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Characterizing Farmers and Farming System in Kilombero Valley Floodplain, Tanzania

Bisrat Haile Gebrekidan (), Thomas Heckelei () and Sebastian Rasch ()
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Bisrat Haile Gebrekidan: Institute for Food and Resource Economics, University of Bonn, D-53115 Bonn, Germany
Thomas Heckelei: Institute for Food and Resource Economics, University of Bonn, D-53115 Bonn, Germany
Sebastian Rasch: Institute for Food and Resource Economics, University of Bonn, D-53115 Bonn, Germany

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 17, 1-21

Abstract: Recognizing the diversity of farmers is crucial for the success of agricultural, rural, or environmental programs and policies aimed at the sustainable use of natural resources. In this study, based on survey data collected in the Kilombero Valley Floodplain (KVF) in Tanzania, we design a typology of farmers to describe the range of farm types and farming systems systematically, and to understand their livelihood and land use behavior. The KVF is the largest, low-altitude, seasonally-flooded, freshwater wetland in East Africa. Despite its values, KVF is a very fragile ecosystem threatened by current and future human interventions. We apply multivariate statistical analysis (a combination of principal component analysis and cluster analysis) to identify farm groups that are homogenous within and heterogeneous between groups. Three farm types were identified: “Monocrop rice producer”, “Diversifier”, and “Agropastoralist”. Monocrop rice producers are the dominant farm types, accounting for 65 percent of the farm households in the valley, characterized by more than 80 percent of the land allocated to rice, showing strong market participation and high utilization of labor. Diversifiers, on the other hand, allocate more land to maize and vegetables. Agropastoralists account for 7 percent of the surveyed farmers and differ from the other two groups by, on average, larger land ownership, a combination of livestock and crop production, and larger household sizes. This typology represents the diversity of farmers in KVF concerning their land use and livelihood strategy, and will allow to target policy interventions. Besides, it may also inform further research about the diverse landscape of floodplain farming, through the classification and interpretation of different socio-economic positions of farm households.

Keywords: Kilombero Valley; Tanzania; farmer typology; principal component analysis; hierarchical clustering; farmer diversity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:12:y:2020:i:17:p:7114-:d:406692