NON-FARM LIVELIHOOD DIVERSIFICATION: STRATEGIES AND CONSTRAINTS IN SELECTED RURAL AND PERI-URBAN COMMUNITIES, GHANA
Non-farm livelihood diversification is an important livelihood strategy for rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, the available evidence suggests that these strategies have received less attention; therefore, the constraints rural people face in venturing into the non-farm sector also remain unaddressed. In order to understand the livelihood strategies and constraints in the sector, this paper used crosssectional survey data from 251 randomly sampled farmers from the Sunyani West District, Ghana. Focus Group Discussions were also conducted in order to collect qualitative data to support quantitative analysis. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics: frequencies, percentages and cross tabulation. The study found that the non-farm sector was heterogeneous and highly gendered and involved several activities, with trading being the most prominent one. Gender disaggregation of non-farm activities has underlying cultural and social bases resulting in different production roles for males and females. Although farmers are predominantly engaged in farming as their major livelihood strategy, they also pursue non-farm livelihood activities due to push, rather than pull, factors. Inadequate access to credit and limited business opportunities were the major constraints impeding the development of the non-farm sector in the district. In order to propel rural development, policy makers and researchers should give attention to the development of the non-farm sector since it is an important source of income for many people. Apart from that, the study recommends that banking and micro-finance institutions design special credit programmes for rural people
non-farm; diversification; rural; strategies; constraints; Ghana
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