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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5374
Vol. 13, No. 5, 2013, pp. 8224-8237
Bioline Code: nd13081
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 13, No. 5, 2013, pp. 8224-8237

Ajani, Evangeline N. & Igbokwe, E. M.


Rural women need to diversify their occupations since farming in sub-Saharan Africa is rain-fed and, therefore, seasonal. This is to enable them to acquire additional income to take care of economic responsibilities during off-season periods. This paper reviews current literature in the field in both farm and non-farm occupations and effects of occupational diversification, which varies from negative to positive effects. One major negative effect is withdrawal of critical labour from the family farm which serves as a distress push factor while the positive effects include raising agricultural household income which is also referred to as demand pull factor. The paper also discusses government initiated programmes aimed at reducing poverty, vulnerability and targeted towards economic empowerment of rural women in Nigeria such as Better Life Programme (BLP), Family Support Programme (FSP), Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP), National Special Programme on Food Security (NSPFS) and Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP). Worthy of note is that some of these programmes have failed to achieve the aims of their establishment, mainly because most of these government initiated programmes were highly politicised to the detriment of the beneficiaries. This left rural women with the option of involvement in diversification of occupations. This is to enable them generate additional income to empower themselves economically to meet their family obligations thus reducing vulnerability and poverty among members of their households. Occupational diversification is of increasing importance for women’s economic empowerment. This paper asserts that the contribution made by occupational diversification to rural livelihoods is a significant one that has often been ignored by policy makers who choose to focus on agriculture. The paper recommends the need for government policies and programmes to promote the development of human capital among the rural women to equip them with the necessary skills to work in non-farm activities.

Occupation; Diversification; Rural; Women; Africa

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