An Evaluation of Off-farm Work and Household Income among Small-scale Farmers in North Central Nigeria

Elaigwu Christopher Ogbanje, S.A.N.D. Chidebelu, Noble Jackson Nweze


The study evaluated off-farm work and household income among small-scale farmers in North Central Nigeria. Multistage sampling technique was used to select 180 farm households from 12 Local Government Areas spread across Benue, Kogi and Niger States. Primary data for the study were obtained with the aid of structured and pretested questionnaire. The data were analysed using simple descriptive statistics. Findings revealed that majority (42.78%) of the respondents were in self-employment of off-farm work. Similarly, households where only the husband (40.00%), combination of husband and wife (71.40%), matured children (71.40%), and the combination of husband, wife and matured children (45.80%) participated in off-farm work were predominantly in self-employment category. Households, where only the wife worked off-farm, were dominant in agricultural wage employment (51.60%). In addition, full-time participants in off-farm work were mainly (38.50%) in agricultural wage employment, while part-time participants were mainly (44.00%) in self-employment. Furthermore, while younger farmers were in self-employment, older farmers were in agricultural wage employment. Average household income and off-farm income’s share of farm household income were N648,774.91 and N231,394.00, respectively. It was concluded that self-employment was the dominant off-farm work type in the study area. This denotes gradual drift from the core farm production sector. Also, since off-farm income accounted for significant portion (50.28%) of household income among the respondents, increasing reliance on off-farm work and consequently, further drift from farm work is anticipated. Therefore, farmer education by extension agents and IFAD’s rural finance capacity building should focus on the need to reinvest off-farm income in farm production so that off-farm work does not endanger food production.

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