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1 January 2018 Diversified Investments of Wealthy Ethiopian Pastoralists Include Livestock and Urban Assets That Better Manage Risk
D. Layne Coppock, DeeVon Bailey, Medhat Ibrahim, Seyoum Tezera
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Abstract

The Borana pastoral systemhas long been regarded as amodel for sustainable resource use in eastern Africa. Recent growth in human and livestock populations, however, has contributed to amarked decline in rangeland condition, as well as increasing poverty. Another trend is fewer pastoralists controlling more resources. Today, for example, only 10% of households own 60% of all livestock. This wealthyminority has become increasingly important but has received little research attention. We wanted to learn how such elites perceive system change and how they innovate when accumulating or managing their assets. Twelve wealthy men were interviewed. They noted that the pastoral system is in sharp decline,with the most serious livestock-production constraints including chronic shortages of forage and labor. The average value of the physical and financial assets held by these men was estimated as at least USD $164,000, about 62-times that held by poor households. The average investment portfolio was composed of livestock (two-thirds of total value), while savings accounts in local banks and urban real estate (largely housing) made up the remainder. Livestock in general—and cattle in particular—were the riskiest physical assets given recurrent effects of drought and forage scarcity on animal productivity andmortality. When asked to identify future investment priorities, the men said that investing in urban real estate and their children was now preferred to investing inmore livestock; their tradition of steady livestock reinvestment has thus changed. Recent urban growth in the rangelands has given the wealthy elite new investment options that offset heightened risks of animal losses. Urban investments are important because they could facilitate town development and provide incentives to improve rangemanagement via destocking. Outreach programs focused on the diversification of pastoral assets could includewealthy pastoralists as opinion leaders and accelerate positive change here.

© 2017 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
D. Layne Coppock, DeeVon Bailey, Medhat Ibrahim, and Seyoum Tezera "Diversified Investments of Wealthy Ethiopian Pastoralists Include Livestock and Urban Assets That Better Manage Risk ," Rangeland Ecology and Management 71(1), 138-148, (1 January 2018). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2017.05.004
Received: 13 June 2016; Accepted: 1 May 2017; Published: 1 January 2018
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