The Effectiveness of Backyard Gardening Initiative in Poverty Eradication: The Case of Beneficiaries in Ramotswa Village, Botswana

Davis S. Marumo, Mogapi. E. Madisa, Thapelo Lesole


This study evaluated the effectiveness of the backyard garden initiative in poverty eradication in Ramotswa village, Botswana. The specific objectives of the study were to (1) describe the demographic characteristics of the beneficiaries of backyard gardening initiative (2) estimate gross margins and profits generated in backyard gardens, and (3) measure poverty incidence among backyard garden beneficiaries. Forty (40) beneficiaries of the backyard gardening initiative were interviewed on one-on-one basis using a structured questionnaire. The findings of the study indicated that 32.5% of the beneficiaries did not go to school while 40% had attained primary education. Majority of beneficiaries were elderly women aged 50 years and above. It was found that only one-third of the backyard gardens recorded positive gross margins. None of the backyard gardens made profit. This result implied that the backyard gardens were not able to generate enough revenue to cover their operational and fixed costs of production. Based on the poverty datum line (PDL) criterion (BWP878.87 per month; equivalent to US$80.26 per month), 48% of the beneficiaries of the backyard garden initiative in Ramotswa were not poor. These beneficiaries were not eligible for enrolment in this poverty eradication initiative. However, the backyard garden initiative reduced incidence of poverty among beneficiaries from 52 to 15% in the Ramotswa agricultural extension area. This was a success rate of about 71 percent. Policy implications derived from the findings of this study are that eligibility criteria for enrolment into poverty eradication programmes such as backyard gardening initiative need to be made leakage-proof to ensure that only the target group (poor people) receive the support. The backyard gardening initiative has potential to reduce poverty among its beneficiaries provided the projects are well-managed. The project operators need to be empowered through training and mentorship. It is essential that the beneficiaries receive adequate and timely agricultural extension services.

Keywords: poverty, backyard, gardening, programme effectiveness, gross margin, Botswana

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