1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Agriculture is an important sector in the economic development and food security in many countries including Nigeria. It supplies the food needs and raw materials for agro -allied industries and most times through cassava production creates job opportunities and income for the rural dwellers; thus act as a tool for improving the living standard of the people (Food and Agricultural Organization, (FAO) 2011). However, despite the effort made by Nigerian farmers to increase food production, their productivity is still very low. Factors contributing to agricultural growth according to Igbal, Ahmad and Abbas (2012) include increased used of agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc), technological change (result of research and development effort) and technical efficiency (affected by flow of information, better infrastructure, availability of funds and farmers managerial expertise). Akobundu (2013), opined that poor cultural practice, poor soil fertility, lack of access to improved crop varieties, pest and disease and poverty are major factors affecting output negatively. Attainment of food security in any country is usually an insurance against hunger and poverty both of which impede economic development. This is why all developed and some developing countries make considerable efforts to increase their food production capacity especially for those crops that have comparative production advantage in order to reduce hunger and poverty. Cassava (manihot esculenta) is widely cultivated in Nigeria where it plays vital role in the food security of the rural economy because of its capacity to yield under marginal soil condition and its tolerant of drought (Ezedinma et al 2013). Bamidele, Babatunde and Rasheed (2015), affirmed that cassava’s comparative production advantage over other staple crops in Nigeria serves to encourage its cultivation even by the resource poor farmers. The principal strategy of Nigerian government is to promote agricultural development programmes aimed at increasing food production particularly in the rural areas in order to improve food self-sufficiency while generating income through processing and marketing of surplus products to reduce poverty. The National Special Programme for Food Security (NSPFS) is one of such programmes aimed at reducing food insecurity.NSPFS came as a result of Nigeria participating in the World Food Summit of November 2010. As one of the Low Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCS), she requested for assistance under the United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agricultural Organisations’ (FAO) Special Programme on Food Security (SPFS). A tripartite participatory review of beneficiary communities was held in Nigeria which resulted to a pilot phase of the Special Programme on Food Security (SPFS) being conducted in Kano state in 1998 (Appraisal Report, 2013). In 2011, following the successful completion of the pilot phase in Kano, the SPFS was further up- scaled over a five year period nationwide National Special Programme on Food Security (NSPFS) covering the thirty six (36) states with 109 sites(communities) across the country with a total programme cost of USD 45.2 million (Dauda and Ajayi, 2014). The mandate of NSPFS is to assist farmers in increasing output and productivity and consequently income on sustainable basis, strengthen the effectiveness of research and extension services in bridging technology and new farming practices developed by research institute. The targeted crops and livestock are cassava, rice, cocoyam, yam, leafy vegetables, poultry, and sheep, goats and swine production (Appraisal Report, 2013 and Dimelu, Igbokwe and Obieri, 2014). According to Oyedele and Akintola (2012), the main strategy of NSPFS is to empower small farming communities with provision of soft loan, agricultural inputs and technical support services to achieving NSPFS objectives of increasing farmers output and income on a sustainable basis. According to the authors the participatory farmers are formed into groups for ease of co-ordination and management of credits and inputs received on behalf of farmers. Food is one of the basic needs of man in Maslow hierarchy of need. Government of Nigeria acknowledged this as such have attempted several agricultural programmes geared towards increasing food production. Some of such programmes include: Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) in 1976, Green Revolution (GR) in 1980, Directorate for Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) in 2014, National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) in 2013etc but none of the above mentioned programmes can be described as wholly successful. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) (2011), maintained that most of the programmes have been a striking failure because the poor are often regarded as passive beneficiaries. Adawo (2011) also opined that most of the programmes failed because it adopted a top-down approach and the opinions of the targeted beneficiaries were not sought. It is widely believed that the provision of credit, supply of inputs, extension services, and group formation through the intervention programme (NSPFS), farmers can increase output. Increase in food production could also be achieved by NSPFS as a result of the adoption of participatory extension system which empowers the farmers to choose from available opportunities, identify needs according to priorities while the extension agents only act as facilitators.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In the view of Babatunde et al. (2014), among the developmental problems facing Nigeria, food security problem ranks topmost. Available statistics show that the Nigeria food security picture is pathetic as more than 70 percent of the populace live in households too poor to have regular access to the food that they need for healthy and productive living (Aletor, 1999) ascribing Nigeria with highest incidence of food insecurity in Africa (FAO, 2010). In the analysis of Iremiren (2013), “Jesus taught us to pray for our daily bread among other requests in the family prayers. For many years now, the price of the symbolic bread has gone beyond the reach of most Nigerians and it has disappeared from the breakfast menu. For few that still eat bread, it is no more daily”. Fasting in Nigeria has become the order of the day, not as a means of drawing nearer to God alone, but as a means of sustaining hope for another days meal (Tewe, 1997). This statement is underpinned by the now universal 001; 101; 010; 110 etc menu formulae adopted not by students alone, but workers and indeed many households, whereby meals are skipped out of sheer necessity to ensure the availability of another days maintenance ration (Aletor, 1999).
