Impact of improved rural roads on household welfare in Uganda
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The main objective of the study was to assess the impact of improved rural roads on household welfare in Uganda. Specifically, district and community access roads usable throughout the year were the independent variables whereas household consumption expenditure, income from non-farm (non-agricultural), and agriculture enterprises constituted the dependent variables. The study mainly applied the fixed effects approach for panel data modeling as well as the two-level random multinomial model. The study used panel datasets from UBoS for the years 2009/10 (wave I), 2010/11 (wave II), and 2011/12 (wave III). The consolidated dataset was unbalanced panel of 3,235 households with 75% (2,417 households) appearing in all three waves and 25% (818 households) unevenly distributed across the three waves. The results reveal that district roads that are usable throughout the year have a positive significant effect (p=0.000) on household income from non-agriculture enterprises. Similarly, usable community access roads significantly influence (p=0.005) household income from non-agriculture enterprises. The contribution of the district and community access roads was highest on household income from non-agriculture enterprises. Usable community access roads were found to have a significant positive effect (p=0.000) on household consumption expenditure. Results specifically indicate that households with usable community access roads had 9% more consumption expenditure compared to households with bad roads. Findings also revealed that community access roads in usable condition have a significant effect (p=0.003) on household income from agricultural enterprises. Specifically, those households with usable community access roads got more 26.4% income from agriculture enterprises compared to those with bad roads. Finally, households having access to usable community access roads or district roads were more likely to rely on non-agricultural enterprises, commercial farming, property income, or wage employment instead of subsistence farming for their most important source of earnings. The findings point to the need by the government to provide sustained funding for the maintenance of district road equipment meant to improve the condition of district and community access roads. In addition, MoWT should design, implement and enforce guidelines and standards for road maintenance and effective use of equipment in all local governments. Lastly, with good roads government should accelerate the implementation of programs like wealth creation, youth livelihood meant to create employment, commercial farming and nonfarm enterprises across the country.