DETERMINANTS OF SMALLHOLDER FARMING HOUSEHOLDS’ PARTICIPATION IN OFF-FARM EMPLOYMENT IN EZZA NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, EBONYI STATE, NIGERIA
Keywords:Smallholder, Farmers, Participation, Agriculture, Off-farm, Employment, Investments
The study examined the determinants of smallholder farming households’ participation in off-farm income generating activities in Ezza Local Government Area (LGA) of Ebonyi State. The objectives of the study were to describe the socio-economic characteristics of the smallholder farming households in the study area, identify reasons why smallholder farming households participate in off-farm income in Ezza North LGA of Ebonyi State and to identify the various off-farm income activities engaged by the various households. Descriptive (frequency, percentage and mean) and inferential statistics (probit regression model) were used to analyze the data generated through structured questionnaires and interview schedules. The study established that the variables: age (-0.017) (-3.001), farm size (-0.018) (-2.636) membership of organization (-0.136) (-0.712) and farm income (-0.198) (-0.412) were negative determinants of small holder farming household participation in off farm employment in the study area. The also established that the variables educational level (0.017) (3.001); household size (0.427) (0.036), marital status (0.046) (0.652)and gender (0.316) (0.413) were positive determinants of the respondents engaged in off-farm employment in the study area.. Based on findings, the study advanced some recommendations. It was recommended that government should make microfinance available to potential off farm investors. It was also recommended that the government should ensure that off farm investor were not over taxed. The study also recommended that touts and illegal collectors of money from private investors should be abolished.