ANALYSIS OF FACTORS INFLUENCING SMALLHOLDER FARMERS’ PARTICIPATION IN NON-FARM EMPLOYMENT ACTIVITIES AND THEIR IMPACT ON FOOD SECURITY: THE CASE OF MBIRE DISTRICT, MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE, ZIMBABWE
MUNDOWA, Tussle Mishek
UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE
This dissertation investigates the factors influencing smallholder farmer’s decision to participate in non-farm employment activities and the impact of this on rural households’ food security status in the Mbire District of Zimbabwe. The analysis uses a treatment evaluation model and the associated propensity score matching (PSM) technique, which permits the comparisons between the food security status of smallholder farmers who participate in non-farm employment activities and those who do not. Estimation of propensity scores enable us to identify the factors influencing smallholder farmers’ decision to diversify into non-farm employment activities. The results indicate that a number of demographic (gender and education of household head), infrastructural (internet access and distance to the main road) and farm level characteristics (land size, livestock herd owned and productive assets) have qualitative and quantitatively different impacts on rural households’ participation in non-farm employment activities. Further, the empirical analysis confirms that diversifying into non-farm employment activities improves rural households’ food security status. The results imply that non-farm employment activities can be a way out of food insecurity in Mbire district. The study therefore recommends the government and NGOs to induce the rural households to diversify into non-farm activities as they improve their food security status since the climatic conditions in the district are not well suitable for agricultural practices.