Livelihood Diversification among the Agricultural Land Scarce Peasants in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia

Authors

1 Lecturer School of Environment, Gender and Development Studies, Hawassa University, Ethiopia

2 Assistant Professor, College of Development Studies, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Abstract

This article examines the livelihood strategies of land scarce peasants in Ethiopian. Land scarce
peasants have a limited livelihood security on a sustainable manner and bypassed by major
development programmes. The study was centred on two sets of rationales. First, for those peasants
who do not have sufficient farmland, agriculture provides only a limited portion of households’
livelihood security sustainably. Second, although there are ample studies on rural livelihoods and
agricultural land scarcity, little is known, for instance, about the dynamics of agricultural land scarce
farmers’ livelihood strategies in the Central highlands of Ethiopia. The field study surveyed 75 land
scarce households and conducted a number of key informant interviews, focus group discussions, direct
observations and transect walks to get first hand information and consulted several secondary sources.
The result showed that the respondents are still predominantly pursuing agricultural based livelihood
strategies through agricultural intensification, extensification, and diversifications. It depicted that
29.3%, 42.7 %, and 98.7 % of the respondents derive income from off-farm, non-farm, and agricultural
activities, respectively. They also seasonally migrate outside their village for additional sources of
income. Thus, interventions and policies need to promote sustainable livelihood must consider themfrom agriculture and
through enhancing non-agricultural livelihood diversification activities away
reduce the heavy dependence on limited land. 
 
    
   


                      
 
  



This article examines the livelihood strategies of land scarce peasants in Ethiopian. Land scarce
peasants have a limited livelihood security on a sustainable manner and bypassed by major
development programmes. The study was centred on two sets of rationales. First, for those peasants
who do not have sufficient farmland, agriculture provides only a limited portion of households’
livelihood security sustainably. Second, although there are ample studies on rural livelihoods and
agricultural land scarcity, little is known, for instance, about the dynamics of agricultural land scarce
farmers’ livelihood strategies in the Central highlands of Ethiopia. The field study surveyed 75 land
scarce households and conducted a number of key informant interviews, focus group discussions, direct
observations and transect walks to get first hand information and consulted several secondary sources.
The result showed that the respondents are still predominantly pursuing agricultural based livelihood
strategies through agricultural intensification, extensification, and diversifications. It depicted that
29.3%, 42.7 %, and 98.7 % of the respondents derive income from off-farm, non-farm, and agricultural
activities, respectively. They also seasonally migrate outside their village for additional sources of
income. Thus, interventions and policies need to promote sustainable livelihood must consider them
through enhancing non-agricultural livelihood diversification activities away from agriculture and
reduce the heavy dependence on limited land. 
 
    
   


                      
 
  
This article examines the livelihood strategies of land scarce peasants in Ethiopian. Land scarce peasants have a limited livelihood security on a sustainable manner and bypassed by major development programmes. The study was centred on two sets of rationales. First, for those peasants who do not have sufficient farmland, agriculture provides only a limited portion of households’ livelihood security sustainably. Second, although there are ample studies on rural livelihoods and agricultural land scarcity, little is known, for instance, about the dynamics of agricultural land scarce farmers’ livelihood strategies in the Central highlands of Ethiopia. The field study surveyed 75 land scarce households and conducted a number of key informant interviews, focus group discussions, direct observations and transect walks to get first hand information and consulted several secondary sources. The result showed that the respondents are still predominantly pursuing agricultural based livelihood strategies through agricultural intensification, extensification, and diversifications. It depicted that 29.3%, 42.7 %, and 98.7 % of the respondents derive income from off-farm, non-farm, and agricultural activities, respectively. They also seasonally migrate outside their village for additional sources of income. Thus, interventions and policies need to promote sustainable livelihood must consider them through enhancing non-agricultural livelihood diversification activities away from agriculture and reduce the heavy dependence on limited land. [Reta Hailu and Ali Hassen. Livelihood Diversification among the Agricultural Land Scarce Peasants in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. International Journal of Agricultural Science, Research and Technology, 2012; 2(1):1-8].

Keywords


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