The Issue of Income Diversification Among Rural Farming Households: Empirical Evidence from Kwara State, Nigeria
The rising incidences of poverty among rural farming families are the reason behind renewed interest in income diversification. This study determined the level of income diversification; identified alternative income sources; examined the reasons for diversification; and identified the constraints to diversification. A three-stage random sampling technique was used in selecting 160 households on which a structured interview schedule was administered. Descriptive statistics, a Likert-type scale, and the Pearson's Product Moment Correlation were used for data analyses. Findings reveal that 1.3% of the households had no additional sources of income while 40.6% had at least four. Trading (55%) and livestock keeping (40.7%) were the most popular alternative income sources. The declining farm income (mean = 2.96) was the primary reason for diversification, while poor rural infrastructure (mean = 3.04) was the most severe constraint to income diversification. Farm size, access to extension services, household size, age and educational level of the household head were significantly related to the level of income diversification at p < 0.05. The study concluded that the level of income diversification was high and influenced by socioeconomic characteristics of the households. It recommends that the government should provide adequate infrastructural facilities in rural areas. Farmer associations should also ensure better prices for agricultural produce through joint marketing. (original abstract)
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