DETERMINATION OF THE PERCEIVED EFFECT OF AGROFORESTRY PRACTICES ON THE WELFARE STATUS OF THE RURAL FARMERS IN EBONYI STATE, NIGERIA
This study determined the perceived effect of agroforestry practices on the welfare of rural farmers in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Agroforestry practices has the potentials to improve the environment and welfare status of the farmers. Hence the study ascertained the benefits derivable from agroforestry practices, the perceived welfare status of the rural farmers, and determined the perceived effects of agroforestry practices on the welfare of rural farmers. The hypothesis tested is; agroforestry practices have no significant perceived effect on the welfare status of the rural farmers. Multistage sampling technique was used in the selection of agroforestry farmers. A total of 351 farmers were sampled using structured questionnaire. Data obtained were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The result showed that taungya farming (76.9%) and home garden (72.1%) were the dominant agroforestry systems practiced. The result on the benefits of agroforestry practices showed that the entire agroforestry farmers (100.0%) agreed that they use agroforestry for environmental protection and soil conservation, 99.7% indicated that it provided fodder for the livestock and 99.4% agreed that it provided them with fuel wood (firewood). Become independent ( = 3.2), have sufficient income to meet household needs ( = 3.2), and ability to afford three-square meal in a day ( = 3.3) were the dominant perceived welfare status of the agroforestry farmers. The bivariate regression result showed that agroforestry practices (x) had significant effect on the welfare status of the farmers. In conclusion, thepractices of agroforestry was perceived to have imparted positively on the welfare of the farmers. The study therefore, recommended that the farmers should be encouraged to continue to practice agroforestry and even expand their farms since by doing so, their welfare status is enhanced.
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