Livelihood Diversification for Smallholder Tobacco Farmers in South Nyanza, Kenya - Phase I

Most of Kenya's tobacco production takes place in the South Nyanza region, where the land under tobacco cultivation has increased rapidly and often at the expense of traditional food crops and livestock activities. An IDRC-funded meeting on tobacco farming by smallholders in October 2005 (103351) raised a number of concerns about the negative environmental, social, health and economic impacts of tobacco production. The workshop resulted in the proposal for this project.

Researchers will compare tobacco and non-tobacco farmers in terms of livelihood strategies and investigate the sustainability of replacing tobacco with giant bamboo. This will be accompanied by a market analysis for bamboo and other alternative crops. The final output will be community action plans for livelihood diversification.

This project is one of a number of projects, ongoing and planned, that will tackle the issue from different perspectives. While this project aims to replace one cash crop with another, a recently approved project in Bangladesh (103435) focuses on moving into diversified food production. A potential project in Malawi will help farmers diversify, but without replacing tobacco altogether. The researchers from the three projects will meet regularly to compare notes and generate lessons learned.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, April 21, 2006

End Date

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


36 months

IDRC Officer

Leppan, Wardie

Total funding

CA$ 351,688


Kenya, North of Sahara, South of Sahara, Bangladesh, Malawi


Maternal and Child Health

Project Leader

Jacob K. Kibwage


Maseno University College

Institution Country


Institution Website