The occupation of last resort? Determinants of farming choices of small farmers in Nigeria

T Begho*, Mary Begho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


In Nigeria, there is a stigma associated with small farming. There is also the assumption that farming is the occupation of last resort. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence to support or dispute these assertions. We examine data from 2,446 small farmers intending to find the answer to some lingering questions. Are farmers in the occupation out of choice or a lack of options? Are farmers generally satisfied with their jobs? Do most farmers have the intention to quit? Contrary to postulations that farming in Nigeria is the occupation of last resort, we find that Nigerian farmers choose to farm and take pride in their job. Notably, 67% have been farming for over 10 years, and 89% intend to continue. The logit regression suggests that job satisfaction, age, education and livestock ownership influence farmers’ intent to quit. We conclude that the government needs to make agriculture more attractive for younger and more educated farmers. This may be achieved through policies and interventions that prioritise improving rural infrastructure, address volatility, limit market fluctuations, remove barriers to markets for local farmers and facilitate the agricultural value chain so that agriculture can thrive as a business.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-318
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Rural Management
Issue number2
Early online date27 Apr 2022
Publication statusPrint publication - Aug 2023


  • Farming
  • job satisfaction
  • self-motivation
  • intent to quit
  • Nigeria


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