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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 also include the provision of productive assets for any livelihood group, for example the provision of tools and equipment for carpenters, blacksmiths, potters, etc., or indeed support for any livelihood strategies. There is considerable overlap between the sections on income support, market access and this chapter on production support. Even with the limited focus of this chapter, many of the income and market support interventions already described provide support for agriculture and livestock based strategies.

Livestock supported by an Oxfam livestock project in Afghanistan

In any context, it needs to be determined whether production support is better provided through cash transfers or market support (i.e. if the items are available and easily supplied locally), or in-kind support for agriculture or livestock. Furthermore, some production support interventions are also forms of market support, for example, de-stocking and seed fairs (see section 7.3). The provision of inputs, such as seeds or livestock, needs to be accompanied by access to essential services, such as agricultural extension and animal health care, to be most effective. In many situations, people will need a combination of different kinds of support.

"Where possible, a range of inputs is provided in order to give producers more flexibility in managing production, processing and distribution, and minimizing risks"
The Sphere Project (2004). Indicator 3 under primary production minimum standard, p. 124

Agricultural support covers a wide range of interventions, ranging from the provision of inputs to supporting extension services, to policy change on access to land and land rights. Preventative measures (mitigation) include seed banks and extension services. Livestock interventions include livestock offtake, fodder distribution, veterinary care, reparation of boreholes and other water sources, all of which are often carried out at an early stage of drought related emergencies. These interventions are complementary, and often implemented together. Other interventions include subsidies for transport to market, or initiatives to improve access to pasture in neighbouring regions or countries. In general, when the provision of in kind goods is necessary, local purchase is the preferred option:

"Inputs and services are purchased locally whenever possible, unless this would adversely affect local producers, markets or consumers." "New technologies are introduced only where their implications for local production systems, cultural practices, and environment are understood and accepted by producers."
The Sphere Project (2004). Indicators under primary production minimum standard, p.124

Seed fairs are covered in detail in this chapter, as this has been one of the main innovations in agricultural programming over the past few years, and has been shown to be successful in promoting access to local seeds, increasing production and increasing livelihoods assets. This section starts with a brief overview on determining the appropriateness of seeds and tools as an emergency response. The section on livestock support programming focuses on fodder distribution, veterinary care, de-stocking and restocking through livestock fairs as the most common livestock interventions in emergencies. The section ends with case studies of a seed fair in Zimbabwe, fodder distribution in Darfur, and livestock interventions in Kenya.

7.2 Assessing the need for seeds and tools

Tools being distributed (top) and seeds being divided (below) at a Tear Fund Seed Fair in South Sudan

Seeds and tools provision is the most common 'livelihood' intervention, regardless of context (Levine and Chastre, 2004, July). Seed needs are generally inferred from food needs, and are rarely based on an assessment of availability and access to seeds. Many agricultural support interventions therefore do not meet the minimum standard for primary production, as one of the key indicators states that:

"Interventions to support primary production are based on a demonstrated understanding of the viability of production systems, including access to, and availability of necessary inputs and services"
The Sphere Project (2004). Indicator 1 under primary production minimum standard, p. 124

An actor oriented analysis gives more insight as to why seeds and tools are such a common response (see box 16).

Assessments to determine the availability and access to seeds for an emergency affected population are rare. The assumption is often that food insecurity, associated with crop failure, will create seed unavailability during the next planting season. Another assumption is that seeds have to be distributed together with tools. Tools may be required in some emergencies, such as floods or displacement, but crop failure due to drought will not necessarily be associated with a loss of tools. Furthermore, in many emergencies, seed is actually available locally, or at least in-country, and can be effectively provided in seed fairs (see section 7.3).

Agricultural support programming needs to be based on a better analysis of the traditional ways farmers save, exchange and procure seeds. Five questions could be used to integrate local seed system profiles in a livelihoods assessment, to determine whether a group of farmers is seed insecure (Longley et al. 2002, December):

To assess availability and access to seeds following a disaster, the following questions must be answered:

Even where assessments do find a lack of seeds, it is often unclear whether this is the limiting factor to production. Assessments need to consider all constraints to production.


