Why households in subsistence agriculture are poor – Kale

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“We established the poverty line at N137,430 and any individual or family that spends below this on food in a year will be classified below the poverty line.”

National Bureau of Statistics chief executive , Yemi Kale has said subsistence farming alone can not draw Nigerians away from the plough of poverty.

He said subsistence agriculture alone can never be able to sustain any household in Nigeria. The Nigeria’s Statistician-General and CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), spoke during the Rauf Aregbesola annual colloquium Friday The event had the theme — Government Unusual: Innovative Economic Solutions to Unlock Mass Prosperity.

Relying on data from the 2019 National Living Standards Survey, Dr Kale explained that households that are solely engaged in subsistence agriculture appear to have the highest levels of poverty. This set of families are followed by households with more than twenty members.

“This doesn’t mean agriculture is a bad thing. It simply means the way we do agriculture in Nigeria has to be improved so that it does not become synonymous with poverty or we have to find other sources of income for farmers to supplement their standard of living,” he said.

Speaking further, Dr Kale explained that the living standards survey, which was conducted in collaboration with the World Bank, started in late 2018 and ended in 2019. The survey utilized data from all states in Nigeria except Borno whose data was not considered credible enough given the security situation in the state. Kale said:

“We established the poverty line at N137,430 and any individual or family that spends below this on food in a year will be classified below the poverty line.”

Given this yardstick, the survey established that at least 22.9 million Nigerians are living in poverty, with the bulk of this number coming from the rural areas and states with low indices on education, social welfare initiatives, employment, and income equality

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