Determinants of Pastoralists Participation in Alternative Livelihoods: The Case of Amibara Woreda of Afar Region

Daniel Temesgen Gelan


Afar Regional State is the fourth largest region (99,646.54 km2 area) in Ethiopia, located in the northeastern part of the country. It shares boundaries with Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and Ethio-Somali Regions of Ethiopia and also borders Djibouti and Eritrea (Afar Regional Atlas. 2014). Most of Afar Region has a harsh and dry landscape largely covered by desert scrubland. The entire region of Afar is classified under Pastoral and Agro-pastoralist production system. About 7.0% of the total area of the region is suitable for crop production; and 22.4% of the total area of the region could be developed for agricultural activity Afar land use policy 2008. The Afar economy is poorly diversified and not well integrated with the market. Afar pastoralists have witnessed the growing concern over extreme vulnerability and declining change in the traditional livelihood system (Tufts 2019). This is mainly due to multifaceted driving forces of change such as declining access to traditional land, demographic and policy changes, extreme climate events, market and other drivers. Among others, climate change posed a huge challenge; the most noticed variables are distributions and inconstancy of rain fall (Shekuru et al.2020), increased temperatures and recurrent prolonged droughts (Fekadu, 2015;). These aggravated stock loss and impoverishment, food insecurity and conflict. The Afars are highly pastoralists and have access to few alternative economic activities, although rangeland resources contribute to the traditional activities in the past to support the household during crises. However, it has been observed that pastoralists are increasingly participating in alternative livelihoods to adapt to the changes. Dependence on alternative livelihoods has shown growing trends (Tufts 2019) and while livestock ownership often concentrated among wealthier households (Catley 2017). The Alternative livelihood included in this study are activities which are relatively in safe working environment, and takes place without harmful social or environmental consequences and include certain types of business development for those with access to capital or credit and related employment (Little 2016). The rising concern over food and livelihood security in the Afar region, government and development partners are promoting alternative livelihoods. The government Pastoral Development Policy 2018 is aimed at enhancing alternative livelihood as one of the paths for pastoralist development. Further, although a number studies were done in different corner on the alternative livelihood in pastoral areas. Few literatures are available on determinates of participation in alternative livelihoods; and, few information is available and no works had been done so far at the study area. Moreover, by examining the participation of pastoralist in alternative livelihood provide clear information on improving the enabling environment to alternative livelihood development through improvement skill training finance, business and entrepreneurship and technical support. Due to the above-mentioned facts, this study focused on assessing determinants of participation in alternative livelihood and pastoralists’ perception towards alternative livelihoods. The objective of this paper is to examine the determinants of participating in to alternative livelihoods and analyzing the perception of pastoralist on alternative livelihoods.

DOI: 10.7176/JPID/61-01

Publication date: January 31st 2022

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