Dynamic Pathways into and out of Poverty: A Case of Small Holder Farmers in Zambia

Type Working Paper
Title Dynamic Pathways into and out of Poverty: A Case of Small Holder Farmers in Zambia
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
URL https://ideas.repec.org/p/ags/midcwp/113649.html
The study surveyed 127 households from Central, Eastern, Luapula, Northern, and Southern Provinces of Zambia. The primary objective was to explore life-trajectory patterns and key drivers of welfare change. Several approaches were used including semi-structured interviews at household level and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). Human capital, membership to associations/clubs and all other networks, investments made, income diversification, gender implications, being located to good infrastructural facilities, and shocks experienced contributed to the welfare of rural households. Generally, the better off households attained more education (6 years), were members of farmer associations, invested in productive assets diversified into meaningful income sources, came from communities located closer to good infrastructural facilities, and due to having good asset endowments and diversified off-farm activities, demonstrated the capacity to cope with negative shocks. The worse off households on the other hand had limited education (4.78 years) with assets acquired more as gifts and inheritance, depended more on petty trading, and were negatively impacted by shocks experienced as they had limited options to cope with negative events. The study concluded that there were a number of prominent causes of decline and improvement. Having endowments, an investment mind, hard work, choice of high return economic activities, access to good infrastructure, participating in formal organizations, and engaging in off-farm activities, all led to improvement in welfare. Decline into poverty was associated with not being well-endowed, practicing low return and subsistent income generating activities that led to vulnerability and less resilience to negative shocks.

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