Targeting research for poverty reduction in marginal areas of rural Syria

  • La Rovere R
  • Aw-Hassan A
  • Turkelboom F
 et al. 
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Agricultural research in marginal dry areas can contribute to reducing
poverty through the development of technological, institutional and
policy options for poor farmers. Such research should address diversified
opportunities and development pathways. This article analyses the
diversity of livelihood strategies of rural people living in the
Khanasser Valley in northwestern Syria, an area that is typical of
marginal drylands. It proposes an operational classification of households
based on their different livelihood strategies, applying an integrated
methodology within a Sustainable Livelihoods framework. Households
are classified into three clusters: agriculturists, labourers and
pastoralists. The article examines the diversity of livelihoods involved,
and considers where and how research should be directed to have greatest
impact on poverty. Given that rural households are not homogeneous
but dynamic entities, with diverse assets, capabilities and opportunities,
the definition of household typologies can help to target development
research. The article concludes that while agriculturists benefit
most, poor labourers with enough land can also gain from pro-poor
agricultural research. The poorest households with little land, and
pastoralists, benefit little or only indirectly.

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