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1.1       Background of the study

Food security ranks the top most among development problems facing Nigeria. The level of food insecurity has continued to rise steadily since the 1986 to about 41% in 2004 (Sanusi, et al 2006). According to Barrett (2002), the Lack of food excludes people to practice what other people are doing every time. However, large amount of food production in the world does not ensure any country’s food security. Moreover, huge production of food at national level does not guarantee for the household food security. This may be due to unfair distribution of resources, variation in production functions, and motives for productivity. That is why even if the production increases through time; food insecurity, malnutrition and hunger remain the main agenda and much more serious problems in the world today. During the World Food Summit held in 1996, the world leaders met in Rome and made a commitment to decrease the number of food insecure people by half not more than the year 2015. After some years, the world food summit tried to evaluate its activities in food security programs but the trend showed that it is unlikely to meet their target by 2015 (FAO, 2003). This means that the problem of food insecurity may go beyond the determined period and will continue further. Malnutrition continues to be a problem of public health importance despite the various interventions in the past two decades.

High morbidity and mortality in children has been largely attributed to high prevalence of protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) and micronutrient deficiencies (Maziya – Dixon et al, 2003; NPC and ORC maCRO, 2004). This phenomenon cuts across all age, groups and categories of individuals in Nigeria. Recent estimates put the number of hunger people in Nigeria at over 53 million, which is about 30% of the country’s total population of roughly 150 million, and 52% live under the poverty line. These are matters of grave concern largely because Nigeria was self sufficient in food production and was indeed a net exporter of food to other regions of the continent in the 1950s and 1960s. This changed dramatically for the worse following the global economic crises that hit developing countries beginning from the late 1970s onward. The discovery of crude oil and rising revenue from country’s petroleum sector encouraged official neglect of the agricultural sector and turned Nigeria into a net importer of food. By 2009 for example the Federal Ministry of Agriculture estimated that Nigeria was spending over 3 billion annually on food imports. In spite of the fact that Nigeria has abundant natural resources, most of its socioeconomic indicators are extremely low and discouraging. In Nigeria mostly the poor have been affected by food shortage problems. That is they are living below the poverty line.

The gap between the demand and supply of food to the average Nigerian has led to various studies to investigate if there is a problem of food insecurity in the country, the wide range of area to be covered and the large number of people to be attended to for different identified causes of food insecurity problem. Among the causal factors, per capita land holding with increasing population growth, livestock availability, education, per capita income of the household from agricultural and non agriculture activities, soil fertility, conflict, under-funded agriculture are the major and commonly mentioned factors. Despite much effort by the government of Nigeria to boost food production, food insecurity remains the main problem in our country and the need for food importation become increasing. The government needs to look for a way to reduce this situation. This is because Nigeria is still characterized by high reliance on food imports. Malnutrition is widespread in the entire country and rural areas are especially vulnerable to chronic food shortages, malnutrition, unbalanced nutrition, erratic food supply, poor quality foods, high food costs and even total lack of food.

This phenomenon cuts across all age groups and categories of individuals in the rural areas (Abdullateef and Ijaiya, 2010). There is a high level of malnutrition among children in rural Nigeria; the figures differ with geopolitical zones, with 56 percent reported in a rural area of South West and 84.3 percent in three rural communities in the northern part of Nigeria (Okwuet al., 2008; Oluwatayo, 2008).

1.2   Statements of the problem

Several food security studies show that many households, especially those in the rural areas, are food insecure (Altman et al., 2009; Modirwa and Oladele, 2012). According Vogel (2002), the fact that many households continue to experience food insecurity in the study area is an indication that the problem is not about food shortages but rather a problem of inadequate access to food by vulnerable groups in the country.

