Does rural labor markets affect soil conservation? A case study of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

Peer Reviewed
1 January 2007

This study stakes on the debate on whether or not increased off-farm employment compromises the adoption and the intensity of adopting some labor intensive soil conserving technologies.

The research first presents a theoretical framework of household adoption of soil conserving technologies in the presence of imperfect labor markets. Theoretically, it is shown then the overall effect is indeterminate. The study goes a step further by taking a case study of Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania and finds evidence that household participation in off-farm employment compromised soil conservation. Households supplying labor off-farm are generally associated with reduced adoption of terraces, hedgerows and cut-offs. The negative impact of supplying labor off-farm can be moderately cushioned when households also hire labor to work on the construction or maintenance of soil conserving structures. However, it is shown that hired labor is not a perfect substitute for households’ own labor and does not fully off-set the effect of a household’s off-farm labor supply.


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Publication | 1 January 2007