Smallholder Agriculture and Livelihood Sustainability Potentials among Rural Households: A Case of Sunflower Value Chain in Tanzania
Sunflower cultivation has attracted the majority of smallholder farmers who have dominated the production node of the value chain. The chain activities have become the main income stream to households and thus increasing livelihood sustainability potentials. However, in some cases smallholder farmers only end up with minimal benefits since the markets are not stabilized to their advantage. As a result, the market practices continue to leave smallholder farmers exposed to livelihood stresses and shocks which affect their potentials for livelihood sustainability. Therefore, the study aimed to analyze the impact of sunflower value chain activities on livelihood sustainability potentials among households of smallholder farmers. A cross-sectional design was adopted to guide the study along with counterfactual approach to establish the hypothesised impact. A sample size of 368 respondents was used including participant and non-participant smallholder farmers and data was collected using questionnaire, key informant interview and focus group discussion. Quantitative data were analysed by using descriptive statistics and propensity score matching while qualitative data were transcribed and thereafter analysed using constant comparison technique. The findings show that most of the households had lower chances for livelihood sustainability (67.1%) while few households (12.5%) were categorised into high livelihood sustainability. The differences were attributable to one’s engagement in sunflower production which had an impact on livelihood sustainability as observed by the differences from propensity scores matching (MD = 1.394; t = 6.98 at p = 0.000). It was concluded that sunflower value chain is potential towards households’ livelihood sustainability unlike any other socio-economic activities as it enabled smallholder farmers to withstand livelihood shocks and stresses based on the generated household income.
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