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Spatial Analysis of Rural Poverty-Water Links in the São Francisco River Basin, Brazil

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Marcelo Torres, Stephen Vosti, Marco Maneta, Richard Howitt, Wesley Wallender, Luis Bassoi, Lineu Rodrigues
University of California, Davis Brazilian Agricultural Research Enterprise (Embrapa)

Keyword(s): Water-Poverty Links, Water Policy, Brazil
AbstractIntroduction: Information on the spatial distribution of poverty can be useful in designing geographically targeted rural poverty reduction programs, perhaps especially if spatial patterns of poverty do not coincide with establish boundaries for policy action. Objectives: This paper uses recently released município-level data on rural poverty in Brazil to identify and analyze spatial patterns of rural poverty in the São Francisco River Basin (SFRB). Methods: Moran’s I statistics are generated and used to test for spatial autocorrelation, and to prepare cluster maps that locate rural poverty “hot spots” and “cold spots.” Spatial regression analysis is then used to identify the links between rural poverty, on the one hand, and access to water, the extent and type of agriculture practiced, distance to major markets, and other variables, on the other. Results: Preliminary research results based on the 469 municípios that comprised the SFRB in 1991 demonstrate that rural poverty is spatially correlated in some but not all parts of the SFRB, and where correlated, worse-off (better-off) municípios tend to be located next to worse-off (better-off) municípios. Spatial patterns in poverty did not follow established state boundaries within the SFRB. Spatial regression analysis found no clear direct link between access to water (measured in several ways) and rural poverty. Conclusions: The results of this analysis suggest caution in using water management policies to address rural poverty; improving linkages to market for agricultural products would likely be more effective and efficient strategies for reducing poverty via agricultural modernization.
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