Crucially, the kind of livelihoods diversification which reduces poverty, tends to be in rural areas with a buoyant agricultural sector. Where agriculture is stagnant, people may find themselves swapping one increasingly unviable livelihood for another that leaves them just as poor. As a result, there are serious implications for when we can or cannot recommend diversification, either as an effective adaptation to climate change, or as a way out of poverty. This is because climate change impacts have the potential to disrupt both healthy and struggling agricultural contexts.
For people in healthy agricultural environments, access to poverty-reducing opportunities may be curtailed if the agricultural base which provides the bridge to them is compromised. For people in struggling agricultural environments, there may be even greater pressure to ‘stress-diversify’ into activities which deepen chronic poverty.