In Africa, the demand for rice has increased rapidly as urbanization progresses and assistance is being provided to improve productivity and rice farming management. In the rice-cultivation area near Lake Victoria in western Kenya, where farmers are called “outgrowers”, wage labor costs put pressure on rice farming and reduce profits. However, wage laborers were rice farmers living in the same area. The purpose of this study was to clarify the role of income from wage labor for the livelihood of rice farmers. A semi-structured survey using a questionnaire was conducted to clarify the situation of rice cultivation management in 2016 in an area near Lake Victoria. Furthermore, the diet and household accounts of rice farmers over one year were analyzed to assess the role of rice as a food- and income source in the rice-cultivation areas. Income from rice varied widely among households and yields differed significantly between years. In the target households, income earned from wage labor was higher and more stable than that from rice cultivation, comprising approximately 16% of the farmer’s total income. Farmers rely on multiple sources of income to balance their daily income and expenditures. Some rice farmers cultivate rice and earn wages as laborers in the same area. Hence, if ways to reduce wage labor costs are promoted, it may negatively affect the household budget of farmers with the smallest landholdings due to a reduction in income.
Key words: Rice farmers, account book, income source, livelihoods, western Kenya.
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