Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture

Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture No. 1/05

Heterogeneous constraints, incentives and income diversification strategies in rural Africa

Christopher B. Barrett
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA,

Mesfin Bezuneh
Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA, USA, and

Daniel C. Clay and Thomas Reardon
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA


This study examines income sources and strategies among rural populations in Côte d=Ivoire, Kenya and Rwanda, emphasizing the role of initial asset endowments and resulting interhousehold heterogeneity in constraints in the observed choices of income diversification strategies and the general, stochastic returns to these strategies. This approach reinforces the common finding that non-farm employment can offer an important pathway out of poverty. But it also highlights that these remunerative non-farm options remain inaccessible to those with meager endowments of financial, human and natural capital.

Keywords: non-farm income, poverty, mobility barriers, livelihoods

Vol. 44 (2005), No. 1: 37-60