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1.1 Background to the Study

Despite the growing attention being focused on diversification, there is still no general agreement about the impact of these income sources on inequality (Adams 2001). Similarly, the general belief that income inequality is closely related to poverty and that poverty and inequality are more wide – spread and more prevalent in rural areas than urban areas. The starting point is to understand the „wealth of the poor, which may be reflected in such assets as indigenous knowledge, special skills individuals and grouped resourcefulness and social support system, and the strategies that people use to cope with formidable hardship (Husseini and Nelson, 1998). The rural poor have developed capacity to cope with increasing vulnerability associated with agricultural production diversification, intensification and migration or moving out of farming (Ellis 1998).

Diversification as a strategy involves the attempt by individuals and households to find new ways to raise income and reduce environmental risk which differs sharply by the degree of freedom of choice (diversified or not) and the reversibility of the outcome (Husseini and Nelson 1998). The existing gap in poverty in the urban and rural sectors in the sub – sahara Africa have therefore attracted the attention of the social scientists to the study of rural livelihood (Nass et al 2010). Butler and Mazur (2004) equally observed that Africa development which is lagging significantly behind much of GLOBAL south despite decades of assorted development approaches has been receiving increased attention as the United Nation Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) provides the goal for international development effort through 2013. The concern and


attention shown on lagging areas have called for change from emphasis on development strategies that focus on problems identification and needs assessment to approaches that placed priority of the livelihood under severe environmental economic and political stress.

1.2 Statement of Research Problem

In Nigeria, the agricultural sector is plagued with problems which include soil infertility, inadequate infrastructure, risk of uncertainty and seasonality among others. Thus rural households are forced to develop strategies to cope with increasing vulnerability associated with agricultural production through diversification, intensification and migration or moving out of farming (Ellis, 2000).Dixon (1994) points out that to classify people in terms of access to land and involvement in agriculture is to observe the degree to which rural households engage in other activities and derives income from wide and variable range of sources. Kinsella etal., (2000) highlights this point when they pointed out that the stability of rural population as a whole requires a broader Spectrum of activities than agriculture alone Ellis (1998) and Edna etal. (2007) reported that agricultural production on its own rarely provide a sufficient means of survival in rural communities of low-income countries and rural households have to diversify their sources of livelihood.

This phenomenon is not just a temporary or transient one reflecting the transition between full-time agriculture to full-time industry and service, but has shown to be of stable or at least of persistence nature. The prevalence of livelihood diversification among rural households such as (trading or adding value to commodities) small scale business enterprise carpentry, radio and bicycle repairs), Processing of agricultural goods arts and craft (Blacksmithing, mat and basket making among rural dwellers (Ellis


1998 and Krishnan, 1996, Ekong. 2003) as witnessed today call for a better understanding of factors influencing level of livelihood diversification, the reasons for diversifying livelihood and the effects on households livelihood. Understanding how and why rural people change their income generating activities is a key to developing effective strategies to support the process. There is also an erroneous impression that rural people are homogenous in their activities. Reasons for this, observed diversification include declining farm incomes and the desire to ensure against agricultural production and market risk Matsumoto et al. (2006).It is against this backing that the study sets out to proffer answers to the following questions.

i. What are the levels of livelihood diversification in the study area?

ii. Why do rural people diversify their sources of livelihood?

iii. What are the socio economic-factors influencing livelihood diversification in the area?

iv. What are the perceptions of rural farmers on poverty reduction due to livelihood diversification?

v. What are the effects of livelihood diversification on poverty reduction of the respondents?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The broad objectives of the study were to analyze socio–economic and institutional factors influencing livelihood diversification among rural farmers in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The specific objectives were to:

i. Examine the level of livelihood diversification of the rural famer in Kaduna state;


ii. Assess the sources of livelihood diversification of the famers in the area;

iii. Determine the socio-economic factors that influence farmers decision for livelihood diversification;

iv. Assess the perception of poverty due to livelihood diversification;

v. Determine the effect of livelihood diversification poverty reduction among rural farmers.

1.4 Justification of the Study

It is obvious that agricultural production is not the only activity that sustains rural farmers and their families (Ellis. 1998 and scone 1998).Hence, rural households livelihood involve both on-farm and off-farm activities. Therefore any attempt to address rural poverty, unemployment and inequality among rural dwellers must give equal consideration to on-farm and off-farm activities of the farmer. However, Olatunbosun and Ekong (2003) reported that, little attention is given to this important aspect and efforts aimed at reducing peasants problems such as poverty, unemployment and under-employment in Nigeria are often only directed at increased agricultural production, extension service and Infrastructural development. However, these strategies are often poorly understood and attempts to assist this process have tended to be based on only a limited understanding of factors or forces that are liable to ensure success (Campbell, 2007).

Therefore this study is to examine rural livelihood diversification with a view to broaden our knowledge about livelihood and also provide basic and useful information that can assist researcher and policy makers interested in rural livelihood well-being to


design appropriate strategies and actions that can reduce rural poverty and empower rural people.

Therefore, this study is desirable, especially that previous efforts at reducing rural poverty and its appendages have not achieved the desired result in Nigeria (Maduagwu 2000).

1.5 Hypotheses

In this study, the following hypotheses were tested.

i. There is no significant relationship between socio-economic factors and rural households‟ livelihood diversification of the farmers.

ii. There is no significant relationship between livelihood diversification and rural household poverty reduction.

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