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Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA)

Rice production in the Maswa District, Tanzania and its contribution to poverty alleviation

Research Report No. 07.1

Jerry A. Ngailo, Abiud L. Kaswamila & Catherine J. Senkoro

Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA)

2007

SARPN acknowledges REPOA as a source of this document: www.repoa.or.tz
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Abstract

This study was carried out in the Maswa District, Shinyanga Region, to assess the role played by rice for poverty alleviation as compared to other farming activities. Three sample villages, namely Shishiyu, Mwanhegele and Bukangilija were surveyed.

The study emanated from the fact that over the years the world market prices for cotton, previously the most dependable cash crop has been declining. This price instability has greatly affected the farmers’ livelihoods. A total of 167 respondents were interviewed, and the data was analysed using both qualitative and descriptive methods.

Gross Margin (GM) analyses done for three major crops rice, maize and cotton have shown that rice occupies a superior position to other crops in terms of its contribution to the welfare of the poor households. It serves both as cash and food crop, improving the food security and financial status of the households. A poor household that cultivated rice on land suited to rice production successfully earnt more money than when it concentrated on growing cotton or another crop. If an average household of six people in the study area divides the proceeds from rice, each member is likely to receive Tshs 240,000/= per season. This amount is sufficient to comfortably pay a minimum wage of Tshs 55,000 for each month to each family member for over four months. When hoarding is practiced and the crop sold at a later period when there is less rice available on the market then the profit can be higher.

It is, therefore, concluded that income from rice significantly provides poor farmers with the financial capability to purchase goods such as ploughs, and services such as school fees, medical services, etc. However, the expansion of rice cultivation is not only due to the effect of the reduced cotton prices, but also the sale of livestock prompts farmers to use excess income from livestock to purchase more land for rice and other crops.



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