Fostering Rural Employment through Creating Rural Non–Farm Activities (RNA) and Household Jobs in Haramaya, Kersa, and Babile Woredas of Eastern Hararghe Zone, Oromia National Regional State, Ethiopia

Jabessa Teshome


This study analyses the behavior of rural households on the involvement in rural non-farm formal and informal indigenous handcrafts in off-farm work participation decisions of farm households in three districts (Haramaya, Babile, and Kersa), from Eastern Hararghe Zone of Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia. It attempts to map the areas where rural off farm household level handcrafts are practiced, and identify the major constraints hindering the development of non-farm employment activities in the study area. It primarily focuses on the mapping of rural non- farm activities in the study area. Mainly a descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. The results of the analysis show that while farming is the main economic activity of Eastern Hararghe zone, there is a significant difference on the practice of handcraft activities. The distribution of such handcraft skills differ from household to household because of the availability of inputs, access to markets, learning opportunities and gender differences. The diversification of some handcraft activities in the zone could be attributed to existing skill practices and inputs. In terms of their distribution, households in Kersa district indicated the largest share (52.1%) of the total handcraft distributions followed by Babile which accounts for 39% of the total distributions. Pottery is the main handcraft category reported in the survey which needs further attention of rural income diversification programs in the study apart from leather processing and carpentry. Haramaya district recorded the least in the distribution of hand crafts. Moreover, the study indicated that inter-generational handcraft skill learning is becoming an old fashioned and this caused gaps in handcraft skills among the young and the elders. Finally, the study suggested that apart from increasing agricultural output and raising agricultural productivity, complementary policies and programs must be developed to strengthen the link between farm and non-farm activities. The current agricultural extension program should encompass both farm and non-farm activities and encourage the growth of small-scale businesses and create non-farm employment opportunities in rural areas.

Keywords: Nonfarm employment, nonfarm jobs, rural households, Eastern Hararghe zone

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