Box 16 An actor oriented analysis of the persistence of seeds and tools as an emergency response

For donors, seeds and tools allow spending with tangible results, since the success of the output, the distribution, is almost guaranteed.

  • Agencies find seeds and tools manageable. It is easy to get funding for this intervention, and has a good image since it helps people grow their own food rather than relying on handouts. Seeds and tools also keep projects, and therefore agency staff, going.
  • Local authorities may take seeds and tools at face value as helping people to produce.
  • Community leaders aim to get as much aid for their community as they can.
  • The local population will prefer something to nothing.
  • Seed companies make profits from sales to humanitarian agencies, and will use their influence to keep the programmes going. Box 16 An actor oriented analysis of the persistence of seeds and tools as an emergency response
Source: Levine and Chastre (2004, July).

7.3 Seed fairs

"Seed fairs are markets organised to empower disaster affected households to access seed through exchange of vouchers. They are organised on a specific day and location where vulnerable households are provided with vouchers worth a specific cash value to exchange for seed from registered sellers" (Bramel and Remington, 2005). Fairs are also a meeting place, where buyers and sellers can exchange information about seed quality, price, and innovations in the market.

CRS developed the seed fair methodology and has produced guidelines on how to implement them. In the past few years, a number of other agencies have also tried out the seed fairs approach. Seed fairs have been implemented in a variety of emergency contexts, including conflict, drought, and floods. CRS has recently completed an evaluation of its seed fair programmes in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Gambia (see case study 7.5.1). Oxfam has carried out evaluations of seed fairs in Zimbabwe and Haiti. The remainder of this section is mainly based on the CRS evaluation, complemented with some information from Oxfam evaluations (Creti, 2005, February).

In all areas where seed fairs were implemented, enough local seed was available in country to meet the needs of the beneficiaries. This was the case even when initial assessments had concluded that there was insufficient seed because of significant loss of crop production.

The process of conducting a seed fair consists of the following steps:

  1. Establishing a seed fair committee (local leadership, government officials, extension staff)
  2. Assessing the availability and quality of local seed
  3. Identifying the locations for the fairs
  4. Recruitment and education of seed vendors.
  5. Identify beneficiaries
  6. Preparing for the fair, i.e. identify location, decide on monetary value to be distributed, produce booklets of vouchers
  7. Promoting the fair, i.e. inform the sellers, inform the community, publicity
  8. Holding the fair
    1. Quality inspection
    2. Register quantities brought by each seller
    3. Agree on prices
    4. Distribute vouchers
    5. Exchange seed for vouchers and cash
    6. Redeem vouchers
  9. Evaluation of process and impact

In the CRS evaluation, the vast majority of seed fair beneficiaries were satisfied with the choice of crops, the variety, and the quality. However, in the case of Oxfam in Haiti, partner agencies had sensitised beneficiaries and sellers to the items that should be exchanged, thus limiting choice. Being able to choose creates a much greater sense of ownership of the items bought which, in turn, increases their use and care.

In many cases, the seed sellers were farmers or part time grain/seed sellers. In the case of Haiti, seed sellers were mainly middlemen who had bought the seeds from neighbouring villages. This highlighted the need for better communication about a fair so that farmers themselves would have a chance to sell. In all cases, access to seed was provided in time for the planting season. Seed fairs had a positive impact on production, enhanced livelihood assets and re-enforced local seed systems (see table 10 below).

Table 10 The impact of seed vouchers and fairs on livelihood assets
Asset Impact
Physical Households obtain seeds in time for planting. Beneficiaries have a choice of crops, variety, quantity and quality of seed.
Financial Financial transfer to those receiving vouchers. Increased profit for seed sellers due to seed fair premium. Knock on effects of cash infusion into the community.
Social Communities participate in planning and implementation via seed fair committees. Open, transparent and public process increased confidence. Strengthened relationships between seed sellers and farmers.
Human Enhanced knowledge of different seed systems, their strengths and opportunities for integration. Enhanced knowledge of crops, varietal preference and seed quality. Seed fair interventions can be exploited for divulging information, education, and communication in seed, agriculture and other issues such as HIV/AIDS.
Natural Increased genetic diversity by providing farmers with crop and variety choice.

