Small Ruminants as a Source of Financial Security Among Women in Rural Southwest Nigeria
The important role played by small ruminants in the lives of households in developing countries cannot be overemphasized. Small ruminants provide the easiest and readily accessible source of credit available to meet immediate social and financial obligations. In rural southwest Nigeria, women are involved in managing small ruminants by feeding them kitchen waste, and sometimes allow them to graze on surrounding herbs and shrubs. Data for this study was collected through a structured questionnaire administered on a random sample of 450 women from southwest Nigeria. Analytical tools employed include descriptive statistics, regression model and the coping strategies use index (CSUI). A descriptive analysis of socioeconomic characteristics of respondents showed that the average age of the women was 48 years (with only about one-third having tertiary education) and the average household size was seven. The respondents' distribution by the ruminants reared showed that goat was the most preferred because of its acceptability and marketability. However, the regression results showed that educational level, extension contact, experience in small ruminants' rearing and cooperative membership enhanced the income from small ruminants' husbandry. This paper therefore suggested that efforts should be geared at building the respondents' capacity through education and ensuring more extension contact. Another suggestion is that women should come together to form cooperatives as this will assist in risk sharing, and provide them with better bargaining power and access to market information. (original abstract)
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