The transformation of the Afar commons in Ethiopia, State coercion, diversification and property rights change among pastoralists uri icon

abstract

  • The major economic activity for pastoralists is animal husbandry. The harsh environment in which herders raise their livestock requires constant mobility to regulate resource utilisation via a common property regime. In contrast to the mobile way of life characterizing pastoralism, agriculture as a sedentary activity is only marginally present in the lowlands of the Afar regional state in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, this study reveals a situation where the traditional land-use arrangements in Afar are being transformed due to the introduction of farming. In the past, the Imperial and the Socialist governments introduced large-scale agriculture in a coercive manner, thereby instigating massive resistance from the pastoralists. Currently, the recurrence of drought in the study areas has facilitated the subdivision of the communal land on a voluntary basis for the purpose of farming. Qualitative and quantitative analysis highlight the drivers, both coercive and non-coercive, of the transformation of traditional property rights of Afar pastoralists

publication date

  • 2008