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n Agrekon - Rural livelihood diversity to manage economic shocks : evidence from south-east Zimbabwe

Volume 49, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0303-1853
  • E-ISSN: 2078-0400
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Abstract

Livelihood strategies used by households and individuals in rural communities are shaped by human, natural, financial, social and physical capital resources that can be accessed. The ability to diversify livelihoods depends on asset portfolios and the economic shocks that rural households face. The main objective of this paper is to improve understanding of rural livelihood challenges in south-east Zimbabwe and how households in this area diversify livelihoods to cope with these challenges. A cluster analysis of 200 households surveyed in 2008 in the Chiredzi district identified five distinct livelihood strategies : (1) subsistence smallholders / unskilled workers; (2) subsistence smallholders / nontimber forestry products (NTFPs) harvesters;(3) crop production and NTFPs extraction integrators; (4) commercial smallholders with regular off-farm employment; and (5) specialised commercial livestock producers. Multinomial logit model results showed that the level of education of the household head, value of physical assets, cattle numbers and income, remittances, NTFP income and economic shocks were the main determinants of these livelihood choices. There is also some evidence that those households that were statistically significantly affected by HIV/AIDS shock practised distress-push diversification by harvesting NTFPs. These results suggest that policymakers need to advise rural households on how to improve their risk management capacities, and move from geographically untargeted investments in livelihood assets to a more integrated approach adapted to the asset bases of individual households.

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/content/agrekon/49/3/EJC18447
2010-09-01
2019-10-23

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