The ‘Livelihood’ Challenge and Sustainable Agriculture: Evidence from Smallholder Cocoa Farming Households in Nigeria
Oluwafunmiso Adeola Olajide1, Ayodeji Ojo1, Kehinde Adesina Thomas2, Molatokunbo Seun Olutayo3
1University of Ibadan, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Nigeria
Global trade includes commodities produced by smallholder farmers from countries, such as Sub-Saharan Africa; as such their ability to participate in agricultural value chains in a sustainable way is important. The complexities underlying farmers’ choice within the agri-food systems are often neglected in debates on conventional or agro-ecological agriculture. This study examined such complexities within the Agricultural Policy Research for Africa (APRA) consortium with a focus on Nigeria’s Cocoa Value Chain. The trajectories into the sector; current production practices and commercialisation models were examined using a mixed methods approach. A sequential exploratory design was adopted; data were collected through Key Person Interviews, Focus Group Discussions and observation; and surveys. The discussion themes included the development along the value chain; the survey included production, commercialisation, and livelihoods data. The communities were selected through a multistage sampling technique from Osun, Ogun and Ondo states; the respondents were selected through a random sampling procedure from these. The information was analysed using themes; problem tree analyses; descriptive and econometric tools. The results show that trajectories into the cocoa sector include inheritance, labour-employment and marriage; these have several implications for land ownership, control and rights- such as tension between land owners and renters which is boosting illegal mining and logging. Access to land, labour and credit facilities are barriers to participation in the sector; current production practices include a similitude of organic and conventional approaches; farmers have ‘mixed’ economic trees for multiple streams of income and for social reasons; the commercialisation models show high dominance by produce buyers. The probit analysis shows that planting improved variety could improve the poverty status of farmers; while the tobit analysis shows an evidence of ‘over’ commercialisation. At the micro level, farmer’s decisions on resource allocation are driven by own goals- options that bring immediate ‘prosperity’ are favoured; the meso level shows existing rural land, labour and credit markets governed by economic and socio-cultural factors; the macro level shows a major failure with respect to rural infrastructure, markets, land and mining policies. Policies that will ease these multi-level complexities need to be implemented if the world would be fed.
Keywords: Agro-ecological, livelihood, multi-level, policies, trajectories, value chain
Contact Address: Oluwafunmiso Adeola Olajide, University of Ibadan, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Ibadan, Nigeria, e-mail: preciousfunsoyahoo.com