Evidence from many low income countries over the last decade shows that the share of rural household income from non-farm sources is growing. Empirical research found that non-farm sources contribute 40-50% to average rural household income. Most of this income originates from local rural sources. Thus, non-farm rural employment is gaining prominence in debates on rural development, particularly in the sense of reducing poverty in farm households and contributing to sustainable livelihoods. Farm households have been observed to follow a multitude of strategies to prepare for and cope with different kinds of risks and thus reduce their livelihood vulnerability. As it concerns income creating strategies, they can be grouped into two categories: (i) adjusting and diversifying farm production activities and (ii) non-farm activities (on- and off-farm) such as wage- and self-employment in the same region or urban centres, implying temporary or permanent migration. In summarysing, it can be stated that diversity and sustainability of livelihoods play a key role in rural households’ strategies to ensure survival under difficult ecological and economic conditions. Some common patterns can be identified: if access to farm land is a limiting factor for rural households, even low-paid jobs in the non-farm sector are of key importance to make a living. If land supply is elastic and accessible to rural households, the diversification of farm activities is followed as the main strategy to secure their livelihoods, often supplemented by some form of non-farm rural employment. In general, the farm size must surpass a critical threshold to create capacities to engage in better paid non-farm rural employment, which limits policy options to refer to non-farm rural employment as a silver bullet accessible to all social groups when fighting rural mass poverty. Also, the role of social capital assets cannot be underestimated as it paves the way for profitable forms of non-farm rural employment.
This edited volume is a collection of topical papers presented at the Deutsche Tropentag (DTT) 2001 “One World – Research for a Better Quality of Life” that was held at the University of Bonn from October. 9th to 11th, 2001 in Bonn. Papers of the thematic sessions on “Conflicts, Migration and Rural Development” as well as “Poverty and Livelihood Strategies” are combined in this publication. The papers deal with the issues of non-farm rural employment for sustainable rural livelihoods. It also includes one topical paper that was presented at the 42nd Annual Conference of the Gesellschaft für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften des Landbaus (GEWISOLA) “Perspectives for the European Agricultural and Food Sector Following Eastern Enlargement”, September 30 to October 2, 2002, at the Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany. The contributions in this volume on non-farm rural employment and its poverty alleviation impact on farm households and policy options contains are from six case countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala as well as Bulgaria, Kosovo, and Romania) in two distinct regions (Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe).
2004; XIII + 110pp; 21 x 14,8 cm; paper
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