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Livelihoods diversifications and implications on food security and poverty levels in the Maasai plains: The case of Simanjiro district, Northern Tanzania

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Abstract:

This paper presents findings of a study that examined livelihood strategies that have evolved in the pastoral area and whether these strategies help the people in alleviating their poverty while ensuring food security. Participatory rural appraisal and wealth ranking exercise were used for data collection, while descriptive statistics was used for the data analysis. The findings show three wealth categories in the three villages studied; the Arkasisi/Altajiri; Menati/Dorpu and Oltoroboni/Lepai; as the rich (high class people), moderately rich (middle class people) and the poor (low class people) respectively. The wealth groups are dynamic as they try to maintain their status and or increase it, while those at the lower categories make deliberate attempts to join the wealthier on the wealth spectrum. The pastoralists strategically diversify their livelihoods through engaging in agriculture, charcoal selling, retail shops and restaurants and trading in minerals. However, resources accrued from these activities are re-invested in livestock. The study suggests that poverty alleviation efforts should target the people as perceived by the people themselves.

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