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The study analyzed the income generating activities among urban farm households in South-south Nigeria. Primary data were collected using structured questionnaires administered to two hundred and eighty nine urban farm households, which were selected by purpose, and simple random sampling techniques. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Ordinary least squares, multinational legit, quantile regression and vulnerability index analysis. The results showed that majority (66%) of the respondents were male, with mean age of 44 years.

All respondents were literate with at least secondary education. Average farming experience was 9 years. About 47.05% of the respondents practiced sole cropping with vegetables as their major crop. Non-agricultural wage income (36%) and crop production income (26%) were major income generating activities practiced by the respondents.

All respondents owned mobile phones. Only 37% of the respondents owned land. About 39%, 22%, 21%, and 32% of the respondents owned refrigerators, tricycles, cars, and other equipment respectively. The explanatory variables such as land size and asset value positively and significantly (p < 0.01) influenced livestock production income.

In addition to land size and asset value, farming experience had positive and significant (p < 0.01) influence, while household size had negative and significant (p < 0.05) influence on crop production income. Compared to non-agricultural wage income, farm size (p < 0.01), gender (p < 0.01), years of formal education (p < 0.01), and farming experience (p < 0.05) were the major determinants of households’ participation in agricultural wage income category, while years of formal education (p < 0.01) and age of household heads (p < 0.05) were the major determinants of households’ participation in non-agricultural wage income category. Quantile regression results showed that age, gender, land size, asset value, and non-farm income positively and significantly (p < 0.01) influenced farm income at 75th quantile, while farm location, years of formal education, farming experience, marital status, household size, loan access, market proximity negatively and significantly (p < 0.01) influenced farm income also at 75th quantile.

Vulnerability index analysis showed that urban farm households were 55% more likely to be vulnerable to economic shocks. The results
call for policies aimed at making land more available to urban farmers by incorporating urban farming in developmental planning processes, redesigning of urban centers, boosting households’ asset and encouraging households to participate in urban farming for  overty
reduction and food security.




1.1 Background of the Study

Urbanization and population increases are among the diverse pressures acting on agricultural systems in various parts of the world, and they have had profound effects on food security, especially for poor urban dwellers. In Nigeria, agriculture remains one of the dominant
economic activities. In recent years, however, urbanization has become one of the major factors driving increasing loss of agricultural land. Urbanization presents both challenges and opportunities for the developing countries as a whole.

For instance, it brings opportunities because it is often accompanied by some level of development, and challenges because it takes
up agricultural land, coupled with the fact that a sizable proportion of those who migrate to cities in search of a better life, such as in paid employment, actually end up not achieving their aspirations, and hence wanting to leave. In addition, with the economic restructuring occurring in many developing countries, some of those already employed in cities are often laid off. Scenarios such as these have brought about urban poverty and food insecurity. This may be because urbanization has not yet been matched with commensurate infrastructural and economic development (Drescher, 2001).
The 2005 revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects report described the twentieth century as witnessing ‘the rapid urbanization of the world’s population’. The report noted that by 2030, the global proportion of urban population would rise to 60% (4.5 billion) (UN-Habitat, 2012). It is expected that by 2020, 85% of the poor in Latin America and about 40–45% of the poor in Africa will be concentrated in towns and cities, (Resource centers on Urban Agriculture and Food security, RUAF, 2007). The UN (2006) also reported that by sometime in the middle of 2007, the majority of people worldwide would have been living in towns or cities for the first time in history; this was referred to as the arrival of the ‘Urban Millennium’.

Consequently, many city-dwellers will be faced with the reality of unemployment and inadequate food/shelter, decisions on which they will be powerless to influence. These are all dimensions of poverty, of which hunger is the most fundamental (World Bank, 2000). Moreover, with the rising food prices, unemployment and decline in the average real income of both rural and urban households (Umoh, 2006) and with the government’s reluctance to increase salaries to match the inflationary trend (Arene & Mbata, 2008), many urban dwellers, including the employed, have resorted to farming in urban centres and their surroundings.

