Assessing the impact of sustainability intensification options on household sustainability and resilience in Tanzania

Published: 12 August 2020

We are offering the possibility to conduct a master project related to farm household sustainability and resilience in Tanzania.

Application deadline: 2020-11-30

Farmers are considerably affected by food insecurity and rural poverty in Eastern Africa. Despite the increase of medium size farms in Africa, 90% of farms are still smallholders with less than 1 ha (Jayne et al., 2016).

Smallholders generally run mixed crop-livestock systems with important contributions to meat and milk production, to crop production through the provision of traction and manure, and to livelihoods for millions of rural people (Herrero et al., 2010).

These systems are currently problematic because they are particularly vulnerable to climate change and price variability in a context with low average rainfalls and degraded soils. Interventions in farming systems in Africa aim at reducing the poverty situation of smallholders by changing the technical management of their farming systems to increase productivity and income.

We have previously build a range of indicators addressing the sustainability of farming systems and household in Tanzania and we have assessed the initial sustainability of these farming systems. After this initial assessment, some households have implemented one or several upgrading strategies including optimized natural resource management/crop production (rainwater harvesting, fertilizer micro dosing …),better post-harvest processing (improved processing devices…), more markets and income generation orientation (optimized market oriented grain storage…) and more adapted consumption (household nutrition education…).

The master project

The master project aims at determining the impact of these upgrading strategies on household sustainability using data collected from household survey and comparing them with the initial level of sustainability. These strategies were implemented in some households as part of a design for impact assessment of the food security consequences. In order to measure the impacts, around 900 households (450 in Kilosa and 450 in Chamwino district) involved in the study were surveyed before the campaign of adoption of upgrading strategies and all the 600 adopters and 300 non-adopters were surveyed again three years later.

The survey targets

The survey targets: the household composition, health status, socio-economic and biophysical shocks, wellbeing, climate change, networks, land farmed, the crops grown on each plot and their associated management, the cost of management and the productivity, the livestock management, fishing-hunting-collection activities, agroforestry, water and energy use, employment and labour, credit, saving, assets, expenditure, food security, social aspects.

We are particularly interested in the change in management at field level which is targeted by the innovation “rainwater harvesting and micro-dosing”. This sole upgrading strategy has been adopted by 124 households who have not adopted any other strategy. These household will be compared to the 350 others that have not adopted any upgrading strategy. Once indicators are calculated, we will aggregate them to approach the overall sustainability and see how farming systems perform in terms of economic, social and environmental aspects. We will compare the farming system before and after the adoption of “rain harvesting and micro dosing” to see whether these SI options were relevant to the sustainability.


Pierre Chopin, Department of Crop Production Ecology, SLU Uppsala, Sweden Tel: +46 76 32 32 74

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