Determinants of participating in non-farm economic activities in rural Zanzibar.
This study set out to examine the determinants of participation in non-farm economic activities by farming households in rural Zanzibar, using data from the Agriculture Census of 2003. The study goes beyond the traditional focus of non-farm studies that focus on analysing geographical and socio-economic variables on decisions to participate in non-farm activities and in so doing, fills an information gap and contributes to the understanding of determinants of farm household participation in non-farm activities in rural Zanzibar. The survey from which data were drawn, included surveys of 4755 household heads. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression model were applied to investigate the effect of individual characteristics on the decision to participate in non-farm economic activities. Gender, age, family size and level of education were used as variables to explain individual preference with regard to the decision to undertake non-farm economic activities. The analysis also included farm production factors including farm size, planted area and the main source of household income. The results show that gender, age, household size and income sources outside agriculture are the key factors that influence farming household’s decisions to participate in non-farm activities. Women and young farmers were more likely to participate in non-farm activities. Heads of larger households were also more likely to participate in non-farm activities, and undertake more than one activity in this sector. The type of activity engaged in also seems to have a positive influence on the decision to participate in the non-farm sector, with selling of agricultural products, fishing (including seaweed farming and selling of fish), wage employment and petty trade being more popular and attractive activities. Factors like education, landholding size and area of land planted were less important in influencing participation in non-farm activities. All sampled households participated in non-farm economic activities, with 70 per cent of the participants undertaking more than four activities simultaneously. This points to the importance of non-farm economic activities in providing opportunities to sustain household food security and increase the capacity for households to mitigate shocks. However, a strong relationship was found between participation in non-farm activities and the use of forest resources, as a significant number of activities depend on forest resources. The forest-based non-farm activities reported were: beekeeping, charcoal making and tree logging for poles, timber and firewood. This raises significant concern over the over-utilization of forest resources and subsequent sustainability of the related activities. It is recommended that efforts towards promoting non-farm economic activities should be directed towards developing non-farm activities that are not dependent on forest resources. Interventions enabling increased farm productivity or non-forest activities are important in ensuring food security in Zanzibar. More policy and programme attention should be given to the role of women in non-farm activities.