Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title

Research Brief

Publication Date

6-2014

Publisher

Colorado State University

Volume

RB-19-2014

Abstract

An economic analysis of strategies to increase the resiliency of pastoral communities on the Borana Plateau is presented. Populations of people and livestock have grown in recent decades in this area. As a result of overgrazing and lack of fire, woody bush has proliferated and reduced grass forage for cattle. Droughts here are also perceived to be more frequent and severe as a result of climate change. One consequence of an increasing population and more frequent drought is that food aid has become pervasive in the system, and pastoral communities have become less resilient to drought. This analysis is based on a linear programming (LP) model, and examines possible land and livestock interventions for the Harweyu Pastoral Association that could mitigate population and climate-change effects. These include altering the mix of livestock species (introducing more browsing camels relative to grazing cattle), clearing bush, and expanding deferred grazing practices (kalo) to allow more grass forage to be available in the long dry season. Results suggest that increasing camels could yield some modest improvement to the system, but clearing bush on a large-scale (33% of the landscape) would have very positive impacts on the ability of people to sustain cattle production; it could also reduce dependence on food aid by almost 30%. However, local communities do not have the resources to take on the cost of large-scale bush clearing themselves. If an endowment of land cleared of bush was provided, the community would have the resources and economic incentive to keep the land cleared into the future, thereby promoting resiliency and sustainability of the pastoral system.