Dynamics of Poverty traps in Kenya: Modelling Food Security, Population Growth and the Poverty Trap
Momanyi, Eric Omwanza
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Rural poverty accounts for 630/o of poverty worldwide. Land has been identified as a key productive asset in the hands of the rural poor. Through this land, the poor are able to produce food for their growing population numbers and sale of surplus to invest in more productive assets. This research project built a System Dynamics model to track the dynamic linkages between changes in the population, food available and land, and its impact on poverty traps in rural Kenya. The model was fitted with Kenyan population data from 1980 to 2005 and rural poverty headcount data for Kenya over the same period. Parameter values were estimated from several assorted publications. The model was used to test the policy implications of increase in land productivity and wage rates on poverty traps in rural settings. Preliminary results indicate that there is need to ensure the poor benefit from efforts of increasing land productivity for it to have a desirable poverty reduction impact. Furthermore, it emerged that demographic changes need to be monitored carefully to achieve a desirable and sustainable population-ecosystem equilibrium that enables the rural poor improve their livelihoods.