Socio-economic Characteristics of Household Farms And Diversification of Livelihood Strategies in Rukwa, Tanzania
Justin K. Urassa
Diversification of livelihood strategies by rural households has been reported to be normal, and that this is driven by two major factors. First, are ‘push factors’, which include risk reduction, responding to various constraints such as land fragmentation, and labour supply issues. Second, are ‘pull factors’, which include involvement in complementary activities and specialization based on comparative advantage. Based on the above, this article aims to establish how Rukwa farm households’ socioeconomic characteristics influence diversification of their livelihood strategies. To achieve the above, we use a combination of qualitative as well as quantitative evidence. The study draws on data from a field survey and focus group discussions whereby diversification of livelihood strategies was examined on the basis of a household’s activity portfolios and income sources, and the relative diversity of subsectoral farm enterprises. This enabled the study to measure diversification by considering both a households engagement in farm and non-farm activities and the number of livelihood strategies adopted. Generally, the study observed that education and age had some significant influence on a household’s choice of livelihood strategies. Nonetheless, despite households diversifying their livelihood strategies, many rural households continue to rely on agriculture, especially production of staples. Therefore, these results could help the central and local governments to formulate strategies geared towards improving rural well-being.
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