Factors Influencing Smallholder Crop Diversification: A Case Study of Manicaland and Masvingo Provinces in Zimbabwe

Lighton Dube


This study analyzes the degree of crop diversification and factors associated with crop diversification among 479 smallholder farmers in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces of Zimbabwe. The Herfindahl index used to estimate diversification, while the Tobit model evaluated factors associated with crop diversification.  The mean crop diversity index is 0.54. On average households in Nyanga and Bikita are the most diversified with indices of 0.48 and 0.49 respectively. The most specialized households are in Mutasa and Chiredzi with indices of 0.62. An analysis by gender shows that male headed households are slightly more diversified than female headed households. The Tobit model indicates that gender of head of household, education, number of livestock units, access to irrigation, membership to a farmers group, access to markets, farming experience, farms on flat terrain, farmer to farm extension, routine extension, agro-ecological zone and household income are significant contributors to increasing crop diversification. In turn, crop specialization is significantly associated with off-farm employment, soil fertility, farmers who are happy with extension contacts per year, farmers trained using the farmer field school approach and farmers who receive NGO extension support.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijrd.v3i2.9194


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