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Smallholder Income and Land Distribution in Africa: Implications for Poverty Reduction Strategies

  • Jayne, Thomas S.
  • Yamano, Takashi
  • Weber, Michael T.
  • Tschirley, David L.
  • Benfica, Rui M.S.
  • Neven, David
  • Chapoto, Antony
  • Zulu, Ballard

This paper provides a micro-level foundation for discussions of income and asset allocation within the smallholder sector in Eastern and Southern Africa, and explores the implications of these findings for rural growth and poverty alleviation strategies in the region. Results are drawn from nationally-representative household surveys in five countries between 1990 and 2000: Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, and Zambia. The paper addresses five major points: (1) why geographically-based poverty reduction or targeting strategies-e.g., focusing on marginal areas-is likely to miss a significant share of the poor in any particular country regardless of targeting efficiency in these areas; (2) why current enthusiasm for community-driven development approaches will require serious attention to how resources are allocated at local levels; (3) why sustained income growth for the poorest strata of the rural population will depend on agricultural growth in most countries, even though the poor generally lack the land and other productive resources to respond directly or immediately to policies and investments to stimulate agricultural growth; (4) why agricultural productivity growth, while most easily generating gains for better-off smallholder farmers, is likely to offer the best potential for pulling the poorest and land-constrained households out of poverty; and (5) why meaningful poverty alleviation strategies in many countries will require fundamental changes to make land more accessible to smallholder farmers. This could be accomplished through various processes, including improvement in land rental markets or perhaps land redistribution. We briefly elaborate on each of these findings.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/54047
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Paper provided by Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics in its series Food Security International Development Papers with number 54047.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ags:mididp:54047
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Web page: http://www.aec.msu.edu/agecon/
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  1. Jayne, T. S. & Yamano, Takashi & Weber, Michael T. & Tschirley, David & Benfica, Rui & Chapoto, Antony & Zulu, Ballard, 2003. "Smallholder income and land distribution in Africa: implications for poverty reduction strategies," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 253-275, June.
  2. Quan, Nguyen T. & Koo, Anthony Y. C., 1985. "Concentration of land holdings : An empirical exploration of Kuznets' conjecture," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 101-117.
  3. de Marrule, Higino Francisco, 1998. "Land-Poor In A "Land-Abundant" Setting: Unraveling A Paradox In Mozambique," Graduate Research Masters Degree Plan B Papers 11089, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  4. Tschirley, David L. & Weber, Michael T., 1994. "Food security strategies under extremely adverse conditions: The determinants of household income and consumption in rural Mozambique," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 159-173, February.
  5. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 2002. "Why has economic growth been more pro-poor in some states of India than others?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 381-400, August.
  6. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  7. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  8. Andre, Catherine & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1998. "Land relations under unbearable stress: Rwanda caught in the Malthusian trap," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-47, January.
  9. Hazell, Peter B. R. & Haddad, Lawrence James, 2001. "Agricultural research and poverty reduction," 2020 vision briefs 70, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  10. Atwood, David A., 1990. "Land registration in Africa: The impact on agricultural production," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 659-671, May.
  11. Valdes, Alberto & Lopez, Ramon E., 1999. "Fighting Rural Poverty In Latin America: New Evidence And Policy," 1999 Annual meeting, August 8-11, Nashville, TN 21581, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  12. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Can high-inequality developing countries escape absolute poverty?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1775, The World Bank.
  13. Fan, Shenggen & Hazell, P. B. R., 1999. "Are returns to public investment lower in less-favored rural areas?: an empirical analysis of India," EPTD discussion papers 43, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  14. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Farm productivity and rural poverty in India," FCND discussion papers 42, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  15. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 1998. "Changes in Poverty in Rural Ethiopia 1989-1995: Measurement, Robustness Tests and Decomposition," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces9819, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  16. Thomas Reardon & J. Edward Taylor & Kostas Stamoulis & Peter Lanjouw & Arsenio Balisacan, 2000. "Effects of Non-Farm Employment on Rural Income Inequality in Developing Countries: An Investment Perspective," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 266-288.
  17. Haggblade, Steven & Hazell, Peter B., 1988. "Prospects for equitable growth in rural sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8, The World Bank.
  18. Simler, Kenneth R. & Nhate, Virgulino, 2005. "Poverty, inequality, and geographic targeting," FCND briefs 192, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  19. Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Property Rights and Investment Incentives: Theory and Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 903-37, October.
  20. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
  21. Migot-Adholla, Shem, et al, 1991. "Indigenous Land Rights Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Constraint on Productivity?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(1), pages 155-75, January.
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