“With the Strength of a Group” – A Minor Field Study of Small-Scale Farmers’ Socio-Economic Situation in Kagera, Tanzania
This thesis is based on a minor field study conducted in Kagera, Tanzania, during approximately two months in 2009. In the Kagera region, agriculture is seen as the main dependent factor for the small-scale farmers‟ livelihoods, which is an activity challenged by environmental constraints including soil degradation and deforestation. The non- governmental organisation Vi Agroforestry has been active in Kagera since 2005, focusing on the re-establishment of a healthy and sustainable environment, while simultaneously trying to reduce the levels of poverty and food insecurity through rural-based agroforestry techniques and enterprise development. Its work is implemented with a demand-driven group approach and the small-scale farmers‟ self-reliance as a key element.
The purpose of the field study was to investigate the socio-economic situation for small-scale farmers in Kagera and how it possibly had changed over time as well as in what ways Vi Agroforestry so far might had affected the farmers‟ situation. The possible diverse development between farmers that were members in groups collaborating with the organisation and non-members was also investigated. During the field study semi-structured interviews signified the main source of information and the material gathered was analysed according to the capital assets of the pentagon of the sustainable rural livelihood framework.
Overall, even though the small-scale farmers still seemed to face challenges in their daily lives when this study was conducted, the general impression was that their socio-economic situation had improved over time and that Vi Agroforestry had constituted a contributing engine for this development. The main contributions by the organisation in this regard seemed to have been the education and training in agriculture and agroforestry techniques, enterprise development and micro savings and loans. Due to an apparent small-scale development with a diverse focus among the farmers on improving different capitals, as well as insufficient data on how the farmer‟s situation was before the organisation‟s arrival, no prominent differences seemed evident between the farmers who were members of groups collaborating with Vi Agroforetry and non-members.
Fransson, H. & Karlsson, M. (2010). “With the Strength of a Group” – A Minor Field Study of Small-Scale Farmers’ Socio-Economic Situation in Kagera, Tanzania. Bachelor’s Thesis. Faculty of Social Sciences. Linnaeus University.