Explaining the Factors Affecting Differentiation of Economic Activities among the Villagers (Case Study: Villages in Saqez, Iran)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Professor in Geography and Rural Planning, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Geography and Rural Planning, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

3 PhD Candidate in Geography and Rural Planning, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran


Today, many villages in Iran are vacated and many dwellers left their home villages mainly due to weaknesses and inefficiency of rural economy. Diversification of economic activities in rural areas is considered as a strategy for rural households to increase their income sources through which they can have an appropriate response and ability to deal with economic shocks. The stability of a settlement reflects the equilibrium and dynamism of rural settlements in relation to natural-ecological, socio-cultural, economic and spatial-physical structures. Thus, it ensures the stability of a settlement during spatial trends. Hence, special attention is paid to rural development, and adopting monetary and credit policies for the governments of the Third World Societies. This can play a major role in facilitating and directing development, and investment. Injection of financial resources can play a very important role in fostering rural livelihoods and achieving sustainable rural development goals. 
This research has a general quantitative approach using librarian-documentary and field survey techniques for collecting data. Firstly, for identifying the indices and indicators of diversification of economic activities with special emphasis on rural areas, we used the related studies. The components and items of sustainable livelihoods were identified based on a questionnaire designed as the main tool of the research in field studies. To increase the validity of the method, we also used the content and formality of the method. In this regard, the validity of the research tool was confirmed by a number of experts in the field using the Cronbach's alpha technique. The Cronbach's alpha value for this tool obtained 0.905 which indicated the appropriate reliability of this research tool. To identify the villages, they first were divided into 5 groups of 20-50 households, 10-51 households, 150-101 households, 152-150 households, 250-95 households and 525-500 households. After selection of sample villages, based on the Cochran formula, 300 families were selected as the sample size determined in proportion to the population of the villages.
Results and discussion
To investigate the relationship between educational variables and number of activities, as well as income and activity variables, we used Lameda, v Kramer, Goodman and Kruskal tests. The results of these tests show that since sig is less than 0.05, then there is a significant relationship between education and the number of activities. As the level of education increases, the number of household activities and number of income sources also increases. Field analysis showed that among the 123 out of 136 uneducated families with primary education, 123 cases had one activity and only 12 cases had two activities. The results of Lameda, V Kramer, Goodman and Kruskal tests confirmed that there is a significant relationship between the number of activities and income increase in the study villages. This means that the households with more economic diversity have higher income. Among the total households surveyed, 204 people have an annual income of 5 million or fewer. All these households have one type of economic activity. The research findings also revealed that among the 71 households with income levels between 5 and 10 million, 45 cases have dual activity and 6 cases have 3 types of economic activities. One of the weaknesses of rural households is that they do not have diverse economic activities and only rely on agricultural activities. This showed vulnerability of their income and livelihood to shocks (human and natural). For this purpose, Lameda, V Kramer, Goodman and Kruskal tests were used to investigate the relationship between livelihood vulnerability of rural households against shocks and number of activities. The results of these tests show that in the studied villages there is a significant relationship between the number of activities and their livelihood vulnerability to shocks. Therefore, the households have side activities with their agricultural activities are less vulnerable than those only with one activity. There are a number of economic activities in which there is an increase in income. This means that households with more economic diversity have more income. Among the total studied households (68.18%) who had only one kind of activity, their income and livelihoods were affected by climate shocks such as drought, floods and pests. Friedman test (rank average) was used to prioritize the key factors affecting the diversification of economic activities from the viewpoint of villagers. The statistical results of the test show that there is a significant difference between the factors at alpha level of 0.05. The average results of the Friedman test also indicate that the government support factor is ranked first for diversifying the activities.
The diversification of economic activities in rural environments can be seen as a consistent and dynamic process in response to threats and opportunities through which farmers can manage risk and can also increase their income and livelihoods, maintain their livelihoods and ultimately improve their living standards. Descriptive findings showed that from the perspective of the sample society, the government's financial support can have the greatest impact on the diversification of economic activities. The government supports are including enhancement of appropriate facilities to farmers, the availability of savings and financial resources for farmers, the purchasing guaranteed crops, promotion of horticultural and livestock, entrepreneurship development and intermediary removals in selling products, and raising the level of knowledge of the people about the affiliated businesses. In confirmation of the descriptive findings, Friedman's test also shows that addition to the factor of government support for diversification of jobs, the second factor that influences the diversification of economic activities from the perspective of the sample population is the financial resources and household savings. 


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Volume 51, Issue 1
April 2019
Pages 193-209
  • Receive Date: 07 March 2018
  • Revise Date: 03 November 2018
  • Accept Date: 03 November 2018
  • First Publish Date: 21 March 2019