A community-based qualitative-quantitative poverty methodology called
the Stages-of-Progress approach was used to assess household poverty
dynamics and the role of livestock in 40 communities and over 3,800
households representing two different highland regions of Peru (Puno and
Cajamarca). Key to the approach used was to define with the
participating communities a common understanding of poverty. The major
reasons for movements into or out of poverty were elicited at both the
community and household-level, and in particular, the role that
livestock play in the different pathways was examined.
The study finds that households typically move out of poverty by first
taking care of their household food requirements, then investing (in the
following order) in clothing, shelter, small animals such as chickens
and guinea pigs, basic education for their children, a small plot of
land, followed by indigenous breeds of larger livestock, including
sheep, cattle, alpacas, and llamas. Beyond these initial stages of
progress, households are no longer considered poor.
Households in these communities have experienced quite dissimilar fates.
While some formerly poor households have escaped poverty, some formerly
non-poor households have become impoverished during the same period. The
factors or events (often a chain of events) leading to upward and
downward movements were remarkably similar across all 40 communities,
but the relative importance of specific factors influencing poverty did
vary by region. Also, while large movements into and out of poverty were
found in both regions, significant regional differences exist. In
Cajamarca, 17 percent of households managed to climb out of poverty in
the last 25 years, while 15 percent fell into poverty at the same time.
In Puno, 42 percent of households escaped poverty, while five percent
became impoverished during the same period.
The authors conclude that making progress in poverty reduction will
require accelerating escapes while simultaneously slowing down descents
and that different policies will be needed to keep households from
falling into poverty versus helping poor households overcome their
A three page executive summary is available in addition to this paper.
PPLPI, FAO, Rome, Italy, vi+32 pp.