In response to rapid globalization, African countries have dedicated considerable efforts to transform rural producers into businesses and integrate them with global markets. Pastoralists are mostly isolated from the other livestock value chain members. This makes it difficult for them to acquire knowledge regarding how the market functions and what the value chain members’ want. This study explores how much pastoralists know and what knowledge they need to seize market opportunities. Using qualitative evidence from Ethiopian pastoralists, this study finds that pastoralists understand routine and physically existing facts such as selling livestock in a fixed market place during regular market days. However, the pastoralists lack the higher order knowledge that includes a broader understanding of the market phenomena and the abilities to scrutinize and interpolate those phenomena into their livestock raising experiential realm to make informed production decisions. This will hinder their functioning as “businesses” in modern value chains. This study therefore suggests for the development of market knowledge among pastoralists. Policy makers and development workers can consider marketing training to build the market knowledge of pastoralists. Further research could study how to effectively train the pastoralists to acquaint them with market knowledge to focus on market-based livestock production.
Key words: Market integration, market knowledge, remoteness, pastoral, Ethiopia.
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