Reducing Income Poverty through Financial Support to the Poor in Zanzibar: Are Small Scale Vegetable Farmers worthy Government Attention?
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Financial support for improving businesses among the very poor has for very long time been considered too risky and thus unattractive. Subsequently, most governments of poor countries have been establishing specialized financial institutions to support the efforts of those who cannot qualify for loans from commercial financial institutions asexemplified by interventions by Zanzibar Economic Empowerment Fund (ZEEF). This study was carried out in Chake Chake District in Pemba Island to assess the effect of ZEEF intervention on income growth among small scale vegetable farmers. Specific objectives of the study were to examined support services by ZEEF to small-scale vegetable farmers; determining level of income and savings before and after receiving support among supported farmers; as well as identifying determinants of income growth. Results indicated that micro-credits and training on agribusiness were the main interventions received by most farmers from ZEEF. The interventions by ZEEF had positive impact on vegetable farmers’ welfare as they improved both income and savings. Based on these findings it was recommended that ZEEF should scale up its efforts to provide support to farmers focusing on linking farmers with other financial institutions for additional funds, input providers, and research institutions; provision of training on agribusiness skills, and improving extension services and other services that are important in the value chain of vegetables.