Micro-credit has been identified as a sustainable and effective poverty reduction strategy that can be employed to reallocate resources to the rural active poor. The livelihood of rural dwellers is usually characterized by low potentials. It is however believed that their access to micro – credit may improve their livelihood outcomes such as income, well-being, reduced vulnerability, food security, access to social amenities, economic expansion and employment. Also, it brings additional perspective to the national challenge of increasing agricultural production through sustainable micro-credit schemes offered to the rural households. Paucity of information on sources of micro-credit accessed by rural households in Enugu State and the effects on their livelihood outcomes necessitated this research. The broad objective of the study was therefore to examine the effects of micro-credit on the livelihood of rural dwellers in Enugu State, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to: (i) describe the livelihood and socio-economic characteristics of the rural households, (ii) describe the sources of micro-credit available and accessible to the rural households, (iii) establish relationship between the socio-economic and livelihood characteristics of the rural households and their access to micro-credit categories, (iv) examine the volume of micro-credit received and utilized for improvement of the rural households’ livelihood outcomes and (v) examine the constraints that hinder rural households’ access to micro-credit facilities in Enugu State. The study was carried out in Enugu State, Nigeria. Sixty respondents were selected from each of the three agricultural development zones in the state making a total of 180 respondents. Primary data were collected using a structured questionnaire. Data generated were analyzed using descriptive statistics, multinomial logit model and factor analysis. It was found out that a greater percentage (31.7%) of the respondents were between 45 and 50 years of age while their computed means was 57 years. Male dominated the rural household heads (68%). Greater percentage of 58.4% of the household heads were married while 8.3%, 25% and 8.3% were single, widowed and divorced respectively. Thirty-six (36%) had secondary education, 28% had primary, 19% had tertiary while 10% had no formal education. About 40% of the respondents earned below N101, 000 per annum. Majority of the respondents (763.7%) were engaged in farming, trading 13.3% and services 10%. Micro credit was not available to about 30% of the rural households while 70% had access to various kinds of micro credit. Eighty (80%) of the accessed micro credit was short term, 16.7% medium term and 3.3% long term. Age, group membership and farm size positively influenced access to the combined informal and formal micro credit categories while income level and savings negatively influenced access to the categories. Gender, marital status, household size, group membership and farm size positively influenced access to informal micro credit category while savings negatively influenced access to the category. About 70% of the respondents accessed different categories of micro credit. About 58% of them invested the entire amount borrowed but 42% invested only part of the funds and diverted the rest. Among the borrowers, 81% perceived some improvements on their livelihoods and socio-economic outcomes after they invested in economic ventures but 19% did not agree to that. Major constraints to micro credit access among the rural households include inadequate information, lack of skills and infrastructure; lack of cooperative membership and policy, poverty and illiteracy, and socio-personal. It was therefore recommended that: there was need to understand that the major source of livelihoods among the rural households is farming and thus, every rural livelihood programme should first address their farming welfare and; proactive regulatory micro credit acts capable of reaching out to the very active poor be enacted to ensure that government’s microcredit schemes are not hijacked by economic saboteurs.

1.1     Background of the Study
The declaration of the Millennium Summit to halve extreme poverty by 2015 may not be fully achieved unless sustainable livelihoods and effective poverty reduction strategies are employed to reallocate resources to the rural sector (International Fund for Agricultural Development, 2001). This rural sector is dominantly agrarian (Olukosi and Ogungbule, 1991), and reviving agriculture is only part of the answer to end poverty, which has to be accomplished by social changes that can give the poor a greater power over some factors militating against improved livelihoods and such changes may come through micro credit schemes organized either by the government and/or non-governmental agencies at all levels.

Also, continued innovation and improvement of rural micro credit facilities can help to promote livelihood diversity. Micro credit facilities (MCFs) are provided by both formal and informal institutions but the formal providers avoid doing business with the rural people and their micro enterprises because the associated cost and risks are considered to be relatively higher.

The unwillingness or inability of these commercial financial institutions to provide financial services to urban and rural poor, coupled with the unsustainability of government sponsored development financial schemes contributed to the growth of private sector-led microfinance in Nigeria (Anyanwu, 2004).

About 94.4% of the farmers in Nigeria are small scale when judged by international standards where all farms less than 10 hectares are classified as small scale (Olukosi and Ogungbile, 1991) and most small scale farms are owned by the rural people as sources of their livelihood. The major constraint to agricultural development is insufficiency of credit facilities (Agu, 1998). Apart from the need for credit for agricultural development, rural farmers may also require credit to meet non-agricultural expenses like food, shelter, clothes, education, litigation and traditional ceremonies and such credits do not increase the farmers’ income or help in repayment of the credit when it falls due. However, for outreach and repayment of micro credit to be successful, farmers require that it should be adequate and be disbursed quickly when needed.

However, Ditcher (199) defined micro credit as the extension of very small loans to those in poverty designed to spur entrepreneurship. Micro credit is characterized by individuals who lack collateral, steady employment and verifiable history of credit access and they cannot meet even the most minimal qualification to gain access to formal credits. Micro credit is a part of micro-finance which is the provision of wider range of financial services to the very poor (Ditcher 1999). For Asgedom (2014), the Savings and Micro Credit Program of Eritrea was established to provide financial services to the poor and lower. Access to credit has been recognized to be among the factors of production vital towards accelerating household and national economic development (Kangogo, Lagat and Ithinji 2013). However, despite their prevalence, small enterprises and most of the poor population in developing countries have very limited access to financial services provided by the conventional financial institutions. income individuals to enhance their business activities and alleviate poverty level.

Generally, credits are classified into short term, medium term and long term, based on the time of repayment. Short term credit is the type of credit available for only one season or production cycle, usually one year. Medium term credit on the other hand is for a period of two to five years while long term credit is generally used for permanent improvement on the farm. Ugwuanyi and Ugwuanyi (1999) opined that such long term credit may be amortized over a period of fifteen to twenty years. Although farmers generally have need for the three types of credit but in rural areas of developing countries like Nigeria, emphasis is placed on short and medium term credits of which the sources are classified into;

1.                The institutional or formal source of credit including government lending agencies, farmer cooperative banks, commercial banks, NGOs, multi-lateral agencies;
2.                The non-institutional or informal source of credit including friends, relatives,
local money lenders (merchants), the Isuzu, age-grade.

Informal micro credit is provided by traditional groups that work together for the mutual benefits of their members and operate under different names such as ‘esusu’ among the Yorubas of Western Nigeria, ‘etoto’ among the Igbos in the East and ‘adashi’ among the Hausas (Anyanwu; 2004). The key features of these informal schemes are savings and credit components, informality of operations and higher interest rates in relation to the formal sector. He further noted that the informal associations that operate traditional microfinance in various forms are found in all the rural communities in Nigeria. They also operate in the urban centers but size of activities covered under the scheme has not been determined......

For more Agricultural Economics & Extension Projects click here
Item Type: Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 60 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Select Your Department

Featured Post

Reporting and discussing your findings

This page deals with the central part of the thesis, where you present the data that forms the basis of your investigation, shaped by the...