DETERMINANTS OF RURAL HOUSEHOLDS’ INCOME DIVERSIFICATION AMONG SMALLHOLDER MAIZE FARMERS IN DRYLAND AREAS OF NORTHERN NIGERIA

M HALLIRU, S S BARA'U

Abstract


Income diversification among farming households is an important mechanism for effective risk management and coping strategies in rural areas.The study focused on determinants of income diversification among smallholder maize farming households in dryland areas of Northern Nigeria. Stratified, purposive and simple random sampling techniques was used for the study. Primary data were collected from 480 smallholder maize farmers across the three agro-ecological zones of Northern Nigeria. Major income sources identified include aquaculture/fishing, civil service, trading/business, rural artisan and livestock rearing. Beside crop production, livestock rearing and trading were reported as the most prominent source of income among households in the study area. This implies that households in the study area have alternative income sources that can be used to support agricultural production and overall livelihood. Poisson regression estimate revealed that income diversification is significantly influenced by off-farm income, maize output, and access to credit, education and household size. It was also concluded that, diversification of income sources among smallholder farmers is an effective strategy to improve household income thereby reducing food insecurity and poverty level.Farmers should be encouraged to diversify their economic activities to earn more income to be able to maintain their food and non-food expenditure of their households. This can be achieved through creation of enabling socio-economic environment that will generate employment opportunity for farming household. The need to promote household enterprise and maize production commercialization is very essential. These may include encouraging the formation of effective farmers’ cooperatives and other farmers’ social group. This will help to facilitate  knowledge transfer, input and output marketing and distribution, savings mobilization, and farm credit sourcing and supply

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