Rural Farm Households’ Income Diversification: The Case of Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia
Despite the economic dominance of agriculture in the study area, farm households widely practice diverse income generating activities as livelihood strategies to overcome diverse challenges and risks. The existing capacity of agriculture to attain food and livelihood security is tremendously declining from time to time. The main aim of this study was to identify the determinants of farmers' participation in income diversification in the study area. The study involved primary data which were collected from randomly selected 300 households in four districts of the zone. For selection of study units probability proportional to the size was applied and respondents were selected through systematic sampling technique. In addition, key informant interview and focus group discussion were used to supplement the survey with qualitative information. Secondary data were also collected from various relevant sources. Descriptive statistics were applied to characterize the sample households’ social, economic, demographic and institutional factors. The findings of the study indicates that rural households in the study area practice diversified income sources, in that about 57.7% of the households combine agriculture with other activities (non/off-farm). Some farmers were pursuing non-farm and off-farm activities as the primary income sources rather than agriculture. Considering the wealth status, the poor households derive almost half (50%) of their income from non-agricultural activities whereas the latter accounts for only 6.4% of the income of the better-off households’. Binary logit model was applied to investigate factors influencing the households’ participation in income diversification. In this regard, out of total explanatory variables included in the model, 8 were significant. The results confirm that factors such as sex, farm size, livestock ownership, oxen ownership, education, leadership, annual cash income and market distance were key determinants of farmers’ participation in income diversification. Further, the study identifies income diversification as a cumulative effects of several factors, and therefore urges policy makers to give due attention to them with a view to overcoming the challenging bottlenecks.
Rural Farm Households’ Income Diversification: The Case of Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia, Social Sciences.
Vol. 6, No. 2,
2017, pp. 45-56.
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