The contribution of agriculture to the provision of rural livelihoods in Lesotho cannot be over-emphasized. Like most developing countries, agriculture has also been traditionally the dominant sector to Lesotho’s economy, contributing around 15 percent to GDP. However, with declining agricultural productivity in recent years due to adverse climatic conditions, off-farm activities, particularly in labor-intensive industries have become an important diversification strategy for rural farming households. The main objective of this study is to empirically analyze the role of non-farming activities on rural smallholder farming households in Lesotho, taking into consideration the gender dimension. We will use the Agricultural Production Survey, 2016/2017, 2017/2018 and 2018/2019, collected by the Bureau of Statistics from crop and livestock farmers in the rural parts of Lesotho. The advantage of this dataset is that it is longitudinal and provides the time series and cross-sectional variation of the sampling units. We propose to use a multivariate analysis that analyses the probability of participating in non-farm activities and its covariates. To account for potential selection bias, the study will use Propensity score matching to analyze main drivers of non-farm participation, stratifying the heterogeneous effects by gender of participating individual and controlling for individual, household and community level characteristics. The results from the study will provide important insights on how national policies and strategies developed to improve rural communities can further be improved to integrate diversification strategies through which rural farming households can safeguard themselves against agriculture-related shocks.
Project leader: MAMELLO NCHAKE
Policy outreach mentors: Stephen Wainaina
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