This paper aims to share knowledge and the theoretical basis for understanding herd dynamics in pastoral communities of Hadiya, Southern Ethiopia, with the intention that it may improve effectiveness of development interventions. The study is based on data collected from two districts considering 160 pastoral households. Focus group and key informant discussions were also made to generate data to supplement the personal interviews. A Probit model was utilized for analyzing factors that determine cattle stocking. The Hadiya pastoralists stock cattle not mainly as a security against risks but it is also the cultural obligation to attain the cultural titles to some clans. Social interaction expressed as marriage bond and social capital as well as herding experience determines willingness and intensity of herd stoking, besides natural factors. However, financial factors have little effect on cattle dynamics. The results imply that, if any kind of development interventions is planned to improve the livelihood of the community and or the environment, strategies related to optimal stocking rates (considering cultural dimension of stocking) should be developed.
Key words: Ethiopia, herd stocking, Hadiya, pastoralism.
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