POVERTY ALLEVIATION ON PLANTAIN AND BANANA FARMERS IN OVIA SOUTH WEST AND OVIA NORTH EAST IN EDO STATE, NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
One of the most challenging problems comforting the Nigeria nation today is how to significantly address the problem of a widespread and rising incidence of poverty among the populace. Available statistics shows that as much as 70.8% of the populace lived on less than us & I a day and are thus classified as extremely poor. This is an increase from 15% in 2010, 46.3% in 2015 and 65.6% in 2016(Fos, 2016). Apart from death due to starvation and other health hazards that these poor people are rarely faced with, poverty induced hunger and malnutrition are known to impair mental (intelligent quotient) development in children and could lead to a large loss in quality of life, productivity and economic growth in developing countries(Von,2015). Empirical evidence on the level of poverty in Nigeria is that the poor are predominantly the rural households that depend primarily on agricultural income. (Philip et al., 2015).
Poverty is a multi dimensional phenomenon that affect many aspect of human conditions ranging from the physical, moral to the psychological (Agbi, 2013). It is defined as the state of being poor or deficient in money or means of subsistence. The concept of basic subsistence is a measured by the availability of infrastructural services such as safe water, sanitation, solid water collection, health care, schools and security. (Agbi, 2013).
Poverty can also be defined based on the concept of access to opportunities and resources, concern for human rights and environmental challenges. Other factors include exposure to violence, injustice, powerlessness and uncertainty in the face of unexpected situations like sickness, accidents and natural disasters. Poverty in Nigeria is characterized by hunger, homelessness, disease, malnutrition, high child mortality rate, family disintegration, unemployment, human trafficking, child labour, kidnapping, killing, sexual assault, drug abuse, prostitution and high mortality rate (Agbi, 2013).
Poverty alleviation involves the improving of the lives of poor people (Shringal, 2010). Poverty alleviation is the result of overall economic growth and result from an increase in human and physical capita (Krugman et al., 2014). According to Bharati (2015), the process usually followed in poverty alleviation programs is as follows. Find the main activity of the target group Turn the activity in an economic activity capable of generating income Involve as many members of the target group a possible in the economic activity. Educate the target group on personal finance to enable them use the generated income to improve their lives. This process is expected to diffuse through the community. In a bid to overcome poverty of Nigeria, government has initiated different policies and structural programmes between 2017 till date. These programmes includes: Directorial of food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFFRI), Better Life Programme (BLP), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), People’s Bank of Nigeria (PBN), Community Bank (CB), Family Support Program (FSP), Family Economic Advanced Programme (FEAP), Poverty Eradication Programme (PEP), National Poverty Eradication Program (NAPEP) and National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS). Their aims are to ameliorate the suffering of the people by providing them employment opportunities and access to credit facilities to enable them establish their own business. (Adebisi, 2011).
Plantain and banana are staple food for rural and urban consumers as they provide an important source of rural income, particularly for small holders who produce them in compound or home gardens (Nweke et al., 2014). Banana is the world’s second (2nd) most important fruit crop after oil palm. It is grown in 130 countries worldwide. World production stands at 71 million metric tonnes while plantain is grown in 52 countries with world production of 33million metric tonnes (FAO, 2014). However, no African country is ranking among the top 10 countries for banana production in the world wide eight (8) African countries are among the top world producers of plantain with Nigeria ranking as the fifth highest producers of the crop (FAO, 2014). Presently, plantains are of less importance than banana in terms of world trade in the genus but in West and central Africa about 70 million people are estimated to derive more than one quarter of their food energy requirement from plantain (Robbison, 2016).