In line with Stamoulis et al, (2004) Urbanization is likely to increase the “effective demand” for food safety. In developing countries, the informal sector is often a significant producer, processor, distributor and preparer of food and food products (e.g. street foods). On the other, public systems to ensure food quality and safety suffer from lack of organization and adequate funding. Additionally, FAO, (2017) claimed that population growth and shifts to more protein-rich diets and bioenergy push up global agricultural demand, while human-induced climate change puts further stress on already constrained land and water resources, jeopardizing production potential.

Therefore, the (Choices Magazine, 2004) publication showed that Over the past 15 years, emergency food aid, in response to natural disasters and complex political emergencies, has become the predominant form of food aid, usually in the form of free distribution to acutely hungry people, including refugees and internally displaced persons. Jeanty and Hitzhusen (2006) study contributes to the ongoing debate that civil wars and conflicts are conducive to food insecurity in developing countries.

 Food accessibility is therefore a major problem in the study area. According to USDA (1992), food access is defined as “when individuals have adequate income or other resources to purchase or barter to obtain levels of appropriate foods needed to maintain consumption of adequate diet or nutrition”. The implication is that sufficient foods may be available in the country but this does not guarantee access by households unless they possess adequate resources to acquire such foods.

Metu, (2016) explained that, poverty is the major problem of food accessibility, availability and utilization. Poverty leads to insufficient income needed to meet household basic needs. There also other political and socioeconomic problems leading to food insecurity which are increase in population, government policy, corruption, Environmental issues.

Hunger is back on the rise (Powledge, 2010). By the year 2000 it is estimated that about one third of the children under five years of age in developing countries will suffer from growth retardation (stunting) due to inadequate feeding and poor health. FAO, (2000) and the Nigerian economy, until recently, has been characterized by the paradox of growth without poverty reduction and the trickledown effect of growth on the poor, slow response of government to the endemic and persistent problem of poverty and poor governance. (NBS, 2005).

Poverty and hunger prevent people from working hard to increase productivity. Food and agricultural productivity is both capital and labour intensive. Unfortunately, it is the poor peasant farmers that produce the bulk of food needs in Nigeria, due to their level of poverty, they find it very difficult to learn, work and care for themselves and their family members, let alone getting the necessary inputs and energy to produce for others (Otaha, 2013). Moreso, rising income inequalities may hamper earning opportunities and access to food. Long-term scenarios help to assess and address these challenges to ensure permanent and universal food and nutrition security. (FAO, 2017).

Moreso Otaha, (2013) explained that, Frequent climate changes leading to shortage of rainfall and persist drought in Northern part of the country and excessive rainfall and flood in southern and middle belt regions of the country contributed immensely to low food production in Nigeria.

When research is poorly funded, agricultural technologies cannot be improved, and there will be no downstream farm income increase, rural employment generation, reduction in food prices, establishment of agro based industries, and economic growth. (Philip et al, 2009)

Therefore, making the chairman of the G8 countries in 2001 declared that the central objective of the poverty reduction strategy remains access to adequate food supplies and rural development" (FAO,2001)

This study therefore attempted to fill the gap by conducting household level study to identify factors determining rural farm household food security in Ibadan-ibarapa agricultural zones in Oyo state

The following research questions were addressed in the study: -

  1. What are the socio-economic characteristic of the rural household farmers?
  2. What is the food insecurity status in the study area?
  • What are the determinants of food insecurity status in the study area?
  1. What are the coping strategies to measure food insecurity status in the study area?

1.3  Objective of the study

The objectives of the study are to;

  1. describe the socio-economic characteristics of the rural household farmers.
  2. analyse the food insecurity status among the rural households in the study area.
  • analyse the determinants of food insecurity status in the study area.
  1. identify the coping strategies to measure food insecurity status in the study area.

1.4  Hypothesis of the study

H0: The respondents are food insecured in the study area.

