Effect of market participation on household welfare among smallholder goat farmers in Botswana
Goat farming is a major livelihood activity for most smallholder farmers in Botswana. To ensure sustainable livelihoods for these farmers, a shift from the prevalent traditional and subsistence system to a more market-oriented one is considered necessary. Market participation is widely viewed as an effective means of addressing poverty which is particularly rampant in most rural areas of Botswana and other developing countries. Little evidence is however available on the link between market participation and household welfare, especially among livestock and, in particular, small stock farmers. This paper evaluates the effect of market participation on household welfare among smallholder goat farmers. Estimating an endogenous switching regression model, the results show a positive and significant effect of market participation on household income for both participant and non-participant farmers. This effect was found to be more pronounced among the non-participants had they decided to sell. The results suggest that goat farmers should be encouraged to engage in market participation other than their traditional ways of keeping goats. This implies that existing policies and programs that increase market participation and encourage market-oriented farming should be revised in order to provide efficient and sustainable support. Furthermore, the study recommends that information on goat markets should reach rural areas where most farmers reside and are unable to access technology.
market participation; endogenous switching regression; household welfare; smallholder farmers
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