Mar 16, 2019 | 01:38 am | 3
1.1 Background of the Study
Nigeria is today unarguably surrounded by catalogues of poverty which have become endemic in her rural areas where over seventy (70%) percent of her population including small scale farmers resides (NBS, 2010, Urnah, 1975). With faming as main occupation, the use of primitive farm implements such as hoes, cutlasses and family labour have overshadowed any attempt at commercial production thereby making subsistence agriculture a prevailing circumstance (Eze, 2003). This is not also to overlook the reality of life for this teeming population as they equally lack adequate basic necessities of life such as good nutrition, shelter, clothing, adequate and good drinking water and in this pathetic circumstance are vulnerable to various kinds of risks (Ugoh & Ukpere 2009). What is most peculiar about this category of farming population is that they earn their living from farming but in most cases, have to depend on family relations and friends for financial assistance for subsistence since their earnings can hardly sustain them throughout the year. (Elumilade 2006).
As rightly observed by Achetti and Aass (2010), access to productive farming inputs such as fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, plough and credit facilities are the major constraints of small scale farmers of this classification. Government policy measures on agriculture are mostly in areas such as the provision of technical measures to provide higher yielding seeds, extension services, cooperatives, crop purchases and sometimes insecticides and herbicides and fertilizers which she had always struggled to provide (Feldman and Lawrence, 2009).
Indeed, any serious discussion of poverty reduction in Nigeria must begin with the role played by agriculture (Gollin 2009). in the Brundland Commission Categorization of agricultural systems, sub-Saharan African agriculture where Nigeria belongs has been classified into low resource or resource-poor agriculture which is characterized by a preponderance of small farm units, fragile soils, rain dependent, minimum inputs, policy inconsistency, poor yields and excessive political interference (Okuneye, Fabusore, Adebayo and Ayinde 2005).
Farming as an occupation for the small scale farmers is not yielding benefits. Again, food insecurity has remained a serious concern for the government and Nigerian populace. Nigeria has to spend a colossal sum of scarced foreign exchange earnings annually, amounting to Nltrn (one trillion naira) (NBS-2012, UNDP-20l4) for food importation, thus derailing the countrys foreign exchange earnings and high cost of food that is not affordable by the majority households.
The World Bank Development Report (2000-200l) observed that Nigerian figure at forty-one (41%) percent share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in agricultural sector is quite on the high side when compared with the average of eighteen (18%) percent for sub-Saharan Africa. However, according to Iwayemi (2012), there is declining wellbeing and rising poverty level as the impressive and sustained growth has failed to translate into poverty reduction which is inclusive of growth and development and this observation is substantiated by the significant deterioration in economic prosperity for the small scale farmers.
To alleviate this problem, government have formulated and implemented several policies and programmes ranging from research institutes, initiating and facilitating access to credit facilities and farm inputs and farm mechanization programmes. Yet, these programmes have not yielded the desired improvement in the level of productivity of the small scale farmers. Majority of the small scale farmers as noted by (UNDP, 2014), the level of poverty in rural areas in Nigeria where the small scale farmers resides and earn their living from farming is put at 65.6" 0, indicating that the productivity, enhancement of their incomes and poverty level has not substantially improved.
State, and Local Government have demonstrated their commitment in improving the socio-economic well-being of the Urban and rural people through various efforts and poverty eradication programmes. Nigeria the third poorest country, after China and India in the world, (Egwuemi 2016). Various national and international bodies have documented this high incidence of poverty. Various international and national estimates have shown that Nigeria is one of the poorest countries of the world. Her human poverty index (H.P.1) was 41.6% implying that one out of every two Nigerians was poor. Life expectancy has gradually declined to a little above 50 years (F.O.S, 1999); whereas U.N.D.P (1998) put it at 52 years. The percentage of adult literates is 55% and 45% had access to portable water and health services. The Gini coefficient of poverty increases from 0.38 to 43 at the same time and because worse at 0.52 by the end of the 19905 (U.N.D.P, 1999).
