Livelihood Diversification, De-Agrarianisation and Social Differentiation: Comparative Analysis of Rural Livelihoods from South Africa and Kenya pp. 75-103
Authors: (Miyuki Iiyama, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya)
Abstract: Livelihood diversification, de-agrarianisation and social differentiation along differential access to off-farm incomes and non-agrarian assets turn out to be dominant features of rural poverty in contemporary Africa. They pose methodological challenges for researchers to conceptualise sociological typologies of rural African populations in the processes of de-agrarianisation and increasing social differentiation, while the existent development theories apparently underestimate their considerable implications on rural development. In response to the increased recognition of these features, the livelihood study has emerged to lead the focus of rural poverty analysis from an agriculture-centred, sector-level viewpoint to a household or individual-level viewpoint. The livelihood study, through synthesising empirical evidence across, should contribute to facilitating the analysis of social changes from the perspective of households/ individuals and to refining existent development theories and policies. This study attempts to search for effective criteria to identify typologies of rural Africans that reflect heterogeneities in livelihood diversification portfolios of farm and off-farm activities within and between communities, and to apply them to case studies from South Africa and Kenya. The South African case describes heterogeneous reactions by rural sub-populations to cope with social transitions (unemployment) and secure rural livelihoods. The Kenyan case examines heterogeneous reactions by rural sub-populations to de-agrarianisation over agricultural intensification.