1.5  Justification

There is a consensus that in matters pertaining to food insecurity, food insecure households should be properly identified and the reasons for their insecurity investigated. In addition, changes in food security status of households over time should be closely monitored with explanations given for the changes. Thus, since more than half of Nigeria‟s population are currently employed in the agricultural sector and with the vast majority of these individuals living in rural areas, an examination of the factors associated with food insecurity status during the post planting season in Nigeria is pertinent if progress is to be made towards achieving the first Millennium Development Goal. Also, an investigation of the factors that influence the food insecurity status among rural households during the post-planting season will provide clear information about what needs to be done to ensure food security among rural households particularly during this season. This can be achieved if proper attention is given to improvements in nutritional status, while all the other necessary conditions, such as adequate health and care, are also properly considered.

According Baro, (2002) Signs of long standing poverty and political inequality in Haiti abound; chronicmalnutrition being one. During the last 30 years, per capita daily caloric intake hashovered between 1,900 and 2,100 calories. FAO, (2017) revealed that more than 800 million people suffer from food insecurity and lack of education. Therefore, Choices Magazine (2004 Page 54-58) recommended that, to eliminate hunger in a world of plenty, the international community must commit itself to combating poverty itself, not simply to making food available. Additionally, Rosegrant and Cline, (2003) study revealed that crop yield growth has slowed in much of the world because of declining investments in agricultural research, irrigation, and rural infrastructure and increasing water scarcity. Cannon, (2002) noted that the struggle for livelihoods has led households to explore a vast array of options,employing all the resources available in their environments.

In Ukrainian, where food is physically available the main problem is economic access and stability. An adequate supply of food doesnot guarantees household level food security. Therefore, concerns about insufficient food access have resulted in a greater policy focus on incomes, expenditure, markets and prices in achieving food security objectives (Food Insecurity and Livelihood Cluster, 2018).

Furthermore, in Argentina, there are problems of ensuring food access to all population. In order to improve food access while exploiting the food export opportunity, the authors propose eliminating the export tax and its substitution for a food consumption subsidy in the form of a conditional income transfer to the population under food insecurity (Feeney and MacClay, 2016). Therefore, implementing long-term, inclusive socio-economic systems that ensure adequate earning opportunities for all, within which sustainable food systems can develop (FAO, 2017)

Adegbola et al, (2011) maintained that food shortages in Nigeria are due not primarily to underproduction but agreed that more crops should be grown to meet production shortfall. The paper indicted lack of adequate postharvest practices as the chief bane of food security in Nigeria and posits that more should be done to see that food are adequately stored after they are produced to nip wastages and scarcity in the bud. Furthermore, according to Philip, (2009) there is renewedconsideration of input subsidies, at least as a means to reduce attendant effects of marketfailures. The costs ofsubsidies became high and unsustainable.

Ibok et al, (2014) analysis food insecurity status in urban food stuff farming household revealed that only 12.44% of urban farmers were food secure, 55.76% were food insecure without hunger, 25.35% were moderately food insecure with hunger and 6.45% were severely food insecure with hunger. However, Scaramozzino, (2006) concluded that, inless food secure countries, the negative impacts of civil wars and conflicts and a highly dense ruralpopulation would be more severe. Similarly, food security is less responsive to agricultural productive inputs in these countries.

Agriculture is an important tool for reducing the effects of household food insecurity, unemployment and poverty which are major problems in urban areas in Nigeria (Yusuf et al, 2015).In the United States, about 11.1 percent were food insecure at least some time during the year while 89  percentage of American household are food secured throughout the year (USDA, 2007). Poverty in Nigeria is a rural phenomenon where agricultural activities are most predominant (NBS, 2005). Access to food is essential to optimal development and function in children and adults, (Cook and Frank, 2008). In the 1980s, following the success of the green revolution which helped to increase food production (food availability), it was recognized that food emergencies and even famines were not caused as much by catastrophic shortfalls in food production as by sharp declines in the purchasing power of specific social groups. (FAO 2000) Therefore springing up Deadly food riots ensued in 22 nations and placed hunger at the top of the global agenda (Powledge, 2010).