Background of the Study

Eradication of poverty and hunger has been the main theme of development since 2000s (Rahman & Akter, 2014). While this ambitious goal is yet to be achieved, progress in ‘poverty reduction’ has been impressive and widespread in many regions (Rahman & Akter, 2014).  However, in Nigeria, the trend shows that poverty has been on the increase as a result an estimated 100 million Nigerians live on less than $1.90 a day (World Bank, 2017). Despite the plethora of anti-poverty programs and policies aimed at combating poverty over the years in Nigeria, poverty remains a serious challenge (Jaiyeola & Bayat, 2019). Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics (NBS, 2010) reveals that poverty was most obvious in the northern part of Nigeria – North East (77.7%) and North West zone (76.3%), compared to the South West zone with a 59.1% poverty rate (Jaiyeola & Bayat, 2019).

Although agriculture is considered the main source of livelihood in rural areas of developing economies, the transformative potential of non-agricultural livelihood options has been increasingly recognized over the past three decades (Rahman & Akter, 2014). To understand the situation in the rural communities in Nigeria, it is necessary to examine the full diversity of their experiences in the context of the changing rural economy, labour, migration, globalization, access to and control over resources such as land and capital that determine the options and choices that people have to construct a living. This is best examined through Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA) framework (Carney 1998). According to Chambers and Conway (1992, p. 7):

A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (stores, resources, claims and access) and activities required for a means of living; a livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stress and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets, and provide sustainable livelihood opportunities for the next generation; and which contributes net benefits to other livelihoods at the local and global levels and in the short and long-term.

Village livelihood in nigeria

SLA focuses on the design of interventions relevant in situations where people may have multiple contributions towards their livelihood rather than just a single source of livelihood (DFID, 2000). In many rural areas, as subsistence agriculture is giving way to commercialized agriculture, non-farm activities, organization of production and marketing (Stephen & Lenihan, 2010).

Aim of the Study

The study identifies socio-economic determinants of livelihood choices of rural households in South-eastern Nigeria. In this study, we draw on insights from SLA literature on occupation-based activities such as agriculture, wage employment, and non-farm businesses (including family businesses and artisanal activities in non-farm sectors). We assume that households choose one or a combination of these options for self-employment, income sources and as a livelihood strategy.

Research Method

Analysis of rural livelihood choices is complex because households engage in a variety of economic activities. Therefore, multiple methods including surveys and interviews will be employed to examine several research inquiries focusing on Women Livelihood activities; Rural Entrepreneurship; Farm Survey; Farming Adaptation and Innovations; Fishing; Artisan activities; Trading and Agro-food processing, etc.

Policy Implications

The rural livelihood research activities have implications toward reduction of youth unemployment, promoting women entrepreneurship, reducing gender discrimination, reduction of income inequality and rural development.

To Cite this document: African Development Institute of Research Methodology, (2020), Vol. 1, No. 5, pp.1-2



Carney, D. (1998). Implementing the Sustainable Rural Livelihood Approach” In D. Carney (ed.) Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: What Contribution Can We Make? Papers Presented at the Natural Resources Advisers Conference. Department of International Development, London July 1998

Chambers, R. and Conway, G.R. (1992). Sustainable rural livelihoods; practical concepts for 21st Century”, IDS Discussion Paper No. 296, Institute of Development Studies, Library Road Brighton, pp. 1-33.

Department for International Development (DFID, 2000). Sustainable Livelihoods – current thinking and practice. Department for International Development, London.

Jaiyeola, A. O. and Bayat, A. (2019) Assessment of Trends in Income Poverty in Nigeria from 2010–2013: An Analysis Based on the Nigeria General Household Survey, Journal of Poverty DOI:10.1080/10875549.2019.1668900

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World Bank. (2017). World Development Report 2018. Washington, DC