Source: Bramel and Remington (2005).

The successful experience of seed fairs increased confidence in, and knowledge of, local seed systems and seed security, both on the part of the agency and local institutions. They also strengthened the role that women play in seed systems and local markets. One weakness was that agency staff sometimes found it difficult to relinquish control over the distribution and take a more facilitatory role.

There are clear advantages of seed fairs over the direct seed distributions. These include (ICRISAT, 2002):

CRS seed vouchers worth 5000 Burundian francs

The CRS evaluation also identified significant threats to this more demand driven approach. Influential institutions and actors, such as Ministries of Agriculture, commercial seed compan0ies, donors and some UN agencies tend to support the top down approach. Also, as the seed distributed in seed fairs is not certified, seed regulatory agencies may act to prohibit its sale at seed fairs.

Clearly, seed fairs are not applicable in all contexts. Care must be taken that interventions remain based on an assessment of need and determination of what is most appropriate to the context.

Some key lessons learnt

7.4 Emergency livestock programmes

Karimojong warriors moving cattle between cattle camps near to Kotido, Uganda

People keep livestock as a source of food and income, invest in livestock as a form of saving and use them for their power capacity (for example for riding, for transporting goods, ploughing or cart pulling), and as assets to be used for social obligations such as marriage and religious ceremonies.

Livestock systems can be sedentary or migratory. Migratory livestock keeping - pastoralism and agro-pastoralism - has evolved to enable man to inhabit and survive in the harsher and more inhospitable environments where sedentary farming is risky. Sedentary production involves systems where small ruminants survive on grazing stubble, range-lands, orchards, and some feed supplements, such as wheat or barley, during the summer season.

In sedentary livestock systems, rainfall, pasture and input supply, market access and production success are considered to be reliable and it is the number of animals that is the critical factor. If conditions are good, more animals can be kept, if conditions are bad, fewer animals are kept. Any response to a problem or opportunity involves simply increasing or decreasing the number of animals. In sedentary systems, livestock may provide an important contribution to the livelihood, but other alternatives such as agriculture, forestry and commerce are also often available.

In migratory systems, environmental factors such as rainfall, temperature and vegetation growth are very extreme and unreliable. The amount and distribution of rainfall, snow, or access to fodder are the critical factors. Owners expect to lose large numbers of animals every few years and therefore they keep as many animals as possible to ensure that some remain after a 'shock' or disaster. They also have insurance strategies such as splitting the herd, gifting and loaning animals, and having excess animals to rapidly liquidise into cash or to pay for herding and access to water and pasture in distant areas.

Globally, the most severe livestock emergencies tend to occur in migratory systems, as livestock in these areas contribute most to household food security and income. Such environments are commonly found in Sub-Saharan Africa and Mongolia. Many pastoral populations are not well represented politically, and are therefore marginalised in their countries development policies and lack access to basic services. This makes them more vulnerable to disasters. For example, in Sudan the following factors were identified which increased the vulnerability of pastoral livelihoods (Oxfam Sudan, 2001):

In migratory systems, there is a need for flexible responses to changes in the resource base, and for different responses during the various stages of a drought cycle. Responses need to make best use of the huge numbers of animals that may be lost, such as maintaining production and core breeding stock, encouraging diversification and ensuring that migration, mobility and access remains feasible. In many livestock areas, it is already impossible to survive on livestock production alone and the pastoral livelihood system has had to diversify in order to survive.

Livestock species are affected differently by different emergencies, both because of their varying vulnerability to specific types of disasters, and their respective recovery capacity. For example, in Ethiopia, it was estimated that cattle would take longest to recover, followed by camels, then sheep, then goats. This took into account mortality rates during the emergency and the number of years it takes a herd to recover (Sandford and Habtu, 2000). The most common problems for livestock in emergencies are reduced access to pasture and water, increased exposure to disease and limited access to health care. The impact on households may include:

To determine whether a livestock intervention is necessary, and to identify the most appropriate type of intervention, the following questions could be asked in an assessment (Khogali et al, 2002):

