 33% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation (Bureau of African Affairs, 2010). The agricultural sector employs about one-third of the labour force and provides livelihood for the bulk of the populace (FMARD, 2006).

In its determined effort to overcome the problem of food shortages and domestic food prices, successive Nigerian Governments have launched and executed many agricultural programs. According to Jibowo (2003), such agricultural programs include: National Accelerated Food Production Program (1972-1976), River Basin Development Authority (1975), Operation Feed the Nation (1976-1979), Green Revolution (1980-1984), Agricultural Development Programs (1985), National Directorate of Employment (1986- 1993), however, some of the agricultural programs with elements of participatory extension approach include the National Special Program for Food Security (2003-date) and the three phases of the National Fadama Development Project, NFDP Phase I (1993-1999), NFDP Phase II (2000-2007), NFDP Phase III (2009-2021).

Oredipe (2005) noted that these past efforts all contributed to the growth in the agricultural sector. In spite of these achievements, low agricultural production persists in many areas. Such areas remain largely undeveloped and unintegrated into the mainstream of national development. The strategy for the transformation program recognizes that income generating and welfare-enhancing activities must be tackled in tandem with agriculture in a multi-faceted but well-coordinated manner through integrated agricultural and rural development.

It is against this background that the National Fadama Development Project, a joint project of the African Development Bank (ADB) as well as the World Bank in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) was conceptualized. The Agrarian resolution is a community Driven Development (CDD) approach employing a bottom-up approach whereby communities and other lower government entities are empowered to develop participatory and social inclusive Local Development Plans (LDPs). This project has been implemented in all the states of the Federation including the FCT. The Benue State Agrarian resolution has a record of four thousand and eleven (4,011) farmers, one hundred and sixty five (165) Women Fadama User Groups and a total of twenty (20) participating Local Government Areas (NFCO, 2011).

The sustainable production of food is the first pillar of food security in a nation. Food security is said to exist when all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life Nyam, (2005). It is now widely demonstrated that rural women, as well as men, throughout the world are engaged in a range of productive activities essential to household welfare, agricultural productivity, and economic growth. Yet, women‟s substantial contribution continues to be systematically marginalized and undervalued in conventional agricultural and economic analyses and policies, while men‟s contribution remains central, often the sole focus of attention.

Women constituted an important part of agricultural farming distributed all over Nigeria. It is estimated that about 44% of farm labour in southern states, 45% in the eastern states, 13% in the middle belt states and 51% in the Northern states are women Olaleye (1998). Women in Nigeria engage in various farming activities such as planting, weeding, harvesting and processing of the agricultural products as well as the storage and marketing of the farm produce. Study from Olayiwoye (1984), have shown that even though women are heavily involved in agricultural production, they have not benefitted much from development interventions.

• Problem Statement
In Nigeria and other developing countries, attempt has been made to change to participatory extension approach (Ajayi and Okafor, 2006) this is mainly due to the criticism of previous agricultural extension approaches. Participatory extension approach which is the process of getting the active involvement of the intended beneficiaries in analyzing their own situation, identifying problems/constraints, prioritizing these, searching for their own solutions using their situation-specific indigenous knowledge (which they can combine/blend with outsiders' knowledge) and capacities, implementing the solutions as well as monitoring and evaluating their own development. (Blackburn and Holland 1998). Development experts are of the view that participation is an essential ingredient to development. However, many efforts by the Governments, International Development Agencies, Local Organizations and Non-governmental Organizations did not achieve desired results in terms of positive result and sustainability (Mohammed, 2003).

In Nigeria, women represent about 49% of the population with their productive and reproductive functions cutting across such activities as performing household chores, income earning activities, community participation and community management roles (Aina, 2003). Over the years, different international fora have long recognized the role of women in agriculture and sustainable livelihood. Despite government participation in such fora, the full potentials of women have not been exploited in ensuring household food security in Nigeria.

With reference to women Fadama farmers, it was observed that they are equal producers and not merely mothers and housewives. Based on this realization, it became clear to many developing countries that to neglect farmers in a situation where agricultural production forms the crucial development strategy for increase food may place a bottleneck to achieving food security.

It is obvious that Nigeria is endowed with both physical and human resources, and fertile land to produce enough food for their entire population and even marketable surplus for exports, but nevertheless, food has been imported to support the insufficient domestic production. If the farmers are provided with enough farm inputs like fertilizer, land, credit facilities and other incentives to boost their agricultural productivity including both crops and animals in profitable and sustainable way through the Fadama III participatory extension approach, this will lead to farmer empowerment and thus, reduction in the overall food insecurity.

• Research questions
• what are the socio-economic characteristics of the Fadama Farmers?

• what is the food security status of the Fadama Farmers?

• What are the factors influencing the Food Security Status of the Fadama Farmers?

• what is the perception of the Fadama Farmers to the Agrarian resolution?

• what are the benefits of the Agrarian resolution toward attaining food security?

• what are the constraints of farmers toward attaining food security?

1.4 Objectives to the Study
The broad objective of this study assessed the capacity of agrarian resolution toward farmer empowerment for household food security in Benue state, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to:

• describe the socio-economic characteristics of the Fadama Farmers in the study area;

• determine the food security status of the Fadama Farmers in the study area;

• determine the factors influencing the Food Security Status of the Fadama Farmers in the study area;

• assess the perception of the Fadama Farmers to the Agrarian resolution;

• assess the benefits of the Agrarian resolution of the Fadama Farmers toward attaining food security;

• examine the constraints of Fadama Farmers toward attaining food security;

• Hypothesis to the Study
Ho1: there is no significant relationship between the socio-economic characteristics of the Fadama Farmers and their food security status.

• Significance of the Study
Community Driven Development approach (participatory) has been designed to solve or reduce the problems of food productivity towards ensuring household food security in the country. However, rural farmers have not benefitted much from such approaches when compared with their male counterpart. Benue State which is popularly called the food basket of the nation because of her agricultural practices having men, women, and youths participating in agriculture is a boost to agricultural production. Millions of women work as farmers, farm workers and natural resource managers (Onyemobi, 2000). In Nigeria, the involvement of women in agriculture has attracted greater attention in recent years. The need to develop a suitable extension service that is tailored to farmers cannot be overemphasized. Thus, this study revealed the contribution of women to household food production and food security in Benue State.

It is worthy to explore the Community Driven Development approach of the Agrarian resolution in empowering Fadama Farmers toward attaining food security because the result could be used by extension policy makers and other development agencies targeting farmers and also give insight when establishing development programs. The study could also help to provide insight into possible establishments that could support other agencies to empower farmers in Benue State and other States of the country and also as a baseline to formulate strategic policies and framework for implementing the behavioral interventions necessary for women development. In addition, this study could help to add to the wealth of knowledge in the area of gender and development. All these would invariably help in reducing poverty and ensuring food availability and security within the rural household.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 50 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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