Pastoralists in poverty struggle with commercialisation of livestock

The issue of pastoralist vulnerability in Ethiopia, and how best to respond to it, remains a key development challenge. Different actors have different perspectives, but in more recent development debates, pastoral destitution and poverty are often attributed to conflict, climate change and weak governance. This report uses an alternative entry point to analyze pastoralist vulnerability, being the longstanding trend of commercialization of pastoral production and marketing systems and especially, export‐orientated commercialization. While exports are generally viewed as beneficial by government and donors in terms of promoting national economic growth, less well known are the impacts of commercialization in pastoral areas and the extent to which growing markets and trade contribute to vulnerability.

Commercialization raises the bar for poor pastoralists, making it more difficult for them to build or sustain herds, or withstand drought. While some poor or destitution households can return to pastoralism, the majority will remain on the margins and ultimately, fall out of the system. The report tries to answer questions around commercialization by focusing on two pastoralist areas of Ethiopia which are described as ‘high export’ areas.

The entire report Mind the Gap (555) can be read here!

Posted on 5 April 2011 in Pastoralism & Marketing, Pastoralism & Natural Resources, Value of Pastoralism