Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Analysis of Information and Communication Technology Roles in Poverty Reduction among Small and Medium Scale Farmers in Imo State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Analysis of Information and Communication Technology Roles in Poverty Reduction among Small and Medium Scale Farmers in Imo State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Poverty is the opposite of wellbeing. Beyond lack of income, multidimensional concept of poverty also refers to disadvantages in access to land, credit and services (e.g. health, and services), vulnerability (towards violence, external economic shock, and natural disaster), powerlessness and social exclusion. The World Bank report for 2000/2001 uses the standard of one US dollar per day to draw the line of extreme /absolute poverty considering that we have about 1.3 billion people around the world in poverty circle (Cecchini and Scott, 2003). Using Nigeria as a case study and considering the inflation rates between year 2000 & 2011, one can then put the assertion in the report at average of 5 dollars per day. If that should be the case then we may have above 80% of Nigerian living below poverty line and this could have negative effect on the economic growth of the nation (Yekini et al., 2012).

Modern approaches to poverty go beyond World Bank report of 2000/2001 because reliance on income terms alone misses many facet of the everyday life of the poor and therefore unsatisfactory. Therefore poverty is not only restricted to material deprivation, but encompasses intangible aspects, such as lack access to schooling, healthcare, vulnerability towards external events or being excluded from decision making processes.

Poverty stems from a situation where gross inequality of assets persist because of vested interests and entrenched power structures Market can provoke collusions that blocked the potentials benefits of competition to the poor, and the disadvantaged can easily fall outside distributional coalition. At national and at local levels economic gains may be captured by elites that may form patronage and clientele networks for the redistribution of benefits. Lack of good governance and inequality legislation or its enforcement may further reinforce such capture (Oye, 2012). Poor people often lack essential assets such as good productive resources and capital. Their employment situation is insecure, and their incomes seasonal and meager. They live in remote, unhygienic and resources-poor areas, in distant villages and in appalling slums. Their poverty results from lack of social safety nets, and discrimination. They also suffer from poor government services and corruption. Assistance may also not reach them because of the lack of the political will, poor governance and corruption, and inappropriate public policies and programmes.

Poverty is a state where individual is not able to cater adequately for his/her basic need of food, clothing and shelter, unable to meet social and economic obligations, lack of gainful employment skills, asset and self esteem and has limited access to social, economic infrastructure, such as education, health, portable water and sanitation and as a result has limited chance of advancing his or her welfare to the limit of his/her capabilities. Poor people can also be found in both urban and rural areas though the incidence of poverty is much higher in the rural areas than in urban areas. Rural poverty is common among scale and self employed artisan and petty traders (Oye, 2012). There are two categories of rural poor: (a) those who do not own enough farmland for subsistence farming and (b) landless agricultural laborers and other non-agricultural groups who rely on employment opportunities in the rural areas. As for the farmers, the unequal distribution of land is the principal causes of their poverty while the latter poverty consists of not only low agricultural wages but shortage of unemployment opportunities.

Agriculture is a major component of Nigeria's economic life, with crop and livestock constituting an integral part. Crop and livestock farming contribute immensely to the livelihood in urban and rural communities through increased food production, farm energy, manure, fuel, transportation and nutritional security and incomes (Tewe, 1997). Like most sectors, agriculture is an information intensive business, and ICT could play crucial roles in facilitating information exchange ((Todaro, 2000). …

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