Local governments are critical institutions in the fight against poverty because they are the government nearest to the people. Some of the problems, which limited the efforts, and effectiveness of the local government system towards rural development and poverty reduction include corruption, lack of accountability, lack of consultation with community leaders etc. in spite of all the orchestrated policies and programmes of successive governments at the local level, the problem of rural backwardness and under-development has remained. This is evidenced by the persistence of agricultural facilities, among others (Tamuno, 2000). Past administration in Nigeria have adopted measures to complement the efforts of local government in rural development and poverty alleviation. Such efforts include:-
a) The National Accelerated Food Production Programmes (N.A.F.P.P) under General Gowons administration.
b) Operation Feed the Nation (O.F.N.) program under General Obasanjos administration.
c) Agricultural Development Project (A.D.P.)
d) River Basin and Rural Development Authorities (R.B.D.A)
These projects and programmes were established to reduce poverty significantly at the local level. These efforts failed because the local government as well as these efforts were conceived and inspired by the elite class with no consideration for participation at the local level. They were also designed to benefit the rich as the programmes guarantee and stabilize the pro-dominant economic and political power of the rich people. In all the programmes, both loans, contracts, and other benefits meant for the rural dwellers were taken by top notches of the political party who directed them to their personal uses to the detriment of the rural dwellers. The above views were amplified by Nzimiro (1985:73) who stated that the ideas of the ruling class are antagonistic to the idea of the-the peasants who constitute the main residents of the rural areas. Therefore the failures of the local government to improve the condition of the rural dwellers has received public out-cry in recent times.
It is therefore against this background that this study intends to investigate the factors that have led to the successive failure of small scale agricultural transformation and poverty reduction initiatives in Nigeria with the small scale farmers in Ibaji LGA of Kogi State as a study case.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is acknowledged that the small scale farmers are challenged by several problems ranging from technical such as agricultural extension services, farm inputs such as fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides and modern farm implements. Other challenges include institutional problems such as lack of credit facilities and access to marketing governance. These constraints have consequently resulted into low output and income of the small scale farmers.
Government has formulated and implemented programmes which include the Operation Feed the Nation (OFN-l980). Directorate of Food and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI-l989), Community Banking Programme (CBP-l99l), Better Life Programme (ELF-1987), Family Support Programme (FSP-1994), National Poverty Alleviation Programme (NAPEP-2002), National Economic Empowerment and Development Programme Strategy (NEEDS-2002). Agricultural Development Project (ADP-1970), Fadama Development Project (FDP-1988), Nigerian Agricultural Cooperatives and Rural Development Bank (NACRB-1976), Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS-2013), National Special Programme on Food Security (NSPFS-2002), and Root and Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP-2013).
However, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-2014) and (National Bureau of Statistics, 2012), stated that the level of poverty remained high at 655° o. The policies have not enhanced the productivity and incomes of the small scale farmers.
It is therefore pertinent to find out why inspite of the policies, programmes and resources expended in order to enhance the capacity of the small scale farmers to improve their level of productivity and level of income the programme have failed to achieve its objectives.
Giving the political economy of Nigeria, what is the implication of the adoption of neo-liberal policies such as the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) which entails devaluation, removal of subsidy, deregulation and liberalization on the level of productivity of the small scale farmers? Can they within these economic variables have the capacity to overcome their technical and institutional challenges? Again, what is the implication of power and class relations between the ruling class and the small scale farmers? The small scale farmers are scattered and not organized in any political platform, will they have the capacity to mobilize and influence government to implement policies and programmes in their favour?
This study will therefore investigate the challenges to poor productivity and consequent poverty level of small scale farmers in Ibaji LGA Kogi State.
1.3 Objectives of The Study
The general objective of this research work is to take a critical look at the state, small scale farmers and poverty reduction in Kogi state. Specifically, the work aims at the
Finding out whether the policies and programmes packaged to enhance small scale farmers production in Ibaji LGA of Kogi state have the capacity to alleviate rural poverty.
Ascertaining if the socio-economic and political environment of Ibaji LGA in Kogi State is supportive of the realization of the policies and programmes that are intended to enhance small scale farmers productivity.
Uncovering whether there is any significant relationship between agricultural policies and programmes and poverty reduction among small scale farmers in Ibaji LGA of Kogi State.
1.4 Research Questions
Do the policies and programmes packaged to enhance Small Scale farmer production in Ibaji LGA of Kogi State have the capacity to alleviate rural poverty?
