1.1 Background of Study
Nigeria is blessed with abundant natural and human resources, but despite its significant natural resources, majority of the citizens are living below the poverty line. For instance according to WDI, (2015), an estimated 60% of Nigerians live on less than US$1.25 per day. Nigeria was also ranked 91stout of a total of 104 counties on the 2015 Global Hunger Index and 153rdout of a total of 187countries on the 2012 UNDP Human Development Index. Malnutrition and hunger which is linked to poverty have been ravaging most developing countries and affecting their productive capacity. Classifying Nigeria as one of the poorest countries testifies to our failure to achieve our development policy as well as national food security. It once more awakened the government to the realities on ground, that is, the need to achieve the first sustainable development goal of no hunger before the year 2030.
Ifelodun is the largest local government area in Kwara State with an estimated population of about 206,042 km2 and an estimated total land area of about 3,435 km2 (NPC,2006; KWSMI, 2002). The area is located between latitude7°45’N and 9°30’E and longitude 2°30’E and 6°35’E. It is characterized by dry and wet season. The annual rainfall ranges between 1000 and 1500 mm. Average temperatures between 30°C and humidity range from 35 to 60%. The major source of livelihood and occupation of the people in the area is farming. Farming is traditional in nature with emphasis on the cultivation of crops such as sorghum, cassava, yam, maize and melon (KWSMI, 2002; Mohammed, 2008). Cassava is one of the crops majorly grown among farmers in the area.
World Bank (2012) estimates the population of Nigerian to above 160 million people, the largest in Africa almost accounting for 47% of West Africa’s total population. As the population increases, the country’s demand for food increases, while the ability to produce food diminishes because pressures from the growing population in form of desertification, climate change and erosion are also impacting on the already diminishing resources and further threatening food production.
Agricultural credit plays an important role in agricultural development. Agricultural household models suggest that farm credit is not only necessitated by the limitations of self-finance, but also by uncertainty pertaining to the level of output and the time lag between inputs and output(De Janvry and Sadoulet, 1995). Recent studies show the growth rate of investment in agriculture is less than other economic sector. Agricultural financing is one of the most important factors to develop rural areas in developing countries. Payment of bank credit is a way of financing. In fact, facilitation of access to credit can raise amount of productive investement. Credit has a crucial role for elimination of farmer’s financial constraints to invest in farm activities, increasing productivity and improving technologies. Generally, credit accessibility is important for improvement of quality and quantity of farm products so, that it can increase farmers income and avoid from rural migration. On the other hand,