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The contribution of wild palms to the livelihoods and diversification of rural households in southern Mozambique

Angelina R.O. Martins and Charlie M. Shackleton

Forest Policy and Economics, 2022, vol. 142, issue C

Abstract: In most low-income countries, rural households combine a range of economic activities to generate income, achieve food and nutritional security and fulfill other livelihood objectives, including: small-scale farming, fishing, hunting, livestock and timber production, and non-timber forest products gathering, as well as off-farm activities such as wage labour and informal trading. This work examines the role of diversification, including palm products income, on rural livelihoods in the Zitundo area, southern Mozambique. Seven livelihood strategies were identified, with every strategy combining cash income from several sources. Most households adopt a wage-based strategy to some degree, although this strategy shows low potential for reducing poverty in the area. Households adopting a palm-based strategy show between 23% and 60% lower poverty incidence than those adopting alternatives strategies. Yet, a palm-based livelihood strategy was adopted by only 11% of households. Traders of palm products earn approximately double the annual income and per capita income than non-traders. Village of residency and some household socio-economic and demographic characteristics correlate with a households' choice of livelihood strategy and palm income dependency. The adherence of many households to a less remunerative wage strategy indicates other factors also influence the choice of livelihood strategies. The study shows that future development plans and policy interventions to mitigate poverty in the area should go beyond the usual agricultural sector and recognize the role of non-timber forest products, especially palm products, for people's livelihoods and poverty alleviation.

Keywords: Livelihood diversification; Livelihood strategies; Non-timber forest products; Palms; Poverty alleviation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2022.102793

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