Land access, livelihood strategies, and rural households’ well-being in Mvomero district, Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Arable land scarcity and inefficient livelihood strategies are Sub Saharan Africa phenomena posing a challenge of rural chronic poverty in the 21st Century. This study analysed the link between land access, livelihood strategies (LS) and household well-being (HWBS) in land scarce areas, Mvomero District, Tanzania. Specifically, it determined: land access and associated factors, effect of land access on LS, influence of LS on HWBS and the impacts of land access on HWBS. A cross sectional research design was adopted whereby a survey was conducted involving 267 households. In addition, focus group discussions and key informant interviews were conducted. Qualitative results demonstrated that the majority of households lacked secure access to land. While lack of irrigation schemes hindered land access in densely populated areas by discouraging settlement in land abundant villages, land grabbing perpetuated by weak tenure security, monetary poverty and non compliance to land laws limited land access in land abundant villages. In addition, there was high interdependency between farm and non-farm strategies but lack of capital for undertaking high paying LS confined households to survival strategies. Binary and multinomial logistic regression results indicated that income, productive assets and location had a significant influence (p < 0.05) on land access. Furthermore, distance to farm and number of plots demonstrated a significant influence on non-farm LS. Moreover, land size and location exhibited the highest influence on the likelihood for a household to be well-off followed by LS diversification, and number of dependants. It is concluded that, land grabbing and lack of irrigation water lead to insecure access to land which in turn force households to venture in irrational LS as they lack inadequate capital for meaningful diversification of LS thus, failure to attain well-being. Furthermore, female headed households and those possessing many dependants are disadvantaged in attaining well-being. Tanzania government is advised to enforce adherence to land laws and invest in irrigation infrastructure in migrants’ destinations to enhance secure access to land. It may possibly facilitate access to skills, savings and credit to augment rational diversification of LS while paying special attention to female headed households and those with many dependants.


A PhD Thesis


Land access, Livelihood strategies, Household well-being, Mvomero, Tanzania