While livestock theft in Lesotho is primarily caused by increased poverty among unemployed workers and drought stricken crop farmers, its effect on stock farmers can be devastating. Using an asset-based approach we show how such theft reduces the affected households’ own consumption of both the “returns” on their wealth, for example milk and wool, and of wealth itself, for example meat and hides. It also restricts their ability to apply asset smoothing by forcing them to sell their remaining livestock wealth in the market place and use the proceeds to acquire the necessary food and non-food products. Some policy implications are briefly highlighted.
Key words: Livestock theft, unemployed, drought, asset-based approach, livestock wealth, returns on wealth, household utility, asset smoothing, other coping methods.
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