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Are African households (not) leaving agriculture? Patterns of households ’ income sources in rural Sub-Saharan Africa ☆

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ABSTRACT

This paper uses comparable income aggregates from 41 national household surveys from 22 countries to explore the patterns of income generation among rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa, and to compare household income strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa with those in other regions. The paper seeks to understand how geography drives these strategies, focusing on the role of agricultural potential and distance to urban areas. Specialization in on-farm activities continues to be the norm in rural Africa, practiced by 52 percent of households (as opposed to 21 percent of households in other regions). Regardless of distance and integration in the urban context, when agro-climatic conditions are favorable, farming remains the occupation of choice for most households in the African countries for which the study has geographically explicit information. However, the paper finds no evidence that African households are on a different trajectory than households in other regions in terms of transitioning to non-agricultural based income strategies.

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Percentage of rural households participating in non-agricultural activities, by per capita GDP in 2005 PPP dollars.
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f0015: Percentage of rural households participating in non-agricultural activities, by per capita GDP in 2005 PPP dollars.

Mentions: We begin by looking at the prevalence of household participation in different activities (Table 1, Fig. 1, Fig. 2, Fig. 3, Fig. 4).8 The discussion in this section is based on an analysis of the basic descriptive statistics, aided by a visual interpretation of scatterplots including simple quadratic trend lines fitted to the data.9 Strikingly, the near totality of rural households in the countries of our sample are engaged in own account agriculture. This is true in Africa (92 percent on average), but also in other regions (85 percent) (Fig. 1). While for some households the importance of this participation is relatively minor, since it includes consumption of a few animals or patio crop production, agriculture continues to play a fundamental role in the rural household economic portfolio. It is hard to overemphasize this result, especially given its robustness across countries and income levels: in the vast majority of the surveys we find that more than 8 in 10 rural households depend to some extent on agriculture. Regardless of the level of GDP, agriculture continues to be the distinctive feature of rural livelihoods.


Are African households (not) leaving agriculture? Patterns of households ’ income sources in rural Sub-Saharan Africa ☆
Percentage of rural households participating in non-agricultural activities, by per capita GDP in 2005 PPP dollars.
© Copyright Policy - CC BY
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5384437&req=5

f0015: Percentage of rural households participating in non-agricultural activities, by per capita GDP in 2005 PPP dollars.
Mentions: We begin by looking at the prevalence of household participation in different activities (Table 1, Fig. 1, Fig. 2, Fig. 3, Fig. 4).8 The discussion in this section is based on an analysis of the basic descriptive statistics, aided by a visual interpretation of scatterplots including simple quadratic trend lines fitted to the data.9 Strikingly, the near totality of rural households in the countries of our sample are engaged in own account agriculture. This is true in Africa (92 percent on average), but also in other regions (85 percent) (Fig. 1). While for some households the importance of this participation is relatively minor, since it includes consumption of a few animals or patio crop production, agriculture continues to play a fundamental role in the rural household economic portfolio. It is hard to overemphasize this result, especially given its robustness across countries and income levels: in the vast majority of the surveys we find that more than 8 in 10 rural households depend to some extent on agriculture. Regardless of the level of GDP, agriculture continues to be the distinctive feature of rural livelihoods.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

This paper uses comparable income aggregates from 41 national household surveys from 22 countries to explore the patterns of income generation among rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa, and to compare household income strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa with those in other regions. The paper seeks to understand how geography drives these strategies, focusing on the role of agricultural potential and distance to urban areas. Specialization in on-farm activities continues to be the norm in rural Africa, practiced by 52 percent of households (as opposed to 21 percent of households in other regions). Regardless of distance and integration in the urban context, when agro-climatic conditions are favorable, farming remains the occupation of choice for most households in the African countries for which the study has geographically explicit information. However, the paper finds no evidence that African households are on a different trajectory than households in other regions in terms of transitioning to non-agricultural based income strategies.

No MeSH data available.