Diversification and livelihood sustainability in a semi-arid environment: A case study from southern Ethiopia

Wassie Berhanu, David Colman, Bichaka Fayissa
2007 Journal of Development Studies  
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
more » ... abour 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. . + This paper is an early version of an article published in the Journal of Development Studies, 43(5), 2007:871-889.
doi:10.1080/00220380701384554 fatcat:fbcgjjrelzcxdh4oxbdtslzspm