Strategy For Guaranteed Foods Security: A Case Study Of Edo State Eastern Nigeria
1.1 Background To The Study
Reducing food insecurity continues to be a major public policy challenge in developing countries. Almost 1 billion people worldwide are undernourished, many more suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, and the absolute numbers tend to increase further, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (FAO, 2008). Recent food price hikes have contributed to greater public awareness of hunger related problems, also resulting in new international commitments to invest in developing countries agriculture (Fan and Rosegrant, 2008). Global Hunger Index (GHI) ranking of Nigeria as 40th among 79 food deficient countries in 2011, 40th again in 2012, 39th in 2013 and 38th in 2014 remains unacceptably high and has indicated that no remarkable progress has been made from all efforts geared towards hunger reduction (GHI, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014). The GHI Report (2012) further posit that rising food prices, malnutrition and deaths as a result of wide-spread poverty is an indication of the prevalence of food insecurity in the country. It is also a sign of extreme suffering for millions of poor people.
Agriculture is however one of the most important sectors of the Nigerian economy, it contributes more than 40% of the total annual GDP in 2010 (NBS, 2012). The sector employs about 70% of the labour force and accounts for over 70% of the non-oil exports and, perhaps most importantly, provide over 80% of the food needs of the country (Adegboye, 2004 and NBS, 2012). Agriculture provided adequate food for the Nigerian populace both in quantity and quality during the era before independence in 1960. Helleiner (1996), showed that in Nigeria, between 1950 and 1960, food production was at subsistence but self-sufficient level. The economy was experiencing rapid growth of 4.5% between 1958 and 1963, the driving force being a booming trade in agricultural commodities export, growing annually at 5.5%. The first decade of Nigerian independence (1960-1970) opened the way to food shortages as a result of declining agricultural production and increasing population growth rate. The increase in population at a rate considerably higher than the rate of increase in food production has continued to widen the gap between domestic food supply and domestic demand. This disparity has led to rising food prices (85-125% increases in many Nigerian cities) and declining foreign exchange earnings from agricultural exports. The interaction of these factors has led to food insecurity and the idea of self-sufficiency is becoming more and more difficult to achieve due to declining agricultural production and inefficient food marketing system (Helleiner, 1996).
In order to ensure self-sufficiency and food security in Nigeria, a number of agricultural development institutions and reforms were embarked upon by the federal government since 1970. These programmes include: National Accelerated Food Production Programme, NAFPP (1973); Agricultural Development Project, ADP (1975); Operation Feed the Nation, OFN (1976); River Basin Development Authorities, RBDA (1977); National Seed Service, NSS (1977); Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme, ACGS (1977); Rural Banking Scheme, RBS (1977); Green Revolution, GR (1979); Directorate of Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure, DFRRI (1986); National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA (1992); National Fadama Development Projects, NFDP (1992); Nigerian Agricultural Cooperatives and Rural Development Bank, NACRDB (2000); National Agricultural Development Fund, NADF (2002); Commodity Marketing and Development Companies, CMDC (2003), Root and Tubers Expansion Programme, RTEP (2002), and the Food Security Thematic Group, FSTG (2009).
Food security exists when “all people at all times have access to safe nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life” (FAO, 1996). Food security entails ensuring sustainable access, availability and affordability of adequate quantity and quality food to all citizens to meet up with their physiological requirements (Okuneye, 2014). The main goal of food security is for individuals to be able to obtain adequate food needed at all times, and to be able to utilise the food to meet the body’s needs. Food security is multifaceted. The World Bank (2001), identified three pillars underpinning food security; these are food availability, food accessibility, and food utilization. This infers from the concept that food security is not just a production issue.
Food availability for the farm household means ensuring sufficient food is available for them through own production. However, due to lack of adequate storage facilities and pressing needs, they mostly end up selling excess produce during the harvesting period, and sometimes rely on market purchases during the hungry season.
Food security for a household in the overall would therefore mean access by all members at all times to enough food for an active healthy life. Food security includes at a minimum the ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods; and an assured ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways in the community (that is, without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing or other coping strategies). Aside from food production, which a large proportion of the Nigerian populace is involved in, accessibility is very important to attain food security level. Food security at national level does not therefore guarantee that all people, especially the poor, will have access to the minimum nutrition requirement because of existing regional, economic and social inequalities (Alderman et al., 1993).
Community food security exists when all community residents obtain a safe, personally acceptable, nutritious diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes healthy choices, community self-reliance and equal access for everyone (MHSHABC, 2004). This research intends to evaluate food security status among farm household and communities in Kaduna state vis-à-vis the global interest to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger as reflected in the Millennium Development Goal.
