The first RALS was conducted in May/June 2012 and a follow-up survey in June/July 2015. The Rural Agricultural Livelihood Survey (RALS) is a new panel survey designed to obtain a comprehensive picture of Zambia’s small- and medium-scale farming sector using the 2010 census sampling frame. An earlier household panel survey for rural Zambia was the Supplemental Surveys (SS) of 2001, 2004 and 2008, which enabled the publication of a large set of important research outputs by IAPRI, Michigan State University and a range of Zambian and international partner organizations. However, the SS was based on the 2000 Census and considered to be increasingly unable to provide a statistically representative picture of rural livelihoods and the agricultural sector in light of major demographic changes between 2000 and 2010.
The Central Statistical Office (CSO) Post-Harvest Surveys (PHS) and Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) Crop Forecast Surveys (CFS) provide reasonably solid information on crop production, sales, and input use for a wide variety of field crops, but these surveys contain limited or no information on: (i) crops known to have become an important source of smallholder crop income in recent years, such as fresh fruits and vegetables; (ii) sales of animal and fish products; (iii) off-farm and non-farm labour and small enterprise income; (iv) intergenerational transfers, including inheritances which might affect households’ current livelihoods; iv) in and out migration which might affect household welfare; (v) natural resources use and management, such as forests, which are an important source of food and income for rural households and; (vi) a broader set of positive and negative shocks affecting households’ current conditions.
In order to overcome these knowledge gaps, IAPRI works with the CSO and MAL to design, implement and analyse additional rural livelihood surveys to obtain a broader set of household livelihood activities and outcomes. The purpose of the RALS is to provide policy relevant information that is not practical to collect annually from the government agricultural surveys. For example, collecting comprehensive income data through RALS allows us to understand the effects of government policies and programs on rural incomes and poverty – something that is not possible with the PHS and CFS. The RALS also enable Zambian policy makers to accurately monitor progress toward achieving its national policy goals.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
The scope of the Rural Agricultural Livelihoods Survey 2012 includes the following:
Section 1: Demographic Characteristics of Household Members
Section 2: Farm Land and Use
Section 3: Crop Sales from Own Production (1st of May 2011 to end of April 2012 Marketing Season)
Section 4: Fertiliser Acquisition (2010/2011)
Section 5 - Acquisition of seed and/or planting material.
Section 6: Rural Loans/Credit We now want to ask about any loans/credit the household may have acquired to support agricultural production and the household's access to loans/credit.
Section 7. Livestock, Poultry and Fish Farming
Section 8. Household Assets / Implements
Section 9: Off-Farm Income and Remittances (From May 2011 to April 2012)
Section 10: Questions About Agricultural Information, Distances to and Cost of Agricultural Services
Section 11: Food Purchases and Processing (Beginning of May 2011 to end of April 2012)
Section 12: Months of Adequate Household Food Provisions
Section 13: Kinship ties, tribal groups, migration and inheritance
Section 14: Previous deaths
Section 15: Building materials for the main house
Producers and sponsors
Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI)
Michigan State University
Technical and Capacity Building Support
Zambia Central Statistical Office
Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock
Ministry of Agriculture
Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Musika Development Initiatives
Food and Agriculture Organization
The sampling frame for the RALS 2012 survey was based on the 2010 Census of Housing and Population. A stratified two-stage sample design was used for the RALS 2012 sampling. The first stage involved identifying the Primary Sampling Unit (PSU). The PSU was defined as one or more Standard Enumeration Areas (SEAs) with a minimum of 30 agricultural households. The SEA is the smallest area with well-defined boundaries identified on census sketch maps. At the second stage, all households in selected SEAs were listed and agricultural households identified. Listed agricultural households were then stratified into three categories, A, B, and C, on the basis of total area under crops; presence of some specified special crops; numbers of cattle, goats and chickens raised; and sources of income. Systematic sampling was then used to select 20 households distributed across the three strata in each SEA.
The RALS 2012 covered 442 Standard Enumeration Areas (SEAs) across the 10 provinces and a total of 8,840 households.
Two sets of weights were generated from the RALS data, panel weights and the population weights. Panel weights are for analysis that utilize both RALS 2012 and 2015, while the population weights should be used for standalone cross-sectional surveys.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
The questionnaire is provided under the Related Materials tab.