Livestock Feeding Support as Drought Response

Summary of research1

A sick cow and a shepherd boy in Ab'Ala Afar Region

A livelihoods-based drought response in pastoralist areas could aim to protect key livestock assets and support rapid rebuilding of herds after drought. One aspect of developing such a response requires decision makers to understand the relative importance of different causes of livestock mortality during drought.

Research conducted by the Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative in Afar, Borana and Somali areas of Ethiopia aimed to quantify different causes of livestock mortality during 'normal' and 'drought' years (see Table 1). These figures show that:

Table 1 Livestock leaving pastoralist herds in normal and drought years
Reason for off-take or loss from herd Afar herdst Borana herds Somali herds
  Normal year Drought year Normal year Drought year Normal year Drought year
Starvation 0% 19.5% 0.7% 13.1% 0% 15.5%
Disease 10.1% 16.7% 12.5% 11.9% 12.6% 7.3%
Sale 6.0% 6.5% 8.4% 8.5% 7.0% 5.1%
Slaughter 0.6% 0.4% 1.7% 1.8% 4.1% 3.1%
Predation 4.7% 5.1% 6.8% 6.1% 6.1% 4.6%
Other 6.1% 5.3% 7.0% 6.2% 2.9% 1.2%
Total 27.5% 53.5% 37.1% 47.6% 32.7% 39.8%

 

Evidence from Pastoralist Livelihood Initiative (PLI) impact assessments in southern Ethiopia showed that when some livestock were destocked, pastoralists chose to use part of the resulting income on both animal feed support (up to 31% of income) and veterinary care (6% of income). This pattern of investment contrasted with a typical aid response for livestock during drought, which focuses heavily on veterinary treatments or vaccinations.

An analysis of supplementary livestock feeding programmes in northern Kenya in 2001 assumed that feed was provided for 8000 sheep and goats for three months during drought. Each animal was fed 250g concentrate/day. The cost was compared with the cost of replacing these animals by restocking after the drought. Whereas the feed programme cost US$82,353, the restocking would have cost US$258,065 - it was around three times more expensive to restock than to keep sheep and goats alive during the drought through feed supplementation.

A theoretical analysis of feed, transport, operational and administration costs for delivering feed in Afar region found that restocking sheep and goats cost around 6.5 times more than supplementary feeding. Restocking cattle costs 14 times more than supplementary feeding.

The PLI research highlighted a number of key policy and programming issues:

Show footnotes

1Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative (2007). Food for Thought: Livestock Feeding Support during Drought. Policy Brief, Number 2, November 2007

More like this

FEX: Impact of goat feeding and animal healthcare on child milk access in Ethiopia

By Gezu Bekele, Esmael Tessema Ali, Genene Regassa and Nicoletta Buono Gezu Bekele is an experienced veterinary doctor and senior participatory research specialist with...

FEX: Post-drought restocking Can its impact be sustainable?

By Ahmed Alkadir Mohammed Ahmed Alkadir Mohammed is currently a Disaster Risk Management Specialist with the World Bank, Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) Team. Prevously...

FEX: Livestock and livelihoods in emergencies

Lessons learned during the 1999 - 2000 emergency response in Kenya Summary of report* "The provision of veterinary drugs, such as de-wormers, prolongs the life of an animal...

FEX: Support for primary production (Special Supplement 3)

7.1 Introduction This section focuses on supporting agricultural production, in particular farming and livestock production, as livelihood strategies. Production support can...

FEX: Impact of livestock support on animal milksupply and child nutrition in Ethiopia

Summary by Kate Sadler and Emily Mitchard Dry riverbed in Shinile Kate Sadler is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the Feinstein International Centre, Tufts University...

FEX: Evaluation of the Wajir Relief Programme 1996-98

Published Evaluation OXFAM (UK and Ireland) were engaged in relief work in Wajir District of Kenya from September 1996 until October 1998. The interventions were a response to...

FEX: Destocking to improve food security in drought - prone Ethiopia

By Dereje Adugna Tieke Dereje is an Emergency Response & Transition Program Officer for CARE Ethiopia, with sixteen years of field experience in development work and emergency...

FEX: Linking early warning system information to response

The emergency livestock off-take programme, Isiolo district 1996-7 By Helen Bushell and Mike Wekesa Isiolo - A trader admires the animals he has purchased Helen Bushell is a...

FEX: Profile and overview of the church’s role in emergency response

By Deed Jaldessa and Debela Kenea Deed Jaldessa has over two decades experience in development work in rural Ethiopia and currently leads The Ethiopian Evangelical Church...

FEX: De-stocking in Kenya (Special Supplement 3)

Animals sharing a drink in Wajir, northern Kenya The drought in 1999-2001 was one of the most severe in recent history in Kenya. Nearly three million pastoralists and...

FEX: Famine Avoided Despite Drought and ‘Zud’ in Mongolia

Summary of published paper1 Nomadic herding remains at the core of Mongolian society, employing a significantly larger proportion of the population than any other economic...

FEX: Linking relief and development programming in Wajir, Kenya (Special Supplement 3)

In the early to mid-1990s, Oxfam developed a one programme approach that combined relief, development and advocacy. The Wajir programme, which is described below, is considered...

FEX: Seasonal Trends in Pastoral Malnutrition in Somalia

By Louise Masese Mwirigi and Joseph Waweru Ms Lousie Masese-Mwirigi works as a Nutrition Analyst for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO) - Food...

FEX: New guidelines for livestock emergencies

A shepherd heading goats received in FAO emergency programme in Lebanon Following the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, several humanitarian organizations came forward to help...

FEX: Milk Matters: Improving Health and Nutritional Status of Children in Pastoralist Communities

By Dr Kate Sadler and Dr Andy Catley Kate Sadler is a nutritionist and currently senior researcher with a focus on nutrition in emergencies at the Feinstein International...

FEX: The Collection of Early Warning Information Through Community Resource People – A Case Study from the Red Sea State

Beja Nomads in the Red Sea State By Mahomed Dien, Fatma Musa, Alawia Osman who are field officers for the Oxfam Community Situation Indicator (CSI) project since its inception...

FEX: Oxfam’s Somaliland-Ethiopia Cross Border Drought Preparedness Project

By Abay Bekele Abay Bekele works for Oxfam GB as Senior Pastoral Programme Manager. He has over nine years of technical and managerial experience in pastoral development and...

FEX: Scurvy outbreak and erosion of livelihoods masked by low wasting levels in drought affected Northern Afghanistan

By Fitsum Assefa Signs of scurvy: blackness of the legs indicative of haemorrhage Fitsum Assefa is a nutritionist who recently joined Save the Children, United States (SC/US)...

FEX: The danger of interpreting anthropometric data out of context

Mark Myatt is a consultant epidemiologist and senior research fellow at the Institute of Ophthalmology. His areas of expertise are infectious disease, nutrition and survey...

FEX: The Changing Nature of Livestock Raiding and its Role in Famine

Summary of published paper Turkana woman posing with the editor's son A newly published paper in 'Disasters' examines a specific form of conflict: livestock raiding in...

Close

Reference this page

Livestock Feeding Support as Drought Response. Field Exchange 32, January 2008. p8. www.ennonline.net/fex/32/livestock