Do Foreign Remittances Matter in Attaining Zero Hunger?: Evidence From Rural Nigeria

Do Foreign Remittances Matter in Attaining Zero Hunger?: Evidence From Rural Nigeria

Oluwakemi Adeola Obayelu (Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Ibadan, Nigeria) and Rebecca Funmi Akinmulewo (Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ibadan, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2599-9.ch012
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Foreign remittance has remained a major source of income and a means to reduce hunger for many poor people in developing countries. The contribution of foreign remittances to food insecurity status of rural households in Nigeria was assessed using data from 2015/2016 Living Standard Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA). Food insecurity status was achieved using the household food insecurity access scale. Data were analysed using descriptive, ordered, and nested logit models. Female-headed households residing in south-east zone with 51 to 70 years old heads and more than six members had greater access to remittances but were severely food insecure. Drivers of food insecurity were age, gender, marital status, education of the household head, membership of cooperatives, access to extension, farm size and per capita income, and living in the north central geo-political zone. Foreign remittances had a positive effect on the food insecurity status of rural households.
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Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa (over 160 million people), but 61 percent of her population are malnourished (World Bank, 2012; Momodu et al., 2011). Nigeria is characterized by threat of hunger, and among 113 countries, the nation ranked 92 by the Global Food Security Index in 2017 (The Economists, 2017). This is because with the advent of commercial oil exploration in the early 1970s, the fortunes of agriculture started to dwindle with a resultant downward decline in productivity and consequently food insecurity (Vision, 2010). Food insecurity problem in Nigeria has been identified to be mainly access dominated. Food access has been defined as the ability of individuals or households to acquire sufficient quantities and quality of food to meet all households’ members’ nutritional requirements (Langsworthy, et al., 2003).

The rural households take the larger share of food insecurity in Nigeria. The greatest challenge faced by rural communities is concentrated mainly on food insecurity and nutritional concern. In investigating household food security strategies, migration and remittance are highlighted as possible pathways out of household food insecurity (Kuuire et al., 2013). Generally, it is assumed that households that receive remittance are more likely to withstand risk of food insecurity (Nguyen & Winters, 2011; Mango, et al., 2014). Dia (1992) described it as a very efficient strategy to promote agricultural investments and reduce food insecurity and income risks by families in Senegal. This financial aid of remittances seems to flow directly to the people who really needed it and does not require a costly bureaucracy on the sending side. Luginaah, et al. (2009) highlighted the importance of food remittances and transportation networks as important aspects of food security in the Northern part of the Ghana. Combes, et al. (2014) also asserted the power of remittances in reducing the effects of food price shocks in low-income countries and sub-Saharan African countries. Households spend the vast majority of remittances received on their basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. This consumption, combined with investment in health care and education, constitutes 80-90 per cent of remittance spending (IFAD, 2007). Increased remittances an equivalent of a private “welfare payment” sent from abroad are seen to help recipients during an economic downturn and also help to smoothen consumption of the recipients (Martin, 2005).

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