The general objective of the study was to identify the possible viable alternative livelihoods to tobacco growing. The secondary objectives were to investigate the impacts of tobacco growing in Maracha District, and to find out why farmers in Maracha District are heavily reliant on tobacco growing. A case study research strategy was employed in which data were collected using questionnaires and interviews from 164 respondents of which 160 were farmers and 4 were key informants. The 160 farmers were further clustered into two groups: those who grow tobacco and those who do not grow tobacco. The respondents were selected by simple random sampling and purposive sampling. The study took two years spanning from 2016 to 2017.
The data collected were analysed using Statistical Product and Services Solutions (SPSS). A Spearman correlation coefficient was calculated to establish the relationship between the variables. According to the results, the relationship between the yield and returns from tobacco growing in 2017 was -0.095, which means that the farmers incurred losses. Among the viable alternative livelihoods to tobacco growing, groundnuts has the highest correlation coefficient of 0.984 fo llowed by cassava with 0.878, and then by beans with 0.844. It is worth mentioning that these alternative livelihoods do not have adverse social, economic and environmental impacts on the livelihoods of the farmers.
Keywords: Tobacco growing, alternative viable livelihoods, cost-benefit analysis