1.2 Problem Statement
Worldwide, about 852 million men, women and children are chronically hungry due to extreme poverty; while up to 2 billion people lack food security intermittently due to varying degree of poverty (FAO, 2003). FAO report in 2010 put growing extreme poverty figure at almost 2 billion people worldwide, while in Nigeria, more than two-thirds of the people are poor, despite living in a country with vast potential wealth (Omotesho et al., 2010).
Food insecurity is a major risk for Africa. Of the 86 low-income and food deficient declared countries the world over, 43 are in Africa where the majority of the world‘s 6.7 billion people live under the poverty line. In sub-Saharan Africa, although agriculture accounted for 70 % of the labor force and over 25 % of GDP, the continent has continued to register low priority for investment in agriculture (Eluhaiwe, 2008). The situation has resulted in a new global trend in the demand for food. Thus, there is therefore an urgent need to transform agriculture in Nigeria, to take advantage of these trends in food demand. For Nigeria to effectively increase its share in Africa’s agricultural space and harness the market opportunities, the need to re-focus the country’s agricultural financing policy to develop its agricultural food baskets and its commodity value-chains to meet the food market product demands, has become imperative.
Nigeria is still however, characterized by high reliance on food imports. Malnutrition is widespread in the entire country and rural areas and communities are especially vulnerable to chronic food shortages, malnutrition, unbalanced nutrition, erratic food supply, poor quality foods, high food costs, and even total lack of food. This phenomenon cuts across all age groups and categories of individuals in the rural areas. For example, there is a high level of malnutrition among children in rural Nigeria; the figures differ with geopolitical zones, with 56% reported in a rural area of South West and 84.3% in three rural communities in the northern part of Nigeria. Nationally, the overall prevalence of stunting, wasting, and underweight are 42.0%, 9% and 25%, respectively (Akinyele, 2009).
A number of studies have been done to assess the determinants of food security vis-à-vis the socio-economics characteristics, mostly in the south western states in Nigeria (Adio, (2000), Adegboye, (2004), Agboola, (2004) Babatunde et al., (2007) and Oyewole, (2012) but none from the community food security stand point. But then, there may be food insecurity for some rural populations because they do not produce sufficient food and/or do not have sufficient purchasing power to cover their food needs borne out of community food production resources and indices. The issues of adequate farm resources and supply could also come to play in determining food security status in communities. Rural poverty is a very important issue in Nigeria, that needs redress as over 90 of agricultural production is from the rural farming households with little access to productive resources (resource poverty) (Obamiro et al., 2003). Many factors which may vary from region to region are known to be determinants of food insecurity.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study was to evaluate the strategy for guaranteed food security, a case study of Edo State.
The specific objectives were to:
- Determine expenditure and consumption patterns of farm households in the study area;
- Determine the food security indices of farm households in the study area;
- Identify the major determinants of food security status among the farmers;
- Describe the coping strategies adopted by farm households to minimize food insecurity during lean seasons.
1.4 Research Questions
This study, therefore, sought to identify and address the following questions:
- What are the expenditure and consumption patterns of farm households in the study area?
- What are the food security indices of farm households in the study area?
- What are the main determinants of food insecurity status among the farmers?
- What are the coping strategies adopted by farm households to minimize food insecurity during lean season?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Food security is national security, and any household head that is unable to feed his household is not deemed responsible. By extension, any nation unable to feed its populace cannot be said to be a responsible one. Beside, recent estimates has put the number of hungry people in Nigeria as over 53 million, which is about 30% of the country’s total population of roughly 150 million; and of this figure, 52% live under the poverty line (Ajayeoba, 2010). These are matters of grave concern largely because Nigeria was self-sufficient in food production and was indeed a net exporter of food to other regions of the continent in the 1950s and 1960s. Things changed dramatically for the worse following the global economic crisis that hit developing countries beginning from the late 1970’s onward. The discovery of crude oil and rising revenue from the country’s petroleum sector encouraged official neglect of the agricultural sector and turned Nigeria into a net importer of food. By 2009 for example the federal ministry of agriculture estimated that Nigeria was spending over $3billion annually on food imports (Ajayeoba, 2010).
The connections among dwindling food production capacity, rising food prices, and dependency on food importation and consequently food insecurity are nowhere more clearly demonstrated in recent times than in the Sahel food crisis, which also affected many of the 11 northern states of Nigeria situated in the Savannah belt: The National Emergencies Management Agency [NEMA] says roughly 30% of the population (about 15 million people) in this region are food insecure.
