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Pathways out of Poverty in Western Kenya and the Role of Livestock


  • Kristjanson, Patricia
  • Krishna, Anirudh
  • Radeny, Maren
  • Nindo, W.


The objectives of the study were to obtain a better understanding of households' pathways into, and out of, poverty, with poverty defined from the communities' own perspective. The authors used a community-based methodology called the 'stages of progress' approach to assess household poverty dynamics in 20 communities and for over 1,700 households representing two different ethnic groups in Western Kenya. The proportion of households that had managed to escape poverty over the last 25 years was ascertained, as well as the proportion of households that had fallen into poverty during the same period. The major reasons for movements into or out of poverty were elicited at both the community and household-level, and in particular, the role that livestock play in the different pathways was examined. The results show considerable movement over the last 2½ decades by households in the study region both into and out of poverty, and the main reasons behind households' escape from poverty are completely different (i.e. not merely the opposite) from the reasons for descent into poverty, and hence have different policy implications in terms of what has been referred to as 'cargo net' versus 'safety net' interventions. Cargo nets help poor people climb out of poverty; safety nets stop people from falling into poverty. Redistributive programs to build up the assets of poor people (such as giving heifers to poor households) may be effective in achieving long-term reductions in chronic poverty, but will have to be complemented by safety net policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristjanson, Patricia & Krishna, Anirudh & Radeny, Maren & Nindo, W., 2004. "Pathways out of Poverty in Western Kenya and the Role of Livestock," PPLPI Working Papers 23779, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Initiative.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:faopwp:23779

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yamano, Takashi & Jayne, Thom S., 2002. "Measuring the Impacts of Prime-Age Adult Death on Rural Households in Kenya," Working Papers 202675, Egerton University, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jabbar, Mohammad A. & Akter, Shaheen, 2008. "Market and Other Factors Affecting Farm Specific Production Efficiency in Pig production in Vietnam," Research Reports 182158, International Livestock Research Institute.
    2. Kristjanson, P. & Krishna, A. & Radeny, M. & Kuan, J. & Quilca, G. & Sanchez-Urrelo, A. & Leon-Velarde, C., 2007. "Poverty dynamics and the role of livestock in the Peruvian Andes," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 294-308, May.
    3. Akter, Shaheen, 2011. "Livestock based livelihoods and pathways out of poverty: the case of smallholder farmers in Bangladesh," 85th Annual Conference, April 18-20, 2011, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 108935, Agricultural Economics Society.
    4. Burke, William J. & Jayne, Thomas S. & Freeman, H. Ade & Kristjanson, Patricia, 2007. "Factors Associated with Farm Households’ Movement Into and Out of Poverty in Kenya: The Rising Importance of Livestock," Food Security International Development Working Papers 54563, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    5. Kebebe, E. & Shibru, F., 2017. "Impact of alternative livelihood interventions on household welfare: Evidence from rural Ethiopia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 67-72.
    6. Ilukor, John, 2010. "An Economic Assessment of Farmer Adaptation to Climate Change Using Innovation in Sweet Potato Technologies in Uganda," Research Theses 198518, Collaborative Masters Program in Agricultural and Applied Economics.
    7. Kristjanson, Patricia & Krishna, Anirudh & Radeny, Maren & Kuan, Judith, 2006. "Pathways Into and Out of Poverty and the Role of Livestock in the Peruvian Andes," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25451, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    8. Herrero, M. & Gonzalez-Estrada, E. & Thornton, P.K. & Quiros, C. & Waithaka, M.M. & Ruiz, R. & Hoogenboom, G., 2007. "IMPACT: Generic household-level databases and diagnostics tools for integrated crop-livestock systems analysis," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-3), pages 240-265, January.
    9. Aklilu, H.A. & Udo, H.M.J. & Almekinders, C.J.M. & Van der Zijpp, A.J., 2008. "How resource poor households value and access poultry: Village poultry keeping in Tigray, Ethiopia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 96(1-3), pages 175-183, March.


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