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Agriculture pulls thousands of Batswana out of poverty

Staff writer |
Thousands of Batswana rose out of poverty thanks to increased growth in rural areas driven in part by rising agricultural incomes and welfare improvements, according to a World Bank Study.

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The Botswana Poverty Assessment report, found that the number of poor people in the country declined by nearly 180 000 between 2002/3 and 2009/10.

This denotes a poverty rate decrease of 19.4% from 30.6% when using the national poverty line. In this period, 87 percent of the decrease in poverty occurred in rural areas, where 158,000 people rose out of poverty.

Based on two nationally representative household income and expenditure surveys conducted by Statistics Botswana in 2002/2003 and 2009/10, the report analyzes recent trends in the monetary and nonmonetary aspects of poverty in Botswana.

It examines the drivers of poverty reduction by systematically looking at the demographic, labor, and human capital dimensions of poverty.

The report shows that increased agriculture incomes strongly supported by government subsidies and substantial changes in the demographic structure including the reductions in household sizes and dependency ratios were responsible for Botswana’s poverty reduction.

It found that the decrease in the incidence of poverty was accompanied by a significant decline in both the depth and severity of poverty.

Furthermore, the poverty gap eased from 11.7 percent in 2002/03 to 6.2 percent in 2009/10, indicating that consumption has improved among the poor.

Real consumption per capita rose 47.6 percent in rural areas compared to a nationwide real consumption per capita increase of 13.3 percent during the same period.

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