Smallholder Farmers' Use of Indigenous Knowledge Practices in Agri-food Systems: Contribution of Food Security Attainment Drive

Seyi Olalekan Olawuyi

1. Department of Agricultural Economics & Extension, University of Fort Hare, Alice, 5700, South Africa
2. Department of Agricultural Economics, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, 210214, Nigeria

Olusegun Jeremiah Ijila

Department of Agricultural Economics & Extension, University of Fort Hare, Alice, 5700, South Africa

Adedeji Adegbite

Department of Agricultural Economics & Farm Management, University of Ilorin, 1515, P.M.B, Ilorin, Nigeria

Tosin Dolapo Olawuyi

Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Osun State University, Osogbo, 210001, Nigeria

Charles Olawale Farayola

Department of Agricultural Development and Management, Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Ilorin, 240103, Nigeria


Received: 9 April 2024; Received in revised form: 1 May 2024; Accepted: 8 May 2024; Published: 31 May 2024

Copyright © 2024 Seyi Olalekan Olawuyi, Olusegun Jeremiah Ijila, Adedeji Adegbite, Tosin Dolapo Olawuyi, Charles Olawale Farayola. Published by Nan Yang Academy of Sciences Pte. Ltd.

Creative Commons LicenseThis is an open access article under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License.


Most of the world's poor, including those in Nigeria, live in rural and agrarian settings and are engaged in agricultural practices for sustenance. Meanwhile, increasing agricultural productivity requires the adoption of modern technologies and improved farming systems, which entail considerable cost outlays for initial adoption and continued use. These costs may be out of reach for resource-poor smallholder farmers, hence the need to embrace indigenous knowledge practices (IKPs) in an agrarian economy such as Nigeria. This research examined the contribution of farmers' food security attainment efforts through the use of IKPs. Drawing on a documentary review of literature and empirical evidence, as well as data collected from 349 randomly selected smallholder farmers, the study applied descriptive statistics, a standardized food insecurity experience scale survey module, and a multivariate probit regression model to analyze the dataset. The findings revealed that almost 86% of the farmers have a strong and positive perception of the effectiveness of IKPs on agricultural production, while approximately 90% of the farmers are food insecure (those in the chronic and moderate food insecurity categories). The results also indicated that farmers' food security status, household size vis-à-vis dependency ratio, awareness of IKPs, age of the farmers, years of farming experience, access to extension services, and frequency of visits by extension personnel significantly influenced farmers' use of traditional farming practices, crop selection/rotation strategies, and water management techniques in the study area. Despite the farmers' use of IKPs, most of them are still largely food insecure, which raises serious concerns. Given this, the study recommends a multi-stakeholder partnership to foster synergies between the use of indigenous knowledge and modern scientific approaches by farmers, harnessing the complementary strengths of both knowledge systems to address the contemporary challenges faced by smallholder farmers in the agri-food systems.

Keywords: Smallholder farmers; Indigenous knowledge practices; Food insecurity experience scale module; Documentary review; Multivariate probit model


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