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Mir Sattar Sadrmousavi , Mohsen Aghayarihir , Mohammad Valaei,
Volume 9, Issue 34 (winter 2021 2021)

Reduction of inequality and poverty has always been one of the topics discussed by scholars and has been considered as part of the main aims of rural development. It has increasingly become one of the important topics in development literature.   Different strategies to reduce poverty by different scholars such as; funding micro-credit and increasing the quality of life and empowerment of women, small-scale agricultural development as an essential component of food security, strengthening social capital in the form of local organizations, global economic integration and globalization, increasing public participation and creating grassroots organizations including rural cooperatives, diversification of economic activities, etc.,  has been proposed. However, due to the dependence of the villagers on the agricultural sector, not compatibility with the culture of the villagers, none of these solutions has not completely succeeded in reducing poverty and eradicating it from rural communities. Similarly, in Miandoab County, the agricultural sector, due to limited water resources, reduced productivity, job creation, mechanization, etc., has undergone a declining trend and is not able to attract the available labor. Furthermore, given that the study area has been severely affected by the Lake Urmia drying up in recent years, leading to a decrease in income, employment, investment, labor productivity and agricultural land, and hence, an increase in the number of underprivileged people in rural areas and migration of youth and depopulation of a number of villages in the area. Therefore, seeking solutions to reduce rural poverty are crucial such as, reviving the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors according to the strengths and obstacles of the region, increasing labor productivity in all economic sectors and enhancing rural population sustainability and stability, employment, income and food security.  The main issue of the present study is to investigate rural poverty reduction strategies, emphasizing the rural economic diversification approach and the effects of economic diversification in reducing rural poverty in Miandoab County. 

The purpose of this study is to investigate poverty reduction strategies with an emphasis on rural economic diversification in Miandoab County. The research is applied in terms of purpose and descriptive-analytical in terms of method.  Field and documentary methods were used to collect data and information. This study includes two parts: quantitative and qualitative. In the qualitative part, theoretical saturation was achieved by conducting 24 semi-structured interviews, and in the quantitative part, 120 local informants, rural managers and staff of Miandoab County were selected as a sample. The reliability level of the research questionnaire was obtained using Cronbach's alpha method of 0.701.  Purposeful sampling (snowball and sequential method) was used.  Grounded theory, regression, path analysis and influence diagram were used to analyze the information.

Discussion and conclusion
The most important strategies identified to reduce rural poverty in Miandoab are: Funding micro-credit to villagers and farmers, crops insurance and government support, economic diversification in agricultural and non-agricultural sectors (changing the pattern of cultivation with water-resistant species such as saffron, Damask rose, pistachio, livestock development, developing industries), construction product processing factories, industrial town establishment, handicraft, tourism development and expansion, creation small businesses, creation of local markets and services, etc., enhancing educational quality of villagers, using indigenous knowledge, increasing social capacities, improving infrastructure, increase research, change government support policies, reform rural management and belief system.  Among these, one of the most important strategies to reduce rural poverty in this area according to the study is to pay attention to the "rural economic diversification" approach. Accordingly, the diversification of the rural economy has positive effects on increasing income, employment, production, investment and hence reducing rural poverty in Miandoab County.  The index of non-agricultural (non-agricultural) diversification and the creation of jobs that require less water, such as development of rural industries (manufacturing units for processing livestock, agricultural, horticultural products, etc., handicrafts, carpet weaving units, metal industries, wood industries, food industries, etc.), development of service sector in most villages and expansion of rural tourism (religious, sport, nomadic) is of great importance in reducing rural poverty in the study area. Thus, long-term diversification alters the income opportunities for rural households and reduces their income vulnerability to economic and environmental changes. In general, diversification of jobs can be considered as an indirect insurance for the security of income of villagers who have low productivity or have been damaged due to unexpected natural disasters.

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