THE EFFECT OF MALARIA ON AGRICULTURAL RURAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME IN EKEREMOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF BAYELSA STATE
1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The household can be defined as the basic residential unit in which economic production, consumption; inheritance, child rearing, and shelter are organized and carried out. It may or may not be synonymous with the family (Haviland, 2003). According to (Sullivan, 2003), in economics, a household is a person or a group of people living in the same residence.
A household includes all the persons who occupy a housing unit. A housing unit is a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms, or a single room that is occupied (or if vacant, is intended for occupancy) as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live and eat separately from any other persons in the building and which have direct access from the outside of the building or through a common hall.
However an agricultural household can be defined as a basic residential unit in which agricultural production, consumption, inheritance and shelter are carried out.
An agricultural household includes all the persons who occupy a housing unit, which supply inputs to the farm and get the required output from the farm. In our Nigerian setting the agricultural household provides the agricultural inputs, supplies labor, and manage the farm in other to get a substantial output to generate food for itself as well as income to carryout other social functions.
For statistical purposes in the United Kingdom a household is defined as “one person or a group of people who have the accommodation as their only or main residence and for a group, either share at least one meal a day or share a living accommodation, that is a living room or sitting room”.
The Household is an important unit of the economy. The household is a better avenue to measure income or expenditure in an economy rather than individual person. The agricultural household supplies the bulk of food that is being transported to urban areas for sale and consumption. This makes it imperative to observe and understand the household, because what affects individual households also has a burden in the community in general and in extent ion the country.
The household is as important as the entire nation because it explains what is obtainable in general sense, therefore it is noted as a smaller unit of careful investigation.
As important as the household is, it is been affected by some conditions, which includes health, overcrowding, shortage of amenities etc.
The agricultural household is posed with some health challenges and a good example of these health problems that badly inhibits the progress of the agricultural household is malaria.
The rural household which is the hope for our food security is threatened by malaria. This malaria however has an effect on the productivity and income of the rural households.
However, it is not a joke that if the productivity and income of the household is affected negatively, the purchasing power of the household is reduced, there is reduce savings and investment, in a long run reduced inputs for the subsequent years which also affect the standard of living of this important unit (households).
Malaria is a mosquito borne infectious disease caused by a eukaryotic protist of the genus plasmodium. Among the diseases that are common in Africa, malaria is one of the greatest threat attacking an individual on an average of four times in a year with an average of 10-14 days of incapacitation yearly (Alaba and Alaba, 2002). It is wide spread in tropical and subtropical regions including part of the Americas, Asia and most especially Africa. After a period of between two weeks and several months (occasionally, years) spent in the liver the malaria parasite start to multiple within the red blood cells, causing symptoms that include fever and headache. In severe cases the disease worsens leading to hallucination, coma and death. However, malaria known to be one of the commonest diseases in Africa is vastly becoming the disease with the highest mortality. Each year, there are more than 250 million cases of malaria (Philip and Nicky, 2010), killing between one and three million people, the majority of who are children.
It is also noted by researchers that the vast majority of malaria cases occur in children less than 5 years (target, 2005). It is also worthy of note that ninety percent (90%) of malaria related deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa (snow and Hay 2005). Malaria is commonly associated with poverty and indeed a cause of poverty, thus a hindrance to economic development (Roll Back Malaria, 2001).
The institute for the study of labor (2008) also emphasized that malaria affects the health and wealth of nations and individual’s alike. In African today, malaria is understood to be both a disease of poverty and a cause of poverty. Moreover, in Nigeria today malaria is a plague of life that a child is born into, prevented from and probably treated for, for a life time. Malaria in our rural area is synonymous to the word “fever” and can be a template to describe any form of ailment that comes with a shiver, cold, headache and always appear and disappear intermittently especially after treatment. It is also worthy of note that fever and skeptic shocks are commonly misdiagnosed as severe malaria in Nigeria, even leading to a failure to treat other life threatening illnesses (Molyncux, 2006).
The American association for the advancement of science (1991), claimed that approximately eighty to eighty five percent (80-85%) of the cases of population mobility and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa are attributable to malaria. Malaria is not only a health problem but also an economic problem. Malaria at the household level also affect productivity of the people and their asset acquisition capacity (Ajani and Ashagidigbi,2008).Household also frequently spend huge amount of their shared income and time on malaria prevention and treatments as well as an effort to control mosquitoes (Colozzi, 1999).The cost of prevention and treatments consumes scarce household’s resources. Also as some household members spend their productive time caring for those under malaria attack; they themselves in turn seek rescue from the menace of the disease (Mills, 1998).
