Patterns of Drought and Community Responses in Fentale Pastoral Woreda, Oromia Region

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Addis Ababa University


Pastoralism is a rational, adaptable, tried and tested production system uniquely suited to the dlY lands. Pastoralism occupies a quarter of the world area, which is predominantly arid and semiarid. Pastoralism developed autonomously across the world's dry lands ji-om some 7000 years ago. It is still widely practiced today and remains a dominant jeature of rural east AFican in which most household sustain their means of living ji'om keeping domestic livestock. The arid and semi-arid areas of Ethiopia, which covers 61 % of the land area of the country, are homes for millions of pastoralists of diverse ethnic groups. The Karrayu Oromo of Eastern shewa Zone are among the ethnic groups those practicing pastoralism under marginal condition and high production risk because of the natural and different manmade factors; in which drought is the major serious natural hazard and is continuously threatening the lives and livelihood of past ora lists. This study was conducted in Fentale Woreda of Eastern Shewa Zone with the objectives of investigating the patterns of drought and community responses in the Fentale Pastoral Woreda of Oromia Region. To conduct this study, a total of 134 purposely sampled households, focus group discussion participants, some individual case studies, knowledgeable key informant interviews and secondQ/y data sources were used. Thejinding of the study indicates that in the present day, especially, post 2002; the pattern of the drought in the Fentale Woreda is distorted ji-om its past normal cycle. In the present day, drought cycle is shortened, drought is occurred every year or every other year and the severity of drought is extremely increased. The increase in frequency and severity of drought has posed multi- dimensional adverse effects on the Karrayu pastoralists' livelihood sources. /t caused extinction of pasture ji-om the rangelands, dried up water points; unusually caused break out of new and existed human, livestock and plant pests and diseases, declined household livestock holding size; reduced production, productivity and reproduction of livestock; and has resulted in chronic food insecurity. As a result, in the present day, pastoral mode of life of Karrayu pastoralists ' are in a continuumjluxes. In the present day, Karrayu pastoralists have been practicing a set of pastoral and non pastoral activities as response mechanisms to mitigate the adverse effects of severe drought that is aggravated by the recent climate change. An extent of household responses towards both pastoral and non pastoral activities are varied, in which the household characteristics, specifically, wealth in terms of livestock holding is the decisive factors for the engagement of the household in anyone or more of a set of productive activities/response mechanisms! It is found that there are various natural and manmade factors that are challenging response mechanisms that are undertaken by Karrayu pastoratists ' to mitigate the adverse effects of severe drought that is aggravated by climate change. Hence, designing of holistic (multidisciplinary which comprise pastoral and non pastoral activity and people centered) development approach is a decisive factor in order to build an appropriate response capacity at a local level to mitigate the adverse effects of drought and to develop adaptation to drought/ climate change/in a sustainable and sound full manner instead of taking only sedenteray agriculture as a sole jinal option in responses that is undertaken to drought



Drought and Community Responses