Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Livestock Interventions Can Protect Lives, Livelihoods

April 27, 2007
Tufts University
Livestock are often a crucial livelihoods asset for communities in Africa, but livestock are vulnerable to drought. Researchers report that counterintuitive measures -- selling livestock -- tested in Ethiopia during droughts supported communities and sustained the livelihoods of livestock farmers.

Pastoralist communities in dryland areas of Africa are reliant on livestock as sources of food, income and social support. However drought is common in sub-Saharan Africa, making these communities vulnerable to loss of livestock when rains fail.

Related Articles

The Feinstein International Center (FIC), part of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, in partnership with United States Agency for International Development Ethiopia (USAID Ethiopia), CARE, and Save the Children USA, describes non-traditional drought-relief interventions involving livestock in Ethiopia in a report entitled "Impact Assessments of Livelihoods-based Drought Interventions in Moyale and Dire Woredas." Seemingly counterintuitive, these interventions enabled families to reduce livestock assets during droughts, but ultimately helped feed families, support communities, and sustain pastoralist livelihoods.

"Recurring drought contributes to the vulnerability of pastoralists in Ethiopia," says Andrew Catley, PhD, a research director at the FIC and lead editor of the report, "as drought kills livestock, creates hardship for pastoralist communities, and leads to repeated need for humanitarian assistance. While food aid helps keep people alive, other relief interventions can not only save lives but also, importantly, be effective in preventing the loss of livestock and allowing pastoralists to protect their main resources and way of life."

To test these livelihoods-based relief interventions, during the 2005-2006 droughts in southern Ethiopia, researchers worked with the Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative (PLI), a program based on the creation of a national Livestock Policy Forum by the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and facilitated by the FIC. The two-year program, funded by USAID Ethiopia, allowed FIC, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government to test field level interventions and feed results into national guidelines for livelihoods-based livestock relief.

The livelihoods-based relief interventions took place in the Moyale and Dire districts, or woredas, as they are called in southern Ethiopia. Interventions in both woredas involved de-stocking -- selling livestock to reduce numbers -- in exchange for cash to buy food, maintain a core herd, and access private services like veterinary care, livestock feed and transportation.

"Within the aid community, there is a reluctance to support drought interventions which provide cash to communities, either directly or indirectly. There seems to be a perception that poor or vulnerable people will not use cash effectively compared to say, food aid -- this is a perception we've been questioning for some time. These case studies add to a growing body of evidence which shows that people use cash, in this case from de-stocking livestock, in rational ways. Households were able to meet their immediate food and health care needs, while also protecting core livestock assets through buying feed, moving animals to better grazing areas, and providing veterinary care," says Catley. Selling livestock assets also supported the local community and economy, as the food and services for families and animals were purchased mostly at local markets and from local businesses.

"At the policy level, we need to view drought as a normal and often predictable event in dryland areas of Africa, and plan accordingly," says Catley. "This means that long-term development programs need to have built-in contingency plans for drought and other crises, and clearly defined triggers which allow these plans to be activated. These ideas are not new, but aid agencies -- both donors and NGOs -- struggle with this approach.

We also need to continue strengthening the local services which pastoralists need and, in particular, support far greater private sector involvement in livestock marketing and veterinary services. More timely and large-scale livelihoods-based drought interventions make sense both for the affected communities and for donors as the de-stocking in Ethiopia had a benefit-cost ratio of around 41:1. It makes far more sense to support a manageable core herd of animals during drought, than allow all the animals to die and have to replace them through expensive restocking programs."

Abebe D, Admassu, B, Aklilu Y, Catley A, Cullis A, Demeke F, Gebrechirstos Y, Mekonnen G. 2007 (March). "Impact Assessments of Livelihoods-based Drought Interventions in Moyale and Dire Woredas." Feinstein International Center, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tufts University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

Tufts University. "Livestock Interventions Can Protect Lives, Livelihoods." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423100922.htm>.
Tufts University. (2007, April 27). Livestock Interventions Can Protect Lives, Livelihoods. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423100922.htm
Tufts University. "Livestock Interventions Can Protect Lives, Livelihoods." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423100922.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This

More From ScienceDaily

More Plants & Animals News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

Newsy (Mar. 29, 2015) A 508-million-year-old arthropod that swam in the Cambrian seas is thought to share a common ancestor with spiders and scorpions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

AFP (Mar. 29, 2015) Vietnam&apos;s drive to become the world&apos;s leading rice exporter is pushing farmers in the fertile Mekong Delta to the brink, say experts, with mounting costs to the environment. Duration: 02:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins