Socioeconomic determinants of participation in livelihood diversification among rural farmers of western Uganda: a case study of Kyegegwa district.
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Agricultural produce are known to fetch low prices especially during the period of over production thus the need for farmers to diversify their farming into other economic ventures. Diversification initiatives were expected to improve the welfare of households as well-diversified livelihoods ensure the survival and advancement of standards of living. Thus, this study sought to investigate, socioeconomic determinants of participation in livelihood diversification among rural farmers of western Uganda. The study took a Quantitative methodology using the following objectives of to examine the influence of the demographic factors on rural farmers’ participation in livelihood diversification in western Uganda, to evaluate the determinants of household choice of livelihood diversification activities in western Uganda and to assess the influence of the socio-economic factors on peasant farmers’ participation in livelihood diversification. To ensure that all the population of interest (participants in non – agricultural activities in Kyegegwa district) have an equal chance of being selected for the study, specifically, 96 households in areas perceived to have a higher concentration of non-farm participants shall be reached at using a simple random sampling to get varied views from the respondents. At univariate level, the female peasant farmers participated highly (52%) in farming compared to their male counterparts (48%) respectively. This is not surprising given that few females in Uganda do not own land, are poorer compared to the males and are able to synchronize both farm and off-farm activities. Age is an important demographic factor the study indicated that average age of the respondents were 44.89 which goes to show that this age bracket in the range known to have a family to provide for thus farming and the sought to see whether they engaged in other livelihood diversification programs. Most of the farmers were not educated which show their non-participatory in livelihood diversification programs this is represented by 34% of the respondents, 22% got a lower primary level, 9% got upper primary level, 24% got a O-level education and 11% got A-level education. Majority of the respondents were married that 66% of the sampled farmers in the villages of Kyegegwa district. Results indicate that the significant value between the two variables was 0.675 which is value than the P-value of 0.05 thus accepting the null hypothesis that indeed there is no there is no relationship between age of respondents and participation in livelihood diversification among the sampled respondents. it is very clear that there is an association between sex of the farmers and participation in livelihood diversification (p=0.628), that is sex is not independent of participation in livelihood diversification and there is association between level of education of the farmers and participation in livelihood diversification (p=0.628), that is level of education is not independent of participation in livelihood diversification. In rural western Uganda, age of a peasant farmer, sex, marital status, education level, and land ownership were significant variables in determining whether a peasant farmer will participate in livelihood diversification or not. Younger peasant farmers as well as the females were found to be more likely to participate in livelihood diversification compared to their older and male counterparts respectively. The study recommended that government should increase adult learning education outreach centres in the rural areas in order to eradicate the low level of education among rural people in the study area. It was also recommended that skill acquisition centres should be adequately provided through the private-public partnership development scheme to reduce the high level of unskilled labour available in the area