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Diversification and Livelihood Sustainability in a Semi-Arid Environment: A Case Study from Southern Ethiopia

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  • Wassie Berhanu
  • David Colman
  • Bichaka Fayissa

Abstract

This paper examines the recently growing adoption of non-pastoral livelihood strategies among the Borana pastoralists in southern Ethiopia. A large portion of the current non-pastoral participation is in petty and natural resource-based activities. Pastoral and crop production functions are estimated using the Cobb-Douglas model to analyse the economic rationale behind the growing pastoralist shift to cultivation and other non-pastoral activities. The low marginal return to labour in traditional pastoralism suggests the existence of surplus labour that can gainfully be transferred to non-pastoral activities. An examination of the pastoralist activity choices reveals that the younger households with literacy and more exposure to the exchange system display a more diversified income portfolio preference. The findings underscore the importance of human capital investment and related support services for improving the pastoralist capacity to manage risk through welfare-enhancing diversified income portfolio adoption.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 200806.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:mts:wpaper:200806

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Web page: http://www.mtsu.edu/~berc/working/Economics_Working_Papers.html
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Keywords: Pastoralism; Dryland Farming; Diversification; Production Functions; Ethiopia.;

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  1. Barrett, Christopher B. & Bezuneh, Mesfin & Aboud, Abdillahi, 2001. "Income diversification, poverty traps and policy shocks in Cote d'Ivoire and Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 367-384, August.
  2. Abdulai, Awudu & Regmi, Punya Prasad, 2000. "Estimating labor supply of farm households under nonseparability: empirical evidence from Nepal," Agricultural Economics: The Journal of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 22(3), April.
  3. Block, S. & Webb, P., 2001. "The dynamics of livelihood diversification in post-famine Ethiopia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 333-350, August.
  4. Frank Ellis, 1998. "Household strategies and rural livelihood diversification," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 1-38.
  5. Pramila Krishnan & Stefan Dercon, 1995. "Income portfolios in rural Ethiopia and Tanzania: choices and constraints," CSAE Working Paper Series 1995-12, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  6. Greene, William H., 1980. "On the estimation of a flexible frontier production model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 101-115, May.
  7. Jacoby, H.G., 1990. "Shadow Wages And Peasant Family Labor Supply; An Econometric Application To The Peruvian Sierra," Papers 73, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  8. Barrett, C. B. & Reardon, T. & Webb, P., 2001. "Nonfarm income diversification and household livelihood strategies in rural Africa: concepts, dynamics, and policy implications," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 315-331, August.
  9. Reardon, Thomas & Berdegue, Julio & Escobar, German, 2001. "Rural Nonfarm Employment and Incomes in Latin America: Overview and Policy Implications," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 395-409, March.
  10. Reardon, Thomas, 1997. "Using evidence of household income diversification to inform study of the rural nonfarm labor market in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 735-747, May.
  11. Jacoby, Hanan G., 1991. "Productivity of men and women and the sexual division of labor in peasant agriculture of the Peruvian Sierra," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1-2), pages 265-287, November.
  12. Ellis, Frank, 2000. "Rural Livelihoods and Diversity in Developing Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296966, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Hurst, Matthew & Jensen, Nathaniel & Pedersen, Sarah & Shama, Asha & Zambriski, Jennifer, 2012. "Changing Climate Adaptation Strategies of Boran Pastoralists in Southern Ethiopia," MPRA Paper 55865, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Hanjra, Munir A. & Ferede, Tadele & Gutta, Debel Gemechu, 2009. "Pathways to breaking the poverty trap in Ethiopia: Investments in agricultural water, education, and markets," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1596-1604, November.
  3. Baird, Timothy D. & Gray, Clark L., 2014. "Livelihood Diversification and Shifting Social Networks of Exchange: A Social Network Transition?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 14-30.
  4. Dil Bahadur Rahut & Maja Micevska Scharf, 2012. "Livelihood diversification strategies in the Himalayas," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 56(4), pages 558-582, October.
  5. Hanjra, Munir A. & Ferede, Tadele & Gutta, Debel Gemechu, 2009. "Reducing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa through investments in water and other priorities," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(7), pages 1062-1070, July.
  6. Wassie Berhanu & Bichaka Fayissa, 2010. "Analysis of the Household Economy and Expenditure Patterns of a Traditional Pastoralist Society in Southern Ethiopia," Working Papers 201005, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.

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