Reliable information on household food security is a pre-requisite for accurate and effective design, monitoring and development of development projects (Charletto, 2001). Hence many development agencies considered household food security a guiding principle for designing interventions in rural areas. Measurement of food security at the farm family level will provide the basis for monitoring future progress and assessing the impacts of various projects, programmes and policies on the beneficiaries’ food security status (Hoddinot, 2001). Also, the community based assessment measure, a relatively new concept of food security survey method, will ensure that underlying social, economic, and institutional factors within a community that affect the quantity and quality of available food and its affordability or price relative to the sufficiency of financial resources are evaluated and made fit for intervention projects.
This study hopes to contribute to the on-going debate in development literatures on the relationship between household food security status and community food resources with regards to helping policy makers in designing policies and programs implemented to improve community food security billed to address diverse range of issues, including participation in and access to Federal food/agricultural assistance programmes, economic opportunity and job security, community development and social cohesion, ecologically sustainable agricultural production, farmland preservation, economic viability of rural communities, direct food marketing, and diet related health problems.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This research study was conducted in selected areas in Edo State for budgetary limitations. Moreover, farm households sampled randomly were limited to eight (8) communities. The farm household heads were the respondents who gave households production, consumption and expenditure data used for analysis in this study.
The data obtained were mostly from memory as most farmers are not in the habit of keeping farm records. From experience, data from memory recall are not absolute. The study is as well limited to the year 2018 survey period.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Is a condition related to the availability of food supply, group of people as well as individuals’ access to it. It is also the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
Is a high-level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. Also, it can be described as a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
This study was conducted to evaluate the strategy for guaranteed food security, a case study of Edo State. In order to achieve this, a multistage sampling technique was employed to select the farm households. Two of the four agro-ecological zones were purposively selected in the state, based on the state’s ADP zoning. Likewise, two Local Government Areas were randomly selected from the two purposively selected zones, then samples were drawn from two villages/communities from these Local Government Areas; random sampling was done to give equal opportunity to every member of the strata. Data were collected using structured questionnaires administered to 244 farmers to achieve the objectives of the study. The analytical tools used were descriptive statistics, Food Security Index (FSI), multiple regression analysis (Tobit regression model), the Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit and the Food Coping Strategy Index.
About 80% of the respondents in the sample area were found to be in the age range of 21-50 years and 87.3% had farming experience of more than 10 years. Only 12.3% of the farming population had female headed households, while about 88% were men. Of these farmers, 71% undertook farming as primary occupation. About 24%, 7%, 24%, 28% and 7% had Arabic, adult, primary, secondary and post-secondary education levels respectively. The average household size was found to be 7.5.
Household farm income in the sample area was assessed and about 66% of the farmers earned less than N200,000 with an average of farm income of N180,914.50k, while for non-farm income sources, only 68.9% of the respondents acquired income outside of farming activities. Of these, only 22% had income in excess of N200,000 with a yearly average of N130,407.10k. The major economic activities among the respondents in the study were farming (35%) exclusively, followed by civil service (20.1%) and trading (16.8%). It was also found that the average farm holding was 2.05 hectares as 75.4% of the farmers acquired farmlands through inheritance. The average farm plots number was found to be approximately 4.
The analyses of the expenditure pattern of households revealed that expenditure on food items accounts for 52.4% of total household expenditure, not taking into account the food produced by the households. The yearly average expended on food was found to be N113,351.10k as the large part of these expenses was expended on carbohydrate food items (71.7%). Non-food expenditure was however found to have a singular highest item, medical expenses, as the entire respondents expended an average of N21,093.03k, accounting for 20.6% of total non-food expenditure annually. It was followed by educational expenses. Communication expenditure of respondents was noted to account for 9.3% of non-food expenditure. The average daily expenditure on food for farm household was found to be N521.80k as the per capita expenditure was found to be N69.57k.
About 95% of the respondents’ source and meet their family food needs from both own production and the market as 68.4% of animal protein needs were equally sourced from own production and buying from market. About 93% of the farmers store food for future use and 70.9% of them participated in one form of market or the other to sell their produce. About 41% of the respondents had experienced food shortages in the last five years. The most frequent of the periods of food shortages was between July and August as explained by 85.9% of the farmers who had experienced food shortages. The highest singular cause of food shortage was noted to be the inadequacy of money to buy food during lean season, as 72.7% of the farmers so observed, with inadequacy of farm inputs coming second at 57.6%. About 57% of farmers who had experienced food shortage believed government intervention in food production would solve the problem of food crisis while 28.3% opted for access to credit facilities.
The result of food security indices of households obtained in the study area could be regarded as moderately food secure given that 66.4% of respondents were able to meet the daily calorie intake of 2260 kcal per capita. The average food security indices for the food secure was found to be 1.45 while for the insecure households, the index was 0.85.