Does the socio-economic and political environment of Ibaji LGA of Kogi State support the realisation of the policies and programmes that are intended to enhance small scale farmers agricultural productivity?
Are there any significant relationship between agricultural policies and programmes and poverty reduction among small scale farmers in Ibaji LGA of Kogi State?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
For the purposes of this research work, the following research hypotheses have been formulated to be tested namely:
H0: Policies and programmes packaged to enhance small scale farmers production do not seem to possess the capacity to alleviate rural poverty.
H0: The socio-economic and political environment of Kogi State tends not to be supportive of policies and programmes intended to enhance small scale farmers agricultural productivity.
H0: There seems to be no significant relationship between agricultural policies/programmes and poverty reduction among small scale farmers.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is of theory and practical significance. First and foremost, it will provide scholars and researchers alike the opportunity to access the extent of the state governments commitment to policy formulation and implementation on agricultural production and poverty reduction in Kogi State. For the small scale farmers and the public in the state, the work would serve as an authoritative information kit to guide all and sundry about the goings on as it concerns poverty reduction Strategies of the state and how to access facilities if feasible. Equally, the research work will sensitize as Well as publicise, the activities and programmes of the state on agricultural revitalization and poverty reduction in rural areas for the small scale farmers and suggest ways for enhancing increase in productivity and incomes of the farmers.
From the academic perspectives, the study will provide a renewed renaissance on knowledge building most especially on the disappearance of such supportive values that are now giving prominence to capitalist agriculture over small scale holder farmers in the state under study.
From the point of view of the government and policy makers, the study will equally provide them the opportunity to identify and reveal the challenges, failures and successes of previous agricultural policies and programmes on small scale agriculture while at the same time providing the needed guidance in the formulation of viable policies relevant to the political economy of the state and to the capacity of small scale farmers to increase their productivity and income.
Finally, this research work will also serve as a veritable aid to future researchers who may still be interested in furthering researches on the impact of the government agricultural programmes on small scale farmers either in any of the local government areas in Kogi State or Nigeria as a whole.
1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This study covers the small scale farmers in Ibaji LGA of Kogi State of Nigeria. The state-owned agricultural development project is one of the programmes targeted at the small scale farmers for improved output, income and poverty reduction among the small scale farmers in the state. The Kogi State Agricultural Development Project (ADP) in Anyigba council ward of Ibaji LGA will be the focus for assessing the farmers across the 12 wards in the study area. It would have however covered a wider area but for limitations such as:
Finance: High cost of Search for relevant materials for the study if a wider area is included.
Time Frame: The pain and rigour of combating academic work with research under limited time. iii. Material Constraint: The limited availability of relevant materials for study. However, adequate measures, particularly judicious use of available resources. (Time, finance and literatures) are put in place to neutralize the effects of the problems of study.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
For the purpose of clarity and not quoting out of context, the following terms will be taken to mean:
Agriculture: Agriculture is the practice of cultivating lands, raising crops, rearing of both aquatic/non aquatic animals for production of commodities for food, clothing and shelter.
Agricultural Development: Agricultural Development is a reduction in poverty, rural transformation, employment generation, food security and improved national health profile of the citizenry through transforming the crude methods of agricultural production to a modernized or mechanized system.
Rural Areas: A rural area refers to the remote community of an area when compared to urban centers.
Poverty: Poverty refers to the conditions or situation of deprivation of not being able to meet the basic necessities of life for survival such as food, shelter and clothing.
Poverty Reduction: Poverty reduction is a strategy put in place by the state to create a conducive environment as well as providing opportunities for the people to have access to the basic needs of life or increase the disposable income needed to procure those needs.
1.9 Organization of the Study
This study will be organized into five chapters, beginning from chapter one which is the introduction. Chapter one has the background of the study which gives a detailed historical background of agricultural role in poverty reduction in Niger State. Thereafter, chapter two will follow, which is the literature review, which will do a thorough research of what other researchers have done on the study. Chapter three is the methodology; it covers the research design, while chapter four deals with the data presentation, analysis and discussion of findings. Chapter five will be a capstone brining the study to an end.