Socioeconomic Contributions of Neglected and Underutilized Species to Livelihood Security in Rural Southwest Nigeria: Thaumatococcus Danielli as a Test Case
There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is blessed with vast human and material resources. Despite this, it is very appalling to know that a sizeable number of inhabitants of the country have continued to face untold hardship arising from dwindling incomes, rising poverty levels and other forms of socioeconomic deprivations. This is not unconnected with inadequacy of information and lack of awareness on and accessibility to livelihood-enhancing opportunities available in different regions of the country. The result presented here relied on data collected from a random sample of 320 households engaged in the production, processing and marketing of Thaumatococcus danielli (an example of neglected and underutilised specie – NUS) from three communities in rural Southwest Nigeria. Data analysis revealed average age of respondents to be 63 years with mean household size of 7. Distribution of respondents by educational level showed that only about one-quarter had tertiary education with more females engaged in the processing and marketing of Thaumatococcus danielli products. On the economic contributions of Thaumatococcus danielli to livelihood security of respondents in the study area, about two-third (68.3 percent) of them are engaged in the production, processing and marketing of this particular NUS either on full-time or part-time basis thereby depicting its relative importance to other income generating activities/ventures in the study area. In fact, a further analysis of the data revealed that the income generated from Thaumatococcus danielli amounted to between 57-73 percent of the total income of respondents harnessing it However on the determinants of harnessing Thaumatococcus danielli as a source of livelihood; age (p<0.05), gender (p<0.00), educational status (p<0.01), poverty status (p<0.05, participation in off-farm activity (p<0.05), extension contact (p<0.00) and access to market (p<0.10) were very significant. While the coefficients of educational status, poverty status and extension contact were negative, those of age, gender, access to market were positive. It is therefore suggested that effort should be geared at building capacity of respondents through education to enhance their earning potentials and adoption of new skills. Awareness should be created on untapped livelihood-enhancing opportunities available in the study area so as enhance the income of residents and reduce poverty.
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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)
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