by François Noël
ALCOM Socio-economist

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In June 1996 ALCOM undertook a pilot smallholder
farming survey in Chazuka, Machipanda District of Manica Province, Mozambique. The immediate objectives of the survey were to:

1. acquire household information describing how smallholder farmers merge small scale fish farming with traditional agricultural enterprises;
2. gain quantifiable and comparative data about the social, cultural, economic and managerial qualities of smallholder farmers and fish farmers.

The outputs expected from the survey include a detailed catalogue of the interrelatiosnships of farming activities including their nutritional and economic contribution to the family budget. Compilation of data is now proceeding and preliminary results are expected soon.

An important prerequisite before carrying out the survey was to have appropriate information regarding the size of the population residing in the area. However, due to the long period of civil strife in Mozambique, reliable census information was difficult to obtain.

Fortunately it was discovered that most community leaders had not relied on government services to keep abreast of developments in their own communities. For the purpose of their own good administration, they had kept track of household births and deaths as well as new entrants and departures from their respective villages. The information nearly always contained the name, age and sex of the head of household. In most cases it was possible to know whether or not a family practised fish farming. After explaining the objectives of the small holder farming survey, village leaders freely shared this information with ALCOM.

This method of collecting information worked so well it was decided villagers would also have a good understanding of who among them was more or less well-off. A number of key informants who had been either living in the community for a long time, or who

knew a large number of the households, were asked to participate in a wealth ranking exercise.

These individuals were asked to sort the names contained in the census lists into as many wealth categories as they wished. After all the informants had completed the exercise, the wealth categories of each of the informants were sorted into four categories. Figure 1 shows the results of this ranking with category 1 representing the most affluent group, category 4 the poorest members of the community, and categories 3 and 4 intermediate levels of wealth.


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Wealth ranking results comparing female (Female HH) versus male (Male HH) headed household are presented in Figure 2. From the total of 687 households inventoried, over 17% were said to be de-jure female headed households. The figure shows no female headed households are in the richest category, and a significantly larger proportion of female headed households are classified in the poorest income category.


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practising fish farming improve their scores over time. Their progress can then be compared with those who do not practise fish farming. This information may also be used for targeting households and for ascertaining if fish farming is spreading amongst the poorer segments of the society.
It should be kept in mind that this activity reflected the community's own perception and criteria of wealth. However, the results of the exercise will serve as a useful cross check of the findings contained in the current socio-economic field survey. If it can be shown there is a significant relationship between the communities'

Table 1: Gender distribution of fish farmers by wealth category

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perception of wealth and poverty and quantifiable survey results, the method could be used to assist planners, institutions and target groups in:

the description of wealth-specific constraints and opportunities for participation of both affluent and poorer households in the benefits of fish farming;

the identification of possible strategies and measures to overcome specific constraints each group may face; and

the recognition of different effects or impacts of the development of fish farming on different wealth categories of a community.
[1:Reprinted from ALCOM Newsletter Oct 1996, No.23.]

Table 1 presents the percentage of female and male headed households in each wealth category practising fish farming. It appears as though poorer female headed households have a greater tendency to adopt

fish farming. However, because the sample is very small, it is premature to draw any conclusions at this time. Although female headed fish farming families represented only 11 % of the total, it seems that many of them only started fish farming in the past nine months. It is hoped that the smallholder farmer survey will be able to compare the various household types in a more detailed manner.
Wealth ranking has provided insight into the differences and inequalities which exist within the community. It can be used to determine whether or not families

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