Effects of soil and water conservation investment on household income in the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda
an instrumental variable quantile approach
Soil and water conservation (SWC) technologies contribute to sustainable agriculture and rural poverty reduction. Yet, the relationship between farm household income and SWC investment is not well-understood in Rwanda. This study aims to assess the effects of investing in SWC on household income and improve the knowledge of how various classes of smallholders can benefit from such an investment at a farm level. The study used survey data from 422 farming households in northern Rwanda’s Burera, Gakenke and Musanze districts. Descriptive analysis was employed to determine levels of use of SWC and SF measures. Quantile
estimation classified three classes of farming households: the poor, middle-income earners and the rich. Instrumental variable quantile regression was adopted to assess heterogeneous effects of financing SWC investment. The results revealed that the extent of using SWC and SF measures is generally low. Agriculture income and off-farm (casual) wages had the largest income shares among the poor and middle-income earners. Financing investment in SWC increases income significantly for middle-income earners, i.e. five times more than the poor, but it was ineffective for the wealthy. Socio-economic factors and commercial crops had a significant effect on income across the classes. Institutional factors demonstrated no significant impact on the poor and middle-income earners. The findings suggest that incorporating pro-poor interventions in SWC investment would increase the productivity and commercialisation of cash and staple crops. These results inform a need to promote linkages between SWC investment and income diversification strategies to increase asset-building for the poor and close income gaps among the three farming classes. This finding suggests the need to introduce saving and lending innovations in SWC that link farm activities to nonfarm opportunities.
soil and water conservation investment; farming household; income effects; instrumental variable quantile; Volcanoes National Park
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