OFF-FARM ACTIVITIES, employment and income generation
Farming is the major occupation in the rural areas of most developing countries. Fishing and fish mongering is also a major occupation in the riverine and coastal areas.
Income from Off-farm activity is that portion of household income obtained from activities not based on farm production. They include nonfarm wages and salaries, pensions, and interest income earned by farm families.
We can conveniently say that farming and fishing are the primary source of family income. But this income is not enough and many farming families cannot totally depend on this enterprise to sustain their families in the villages. Furthermore, the cost of agricultural production is rising. Cost of fertilizers and other inputs are increasing and the earnings from farm sales cannot meet the cost of inputs.
Consequently, farmers have to seek other sources of income to meet the cost of purchasing agricultural inputs. Furthermore, many farmers now ensure their children are enrolled in local schools as the need for education cannot be overemphasized.
Many farm families engage in other small scale enterprises like
- Basket weaving – mats and many household items
- Tailoring and Sewing
- Fabric dyeing into Adire and Batik
- Bead and Bag making with assorted jewelry for men, women and children.
- Embroidery on hats and materials
- Juice making
- Fruit drying and packaging
- Yoghurt and Butter making.
- Shear butter and other Pomades for the skin
It is interesting to note that Off-farm activities result in employment generation thus reducing rural unemployment. it also reduces rural-urban migration.
Rural youths need not come to major towns in search of white collar jobs. scale cottage industries located in the rural areas. Development strides like this are essential for the monetization and development of the rural economy.
Furthermore, if farmers form themselves into Production Cooperatives, they can easily access loans to enhance their production and incomes.