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PROJECT TOPIC: DIVERSIFICATION STRATEGY OF URBAN-HOUSEHOLDS FOOD SECURITY IN NORTH-EASTERN NIGERIA

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Abstract

World Food Summit (1996) defined food security as ‘a situation when all people at all times have both physical and economic access to sufficient food to meet their dietary needs for a productive and healthy life’. Within the context of this definition, four distinct variables are central to the attainment of food security which include, food availability and access to food (short-term dimension of food security), sustainability of access to food (long-term dimension) and food utilization. These four dimensions are pointer to the complexity of the concept of food security. At one level the concern is with national food security, which is the ability of countries to produce or import adequate food all year round to meet their requirements for both public and private distribution; while at another level, the concern is more about food security among individuals, and households. Food insecurity or lack of access to nutritionally adequate diet in a household or country exists in two forms, namely, chronic and transitory food insecurity. According to Gautam and Anderson (2016), chronic food insecurity exists when food supplies are persistently insufficient to ensure adequate nutrients for all individuals while transitory food insecurity exists when there is a temporary decline in access due to perturbations such as instability in food production, food price variations and income shortfalls (Oluwatayo, 2009; Tantu, Gamebo, Sheno and Kabalo, 2017). National food security is distinguishable from household food security, for aggregate food supply from domestic sources or import or both are a prerequisite but not a sufficient condition (Idachaba, 2006). In other words, adequate food availability in Nigeria on per capita basis does not necessarily translate into adequate food for all citizens. Food security at household level is a subset of national food security and it requires that all individuals and households have access to sufficient food either by producing it themselves or purchasing it by generating sufficient income to demand for it ideally through livelihood diversification strategies. Despite Nigeria’s foodproducing potential characterized by her vast agricultural endowment, food insecurity remains a very serious problem. This finds expression in the country’s colossal annual food importation bill varying from N=113.63 billion in 2002 to N348 billion in 2007. This figure got increased to a humongous N=1.31 trillion in 2010. In 2011 the figure got reduced to a whopping N=1.1trillion which got further reduced to still a staggering N=0.648 trillion in 2012 (The Nation, 2011; Ships and Ports, 2013). At the World Food Summit of 1999, Nigeria alongside 185 other countries of the world made a commitment to reduce the number of chronically undernourished persons by half in the year 2015 (Ashagidigbi and Yusuf, 2013). In Nigeria, the rate of increase in poverty is alarming. Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics have shown that poverty incidence in Nigeria had risen from 54.4% in 2004 to 69% in 2010. Giving an estimated population figure of 163 million, this translates into 113 million Nigerians living below the poverty line, with an estimated 94% of them living in the rural areas (National Bureau of Statistics, 2010). By implication, a large percentage of Nigerians and still a larger percentage of Nigerian rural dwellers are food insecure because they are poor. Therefore, in order to formulate effective policies aimed at ensuring sustainable food security a comprehensive study of factors that determine rural households’ food insecurity becomes imperative (Hoang and Pham, 2014; Amao and Ayantoye, 2015); Mada and Menza, 2015). Besides, identifying those who are food insecure as target groups and having a better understanding of the factors engendering food insecurity are critical to designing efficient and effective food security programs (Mutenje et al, 2010). The study thus addressed the following research questions; what are the livelihood diversification strategies and food security profile of households? What are the determinants of livelihood diversification strategies among households? What is the food security status of households? And what is the linkage between livelihood diversification strategies and food security in the study area?


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