Figure 6 shows the types of livestock interventions (and other interventions) that are appropriate at different stages of crisis. These range from fodder collection and storage and water point rehabilitation at an early stage of crisis, to emergency veterinary care, destocking and fodder distribution at the acute stage, to restocking and livelihood diversification at the recovery stage. The figure also illustrates the complementarity of different emergency livestock interventions and other food security or livelihoods interventions, some of which are described in more detail below. Emergency water interventions are not covered in detail here but include the installation, repair, or rehabilitation of existing strategic key water points such as boreholes and shallow wells, delivery of water by truck, and the drilling of new boreholes. Note that some of the water interventions, such as the repair of shallow wells, can be implemented as a CFW intervention, thus increasing income for the most vulnerable and improving water supply for animals and humans at the same time.

Emergency livestock marketing support and destocking

This includes market transport subsidies (for animals still in reasonable condition early in the emergency) and purchase for slaughter. At the acute stage of an emergency, only a few entrepreneurial traders and some agropastoralists with access to cheap feed sources are likely to continue trading livestock, albeit on terms extremely favourable to the buyer.

Purchase for slaughter targets animals in good condition and can be started once market transport subsidy support has ceased. In contrast, destocking targets animals that would otherwise die. Destocking involves buying (or exchanging) livestock for immediate slaughter with the meat distributed dry or fresh (see case study 7.5.3). De-stocking may run alongside a veterinary or feed supplement programme, where the money from livestock sales can be used to buy veterinary drugs or fodder for the remaining stock. The advantages of de-stocking include:

Destocking interventions have been implemented by communities, women's groups, private sector trader or directly by local or international NGOs. Village destocking committees or women's' groups have successfully implemented programmes with only minimal NGO involvement. Before beginning de-stocking, the type and condition of animal, prices, number of animals to be purchased, frequency or schedule for slaughter, seller and beneficiary criteria all have to be agreed with the community. The beneficiaries of the meat can be identified whilst the animals are still alive, and can be made responsible for the slaughter and division / sharing of the meat.


Most emergency fodder distribution involve the transportation of fodder from areas less affected by disaster to areas worst affected. Past interventions have included:

It is generally recommended that fodder distribution is only carried out for core breeding stock or pack animals and that it is accompanied by veterinary inputs. Most fodder or livestock feed supplementation interventions plan to feed animals for a period of 90 days. An example of a fodder distribution intervention for donkeys in an IDP camp is given in case study 7.5.2.

Emergency veterinary / animal health support

Emergency animal health and vaccination campaigns are important because of increased risk of exposure to disease in some emergencies. Most emergency veterinary interventions revolve around external and internal parasite control campaigns in disaster affected herds using local Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs), the private sector or NGO staff.

In countries with operational government veterinary services, emergency veterinary drugs and vaccines can be provided to government clinics or private sector vets. In all cases, however, it is important to link CAHWs to private sector, pharmacists and quality drug suppliers. CAHWs can play an important role in sensitising and educating livestock owners to the importance and impact of a quality veterinary drug and animal health service delivery system. Vaccination campaigns need to cover large numbers of animals in order to meet the minimum coverage levels required.


Restocking is a method of asset building aimed at families who have recently lost most of their stock. There are many different methods. The most successful approach has been restocking with local animals, as these are used to the environment, there is no risk in bringing in new diseases, and this supports the local economy. Section 5.2 showed that cash transfers are sometimes used to purchase livestock, whether b the beneficiaries' own choice or through conditional cash grants. In considering re-stocking as an in-kind distribution, it is important to assess whether the same objective could not be better and more efficiently achieved through cash transfers.

Cattle at a flood shelter in Bangladesh

A number of questions have to be answered before deciding on how or if to restock:

Oxfam has implemented re-stocking through voucher interventions in a number of contexts. Oxfam restocking projects in the arid pastoral areas of Africa have provided between 5-70 smallstock (sheep and goats) per family, usually comprising up to 68 breeding females and two breeding males. In Oxfam projects in Kenya, Samburu and Turkana, families received between 20-70 smallstock and a pack animal (donkey or camel). Most researchers and development officers agree that in pastoral systems, a minimum of 50 breeding female smallstock is required for subsistence, whilst others estimate 150 breeding animals to be minimal to ensure survival. In food insecure environments, beneficiaries may need to be supported with additional food or cash so that they do not have to sell their herds to meet basic needs.