Malaria therefore has a direct impact on households’ income, wealth, labor productivity and labor market participation of both the sick and the care givers. In terms of resources loss, households spend between $ 2 and $15 on malaria treatment and between $ 20 and $ 15 on prevention each month, (Mills, 1998). As much as 13 percent of total small farming households expenditure in Nigeria is currently being used in treating malaria, while many are simply too poor to pay for adequate prevention and treatments of the disease (WHO, 1999).
The loss to household may however be greater with the current trend in malaria resistance to traditional first-line drugs. Such loss has serious implication for poor household who are already malnourished who live under pitiable condition and who constitute over 65 percent of the nation’s population (FOS, 1999).
Calculating the loss of productivity or productive potential resulting from sickness involves the application of some consensual economic principles on earnings which includes wages salaries and other income generating potentials.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Seventy (70) percent of the Nigerian population is involve in agriculture (FAO, 1997), while United States of America and Israel have less than four (4) percent of their population involved in agriculture, yet they have more food to consume and export (Emmanuel, 1995).
It is also not new that malaria is responsible for a growth delay of up to 1.3% in some African countries (Roll Back Malaria, 2001) when compounded over the years, this penalty leads to a remarkable difference in GDP between countries with or without malaria. It is also worthy of note that the GDP is hampered because of the poor national income accruing to lower productivity in agriculture. It is imperative to acknowledge the fact that since agriculture in Nigeria is rural based and there is mass exodus of youthful labor to urban areas in search for social infrastructure, better education, health facilities and white collar jobs, a little strain on rural household labor is observed drastically, and even clearly visible on output. This is adverse in the sense that this affected rural household labor is still carrying the burden of providing food for the teeming urban centers. The malaria burden on the rural households creates both psychological and economic imbalance on the rural populace. However, incomes are reprioritized to malaria perversion measures, and treatment. Incapacitation is also common, since agricultural household labor is disabled temporarily while others work absentmindedly.
However, from our general knowledge of economics and the vicious cycle of poverty, when income is adversely affected by some factors especially malaria, income level is reduced, there is also a corresponding decrease in savings and investment, input is reduced and output fails drastically resulting to an endless cycle called the vicious cycle of poverty which is very difficult to break.
When there is low income, that invariable means a low national income and in extension a low GDP, therefore these triggers a very low standard of living.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study is to estimate the effect of malaria on the rural household farm income in Ekeremor Local Government of Bayelsa State.
The specific objectives include to:
i. Determine the level of awareness of the rural farm household to modern treatment and preventive measures.
ii. Determine the socio-economic characteristics of the rural farming households in the study area.
iii. Estimate the number of days of incapacitation due to malaria.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The effect of malaria on rural household farm income in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State is alarming and vastly becoming a general concern, since agricultural output is been adversely affected, and each passing year the issue is kept behind the bar, and thus making the situation deteriorate. Despite the campaign by Roll back malaria, the money spent does not justify the situation. It is therefore imperative for one to make an inquiry thus unfolding vivid parameters which are apt for investigation in other to bring to light the intensity of this plaque.
An inquiry into this area is important for the following rationale.
i. To draw the attention of the government to see reasons why this menace in our rural areas should be eradicated or reduced to the barest minimum.
ii. To keep the farmers abreast, emphasizing the possibility for farmers reducing this menace by the use of modern preventive measure or by eradicating the plaque themselves through the organization of self-help groups and thus keep food security at a saver side.
iii. To provide foot-print for any other researcher who may want to investigate into the subject matter.
iv. For the sake of knowledge.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study is limited to the effect of malaria on agricultural household income of Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The study was carried out on four villages in the local government area due to time factor; this might not be a perfect representation of the entire Ekeremor local government area.
However, the study was carried out in the raining season, the roads were bad and inaccessible, thus I used rain boots and raincoats to access the areas I could.
Finally, fund was also a limiting factor because the area is characterized by bad river transport system which was very expensive.
1.6 ORGANISATION OF THE PROJECT REPORT
The study is organized into five (5) chapters. Chapter one includes; background to the study, problems statement, objectives of the study, justification of the study and finally scope and limitation while chapter two is the review of related literature.
Chapter three consists of study area and methodology.
Chapter four consists of result and discussion and finally chapter five consist of conclusions and recommendations.