1.1 Background to the Study
Integrated farming system is simply the combination of the best and modern farming tools and technologies with some elements of traditional practices, depending on a given site and situation. This system enables farmers to identify opportunities or threats and allows them to respond accordingly, particularly with the consumers interest at heart.
Multiple objectives are involved in integrated farming such as sustainability, food security, poverty alleviation etc., which also involves the use of output of one enterprise whenever feasible.
Integrated farming system is a biologically integrated systems, which integrates natural resources in a regulation mechanism into farming activities to achieve maximum replacement of off-farm inputs, secures sustainable production of high quality food and other products through ecologically preferred technologies, sustain farm income, eliminates or reduces sources of present environmental pollutions generated by agriculture and sustains the multiple function of agriculture Iobc, (1993)
Edwards, (2007) defined the integrated farming system as an aquaculture system that is integrated with livestock’s and in which fresh animal waste is used to feed fish and also reported that there are synergies and complementary between enterprises that comprise a crop and animal component that form the basis of the concept of integrated farming system. According to this concept, integration usually occurs when outputs of one enterprise are used as inputs by another within the context of the farming system. FAO, (2012) stated that “there is no waste”, and “waste is only a misplaced resource which can become a valuable material for another product” integrated farming system.
In Nigeria, the farmers maintain different enterprises for their complementary and supplementary nature and for ensuring sustainable livelihood from time immemorial. After the advent of green revolution in the late 1970s and economic liberalization in early 1990s, the farmers gradually started focusing on a few enterprises due to several imposing factors including shrinking farm sizes, fluctuating commodity price, livelihood diversification and shortage of labour during peak agricultural season. It had a severe impact on food and nutritional security of millions of poor farm households. The anguish of farmers is often expressed in terms of their agitation in one or the other parts of the country, unwillingness to continue farming and increasing demands of compensating their economic loss. Although suggestions are pouring in from experts and leaders of organization for strengthening the income base farmers, the government cannot implement them entirely due to compulsions from socio-economic and political considerations. However, the government of Nigeria has made an announcement about Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022.