Document Type : Original Article


Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Haramaya University, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia


Agriculture is considered a driving force to reduce poverty and food insecurity. However, the agricultural sector has been unable to meet the growing food need of the rural population and it has been influenced by various risks. Although income diversification strategies supplement farmers’ farm production, the extent of households’ income diversification sources and their associated factors are not yet empirically identified in Agarfa District. Thus, this study aimed to measure income diversification strategies and identify factors responsible for the choice of income diversification strategies among rural households in the district. The study drew a sample of 150 households using the stratified random sampling technique from three kebeles of the district. Quantitative data were collected by interviews while qualitative data were collected by focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Descriptive and inferential statistics were applied to characterize households’ income diversification strategies. Results show that agriculture has a leading contribution to the total income of households (88.89%) followed by non-farm (10.12%) and off-farm activities (0.99%). Furthermore, the results reveal that the mean diversity indexes increase from households engaged in housemaid activities (36.67) to households engaged in crop production (38320.00). The study, therefore, concludes that the agricultural sector alone cannot improve households’ income, ensure food security, and alleviate poverty in the study area. Thus, rural development policies and strategies should focus on promoting income-generating activities besides agricultural activities in rural areas to improve the overall wellbeing of the rural communities.

Graphical Abstract

Income Diversification Sources, Constraints, and Measurements: Evidence from Agarfa District, Southeastern Ethiopia


  • Income share of agriculture accounts for about 88.89%.
  • Households engaged in crop production have relatively better-diversified income.
  • The mean number of income sources was 1.7.
  • Choices of farm and off-farm activities were affected by various factors.


Main Subjects