Challenges of Rural Development and Food Security In Nigeria: A Study of Ebonyi State Agricultural Development Programme (EBADEP)
The study examines the Challenges of Rural Development and Food Security in Nigeria with special focus on Ebonyi State Agricultural Development Programme (EBADEP). This becomes imperative because of the problems of rural under development and food insecurity in the country. The research seeks to find out why rural development has continued to elude Nigeria in general and Ebonyi State in particular despite of efforts by government and individuals, why there is an unending food insecurity even when various agricultural and food security programmes were introduced among others. The researchers adopted the survey research design method. Data were collected through questionnaire distribution to EBADEP field staff and some group of rural farmers. The questionnaires collected were analyzed using tables, frequency distribution and chi-square method was used in testing the hypotheses. The study found that more than 80% of the rural areas of Ebonyi State are still under developed; agriculture receives less than 10% of die annual budgetary allocations, farmers in Ebonyi state lack access to credit facilities which lead to how productivity, EBADEP has not lived up to the expectation of teaching the rural farmers and Ebonyi State has not fully exploited its rich agricultural potentials. The implications of the aforementioned are that rural development and food security will continue to be a mirage if a more practical approach is not adopted. More households in Ebonyi State will die of hunger as only the imported goods (costly) would be the last resort. The study therefore recommended that "rural-urban integration" approach through aggressive rural infrastructural provision should be adopted. Government at all levels should collaborate with experts to encourage food security, Ebonyi State should produce those crops that have comparative advantage in, increased budgetary allocations to agriculture, farm demonstration centers should be established in all the 13 local government areas of Ebonyi state.