Accepted 12th January 2015
The near failure of various programmes and strategies by successive governments in Nigeria has been linked to the improper diagnosis of poverty as a static concept. There are growing concerns that poverty is not reducing due to the lack of understanding of its dynamic nature and vulnerability to poverty. About two-thirds of rural households in Nigeria are engaged in crop and livestock production as their main source of livelihood with most of these households vulnerable to chronic poverty. This study attempts a proper empirical identification of their poverty status and the reasons for their poverty, through a profile of poverty incidence, manifestations and causes of rural poverty in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, Nigeria. Multi-stage sampling technique was employed in enumerating sixty household from four communities via administration of pre-tested questionnaire; viz., Kuta, Gwada, Mutum-Daya. Data collected were analysed using both Descriptive and Foster-Greer-Thorbecke (FGT) model. For poor farmers, results indicated that the incidence of poverty was more among older farmers, and less among younger farmers. Results of the analysis of the FGT model showed that 36.6 percent of the farming households were poor. Based on the indices of the poverty depth, poor farmers required N 39.86 to escape poverty. Since livelihood status remained below the required levels for large parts of the rural populace during this research, identified poor households should be targeted for safety nets. Implications are drawn for rural education, birth control and industrialization with development policies to alleviate poverty and promote rural nonfarm income without shifting attention from agriculture.
Keywords: Poverty; poverty status; vulnerability; food security; Niger state; Nigeria