Aims: To examine the income diversification activities and sustainable land management practices among rural cassava-based farmers in Imo State, Nigeria.
Study Design: Primary data collection.
Place and Duration of Study: Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Pre-requisite study, Post-Graduation in Agricultural Resource and Environmental Economics, between August 2017 and January 2018.
Methodology: Data were collected using well-structured questionnaire, administered to rural cassava-based farmers. Multi-stage and purposive sampling techniques were employed, and one hundred and twenty (120) farmers were randomly selected for the study. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Sustainable Land Management Index, Probit model and Inverse Herfindahl–Hirschman Diversity Index. The sustainable land management index (SLMI) was constructed from twelve (12) different sustainable land management indicators based on the sustainable practices prevalent in the study area.
Results: Results showed that cassava-based production was dominated by female farmers (63.33%) with mean age of 46, married (70.00%) with mean household size of 6 persons. The Inverse Herfindahl-Hirschman Diversity (IHHD) results showed that 87.50% of rural cassava-based farmers diversified their income base into other income-generating activities namely, off-farm and/or non-farm activities. The mean naira value for on-farm income was N 130,646.2k, while that of off-farm and non-farm were N 20,554.17k and N 78,333.33k, respectively. Cassava-based farmers diversified mostly into non-farm activities together with their on-farm activities, with a mean annual income (in naira) of N244,333.60k. The probit analysis showed that off-farm and non-farm activities have positive and significant effects on sustainable land management practices. The off-farm and non-farm activities encouraged the rural cassava-based farmers to adapt sustainable land management practices. However, doubling farmer’s engagement to off-farm activities (off-farm2) had a negative effect on sustainable land management, indicating that doubling their engagement to off-farm activities empowers farmers to adapt unsustainable labour-saving practices such over use of agrochemicals (herbicides, inorganic fertilizers and insecticides), due to drudgery and exhaustion as they allocate more of their labour services to another farmer’s farm.
Conclusion: In order to improve the adoption and adaption of sustainable land management practices, and reduce the drudgery in cassava production as farmers diversify more into off-farm activities, sustainable labour-saving technologies and practices such as conservation tillage and simple tools that reduce labour requirement in cassava production, save time and energy, were recommended. More lands should be allocated to cassava farmers, as farm land diversity will facilitate the adoption and adaption of sustainable land management practices such as fallowing and crop rotation that increase productivity by replacing fallow periods with growing different crops that replenish soil nutrients.