Tracking Agriculture-Induced Fertility Among Yorùbá Farmers of Southwestern Nigeria


  • Fausat Motunrayo Ibrahim Department of Agricultural Extension and Management, Federal College of Forestry, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria,Jericho Hills, Ibadan, Nigeria



agriculture, fertility, Yorùbá, farmers, demographic transition


The dynamics of agricultural production in African peasant economies featured human fertility in no small measure. The role of increased fertility in agricultural productivity is explained by opposing ideologies, yet, African perspectives on increased fertility for agricultural production, in the current social climate, are seemingly deficient. Using a triangulation of qualitative methods, this work explores agriculture-induced fertility among Yorùbá farmers of Southwestern Nigeria. The findings clearly and dominantly indicate that the option of increasing fertility deliberately through polygyny, for improved agricultural production has tremendously diminished. Instead, concerns over optimum child development, which can hardly be guaranteed with continued agriculture-induced fertility, are stressed. This shows that Yorùbá farmers’ disposition towards increasing fertility is dictated by pecuniary circumstances, thereby accentuating the rationality of Yorùbá culture and its people. 


Admassie, Assefa. 2002. “Explaining the high incidence of child labour in Sub–Saharan Africa.” African development review 14(2): 251-275.

Ajila, C. O. 2004. “Hope Fostering Among the Yoruba Speaking People of Nigeria: The Use of Proverbs, Cognomen, Prayers and Names.” Anthropologist 6(2): 141-146.

Aluko, Yetunde A. 2015. “Patriarchy and Property Rights among Yoruba Women in Nigeria.” Feminist Economics, 21(3): 56-81. DOI:10.1080/13545701.2015.1015591

Barber, Karen. 1981. How man makes God in west Africa: Yorùbá attitudes towards the “Òrìsà”. Journal of the International African Institute 51(3): 724-745.

Bascom, W.R. 1951a. “Yorùbá food.” Journal of the International African Institute 21(1): 41-53.

Bascom, William R. 1951b. “Social status, wealth and individual differences among the Yoruba.” American Anthropologist 53: 490-505.

Bascom, William R. 1955. “Urbanization among the Yorùbá.” American Journal of Sociology 60(5): 446-454.

Binswanger, Hans P. and Pingali, Prabhulet al.1998. Population density and farming systems: the changing locus of innovations and technical change. In: Lee, R.D. (Ed.), Population, Food and Rural Development. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Blumberg, Rae Lesser. 2005. “Women’s Economic Empowerment as the ‘Magic Potion’ of Development?” Paper presented at the 100th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Philadelphia, August 13–16.

Boserup, Ester. 1965. The Conditions of Agricultural Growth the Economics of Agrarian Change Under Population Pressure. Earthscan Publications Ltd, London.

Boserup, Ester. 1970. Evolution Agraire et Pression Demographique (Agrarian Evolution and Demographic Pressure). Paris: Flammarion.

Caldwell, John C. 1976. “Toward A Restatement of Demographic Transition.” Population and Development Review 2(3/4): 321-366.

Caldwell, John C., Orubuloye, I.O. and Caldwell, Pat. 1991. “The destabilization of the traditional Yorùbá sexual system.” Population and Development Review 17(2): 229-262.

Dyson, Tim. 2010. Population and Development: The Demographic Transition. London, UK: Zed Books.

Ehrlich, Paul R. 1969. The Population Bomb. Ballantine.

Fadipe, Nathaniel A. 1970. The Sociology of the Yoruba. Ibadan: Ibadan University press.

Ibrahim, Fausat M. 2019. Àgbẹ̀lọba: Optimism in Livelihood Dynamics among Yorùbá Farmers of Southwestern Nigeria.” Antropologija 19(2): 155-175.

Kamuzora, C. Lwechungura. 1984. “High fertility and the demand for labour in peasant economies: the case of Bukoba District, Tanzania.”Development and change 15(1): 105-124.

Lloyd, Peter. 1953. “Craft organization in Yorùbá towns.” Journal of the International African Institute 23(1): 30-44.

McIntosh, Marjorie K. 2009. Yorùbá Women, Work, and Social Change. USA: Indiana University Press.

Meadows, Donella H.; Meadows, Dennis L.; Randers, Jorgen and Behrens, William W. 1972. The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind. New York: Universe Books.

National Bureau of Statistics, 2019. LSMS Integrated Surveys on Agriculture: Nigeria General Household Survey Panel, Wave 4. Accessed 6th January 2020 from

Odebode, Olasunbo. 2004. “Husbands are Crowns: Livelihood Pathways of Low-Income Urban Yoruba Women in Ibadan, Nigeria.” Maastricht: Shaker. PhD Dissertation, Institute of Social Studies and CERES Research School.

Okolie, Victoria O., Cisana, Selena, Schanfield, Moses S., Adekoya, Khalid O., Oyedeji, Olufemi A., & Podini, Daniele. 2018. “Population data of 21 autosomal STR loci in the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba people of Nigeria.” International Journal of Legal Medicine 132(3): 735-737.

Oloidi, Jumoke 2013. “Staple Food and Livestock Production among the Yoruba of the Colonial Nigeria: The Ekiti Experience.” African Research Review 7(4): 120-137. DOI:

Omobowale, Ayokunle O. 2008. “Clientelism and Social Structure: An Analysis of Patronage in Yorùbá Social Thought.” Afrika Spectrum 43(2): 203-224.

Orubuloye, I.O.; Caldwell, John C. and Caldwell, Pat. 1997. “Perceived Male Sexual Needs and Male Sexual Behaviour in Southwest Nigeria.” Social Science and Medicine 44(8): 1195-1207.

Pingali, Prabhu L. 2012. “Green revolution: impacts, limits and the path ahead.” Proceedings of National Academy of Science109(31): 12302–12308.

Renne, Elisha P. 1993. “Gender ideology and fertility strategies in an Ekiti Yorùbá village.” Studies in Family Planning 24(6): 343-353.

Sodiq, Yushua. 1996. “An analysis of Yoruba and Islamic laws of inheritance.” The Muslim World 86(3‐4): 313-333.

Tiffen, Mary, and Michael Mortimore. 1994. “Malthus controverted: The role of capital and technology in growth and environment recovery in Kenya.” World Development 22(7): 997-1010.

United Nations Population Fund, 2019. World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision. Accessed 1st April, 2020 at:

Van der Ploeg, Jan Douwe. 2012. Poverty Alleviation and Smallholder Agriculture: The Rural Poverty Report 2011. Development and Change 43(1): 439–448.

Willy, Daniel Kyalo; Muyanga, Milu and Jayne, Thomas. 2019. “Can economic and environmental benefits associated with agricultural intensification be sustained at high population densities? A farm level empirical analysis.” Land Use Policy 81: 100–110.




How to Cite

Motunrayo Ibrahim, Fausat. 2020. “Tracking Agriculture-Induced Fertility Among Yorùbá Farmers of Southwestern Nigeria”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 15 (2):533-49.