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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Allemagne → 2013 → Climate change, cattle herd vulnerability and food insecurity : adaptation through livestock diversification in the Borana pastoral system of Ethiopia

Universität Hohenheim (2013)

Climate change, cattle herd vulnerability and food insecurity : adaptation through livestock diversification in the Borana pastoral system of Ethiopia

Megersa Bati, Bekele

Titre : Climate change, cattle herd vulnerability and food insecurity : adaptation through livestock diversification in the Borana pastoral system of Ethiopia

Auteur : Megersa Bati, Bekele

Université de soutenance : Universität Hohenheim

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2013

Climate change is one of the dominant drivers of changing patterns in precipitation, rise in temperature and increasing frequency of extreme weather events that present a major challenge to livestock production in arid and semi-arid environments. In the Borana region of southern Ethiopia, the resulting reduction in the resilience of rangelands and heavy cattle losses associated with recurrent droughts pose serious challenges to cattle pastoralism. This study aimed at investigating regional manifestations of climate change and variability, and their impacts on cattle production and household food security, as well as the role of livestock species diversification as an adaptation strategy of Borana pastoralists in southern Ethiopia. The study involved the use of questionnaire surveys, participatory discussions and monthly meteorological data from 1970 to 2011. A total of 242 households sampled from Yabelo and Dire districts of the Borana zone were surveyed between August 2011 and December 2011. Data collection also included cattle herd histories, which were reconstructed for a period spanning five major droughts (between 1980 and 2011), and household-level livestock mortalities due to the 2010/2011 drought. With the use of 24-hour food recalls, data on individual dietary diversity were collected from 339 respondents during the beginning (September) and the end of the short rains (December). Besides descriptive analyses, a range of statistical models including general linear models, generalized linear mixed models, generalized additive models, ordered and binary logit models, and a proportional hazard regression model were applied to different data sets using SAS version 9.3. Herders ? perceptions showed that rainfall has become more unpredictable with lower amounts and shorter durations, while temperature and the frequency of droughts have increased. The analysis of empirical data revealed a similar declining trend in annual precipitation and cattle holdings, while droughts became more frequent. A spectral analysis of annual rainfall series showed a quasi-periodic cycle of about 8.4 years for annual precipitation with recurring droughts every 4.2 dry years. The Borana herders suffered heavy cattle losses and experienced severe food insecurity in consequence of increased climate variability. Hence, the study showed that climate change and variability have impacts on cattle production, pointing to a critical future for the sustainability of cattle pastoralism in southern Ethiopia. Analysis of the data on food security showed a high prevalence of food insecurity (78%) and low dietary diversity, with the majority of the households (81%) merely consuming one to three food groups. A large number of the respondents consumed no fruits, vegetables (93%) and meat (96%), suggesting a high risk of micronutrient deficiencies given the declining trend in milk intake. Livestock diversification indeed significantly has improved dietary intake and household food security. Households with large herd sizes, farmland sizes and large family sizes, or households having off-farm income sources were also found to be better-off compared to their counterparts. Analysis of the data on livestock species composition showed that all of the respondents were keeping cattle, while 94%, 85% and 40% kept goats, sheep and camels, respectively. Recurrent droughts, bush encroachment and increased cattle herd vulnerability were among the major drivers of livestock diversification. Species diversity fulfilled a broad spectrum of the herders ? livelihood priorities, of which milk production and cash revenues from live animal sales were of highest importance. Adaptability assessments based on a set of nine adaptive traits showed that camels had the highest adaptive capacity, followed by goats, while cattle were the least adapted species. Species vulnerability to drought also reflected the adaptability patterns with cattle being the most vulnerable to drought followed by sheep, and camels being the most tolerant species. In general, the present study showed that climate change and its variability posed a challenge to cattle production, with recurrent droughts causing enormous mortalities and worsening household food insecurity. The adaptation measure of herders through diversifying their herd composition was found to alleviate food insecurity and reduce vulnerability to the periodic climatic shocks. To further enhance herders ? adaptive capacity, implementing adaptation strategies aimed at proactively reducing vulnerability to climate risks and enhancing ex-post risk management capacity are vitally important.


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