Small farmers are one of the more disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in Nigeria. Studies have shown that majority of people living in absolute poverty can be found on small farms with half in this group undernourished. The study examined the determinants of rural poverty in Nigeria. The study uses a probit model on a sample of 500 smallholder farmers to establish factors that influences probability of households’ escaping chronic poverty. Results show that access to micro-credit, education, participation in agricultural workshops/seminars, livestock asset, and access to extension services significantly influencing the probability of households’ existing chronic poverty. On the other hand, female headed households’ and distance to the market increases the probability of persistence in chronic poverty. Thus, these variables are significant in capturing the key rural poverty determinants. However, gender disparities in property rights has a consequence on poverty, as women empowerment through legal rights to property as key chronic poverty ameliorating factors among the farming communities.
Key words: Smallholder farmers, persistence chronic poverty, farming communities, Southwest, Nigeria.
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