Rural development is a veritable tool for fighting poverty and achieving economic prosperity at the grassroots level. The concept of rural development embraced by most countries connotes a process through which rural poverty is alleviated by sustained increases in the productivity and incomes of low – income workers and households. The major thrust of this study was to examine the impact of selected rural development programmes in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State, Nigeria. The area under study was purposively selected because of its agricultural potential, high proportion of farmers as well as concentration of agricultural institutions. The selection of programmes for the study was impinged on their long years of existence.
The study sought to determine the number of available rural development programmes with poverty alleviation objectives in the area; assess the extent of awareness and participation of rural people in the programmes; and examine the impact of the programmes on farmers’ income, farm size, production and productivity. Multi – stage random sampling method was employed in the selection of communities and respondents. A well-structured questionnaire was used to elicit responses on socio – economic characteristics and other relevant variables from a random sample of 160 respondents comprising beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries from Ikwuano local government of Abia state, Nigeria.
The results showed that the rural development programmes which had poverty alleviation objectives impacted significantly on productivity and farm income at 5 percent level of probability. Awareness was perceptibly high while participation was more in Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), with an overwhelmingly percentage representation of about 79, than in others. Programme planners and implementers are therefore urged to intensify awareness creation among rural dwellers and adopt the use of community driven development approach (CDD) in the execution of rural development projects with poverty alleviation thrust. Government, at all levels, was advised to adopt price support policy that raises income of producers.