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 New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Mutation that causes autism and intellectual disability makes brain less flexible

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

The sweet side of reproductive biology

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fading stripes in Southeast Asia: First insight into the ecology of an elusive and threatened rabbit

20.11.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>