The determinants of food security status as obtained from Tobit regression were food security status perception, adjusted household size, per capita annual expenditure on health of family member (at 1% level of significance), dependency ratio (at 5% level of significance), access and usage of consumer credit and total crop production in grain equivalent (at 10% level of significance).
The assessment of community food security shows the profiling of each community’s socio-economic and demographic characteristics, profile of community food resources, assessment of household food security, assessment of food availability and affordability and assessment of community food production.
The result of food coping strategy analyses shows that the highly employed coping strategies during food crisis includes buying from market (90%), eating less preferred food (79%), borrowing money/food from friends/relations (72%), sale of livestock (62%), and rationing of adults meal (56%). The coping strategy index also shows that about 41% of those the employed various coping strategies had severe food crisis. Worthwhile relationships were discovered between food security level of severity, level of commitment to commercial motorcycling and non-farm income sourced outside, e.g. from children, religious groups and benevolence, with coping strategy index. Farmers equally tended to continue to apply coping strategies with increasing food crisis as the coping strategies employed were found to be effective in mitigating food crisis.
Food security status perception, adjusted household size, dependency ratio, per capita expenditure on health of family members, access and usage of consumer credit, and total crop production, were found to be the most determining factors of household food security. The coping strategies employed to combat food shortages were mostly not detrimental to livelihoods and future food security and this is an indication of resilience buffered by non-farm income sources like civil service and trading. Community Food Security however relies on the cooperation of all within a local regional food system, producers, consumers, community agencies and co-operative groups, government organizations, businesses and marketing integrations to build a community food system where access to enough, safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate food is available to all. The system works to provide a sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption, all integrated to enhance the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health of a particular place. It is a long-term goal toward which many communities should strive.
Based on the findings in this study, the following recommendations were made, first for farmers and then for the government:
- The need arises for farmers to embrace improved food production technologies in line with complementary practices like use of farm inputs like fertilizer, pesticides, hybrid seeds, farm management practices etcetera in order to raise their current level of production and of course their access to food for family consumption. This is because a large part of food consumption of farm household is own production, therefore any attempt to improve production will directly and positively affect the amount of food available to farmers, increasing their chances of food security.
- Population pressure is increasingly limiting the access to land for agricultural purposes. Indigenous system that promotes access largely by inheritance is also not helping matters in this regard. The uncontrolled increase in population raises the issue of increasing household size, which has been strongly indicated to negatively affect food security status of households. Though this matter of controlled population is a sensitive one, the fact still remains that farmers need to understand the effects of unbridled birth rate. If the vicious cycle of poverty is to be evaded, population related factors have to be checked. In other words, family planning measures have to be adopted by farmers so as to be able to control large family size which has been found to negatively impact food security status of households.
- Community food security involves all food system stakeholders working with the goal of ensuring that all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritious diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice. This is obtainable only by conscious communal efforts geared in the right direction. In order words, farmers will have to team together to promote this understanding in the form of farmers associations to pursue a common front. From the producers to the processors, the distributors, marketers and even the consumers, conscious efforts must be garnered to ensuring the encouragement and promotion of local food resources and self-reliance. Viable co-operatives and farmers association are worthy tools in this regard.
- The farmers have raised the need for government to intervene in food production matters. Production inputs such as fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, and improved seeds should be provided through institutional sources in good time, in enough quantities and affordable costs. Such institutions could include Ministries of Agriculture at federal and states levels, the local governments, research institutes, NGOs and organized farmers groups/associations. Currently, the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) Scheme, a critical component under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the Nigerian government seems to be targeted at this. The effort however needs to be doubled as not all farmers are reached yet and have access to adequate farm inputs. The relevance of this is further shown from the fact that this intervention package will go a long way to assists farmers in agricultural production, hence secure their food needs.
- There seem to be the need to improve the rural marketing system that is readily accessible to the farmers by the provision of basic infrastructure like roads, electricity, water and machines for processing and adding value to farm produce. This will undoubtedly aid the performance of paramount marketing functions and of course improve marketing efficiency to the advantage of the farmers in the study area whose sizeable percentage access and patronize these markets, and as it has been shown to have positive relationship with household food security status in our model.
- Health statuses of both household heads and particularly the household members as reflected in the amount expended yearly on health related matters came significant but negatively related to household food security status. The government intervention in community healthcare facilities to provide at least basic, primary health care for farmers so as not to allow ill-health impede production activities of farmers is recommended. Public enlightenment on birth control measures should also be pursued and directed at farm households. This will reduce the risk of overpopulation and the attendant food crisis risk.
Strategy For Guaranteed Foods Security: A Case Study Of Edo State Eastern Nigeria
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