Farming activities are characterised by seasonal, climatic, and edaphic factors, to mention a few. During off-farming periods, farmers engage in activities to keep themselves busy and it also serves as a means to generate more income. Sometimes these activities can be referred to value addition or alternative source of income generation. Profit made via agricultural activities is seasonal and many youths do not really subscribe to such. Also, the money generated via agricultural activities is basically used for capital projects, while the money generated from off-farming or non-farming activities are used to cater for man’s daily needs, as the case may be.
According to Ovwigho (2014), off-farming
The first reason include the need to increase income when resources needed for main activities are too limited to provide sufficient livelihood. Secondly, is to reduce income risk in the face of missing insurance markets. Thirdly, is to exploit strategic complementary and positive interactions between different activities and fourthly, it relates to the third point, which is to earn cash income to finance farm investments in the face of credit market failures. In the study of Senadza (2011), it was found out that the aggregate off-farming income increased inequality among households in Ghana while also off-farming, through self-employment income, reduced income inequality and off-wage income that in turn increased income inequality.
Off-farming and non-farming activities help to cushion the finance of farmers during agricultural losses that might arise from climate change that usually affects crop output negatively, bush burning activities performed by farmers during bush clearing, cattle-grazing cattle on cultivated crops, disease outbreak like the African Swine Fever, and Avian Flu. Therefore, any farmer that engages in off-farming and non-farming activities does not lose completely during emergencies for it is also an avenue to build sales network, if properly managed. Mr. Mutiu is a young and energetic farmers that inherited some portions of land after the demise of his father and he happened to be a trained barber. He goes to farm very early in the morning for tillage operations and he leaves the farm at sunrise and resume to his saloon. According to him, he hardly makes sales in the morning at his saloon and he covers more activities on farm in the early hours of the day even though activities have little or no hindrance on each other.
Some years ago, he got a motorcycle from the sales of his agricultural business. This lessened his burden while heading for farming activities in the morning for he uses the motorcycle for public transport around his vicinity during the day. All these activities helped him to be financially-responsible at home, he stated. A fish farmer named Miss Serah studied Zoology and she is into catfish production. She started her business about 5-6 years ago. According to her, feeding her fish was usually done twice daily (8am and 5pm). Fish farming is a noiseless activities that hardly needs much attention unlike poultry. She is also a receptionist at a finance firm, where she resumes 9am and closes by 4.30pm. She added that managing the two assignments is not easy, but it is worthwhile because a single-income earner finds it difficult to make ends meet.
She utilises the given opportunity to boost her finances. Sometimes, she sells on credit and have her money paid back at the end of the month when salary is usually paid. It is instructive to state that female farmers, who are affected by poor access to farmlands and reside in the rural areas, cannot, but plant vegetables on a small scale within the available land that is close to rivers or streams near their houses. Findings have revealed that some farmers are hunters and do go for hunting expedition regularly. Animals killed are sold within their localities and sometime, they are smoked and displayed on major roads for travellers to purchase. Even though, not all are sold, some of the animals caught are usually consumed by the farmers household. This hunting expedition builds cordial relationship and strengthens cord of love among people.
Not only that, it is an alternative means of securing their immediate environment against night intruders. Goldsmith business is also a common business in any rural community as farm implements and other metallic tools are made available at affordable prices. Many of them have their personal farms on which they cultivate and make some earnings from them. Due to their busy schedule, they engage the services of hired labourers for some tillage activities and their family members.
A mandatory farming activities period is usually observed by agricultural students in tertiary institutions where practicals are taught and where portions of land are allocated to students either in groups or individuals and sometimes, both. Animals such as chicken, turkey, guinea fowl, snail, goat and sheep will be raised by the students from birth to point sales; that is maturity. Also marketing skills will not be excluded during this period. Mr. Jamiu, a farmer and teacher in a secondary school based in Lagos, said he learnt about rearing of poultry birds for economical purpose during his incubation period while studying agriculture at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State. Today, he is successful in both engagements. Farmers are, therefore, advised to take advantage of the great opportunities embedded in off-farming and non-farming activities to complement their sources of income.