The study examined the effect of flood disaster on the socio-economic characteristics or cassava farmers in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State.

Simple random sampling procedure was used to select 100 respondent from four communities. A well structured interview schedule was used to obtain data. Descriptive statistics, and t-test were employed in the analysis.

The results showed that there were more male farmers in the study area when female farmers. Most of the farmers were married and they practice full time farming. Few of the farmers have at least 2 hectare of their farm size. Most of the farmers were also into other crop cultivation like vegetable and yam and most of the farmer were into commercial farming. The Correlation showed significant relationship between respondent’s socio-economic characteristic and the general effect of flooding and the t-test establish a statistically differences between the effect of flooding on output. This study therefore recommends that Government show empower the people living in the area by creating jobs to reduce the poverty rate in the study area.



Background of the Study

The world at large has suffered natural disasters (flood) throughout its long history. They displace and disrupt thousands of families, and having more traumatic effect in the poorest of nations, crippling what are often already woefully inadequate economic development efforts, and destroying infrastructure (Delaney et al, 2004). Natural disasters are happening more often and having an ever more dramatic effect on the world in terms of both their agricultural, human and economic costs. Floods are dangerous to peoples’ lives and their aftermath results to death, destruction, misery and trauma. One of the major repercussions that flood disasters have is on agriculture especially food crops like cassava production.

Unlike other investment activities, cassava is exposed to a large variety of risks and uncertainties from the vagaries of nature such as bad weather conditions, pests and diseases, flood, erosion and fire outbreaks. According to Jafia (1988) examples of such risks and uncertainties that have occurred in Nigeria include, the Cassava Bacteria Blight (CBB) of 1973)/74 cropping season which caused the loss of about 162.500 tons of cassava tubers in the east, and frequent flooding and drought problems. Also the serious drought years of 1982-1984 seasons and even the poor rainfall situations in 1987/88 seasons affected agricultural productivity as well. According to Taylor (1977), he identified crop losses in Nigeria as due to pest and diseases Okoye (1987) showed among others a pre-harvest loss of 10% on cassava partly due to pest and diseases..

Also after experiencing a devastating flood that resulted in displacing several hundred of thousands of people in 1998 the Kumadugu Yobe Ualley (northern Nigeria) was flooded again in 2001, Madiodio et al. (2004).

A substantial part of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood. These substantial parts of the population are the rural farmers causing a vicious circle of poverty and adding to the risk, damage and stress of disasters. These rural farmers are exposed to natural disasters because they tend to live in marginal areas and depend on high-risk, low return livelihood systems such as rain-fed agriculture and face many sources of vulnerability including little physical infrastructure.

Today, Nigeria is suffering from low agricultural output and this could be due to t he effect of natural disasters on the rural farmers. The rural farmers have suffered seriously during the occurrence of these disasters in the past and present. Not only do these disasters destroy crops and disrupt food supplies, they also affect land quality and production potentials (Stephenson 1994). Farmlands and houses have been washed off by erosion in the northern and southern parts of the country and these rural farmers have more or less been rendered jobless too because of the effects of these natural disasters causing rural-urban migration (Nyong, 2005). Pest and diseases migrate in response to climatic variation and will potentially pose a threat to livestock when they move to areas where there is flood to areas of drier regions. It can also lead to aberration in the animal mating habits.

The purpose of this study is to identify the effect of the 2012 flood disaster on the socio-economic characteristics of cassava farmers in Etsako East Local Government area of Edo State. According to Saldana-Zorrilla (2003) economic vulnerability makes presence through decrease in the income of rural farmers. The study will analyse the level of change of the rural farmers income caused by the flood and how this will affect the rural farmers and cassava production.

Statement of the Problem

Natural disasters, such as the occurrence of flood, cause much misery, especially in developing countries where low-income earners undergo great stress. Losses due to floods reduce the asset base of households, communities and societies through the destruction of standing crops, dwellings, infrastructure, machinery and buildings in addition to tragic loss of life.

Occurrence of flood have led to crop failure, famine, loss of property, mass migration and negative economic growth and this in turn affects the household income of the rural farmers that depend on agriculture as their means of livelihood (Adedipe et al, 1997). The occurrence of flood disasters are becoming destructive to the rural farmers as they drive these rural farmers out of business and possibly increase the migration from rural areas (Chukuezi 2008). Because of this, the need for re-orienting resulting in agricultural decision making and insulation of the rural farmers from adverse impacts of flood disasters has become more pressing.

Thus the catastrophic result of the extreme global flood has greatly deteriorated the lands and production of cassava. This has therefore resulted to low productivity and high cost of purchasing the produce and it calls for a careful study for the rescue of cassava production. All these may not be ruled out in the areas affected by the 2012 flood disasters especially in Etsako Local Government Area. The questions therefore are as follows

What are the levels of effects of these natural disasters on the income of the rural farmers in Etsako East?

To what extent does the flood affect the farmers?

What is the present state of the farmers?

What are the implications of the flood on the farmers?

Objectives of the Study

The broad objective is to study the effect of flood disaster on socio-economic characteristics of cassava farmers in Etsako East Local Government area of Edo State.

Specific objectives

To determine the socio-economic characteristics of cassava farmers

To determine the effect of flood on their income generation

To determine the effect of flood on their environment.

1.4Hypothesis of Study

The following null hypothesis were tested.

1. The income of the farmers is not significantly influenced by the flood.

The Need for the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine how the 2012 flood affected the agricultural livelihood and the implications of flood upon the rural farmers in cassava production. Being that the flood occurred recently not much has been done to examine its effects especially on cassava farmers in the study area.

The results from this study will assist the government in policy making especially in the agricultural sector which will help increase farmers productivity. This has been found to be critically linked to long-term economic growth, food security and environmental renewal. Similarly, it will make case for cassava production and development relief, which can serve to meet the immediate relief needs of the affected community. It also shows how new agricultural and environmental technologies will play a key role in the promotion of long-term development strategies that continue to reduce the vulnerability of poor, rural populations and marginalized groups to the menace of natural disasters.