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

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Wassie Berhanu & David Colman & Bichaka Fayissa, 2008. "Diversification and Livelihood Sustainability in a Semi-Arid Environment: A Case Study from Southern Ethiopia," Working Papers 200806, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:mts:wpaper:200806
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Kandulu, John M. & Bryan, Brett A. & King, Darran & Connor, Jeffery D., 2012. "Mitigating economic risk from climate variability in rain-fed agriculture through enterprise mix diversification," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 105-112.
    3. Rahut, Dil Bahadur & Scharf, Maja Micevska, 2012. "Livelihood diversification strategies in the Himalayas," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 56(4), December.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    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.
    7. Berhanu, Wassie & Beyene, Fekadu, 2014. "The impact of climate change on pastoral production systems: A study of climate variability and household adaptation strategies in southern Ethiopian rangelands," WIDER Working Paper Series 028, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Berhe, Melaku & Hoag, Dana & Tesfay, Girmay & Oniki, Shunji & Kagatsume, Masaru, 2016. "Effects of adaptation to climate change on income of cattle owners in the pastoral and agro-pastoral communities of Northern Ethiopia," 2016 AAAE Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 246974, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    9. repec:eee:forpol:v:83:y:2017:i:c:p:199-209 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Solomon Zena Walelign & Mariève Pouliot & Helle Overgaard Larsen & Carsten Smith-Hall, 2015. "A novel approach to dynamic livelihood clustering: Empirical evidence from Nepal," IFRO Working Paper 2015/09, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.
    11. 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.
    12. Wassie Berhanu & Fekadu Beyene, 2015. "Climate Variability and Household Adaptation Strategies in Southern Ethiopia," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(6), pages 1-23, May.
    13. Solomon Zena Walelign, 2016. "Livelihood strategies, environmental dependency and rural poverty: the case of two villages in rural Mozambique," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 593-613, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pastoralism; Dryland Farming; Diversification; Production Functions; Ethiopia.;

    JEL classification:

    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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