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Assessing the determinants of poverty and vulnerability of smallholder farmers in a changing climate: the case of Morogoro region, Tanzania

Mutabazi, Khamaldin D., Sieber, Stefan, Maeda, Claude, Tscherning, Karen
Regional environmental change 2015 v.15 no.7 pp. 1243-1258
assets, climate change, cross-sectional studies, econometrics, farm income, farm size, farmers, farming systems, households, issues and policy, least squares, livelihood, per-capita income, poverty, probability, rural areas, villages, Tanzania
This paper analyses the determinants of poverty and vulnerability of smallholder farmers in the rural areas in the face of climate change. The data were collected through a cross-sectional survey conducted between December 2009 and January 2010 covering 240 households in six villages of Morogoro region, Tanzania. Descriptive and the econometric approaches involving three-stage least squares (3SLS) and generalized methods of moments (GMM) regressions were used to analyse poverty and vulnerability. Results indicate that income poverty was prevalent in the study area—based on a daily income per capita poverty line of US$ 1.25. The income poverty was relatively higher in agro-climatically less-favourable area than in favoured areas. Over three quarters of the sample households were vulnerable. The pattern of future vulnerability tended to overlap with poverty rates. Ageing of the household head tended to increase the level of vulnerability. Large-sized households were more income-poor than their counterpart small-sized households. Farming experience reduced the probability of future vulnerability. Increased farm size enhanced the level of income, and further increase in farm size reduced future vulnerability. Higher income contributed to wealth formation through improved access to assets and housing amenities. Farmers who perceived that climate change is human-induced tended to have significantly higher income than otherwise. The following conclusions with policy implications are drawn from the findings: (1) addressing poverty and vulnerability of farmers is critical particularly in relatively agro-ecologically less-favoured areas that are prone to climate change impacts, (2) old-age-related vulnerability must be addressed through dedicated policies and programmes, (3) increasing farm size would enhance smallholder farm income, (4) awareness creation among farmers on climate change drivers and processes by highlighting anthropogenic contribution is important in order to influence local adaptation and mitigation practices, and (5) improving rural income will advance wealth creation and foster local livelihood resilience to shocks including climate change.