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the analysis of food security among cassava household in Orlu L.G.A. Imo state. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1. To examine the level of food security among cassava households farmers in Orlu L.G.A.
2. To examine the use of cassava in ensuring food security in Nigeria.
3. To examine the impact of food security on cassava household farmers in Orlu L.G.A.
4. To examine the challenges of food security in Nigeria.
5. To examine the relationship between food security and cassava household farmers in Orlu L.G.A.
6. To examine Nigerian government response to the challenges of food security in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the level of food security among cassava households farmers in Orlu L.G.A.?
2. What are the uses of cassava in ensuring food security in Nigeria?
3. What is the impact of food security on cassava household farmers in Orlu L.G.A.?
4. What are the challenges of food security in Nigeria?
5. What is the relationship between food security and cassava household farmers in Orlu L.G.A.?
6. What are the Nigerian government responses to the challenges of food security in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant impact of food security on cassava household farmers in Orlu L.G.A.
H1: There is a significant impact of food security on cassava household farmers in Orlu L.G.A.
H0: There is no significant relationship between food security and cassava household farmers in Orlu L.G.A.
H1: There is a significant relationship between food security and cassava household farmers in Orlu L.G.A.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of benefit to enlighten the government on the need to empower cassava household farmers, as it helps in providing food security in the country as well affects the well-being of the country. The study would also be of immense benefit to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to analysis of food security among cassava household farmers in Orlu L.G.A. in Imo state.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Agriculture: Agriculture involves the domestication of animals for meat and the cultivation of the soil for the purpose of food required for human survival. Agriculture remains the backbone of the economy of many developing nations including Nigeria. Land for agricultural production consisting of cropland, managed grassland, agro-forestry and bio-energy is known to occupy about 40-50 per cent of the earth’s surface. Agriculture in this century is faced with multiple challenges. These include: the demand for more food and fiber to feed a growing population with a smaller rural labour force; the need for more efficient and sustainable production methods; and the challenge of climate change.
Food production: This refers to the process of cultivation of crops from the preparation of the soil for planting to the point of product distribution. In recent times food production has been reported to be adversely affected by climate change in many parts of the world. Consequently the need to adopt clean or renewable energy in food processing is becoming popular. On a global scale, the agricultural food production chain consumes 30 per cent of the world’s available energy and the agricultural food production chain produces about 20 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (Downing, 2015). Food security: This refers to a state where all people have physical and economic access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food to meet their nutritional requirements for active and healthy life. Food security is attained through a food system. A food system encompasses all processes and infrastructure involved in satisfying the food requirement of a population through gathering/catching, planting, plowing, growing, harvesting, storing, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, and consumption.
Subsistence agriculture: It is the type of agricultural activity that has the members of the household as the basic or primary consumers of the farm produce, such that selling out of the produce is only a second thought. This is what is obtainable among most rural women farmers as they are limited in agricultural production engendered by their lack of production inputs such as land, modern agricultural technology, and credit facilities. Focus is on small portions of land and means of cultivation is mostly crude implements such as cutlass and hoes.
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