Environmental Resources Degradation and Poverty Reduction in Mbeya City, Tanzania

  • Dr. Hellen Mushi
  • Dr. George Mrope.
  • Mr. L. Mrutu
  • Christina Kihanga


The problems of poverty and environmental resources degradation still persist, despite successive anti-poverty and environmental resources conservation programs by the Tanzanian government. This study argues that since the two problems are interrelated, the solutions to them must be undertaken simultaneously and in an integrated manner rather than independently of each other. However, one major obstacle to the solution is property rights (i.e. Secured land ownership rights). Past studies argued that without property rights the poor would not be willing to participate in the environmental resources conservation. Besides, studies have indicated that most of the anti-poverty benefits do not reach the target group. Hence, it is inevitably necessary for this study to first of all identify the ‘real poor’ and the categories of the poor multidimensionally. This research attempts to address rural poverty and agricultural land degradation with regards to property rights (land ownership rights) simultaneously. Hence, the main objective of this study is to investigate how credit-based PES can potentially reduce rural poverty and agricultural land degradation, with regards to property rights (ownership rights). To achieve this, acknowledging that identification of the ‘real poor’ is the gateway for environmental resource conservation is unavoidable. Multistage sampling technique was used to choose 491 respondents in Mbeya City local farmers.  Consequently, grouping of the poor into different categories, as to benefit from the incentive-based PES is essential. This was achieved with the aid of Alkire and Foster (2010) and Alkire and Santos (2011) multidimensional poverty assessment methods. The results and recommendations were presented finally.Key words:  payment for environmental services, property rights and  environmental  resource degradation, Tanzania