Journal of
Development and Agricultural Economics

  • Abbreviation: J. Dev. Agric. Econ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9774
  • DOI: 10.5897/JDAE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 527

Full Length Research Paper

Herd mobility, markets and informal insurance practices among herders in Ethiopia

Fekadu Beyene
  • Fekadu Beyene
  • College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Haramaya University, P. O. Box 161, Haramaya, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Accepted: 30 August 2013
  •  Published: 31 March 2014


This paper examines portfolio of livelihood strategies that households employ in semi-arid and risky production environment. Results show that there are multiple choices available for pastoral and agropastoral herders to adapt to or cope with the changing conditions. These include herd mobility, relying on traditional early warning, informal asset transfer, livestock fattening (emergence of markets) and in some cases a complete shift from pastoralism. Moreover, the development of institutional arrangements to assist various forms of economic transaction that supported the flow of productive assets from less efficient to more efficient users emerged as herders tend to mix their strategies. The results imply the need to revise development strategies that erroneously perceive herding communities as homogenous groups. Interventions supporting sustainable livelihoods in pastoral areas emphasize supply of diverse packages in order to meet different demands.

Key words: Mobility, markets, informal insurance, traditional institutions.