LIVELIHOOD ACTIVITIES AND FOOD SECURITY STATUS OF FARMING HOUSEHOLDS IN NIGER STATE, NIGERIA
Keywords:Livelihoods, Diversification, Food security, Farming households, Agwara LGA
The study assessed the livelihood activities and food security status among farming households in Agwara LGA Niger state. Primary data were obtained from a total of 119 selected farming households in 5 farming communities. Descriptive statistics, Simpson's index of diversity (SID), Food security perception scale and ordered probit regression model were used to analyzed the data. The results revealed that the farmers in the study area have an average age of 38 years, household size of 8 persons and farm size of 4.02ha. 71.56% of the farmers were male and 75.23% of them were married. Crop farming, agro-produce trading, livestock farming, civil service, tailoring, agro-inputs trading among others were the major livelihood activities engaged in by the farming households. Majority of the farming household (81.65%) were moderately diversified in their livelihood activities. Result on the food security status of the respondents shows that 4.59% were food secure, 29.36% were slightly insecure, 33.11% were moderately insecure and 33.94% were severely insecure. The determinants of food security of the respondents were level of livelihood diversification (p≤0.01), household income (p≤0.10), household size (p≤0.01) farm size (p≤0.01), access to credit (p≤0.01) and sex of household head (p≤0.05). Intensifying the amount farm work to increase output, diversifying into off-farms activities to increase income, and children eating first were the most adopted strategies of the households to escape food insecurity. The study concluded that livelihood diversification positively and significantly improved farmers food security status. Thus, it was recommended that farmers should diversify their livelihoods sources
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