Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Size of herd determines status and access to resources in Kenya

17.11.2004


Less livestock wealth, means less chance of access to arable land, grain production and friends. Kenyan and Dutch researchers Adano Roba and Karen Witsenburg have discovered that this is the hard truth faced by poor households in North Kenya. They therefore argue that poverty alleviation measures should also focus on guaranteeing better prices for livestock and a broader approach to developing drylands.



Between 1997 and 2000, Adano Roba and Karen Witsenburg studied the life and welfare of nomadic livestock herders in the area around Marsabit Mountain in North Kenya. They discovered that the number of animals has a major influence on access to important sources of help. The more animals a household has, the greater claim his family can make on social networks within the wider family, the clan and the village. Also, the people with larger herds receive more land and higher incomes, with which they can purchase grain for example.

The researchers demonstrated that extremely poor families in particular, earn money by selling wood and charcoal. This tree harvesting has a detrimental effect on the water supply, as forests protect the watershed and retain the water in the soil. Without forests in the neighbourhood there is a threat of rain-fed agriculture and critical water shortages in the long term. As soon as these poor people can obtain income from other activities, they become less dependent on the National Park on Marsabit Mountain. According to Roba and Witsenburg, measures to protect the National Park would also be more effective if these people could obtain incomes from other sources and if they are involved in decision-making processes of forest resource use.


Poor families with small herds not only sell charcoal but also the little milk they have to buy grain, which is richer in energy. However, this has a negative effect on the health of young animals, and the growth of the family herd. It also calibrates other studies that find that children do not consume enough dairy products which are needed for a healthy growth and development.

Until about 1990 the population of Marsabit District could feed itself with its own livestock, dairy products and grain production. Since 1990, food security has decreased to the extent that a large proportion of the population have become dependent on sales of animals and food aid. However, the Kenyan economy could not support the need for increased livestock sales to purchase additional non-livestock food because of the structural decline of the Kenyan economy. Both Ph.D. students described the circumstances which led to this change, and presented possible sustainable solutions for the poverty problem.

Roba and Witsenburg correlated annual data concerning population size, rainfall, agricultural production and livestock from about 1920 onwards and described the trends in these data. They also studied changes in forest management, institutions on water use and management, indigenous institutions of sharing and redistributing herd-based resources, the links between violent conflicts and resource scarcity and the government policy to concentrate nomadic livestock-herders in farming settlements. In the light of the research results, the authors advocate more diversified approaches to future development programmes among livestock herders because a single resource is unable to meet household needs.

The research was jointly funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and the University of Amsterdam.

Sonja Knols-Jacobs | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>