Determinants of choice of alternative livelihood diversification strategies in Solio resettlement scheme, Kenya
Livelihood diversification by agricultural households in sub-Saharan Africa contributes significantly to household income. Over the last three decades there has been increased interest in literature on the subject. However, little has been done on the determinants of choice of alternative sets of strategies by households as well as the livelihood strategies chosen by resettled households. This study fills this gap in knowledge. This is important because it will guide policy makers in coming up with policies, programs and projects, that enable resettled households to easily reconstruct their livelihoods. The study addressed two objectives; first, it described the livelihood activities carried out by households in Solio, a resettlement scheme in central Kenya. Secondly, it evaluated the factors that influence the choice of alternative sets of livelihood strategies in the study area. To achieve the first objective, descriptive statistics were used to characterize the resettlement scheme using data collected through a semi-structured questionnaire and focus group discussions. The second objective was achieved by running a negative binomial regression model using data collected through a semi-structured questionnaire involving 196 respondents. The study found that households had diversified livelihoods from agriculture, where off-farm activities contribute over 67.4% of total household income. Age of the household head and possession of a technical skill were found to positively influence the number of livelihood strategies a household was involved in. Time taken to a water source was found to negatively influence the number of livelihood strategies a household was involved in. The study recommended, first, the improvement of access to water for domestic purposes as well as irrigation for crop production to supplement the low rainfall in the study area. Secondly, improvement of access to technical skills and training, and increased funding to village vocational training centers, for them to be better equipped to offer technical skills training which positively influence livelihood diversification. Such programs will positively influence livelihood diversification in rural areas and therefore curb the problems of food insecurity and youth unemployment.