Food Energy Availability from Agriculture at the Farm-Level in Southeastern Nigeria: Level, Composition and Determinants
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Among the four pillars of ‘food security’ (i.e., ‘food availability’, ‘food accessibility’, ‘food stability’ and ‘food utilization’), ‘food availability (FA)’ underpins the core concept because at the micro-level it is strongly related to the overall availability of food, which is determined by domestic food production, food imports and food aid. This paper examines the level of food energy availability (FEA) at the farm level, relationships between farm size and FEA and the determinants of FEA based on a survey of 400 households from Ebonyi and Anambra States of Southeastern Nigeria. FEA in this study refers to Partial Food Energy Availability (PFEA) because it excludes procurement of food from other sources, e.g., purchase from the market, borrow/exchange from others and/or receiving as food aid. Results show that the sample is dominated by small–scale farmers (81% of the total sample) owning land <1.00 ha. The average farm size is small (1.27 ha). Farmers grow multiple food crops. Sixty-eight percent of the farmers produced at least two food crops. Average PFEA is estimated at 4492.78 kcals/capita/day produced from one ha of land area. Approximately 30.92% of the total food produced is set aside for home consumption. Among the food crops, 40.70% of cassava output is set aside for home consumption while most of yam and rice are mainly destined for the market. Inverse farm size–PFEA relationship exists amongst the sampled farmers. The regression results reveal that subsistence pressure, profit motive and share of yam in total output significantly reduces PFEA whereas an increase in the share of cassava in total output significantly increases PFEA. A one percent increase in the share of cassava output will increase PFEA by 0.14%. A one percent increase in subsistence pressure will reduce PFEA by 0.98%. Farmers identified a lack of agricultural extension agents, farm inputs and basic infrastructures as the main constraints adversely affecting food production at the farm-level. Policy implications include investments targeted to improve cassava production and measure to reduce future family size by improved family planning to increase PFEA at the farm-level.
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