OFF-FARM ACTIVITIES AS INCOME STRATEGIES AMONG RURAL WOMEN IN IDO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, IBADAN, NIGERIA
Rural households are involved in various economic activities as part of complex income strategies. Agriculture is crucial but most often than could hardly be the principal activity of the rural households. Income strategies of rural households can be seen as an active social process of diversification which involves the maintenance and continuous adaptation of the various set of activities over time in order to secure survival and improve standards of living. The study examined off-farm activities as economic diversification strategy of rural women in and out of farming seasons in Ido Local Government Area (LGA), Ibadan, Nigeria. Using survey research design, questionnaire was administered on 150 women in five out of the ten wards in the LGA. The findings revealed that 71.3% of the respondents were within the child-bearing ages of 22-45. About 57.0% earned below #10,000 monthly while only 2.0% earned more than #30,000 monthly from off-farm activities. Off-farm activities identified were food processing, catering services, hairdressing, tailoring, petty trading and hawking. The benefits of off-farm activities included: additional income to support husband and household members, employment during off farming season, economic empowerment and survival strategies, generate fund for farm investments. The challenges to off-farm activities identified were inadequate credit facility, poor market network, high cost of transportation, health risk and poor government support and social safety net. There is need for communal support and programme that foster inclusive social and economic participation of woman in off-farm to reduce the level of impoverishment in the rural community
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