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Livestock and livelihood security in the Harar highlands of Ethiopia

implications for research and development

Kassa Belay, Habtemariam (2003). Livestock and livelihood security in the Harar highlands of Ethiopia. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae. Agraria, 1401-6249 ; 388
ISBN 91-576-6436-6
[Doctoral thesis]

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The study was conducted to examine the role of livestock in smallholder mixed farming systems, and to determine variations in livestock inventory in relation to changes in socio-economic status and rural population density in the Harar Highlands of Ethiopia. Livestock feed balance, household food adequacy level, and soil humus balance of annually cropped plots were identified as proxy indicators of sustainability. The long-term dynamics of the crop-livestock sub-system within the evolving livelihood system was also examined. The study showed that farmers and experts differed in their views regarding livestock production objectives, constraints and development measures. Farmers in different well-being categories varied in their livestock inventories, showing differences in their production strategies and needs. Only poor farmers had enough feed to meet maintenance requirement of their livestock while others were largely deficit. Feed balance results failed to portray field reality, as knowledge about tropical feeds and the adaptive potentials of indigenous breeds is limited, undermining the potential use of feed balance as an indicator of sustainability of smallholder mixed farms. Both household energy adequacy levels and the per cent contribution of livestock to total household energy supply varied significantly with well-being categories. Households in medium and well-to-do categories were high in household energy adequacy levels whereas poor households could not meet their energy demands. Also, the estimated soil humus balances of annually cropped plots of poor households were negative whereas those of other farmers were positive, and values increased with higher livestock holding. The variations across districts and across well-being categories were highly significant. Livestock inventory declined with rural population density and increased with socio-economic status, and variations were significant. But the number of livestock per unit area of cultivated land increased significantly with rural population density. The number and overall transport performance of dondeys increased significantly with socio-economic status, indicating the growing importance of non-agricultural activities and signalling a change in livelihood systems and the functions of livestock. The trend and dynamics of the crop-livestock sub-system was also studied, using system dynamics modelling. Complementary and competitive relations among sub-system components were depicted, the critical role of livestock in the livelihood system illustrated, and a conceptual model framework containing key elements and flows developed. As the role of livestock in the livelihood systems remains central, the focus of technology choice and promotion has to shift from crop or livestock to crop and livestock production system. The thesis that as land resources dwindle mixed farming systems will have to specialize or would face involution, does not seem to hold for the Harar Highlands of Ethiopia, at least in the foreseeable future. Agricultural development initiatives must therefore consider the crucial role of livestock in smallholder mixed farming systems even when farm sizes decline.

Authors/Creators:Kassa Belay, Habtemariam
Title:Livestock and livelihood security in the Harar highlands of Ethiopia
Subtitle:implications for research and development
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae. Agraria
Year of publishing :June 2003
Number of Pages:163
Place of Publication:Uppsala
ISBN for printed version:91-576-6436-6
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:E Economics, development, and rural sociology > E20 Organization, administration and management of agricultural enterprises or farms
Subjects:Not in use, please see Agris categories
Agrovoc terms:livestock, farming systems, small farms, sustainability, ethiopia, highlands, agricultural structure, socioeconomic environment
Keywords:Ethiopia, Harar Highlands, livelihood systems, smallholder mixed farming, crop-livestock sub-system, sutainability, indicators
Permanent URL:
ID Code:301
Department:(LTJ, LTV) > Institutionen för landsbygdsutveckling (fr.o.m. 960901)
Deposited By: Staff Epsilon
Deposited On:10 Jun 2003 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:03

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