In a bid to avoid being crushed by their depressed economic situation, poor urban dwellers now see urban agriculture as a spontaneous and innovative response to reduce poverty and food insecurity. In Nigeria, for instance urban agriculture (UA) constitutes a significant source of
livelihoods, especially for the urban poor, since more than 30% of their household income originates from this activity (Zezza & Tasciotti, 2010). Drechsel & Dongus (2010) reported that urban agriculture can have many different expressions, varying from backyard gardening to
poultry and livestock farming, as well as crop production on larger open spaces in cities of Sub- Saharan Africa.

Urban Agriculture (UA) is defined as: An industry located within (intra-urban) or on the fringe (peri-urban) of a town, a city or a metropolis, which grows and raises, processes and distributes a diversity of food and non-food products (re-)using largely human and material
resources, products and services found in and around that urban area, and in turn supplying human and material resources, products and services largely to that urban area (Mougeot, 2000). UA – which is simply the growing of crops and rearing of animals within and around
cities (RUAF, 2007) – has therefore emerged as a strategic imperative for developing countries (Drakakis-Smith, 1997).

UA is not a new or recent invention. Agricultural activities within city limits have existed since the first urban populations were established thousands of years ago (Drescher, 2002). It is only recently that UA has become a systematic focus of research and development attention, as its scale and importance in an urbanizing world become increasingly recognized (van Veehuizen, Smit, & Bailkay, 2006). It is estimated that 800 million people are engaged in urban agriculture worldwide, 200 million of whom are considered to be market producers, employing 150 million people full-time (UNDP, 1996; FAO, 1999).

These urban farmers produce substantial amounts of food for urban consumers. Usually, vegetables, fruit and arable crops are grown on land that are either unsuitable for building or yet to be developed. In addition, intensive livestock production systems are operational around and within city limits. These urban farmers choose income generating activities based on their goals, availability of resources, cultural values, skills/labour requirements, and most importantly on the expectations of urban expansion.

As urbanization develops, there is an increase in urban poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition. Urban poverty occurs everywhere, but is deeper and more widespread in developing countries. For instance, nearly 50% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa lives on less than one dollar a day: the world’s highest rate of extreme poverty (AfDB, 2012). People without resources and social networks are most vulnerable to food insecurity.
The major response to the food insecurity and other household level economic crisis is the diversification of income generating activities, but the scope for such diversification varies between households, which have different degrees of resilience and vulnerability (Rakodi 1995).
Urban households seek to mobilize resources and opportunities and to combine these into a livelihood strategy (Rakodi, 2002). They diversify their income sources to maintain or raise their incomes. For the poor, increasing their food security is usually the main motivation for farming in cities, and for others it is a survival strategy.
Reports indicate that urban agriculture (UA) is an important source of food throughout the urban developing world and is a critical food security strategy for poor urban households (Armar-klemesu & Maxwell, 2000; Mougeot, 2000; Nugent, 2000). Urban agriculture may also
improve household nutrition as it provides a source of fresh crops (Aina, Oladapo, Adebosin & Ajibola, 2012) that are rich in key micronutrients in poor households’ diets (FAO, 2001; Maxwell, 1995) and it can also increase household incomes (Sanyal, 1985; Smit, 1996; Sabates, Gould, & Villarreal, 2001; Henn, 2002; Pandya, 2012). In Nigeria, like other developing nation of the world, Urban areas constitute a unique ecosystem upon which most of the country’s population depends for survival and/or commercial purposes.

This implies that urban areas resources utilization such as production of fresh vegetable and small livestock is recognized to form a key element of the urban economy. The urban population welfare also depends on the availability of other employment opportunities.
Therefore sustainable management of urban areas, their resources and employment creation are critical to the livelihood of many urban households.
Zezza & Tasciotti (2010), observed that the poorest households spend up to 90% of their meager income on food. Governments and developmental agencies have adopted different strategies to eradicate the high spending on food items and the increasing malnutrition of urban poor. Strategies such as food subsidies, food stamps, school children and mother feeding programmes have been experimented in many nations of the world. Also, Odion (2009) noted that Nigerian governments initiated sustainable development programmes like; Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) which was launched in the 1970s and Green Revolution, initiated in 1980 to address the problems of poverty.

Other efforts made by successive governments include the establishment of the Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), National Directorate of employment (NDE), Better Life Programme, (BLP), the Peoples’ Bank of Nigeria (PBN), Family Support programme (FSP), Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP) and National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDs) with very little success. One of the reasons for the poor performance of these household food security management strategies was because it operated on or uses the top-bottom or top-down approach.
It was a non-participatory strategy that ignores the opinion of the beneficiaries. That is why Drescher (1996) stressed the need for an individual household micro level strategy, a strategy that has direct influence on the financial empowerment of individuals. The foregoing stresses the need for sustainable livelihood framework in urban farm households.

These frameworks put people at the center of development (Ludy & Slater, 2008). The starting points is that individuals and households can draw on the assets and respond to opportunities and risks, minimizing vulnerability and maintaining, smoothing or improving well being, by adopting income generating activities. Urban farm households are engaged in a variety of activities (for food security and income generation); they cultivate crops in vacant plots, raise animals, work as government employers, wage laborers on other farms etc.

The sustainable livelihood framework is based on the idea that poor households use a portfolio of assets (Chambers & Conway, 1992; Chambers, Pacey, & Thrupp, 1989) to generate income. These assets are made up of both tangible resources (such as land, cash or stores of food) as well as intangible assets like skills and social networks (Rakodi, 2002, 1995). As a result, the literature generally agrees that the sustainable livelihoods analysis, which was originally applied in a rural context (Scoones, 1998), can also be applied in urban areas (Ellis, 1998; Rakodi, 2002) .

A key feature of this concept of livelihood is the link between assets, activities and income as well as the institutional role in determining the use and returns to this assets. Ellis (2000) defines a livelihood as comprising “the assets (natural, physical, human, financial and social capital), the activities, and the access to these (mediated by institutions and social relations) that together determine the living gained by an individual or household”. The livelihoods framework was initially designed to improve the understanding of rural households, but it is now seen as a generic framework for use in urban as well as rural areas (Singh & Gilman, 1999; Martín, Oudwater & Meadows, 2000; Sanderson, 2000). The livelihood framework views poor households as being dependent upon a diversity of activities in order to generate income.

These activities are based on a set of household ‘assets’: natural capital (land and water); financial capital; physical capital (houses, equipment, animals, seeds); human capital (in terms of both labor power and capacity, or skill); and social capital (networks of trust between different social groups). The deployment of assets also depends on external influences such as dealing with regulations, policies, urban authorities and local marketing practices. The inability of urban farm household to adequately use and employ the various assets at their disposal can leave the households vulnerable to economic, environmental, health and political stresses and shocks



1.2 Problem Statement

Cities in Sub- Saharan Africa (SSA) are growing fast, with annual growth rate of 3.7% (Central Intelligence Agency, 2012). The projection is that by 2015 there would be 25 cities in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) with higher urban than rural populations, and by 2030 there would be 41 countries in this group with 54% of their population living in urban areas (UN- Habitat, 2012). In Nigeria, the annual rate of urbanization is 3.75%, and 49.6% of her population are living in cities (CIA, 2012). This rapid urbanization has implications in the areas of social, economic, environmental protection and the supply of adequate shelter, food, water and sanitation (UNFPA, 2007).

The traditional focus of development aids on rural areas in Africa and Nigeria in particular would therefore be increasingly targeting a minority group. In addition, the Nigerian official statistics confirm that poverty cuts across both urban and rural populations (Oduh, 2012). The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS, 2012) report shows that rural poverty increased to 73.2% in 2010, 9.1% higher than 2004 estimate; while urban poverty increased from 35.4% in 2004 to about 61.8% in 2010. In South-South Nigeria (which is part of Niger Delta region), urban poverty is further exacerbated by intensive oil exploration/ exploitation, which have cause oil spillage in most rural areas.

As a result, most farmers left their farm land to cities (rural-urban migration) in search of greener pasture; this led to increased population in the cities. In line with this, Jedwab (2012), argued that African countries are “urbanized but poor” because resource exports have permitted urbanization without producing long term growth. However, urbanization without economic growth increases poverty and food insecurity. The foregoing brings about new and critical challenges for urban development policy, especially in terms of income generation. This underscores the need to assess the different income generating activities adopted by the urban dwellers.
Over the years, various governments in Nigeria had adopted series of anti-poverty reforms aimed at ameliorating food insecurity and poverty but all to no avail. There exists a wide gap between food demand and food production due to the rural-urban drift (migration) primarily


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