Small-scale farming remains the most common livelihood strategy and primary source of income in rural Zambia. With limited savings and access to credit, small scale farms frequently resort to short-term piece work at larger farms to cover basic needs prior during the planting and growing season. Working off-farm generally implies that small-scale farmers neglect their own fields, and will achieve lower harvest yields. Low yields imply limited reserves for the subsequent farming season, and thus further increases in the dependence of small scale farmers on piece rate labour, a vicious cycle frequently referred to as “poverty trap” in the literature. This project aims at quantifying the magnitude of the poverty trap and test possible interventions to break out of this poverty cycle.
Fink, G.; Jack, K.; Masiye, F. Food Constraints, Yield Uncertainty and &#8220;Ganyu&#8221; Labour: A Pilot Investigation. IGC Policy Brief. International Growth Centre (IGC), London, UK (2013) 3 pp.