Sell or Move: Preliminary Observations About Herder Decision Making During a Prolonged Drought


Peter D. Little

Type of Document:
Research Brief


Livestock-Climate Change CRSP, Colorado State University

Date of Publication:
January 2012

Place of Publication:
Fort Collins, CO


Abstract: Herders must confront difficult decisions during disasters, including choices about selling animals or moving them to distant pastures where they might be able to wait out the dry period without losses. This research brief presents preliminary observations carried out in Borena Zone, southern Ethiopia and Garissa District, northeastern Kenya during the recent drought (2011). Although drought is often seen in monolithic climatic and environmental terms, we argue that several non-climatic factors also constrain herder’s and trader’s responses during a disaster. We particularly highlight the interrelated decisions that center on land use, mobility, and market choices, all factors with amplified importance during prolonged droughts. We conclude with some practical implications of the preliminary findings.

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