Acceptable to Nigerians, plantain and banana is a versatile food in the kitchen as well as raw materials for many popular delicacies and snacks. This reason plus the growing population of Nigeria leads to an enormous increase in demand for the crop in the consumers market. Among plantain products are plantain flower, chips, beer and ethanol. The ripe ones are sliced and fried in oil as “dodo”. Over ripe ones are both compacted and fried in oil as “dodo ikire” or mixed with plantain flour to make “ekuru”, a delicious local dish. In some parts of Nigeria, selling of roasted plantain “boli” and fried whole fruits “ogene” are both thriving business that provide job opportunities for thousand young girls and women. Ogazi (2015) The unripe ones can be fried in vegetable oil to obtain plantain chips known as “pekere” in Nigeria. Plantain chips are the most popular plantain products in Nigeria. These are sold on the streets or by small and medium scale companies which deliver them to super markets. The peels of plantain are used as animal feed for livestock, manure and mulching materials. The peels constitute valuable fodder for goats and sheep. Ogazi(2016)
Banana can be eaten when ripe, it is used to make banana juice. Some people eat the fruits with groundnut, rice or to drink garri. Apart from being useful as staple food for human being, it can be used in preparation of various products as juice, jam, soft drink etc. it contains carbohydrate, calcium, iron, fat, phosphourus, vitamin A, B1, B2, and C (Ngeze and Gathumbi, 2014, Anochilli and Tindall, 2016). All these attributes of the product offer it a high demand in the market. It can thus be seen that there is a large market for the products of plantain and banana farmers. Agriculture is considered the core to the anti poverty effort (World Bank, 2015), so it is only natural to expect that engagement in a productive business like plantain and banana farming will yield income and thus further the goal of poverty alleviation for the farmers.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigeria is one of the most resource endowed nations in the world. But socio-economically, Nigerians are also among the poorest in the world (Etim et al., 2015). The poverty situation in Nigeria is quite disturbing considering the vast human and physical resources that the country is endowed with (Okunmadema et al., 2015). Many initiatives and projects have been under taken in order to reduce poverty; the reduction of poverty is difficult challenge facing most developing countries where the average majority of the population is considered poor. According to Ogwumike (2014), evidence in Nigeria shows that the number of those in poverty has continued to increase from 29% in 2010, to 46% in 2015, it declined slightly to 42% in 2012, and increased very sharply to 67% in 2016. By 2016, estimates had it that more than 70% of Nigerians live in poverty.
NBS (2017) revealed that about 69 million people were living in poverty in 2014 which represent 54.4% of the Nigerian population. Sectorial disaggregation show urban poverty rate of 43.1% and rural poverty rate 63.8% in the same year (Adeyonu et al., 2012). Incidentally, the rural sector is the predominant sector in Nigeria economy. Evidences abound that among the rural poor people, the farming households are poor. For instance Federal Office of Statistics (FOS) (2015), Olaniyan and Bankole (2015) reveals that in 2016 and 2014, the incidence of poverty were 32.1, 43.1, 38.7, 72.3 and 64.4 percent respectively for Nigerian farming households and 16.3, 37.2, 36.0 58.0 and 59.2 percent for their non farming counterparts respectively. This shows that poor families are more in farming households than non farming households in Nigeria.
While a plethora of poverty reduction programmes have been put by various governments in Nigeria, poverty enabated calling to question the effectiveness of these efforts (Philip et al., 2015) hence the need to identify and examine alternative strategies or solutions of these group out of poverty.
Plantain and banana have been crops of extra ordinary significance to the rural poor household and the human societies. Cultivations of both crops is mainly a medium gestation agricultural investments as against long gestation agricultural investment such as cash crops and livestock production (Philip et al., 2015). In the absence of functioning capital, credits coupled with failure of government to put in place safety nets for the rural poor household, it is difficult, if not possible for a resource poor farm household to invest in long gestation farm projects. It is against this background that plantain and banana production will be focused on as a means of boosting rural household income. A number of questions then arise:
What is the socio economic characteristics of plantain and banana farmers in Ovia South West and Ovia North East Local Government Area
What is the perception of farmers on the profitability of plantain and banana production in the area.
What is the value addition of plantain and banana among respondents
What is the poverty level of plantain and banana farmers in the area.
What is the contribution of plantain and banana farming enterprise to poverty alleviation among the farmers
What are the constraints faced by plantain and banana farmers in the area
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
To examine the socio economic characteristics of plantain and banana farmers in Ovia South West and Ovia North East Local Government Area
To assess the perception of farmers on the profitability of plantain and banana production in the area.
To identify the value addition of plantain and banana among respondents
To examine the poverty level of plantain and banana farmers in the area.
To assess the contribution of plantain and banana farming enterprise to poverty alleviation among the farmers
To identify the constraints faced by plantain and banana farmers in the area
1.3 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Ho1: There is no significant association between the farming type and farmers poverty status.
Ho2: There is no significant difference in income from the different plantain/banana enterprise.