Journal of
Agricultural Extension and Rural Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Agric. Ext. Rural Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2170
  • DOI: 10.5897/JAERD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 488

Full Length Research Paper

Choices and implications of livelihood diversification strategies on smallholder farmers’ income in Saesietsaeda Emba District, Eastern Tigray Region of Ethiopia

Gebrehiwot Weldegebrial Gebru
  • Gebrehiwot Weldegebrial Gebru
  • Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension, Mekelle University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Hyacinth Ementa Ichoku
  • Hyacinth Ementa Ichoku
  • Department of Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria
  • Google Scholar
Philip Ogbonnia Phil-Eze
  • Philip Ogbonnia Phil-Eze
  • Department of Geography, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 08 July 2018
  •  Accepted: 11 August 2018
  •  Published: 31 August 2018


Farmers’ life without livelihood diversification into off-farm and non-farm income activities becomes difficult due to unstable and meagre agricultural context of the study area. Farm income alone cannot feed the ever increasing population. Hence, livelihood diversification is a matter of life or death for majority of the households in the study district. The objectives of the study were to identify household livelihood diversification options; to identify reasons why smallholder farmers need to diversify; and to analyze the implication of livelihood diversification strategies on smallholder farmers’ income. A multistage sampling technique was used to select the study area and 485 sample respondents. Data was collected using structured interview and key informants interview. The poor and less poor households’ livelihood diversification was primarily for survival whereas the objective of the better-off households was for better wealth accumulation. It was found that 43% of the overall annual income of the farmers comes from off-farm and non-farm activities. This implies that non-farm and off-farm activities have significant implication on improving farmers’ livelihood. Therefore, more efforts are required from the regional government on supporting livelihood diversification into off-farm and non-farm activities than sticking on the drought vulnerable, limited farm-land and rain dependent farm income.

Key words: Livelihoods, diversification strategies, income, Saesietsaeda Emba, Ethiopia.