Box 17 Livestock fairs in Zimbabwe

Livestock fairs were held between the 1-4/02/05, by Oxfam in Zimbabwe. Advance planning included voucher preparations, beneficiary identification and verification and information dissemination. The fairs targeted a total of 2,500 beneficiaries in four districts.

The livestock at the fairs were mainly chickens (90%), while turkeys, ducks and guinea fowls made up the remaining 10%. Price analysis revealed that most of the bigger birds (ducks and turkeys) were more expensive than chickens and therefore households could not afford to purchase both a male and female.

Veterinary department officers and AREX (Agriculture Research and Extension, of the Zimbabwean Government's Ministry of Agriculture) staff were present on the day of fairs to check the livestock health and provide information on chicken rearing. The price ranges varied in different districts,and ranged from Z$15,000 to 35,000 per bird. A few of the livestock sellers interviewed indicated that they had benefited from the previous years livestock fair and had managed to rear some chickens for sale this year.

Source: Ann Witteveen, Oxfam regional food security advisor, Southern Africa.


Key reading

This woman described her goat as a "living bank"

Bramel P, Remington T, McNeil M (2004). CRS seed vouchers and fairs. Using markets in disaster response. CRS East Africa.

ICRISAT (2002). Organising Seed Fairs in Emergency Situations, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, India.

Disasters Special Issue (2002, December). Beyond seeds and tools. Volume 26, Number 4.

Akilu Y and Wekesa M (2002, December). Drought, Livestock and livelihoods: lessons from the 1999-2001 emergency response in the pastoral sector in Kenya. Humanitarian Practice Network paper 40, ODI.

ICRC Regional Livestock Study in the Greater Horn of Africa.

7.5 Case studies

7.5.1 Seed vouchers and fairs in Zimbabwe - CRS21

In 2001/2, Zimbabwe experienced one of the worst droughts in ten years. Other factors which contributed to create a food crisis included economic decline, characterised by high inflation and unemployment, reliance on a single staple crop (maize) and detrimental government policies. A high prevalence of HIV/AIDS also contributed to people's vulnerability.

The agricultural sector in Zimbabwe contributes 15% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 70% of the population. Factors limiting crop production include poor access to agricultural inputs, shortage of labour and lack of access to markets with competitive commodity prices. Seed systems in Zimbabwe include the formal, informal and the farmer. The formal system is the second largest in Africa and comprises maize, wheat, hybrid sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, cotton and vegetable seeds. The informal system focuses on minor crops such as groundnuts, cowpeas, sorghum and pearl millet. For the farmer system, most smallholder farms in remote areas do not have access to seed and depend on their own home saved seeds. The drought had reduced the supply of this seed.

The programme

The CRS response was based on the assumption that seed was available locally but farmers had limited access due to lack of capital. The programme objective was to enhance food and seed security for 9000 households for the 2002/03 cropping season.

CRS established a partnership with a local NGO, CTDT (Community Technology Development Trust), who had agriculture programme experience. A training workshop was carried out, and agricultural recovery committees elected by the community. A seed needs assessment was also carried out, which focused on the quantity of seed of specific crops and the varieties required, in relation to the estimated availability for each. Assessments also served as opportunities to inform and recruit potential vendors. Meetings were held with local communities and commercial seed companies to recruit and educate seed vendors. The committee assisted in identifying vendors.

The general process of the seed fair consisted of event supervision, seller and beneficiary registration, seed quality checking, voucher distribution, voucher exchange, voucher redemption, seller and beneficiary exit interviews.


The programme implemented 19 fairs in six districts, for 22,500 beneficiaries and involving 1347 sellers. A total of 324 MT of seeds were exchanged comprising 31 crop types. Nearly half (48%) of the beneficiaries and 72% of the sellers were women. In the higher productivity agro-ecological zone, 23-25 crops were sold, and 9-15 crops in the drier regions. Most sales were made for maize, which ranged from 23% to 83%. The range of crop varieties on sale was highest for maize with 18 varieties, followed by sorghum (10), groundnuts (9), beans (10) and pearl millet (5). There was evidence of short term positive impact on area planted and crop production.

