IFPRI paper on enhancing resilience in the Horn

The 2010-11 drought in the Horn of Africa caused a devastating famine in southern Somalia and raised concerns that pastoralist livelihoods in the Horn are no longer viable. Arguments to sedentarise pastoralists and diversify their livelihoods are countered by advocates for protecting pastoralist livelihoods. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has issued a discussion paper Enhancing resilience in the Horn of Africa: an exploration of alternative investment options (2012) to address the question of where public resources should be invested. It argues that economic theory and the existing evidence base warrant a more balanced development strategy involving movement out of pastoralism, modernisation of pastoralism and crosscutting transformations of the demographic, social and political structure of populations in drylands. It was found that most nonpastoralist livelihoods in the drylands yield lower incomes than do pastoralism, with the exception of urban livelihoods and irrigated farming, but these have limited capacity to absorb growing populations. Being the dominant livelihood for the foreseeable future, and potentially quite a profitable one given growing demand for livestock products, pastoralism needs to be an important component of local and regional development strategies. The paper argues that the pastoralist sector should be transformed into a more profitable, more integrated and more resilient economic system by investing in: 1) commercialising pastoralism (improving competitiveness, value addition, poverty impact and outreach of livestock markets); 2) improving natural resource management; 3) economic diversification in a manner compatible with existing pastoralist livelihoods; 4) improved social infrastructure (health, nutrition, education); 5) improved physical infrastructure (mainly roads, mobile telephony and irrigation where profitable); 6) more effective disaster risk management strategies; and 7) a range of governance efforts, including efforts at better protection of pastoralist property rights, strengthening conflict-resolution mechanisms and promoting bottom-up policymaking.

Posted on 17 July 2012 in News, Pastoralism & Marketing, Pastoralism & Natural Resources, Pastoralism, Policy & Power, Pastoralist Livelihoods & Nutrition, Value of Pastoralism