Heavy reliance on subsistence-oriented Agricultural Economy
Kembata’s economy is based on subsistence farming. Despite the fact that agriculture is the backbone of the economy, and a means of livelihood for majority of the population (reported to be more than 90 percent), it still remains underdeveloped. It employs ancient agricultural methods and extremely inefficient farming techniques. No significant improvements have been noticed in adopting new improved technologies that could substantially improve the livelihoods of poor people, and no meaningful improvement has occurred in agricultural productivity and livelihood so far.
Kembata peasants are hard‐working agriculturalists practicing a complex system of crop rotation. They have developed remarkable skills and survival strategies to cope with rapidly degrading natural resources, protracted environmental degradation and shortage of arable land.
The worsening ecological problems also negatively affect the agricultural industry. Population growth is increasing in alarming rate creating further pressure on the farm land. Irregular rainfall patterns add problems to the farmers. While shortage of rain results loss of livestock and food crops, heavy rains expose sloppy farmlands to erosion which results in loss of soil fertility. High agricultural input prices prevent farmers from using fertilizers and improved seeds.
The severity of Kembata farmers’ economic status can be observed from the hand-to-mouth existence of families struggling to meet expenses for their basic needs. Farm incomes are quickly disappearing. Many households are having food security issues for their average household size of six or more members. Most of them are vulnerable children who are suffering. A concern about having enough food to feed a family is a hunger issue, and food insecurity must be tackled on every front.