Poverty is a phenomenon that is complex and has multidimensional features. It involves people experiencing various degrees of material deprivation; the concept is used to cover a wide ranging set of interrelated life chances. The purpose of this study was to measure poverty in rural Gedeo zone, southern Ethiopia with specific objectives of measuring poverty among the rural households. The research was undertaken using a cross sectional design on a random sample of 325 households in the study area. The sample size was determined based on multi stage sampling procedure. In order to achieve its objective, primary data was collected through survey and interview using semi structured questionnaires. Analysis of data was made after the data collection. In this regard, the Cost of Basic Needs (CBN) approach and FGT measures were employed to set the poverty line and compute the magnitude of rural poverty in the study respectively. The food and absolute poverty lines were calculated based on food basket of 2200 Kcal per adult per day. Accordingly, the food and absolute poverty lines for the study area were determined to be Birr 3952.74 and 4463.35, respectively. The food expenditure takes the lion’s share accounting for about 88.56% (relative to the non-food expenditure) in the consumption expenditure of the poor and thus this substantial expenditure was used for estimating the poverty line. Thereafter, the poverty indices were computed using FGT indices. The incidence, depth and severity of food poverty stood at 0.052, 0.021 and 0.010 respectively, while respective measures for absolute poverty were found to be 0.302, 0.085 and 0.034. These measures indicated that poverty significantly prevails in the study area. All the measures confirm that poverty has been problems and remain major concern in rural development agenda in Ethiopia. Thus, rural poverty alleviation in the study area in particular and rural Ethiopia in general requires context based policies and adoption of strategies to alleviate poverty among the rural households.
Key words: Rural households, measuring poverty, cost of basic needs, FGT, Gedeo zone, Ethiopia.
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