Only 50-63% of beneficiaries were happy with the site. The fairs were held in one location in each ward, which can be a very large geographical area. This meant that beneficiaries had to walk long distances.

Between 60-90% of beneficiaries considered the quantity of seed available sufficient. There was lower satisfaction in areas where more maize was available but fewer other crops. Most received the seed on time. Very few of the beneficiaries (14%) felt the prices set were negotiable however, even though the price set was to be used as a maximum by sellers. Overall, 14-24% of beneficiaries concluded that the prices were fixed and very expensive. Only 41-67% of beneficiaries felt the vouchers had enabled them to buy all the types and quantities of crops that were available.

Beneficiaries judged the quality of the seed to be very good, and the majority expressed satisfaction with the range and varieties of crops available. Fairs improved the knowledge of local seed systems for both CRS, its partners and beneficiaries. Overall, 94% of beneficiaries recommended further seed assistance through seed fairs. The seed sellers were also satisfied.


7.5.2 Donkey feeding in IDP camps in Darfur

By Siham Osman, Practical Action-Sudan, Sudan

Women collecting and transporting fodder in the donkey feeding programme in South Sudan

According to the UN, the number of war-affected people in greater Darfur was about 2.5 million in July 2004, of whom 85% were IDPs. In North Darfur, the number was 725,730 of whom 431,135 were IDPs living in IDPs camps in the state.

The hardships and suffering due to the conflict affects humans and household animals - particularly donkeys. A livestock assessment carried out by FAO in September 2004 found that 75% of donkeys in the IDP camps died during the pre-rains season from a lack of feed, water and stress.

When asked about their priorities for return, IDPs identified donkeys as second to security, and even before food and water. Donkeys are key asset for IDP livelihoods, in terms of transportation (of humans and non-food items), water hauling, and firewood collection for sales. Donkeys are also movable assets to be turned into cash in times of need.


Practical Action-Sudan has implemented two projects targeting IDP donkeys in the IDP camp of Abu Shouk. The camp is located 3 km north of El Fashir, capital of North Darfur State, and populated with 45,000 IDPs who own about 1,400 donkeys.

The first project was funded by the FAO and aimed to feed IDP donkeys to reduce their death rate. The process of purchasing and distribution started on 11th May 2004 and ended on 16 June 2004.The total number of donkeys fed was 2,597.

The second project was funded by SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad - UK) also aimed at reducing donkey mortality in the IDP camps. This donkey feeding activity was implemented as a part of the Emergency Donkeys Healthcare and Feeding Project over an eight months period (December 2004-July 2005) with a total budget of £74,974. The project was preceded by a deworming project. A beneficiary committee was set up to distribute the grass bundles. Contractors collected hay bundles from neighbouring areas in November and stored these in a rented warehouse near Abu Shouk camp. The distribution process was made through distribution points appointed by the community leaders. A total of 1400 donkeys belonging to IDPs received feeds for eight months. This activity resulted in improved health and higher survival rate for donkeys (as reported from the field).

Lessons learnt

  • Hay collection was started at the right time, as during November pasture was relatively rich and prices were low.
  • The deworming project had a marked impact on animal capacity to utilise the fodder.
  • Active involvement of the community (sheikhs, paravets, beneficiaries) led to unproblematic distribution.
  • Close monitoring and notifying beneficiaries one day before the distribution helped overcome potential for over-registration.
  • Treatment of store walls and floor with salt prevented termites.


7.5.3 De-stocking in Kenya22

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 agro-pastoralists were considered at risk. As a direct result of the drought, an estimated two million sheep and goats, over 900,000 cattle and 14,000 camels worth some six billion Kenyan shillings ($80m) were lost. This threatened the pastoralists future livelihoods, as many dropped out of their traditional production systems and settled near food distribution centres.

Food aid was one of the first responses to the crisis, but there was also an unprecedented level of livestock interventions in pastoralist areas. By September 2001, there were 21 livestock projects in the country, including destocking, livestock transport subsidies, animal health, livestock feed, restocking, and cross border harmonisation and peace initiatives to allow access to pasture in Uganda.

