Rural Household Studies In Zimbabwe: A Review
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Many perhaps most households in rural Africa have grown poorer over the last decade. The World Bank, for example, estimates that by the end of the century the number of people in poverty in Sub- Saharan Africa will have increased by nearly 100 million since 1985 (World Bank 1994). The causes of this impoverishment and the means by which the process can be reversed are thus central issues for policy analysts—in Zimbabwe as elsewhere in Africa. Much has been written about African households, and much policy advice given based on these writings, but little of this advice originates from or is substantiated by empirical evidence. Even in the rare cases where reference is made to empirical data, these data come almost inevitably from either secondary sources or from cross-sectional surveys. Critical examination of whole sets of major issues-such as the impact of the economic and structural adjustment programme, dynamic aspects of poverty, the growth of linkages between the agricultural and non agricultural sectors, and interactions between agriculture and the natural environment—is hampered by unavailability of data appropriate to these purposes.