Assessment of Rural Youth Movement from Farming to Transportation Sector in Osun State, Nigeria
The study was designed to assess the movement of rural youth from farming to the rural transportation activities; identify reasons for the movement and determined their levels of involvement in these activities. It also determined the social and economic satisfaction derived from rural transportation by the youth. This is with a view to coming up with policy strategies that could facilitate the youth participation in rural development. The study was carried out in Ife-Ijesa, Iwo and Osogbo agricultural zones of Osun State, Nigeria. Validated interview schedule and Focus Group Discussions (FGD) were used to elicit information on levels of economic satisfaction in rural transport activities and levels of involvement from 141 rural youths involved in rural transport activities. They were randomly selected from 325, 457 and 1,700 registered transport operators in Ife-Ijesa, Iwo and Osogbo zones respectively. Descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were used to analyze the data. The results showed that 84% of the respondents were highly involved in rural transport activities; and spent an average of 14 hours per day. The results further showed that all the respondents were male among which 82% were married and 18% were single. The age bracket for respondents was between 13 and 30 years. Majority (54%) of the respondents had secondary education, 45% had primary education while 1% had no formal education. Also, majority (55%) of the respondents had between 4 and 7 years of experience in transport business, 37% had between 8 and 11 years while 1% had above 12 years. The result further showed that some (11%) of the respondents were also engaged in farming whilst 69% were involved in agro-allied businesses. About 17% were schooling prior to their involvement in rural transport activities. It was further revealed that majority (79%) of the respondents were involved in riding of motorcycle, 34% involved in bus driving while 5% engaged in both activities. Ninety five percent of the respondents had a moderate level of economic satisfaction in rural transportation activities, had a high level of economic satisfaction while 1% had a low level of economic satisfaction. The results also revealed that the average monthly income of N8,973 derived from transport business by the youth was more than the average monthly income of N5,598 generated from farming and agro-allied business. Furthermore there were significant relationships between the level of involvement in transport activities and age (x2 =10.46, p < 0.05), years of experience in transport business (x2 =16.63, p < 0.05), dependants' size (x2 =12.55, p < 0.05), forms of habitation (x2 =9.95, p < 0.05) and level of formal education (x2 =7.71, p < 0.05). In conclusion, rural youth abandoned farming for transportation business due to the economic gain, they derived from transport business.