This study was intended to analyze food security and poverty status in Households and the country as a whole. This study was guided by the following objectives; to examine the relationship between poverty level and unemployment in Nigeria, to examine the effect of poverty level on agricultural output in Nigeria, to identify the effect of poverty and unemployment level on sustainable agricultural output in Nigeria.
The study employed the descriptive and explanatory design; secondary data sources were used and data was analyzed using the correlation statistical tool at 5% level of significance which was presented in frequency tables and percentage. The study findings revealed that there is a relationship between and unemployment level in Nigeria; poverty level has an effect on agricultural output in Nigeria based on the findings from the study, efforts should be made by the Nigerian government and stakeholders in promoting agricultural output policies.
Food security in a broad sense consists of having at all times an adequate level of basic products to meet increasing consumption demand and mitigate fluctuations in output and prices. According to Moharjan and Chetri (2006), food security is widely seen as access by all people at all times to enough food for an active life, while food insecurity is the inability of a household or individuals to meet the required consumption levels in the face of fluctuating production, price and income.
2.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
At the national level, food security exists when all people at all times have the physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for active and healthy life, while at the household level, food security implies physical and economic access to food that is adequate in terms of quantity, safety and cultural accessibility, to meet each person’s need (Ingawa, 2002). A country can be said to be enjoying food security when people’s fear of not having enough to eat is removed and the most vulnerable group, namely women and children, in the marginal areas have access to adequate quality of food they want. According to the World Bank (1986), food security refers to access to food resources by each individual at all times for healthy and active life. Food demand in Nigeria has generally grown faster than either food production or total supply. C. B. N. (2001) reported that the rate of increase in food production of 2.5 percent per annum does not keep pace with the annual population growth rate of 2.8 percent per annum. Fakiyesi (2001) also maintained that Nigeria’s domestic food supply has been far short of the need of the population. This could result in reduced consumption among the poor. The urban poor in particular are lacking in education, basic technical skills and unemployment. Consequently these category of persons belong to the low – income groups and are therefore most vulnerable to food insecurity. Given the high cost of social services, nutritional level and food purchasing capacity tend to deteriorate as relatively large proportion of income goes to meeting these social services (Olayemi, 1998). Ali (1994) stated that the African poor have common characteristics of facing the most severe difficulties in relation to production of food and access to food market which make them most vulnerable to food security crisis. In Nigeria, the issue of food in security is of a major concern. This is particularly more in the northern Sudan Savannah and Sahel zones which have the highest prevalence of under nutrition (FAO, 1998) and where the study area lies. Fakiyesi (2001) also estimated that about 66% of Nigeria’s populations live below poverty line as portrayed by their level of food security.
Worldwide, about 852 million men, women, children are chronically hungry due to extreme poverty; while up to 2 billion people lack food security intermittently due to varying degree of poverty (FAO, 2003). More than two-thirds of Nigerian people are poor, despite living in a country with vast potential wealth. Food security for a household means access by all members at all times to enough food for an active healthy life. Food security includes at a minimum the ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods; and an assured ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways (i.e. without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing or other coping strategies). Aside from food production, which a large proportion of the Nigerian populace is involved in, accessibility is very important to attain food security level. Food security at national level does not therefore guarantee that all people, especially the poor, will have access to the minimum nutrition requirement because of existing regional, economic and social inequalities, (Alderman and Garcia (1993). There may be food insecurity for some rural populations because they do not produce sufficient food and/or do not have sufficient purchasing power to cover their food needs. Rural poverty is a very important issue in Nigeria, that needs redress as over 90% of agricultural production is from the rural farming households with little access to productive resources(resource poverty), (Obamiro et al, 2003). Many factors which may vary from region to region are known to be determinants of poverty. However, household endowments (assets) which help households to diversify their sources of income and thus reduce the risk of overall income failure have been identified as important determinants of poverty, (Ellis, 1998). This study, therefore, seeks to identify the proportion of sampled rural households that is food secure; the factors that determine household food security status; develop a poverty profile of the study area and determine the effect of household assets on household poverty.
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