Chikaire Jonadab Ubochioma
Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria
Chikaire J U, PhD works as a Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Extension, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo state, Nigeria.
Biodiversity conservation is a key to poverty and hunger reduction among rural dwellers whose major occupation is farming. This study seeks to establish the veritable role agro-biodiversity plays in food provisioning, thereby reducing hunger and poverty. A total of 250 respondents were randomly selected from 3 South-east states (Abia, Imo and Ebonyi) of Nigeria. Data were collected with questionnaire complimented by oral interview and analyzed using percentages and mean presented in tabular forms. The results revealed that majority (55.6%) were males, and 45.7% were females, with a mean age of 50.2 years. On marital status, 50 percent were married, while 35.2% were widows. Again, 52% had primary education, while 33.6% had secondary education, with a mean farm size of 1.90 hectares, and mean household size of 8.2 persons. The respondents had a mean farming experience of 25.6 years. The prevalent agro-ecosystems included cropping systems, aquaculture systems, lakes, wetlands, forests, rice paddies, among others. The traditional agro-biodiversity practices included crop rotation/diversification with mean response of 2.50, agro-forestry (M=2.41), reduced tillage (M=2.52), contour planting (M=2.36), drainage control (M=2.53), terracing (M=2.48) among others practices. Agro-biodiversity conservation plays the following roles in reducing hunger and poverty: improve crop yield, improve income of farmers, guarantee access to markets, reduces vulnerability of crops to death and pressures, improves soil texture and fertility, reduces economic loss, provision of medicines and many more. It was recommended that to encourage and sustain conservation of biodiversity, conservation education and training be given to farmers regularly by agricultural extension personnel. The prevailing tenure systems should be reformed to make access to land easy and secure to enterprising farmers.