The de-stocking supported the purchase of nearly 40,000 sheep and goats, 200 camels, and 6000 cattle. This case study focuses on the de-stocking programmes of Oxfam in Wajir and CARE in Garrissa, and gives some of the general lessons learnt.

CARE in Garissa

The project had four objectives:

  • to reduce the number of animals becoming unmarketable
  • to provide some cash for beneficiaries
  • to enable investment in credit facilities, and
  • to distribute meat as a relief ration.

The intervention targeted nearly all the relief centres in southern Garissa. The objectives of the programme were discussed with relief committees, including their responsibilities in identifying beneficiaries and fixing the dates for purchasing stock. The committees were also responsible for giving hides and skins to women's groups.

Each beneficiary centre was allocated 25 head of cattle and 50 shoats. CARE staff witnessed the slaughtering of cattle, but the distribution of meat was left to the relief committees. Supervision was minimal because of lack of staff and vehicle for the area covered. Because of security problems associated with transporting cash, payment to beneficiaries was through vouchers. These were put into the name of a trusted community member, who could cash the voucher at the CARE office. Sometimes the vouchers were exchanged by traders, who then cashed them at the CARE office. CARE estimated that 45% of stocks were purchased from people targeted for relief, and the remainder from better off members of the community who had stock to dispose off.

A total of 850 cattle and 250 sheep and goat were destocked. In addition to providing income for those who sold stock, the income from sales of skins and hides enabled women's groups to start small businesses, and some 60 MT of fresh meat was distributed to 1943 households. The main strength of the programme was its wide coverage, despite the security problems in Garissa. However, the project had high overhead and operations costs. The intervention also lacked sufficient local knowledge, as the allocation of equal numbers of livestock to be de-stocked per centre ignored the variation in needy people.

Oxfam in Wajir

Oxfam funded a local NGO, ALDEF (Arid Lands Development Focus), to destock 950 cattle/camels and 7500 shoats. The actual number purchased was 194 camels, 95 cattle, and 9963 shoats. The target beneficiaries were mainly the peri-urban poor living close to Wajir town, high school students, hospital patients and orphans. Few rural beneficiaries were included. The project covered seven periurban areas and seven sparsely populated rural areas.

Communities were involved in the selection of beneficiaries. The intervention targeted vulnerable households, and lists of planned beneficiaries were read out in public. People unhappy with the list could appeal to the 'livestock off take committee'. A new committee was established to oversee the destocking, and to curb the power of the relief committee.

Contractors were instructed on the type of animal to buy, i.e. those that were too weak to survive the drought (generally male animals), females with udder defects, old or barren stock and animals with a history of abortion. Agreement was reached between ALDEF and the contractors on the number and types of animals each had to supply. The contractors then sold the animals to ALDEF at a fixed price and purchased animals were handed over to the committee.

Meat was distributed regularly to beneficiaries, two shoats between eight families per week for the duration of the programme (two months). Livestock were distributed to schools, hospitals, TB clinics and orphanages. Slaughtering took place twice a week in all operational sites.

One of the key strengths of the programme was its planning and community involvement. Trust was placed in the management capacity of communities, the urban poor were targeted, and strong support was given to women's groups. Weaknesses included limited geographical coverage, while profits for the contractors meant lost income for pastoralists.

General lessons learnt In all of the Kenya destocking interventions in 1999-2001, more livestock were offered for sale than the interventions could handle, indicating that pastoralists are willing to sell stock when they have the opportunity to do so.

Fresh meat is cheap, easy to produce, fast to distribute, and entails minimum wastage.

Fresh meat can be distributed at regular intervals, like relief food rations.

De-stocking supports the local economy and livelihoods. Destocking was the most successful element of the livestock intervention because of the high level of community interest. It provided markets for selected target groups, and generated income that could be used to maintain remaining stock, meet basic needs or to invest in business activity and trade.

Show footnotes

21The information for this case study has been taken directly from a CRS document, Bramel and Remington (2005).

22The material for this case study has been taken from: Akilu and Wekesa (2002, December).

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Reference this page

Susanne Jaspars (). Support for primary production (Special Supplement 3). Supplement 3: From food crisis to fair trade, March 2006. p45.



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