Influence of agricultural activities as a means of poverty reduction
Background of the Study
Occurrence of poverty as a phenomenon is not strange but it is the high incidence that is worrisome. Poverty has been a strong development indicator given attention globally, with intent of reducing it to the barest minimum. In economic terms, poverty is a situation of low income or low consumption. This view is analytically useful for construction of poverty lines. (Chambers, 1995). The value of income or consumption necessary to purchase the minimum standard of nutrition and other necessities, does not tell the complete story. Poverty in real term has both income and non-income dimensions and they are usually interwoven. In this regard, poverty refers to lack of physical necessities, assets and income. It includes more than being income-poor
One of the definitions of poverty drawn from World Bank report (1990) defines poverty as “inability to achieve a minimum standard of living”. The World Bank devoted its world development report to the topic of poverty as early as 1990 (attacking poverty). (www.worldbank.org/poverty/WDRpoverty).
Carvalho and White (1997) established some of the possibilities for classifying poverty as:
- establishing of the level of income necessary for a minimum standard of living in a given country.
- observation of income distribution by means of Gini Coefficient in countries where their income is concentrated among the few, it is highly probable that many suffer wants.
- indicator for various social aspects of human life that assist in assessment of standard of living.
The United Nation Organization (1999) used Human Development Index (HDI) as a general measure of a country‟s standard of living and thus as an indicator of the poverty situation there. The HDI include in addition to average per capital income, three social indicators as well, average life expectancy; the literacy rate, and the proportion of children attending school. Afonja and Ogwumike (2003) explained the insufficiency of growth rate as a sufficient measure of assessing development.
Social dimension of poverty analysed through qualitative approach is more realistic and recently more in use. The qualitative approach define poverty so as to capture the processes and interactions between social, cultural, political, and economic affairs. It includes a wider range of factors such as vulnerability, isolation, powerlessness, survival, personal dignity, security, self-respect, basic needs and ownership of assets. According to Obaseki and Onwioduakit (1997), the poverty profile in Nigeria indicates that despite Nigeria‟s rich endowment in human, physical and natural resources, land, oil and gas, forest etc, the incidence of poverty is high. Poverty is serious and extensive to differing degrees in all parts of the country. Okebukola (2005) suggests that offering farmers with irrigation machineries and improved seed varieties will help to boost agricultural production and tackle poverty since half of Nigerian poor people work in agriculture. He also suggested that supporting small and medium-size enterprises will help create jobs. It is so clear that this perfectly describes the terrain within which agricultural service delivery may have to function in poverty alleviation. If all the above statements are to be considered then agriculture may playing a key role to the poverty alleviation in Nigeria and Zango LGA in particular.
Many agricultural development interventions have been carried out in Nigeria targeted towards increased agricultural production. Government intervention in agricultural production and development started in the year 1893 with the Department of Botanical Research near Olokemeji in the present Ogun State. Since then there has been several 2 agricultural programmes such as: Farm Settlement Scheme, which was established in 1965, Integrated Agricultural Development Projects in 1972, Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) in 1976, Green Revolution in 1979 and River Basin Development Authority Scheme in 1983, (Jibowo, 1992).