The relationship between rural livelihoods and livestock keeping: the case of Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia

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Woldeyohannes, Bezalem Sinote
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University College Cork
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This study examines the relationship between rural livelihoods and livestock keeping in Sidama Zones, southern Ethiopia. The livelihood context, assets and strategies of households are the key features of rural livelihoods considered in the study; while households’ livestock ownership, dependence on livestock and livestock management are the main aspects of livestock keeping examined. The study used the sustainable livelihood approach as a framework for data collection and analysis. Describing the main features of rural livelihoods and livestock keeping, and the general pattern of relationship between them, this study mainly aims at identifying the main livelihood factors that determine livestock keeping in the study area. Descriptive statistics, pair wise correlations, mean comparisons and analysis of variance were used to describe rural livelihoods and livestock keeping as well as the relationship between them. Tobit regressions were used to examine the effect of the various livelihood factors on households’ livestock ownership and dependence; Poisson regressions are used to investigate the factors that influence the intensity of livestock management measured by the use of different technologies and inputs. The findings indicated that a number of livelihood factors - assets, livelihood strategies, livelihood shocks and institutional supports - significantly determine the different aspects of livestock keeping. These include: human assets such as age, education and family size; social assets such as membership to social groups; financial assets such as credit; natural assets such as land, and household physical assets; and livelihood strategies such as diversification into farm and nonfarm activities, and coping mechanisms. In addition the livelihood vulnerability context such as shocks and institutional support are among the main determinants of livestock keeping. The results, by and large, matched the findings of previous studies, and it is concluded that households livestock keeping depends on their livelihoods. Accordingly, it is recommended that policies aiming at livestock asset building and productivity improvement should take the livelihoods of rural households in to consideration. As such the study contribute to scholarly works in the area of rural livelihoods, in general, and livestock keeping, in particular. It also contributes to a better understanding of the problems of livestock keeping within the context of rural livelihoods in the country and to the formulation of appropriate policy for the development of the sector.
Ethiopia , Sidama Zone , Livestock ownership and dependence , Livestock management , Tobit , Poisson , Rural livelihoods , Sustainable livelihood approach , Livestock keeping
Woldeyohannes, B. S. 2014. The relationship between rural livelihoods and livestock keeping: the case of Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.