Spillovers from Off-farm Self-employment Opportunities in Rural Niger
Agricultural households in Niger face constraints that may hinder agricultural production and threaten food security. A rural exodus is also resulting from a lack of formal and decent wage employment. The way to enhance agricultural production and improve food security while at the same time increase employment is still an important policy question in rural Niger. This study assesses the effects of off-farm self-employment opportunities on expenditures for agricultural inputs and on food security using the potential outcome framework for treatment effects. The study finds that farm and non-farm related factors determine off-farm self-employment opportunities in rural Niger. Also, participation in self-employment increases agricultural expenditures on purchased inputs and hired labour but decreases the propensity to hire labour. Self-employment opportunities favour food accessibility without having any additional effect on food availability and food utilisation. The results confirm that the policy of promoting the nonfarm sector can be harmonious with the development of the agricultural sector. There is a scope to increase or create favourable conditions for the development of the non-farm sector in rural Niger.