Climate Change / East Africa / ILRI / Pastoralism

The Role of Risk Management in Pastoral Policy Development and Poverty Reduction: A System Dynamics Approach

Kenya is among the countries with high population growth at 2.8 % annually with an estimated population of about 35 million people out of which about 78% live in the rural areas. Rural economy is highly supported by agriculture with a GDP contribution of about 21% (IFAD, 2009). Rural poverty level; people living below poverty line, stands at over 50% compared to the national average of about 46%. This case is worse for the pastoral communities due to poor market integration, increased rangeland sensitivity resulting from human population pressures and changes in land use systems.

The volatility of pastoral assets has exposed those living in the Arid &Semi Arid Areas (ASAL) region with a myriad of challenges and has massively contributed to their poverty trap. The overall objectives of this study are to synthesise the available pastoral system information such as pastoral risks and develop a model to evaluate the impact of policies on community level wellbeing. The causal relationships are established through the literature and expert opinion to develop a system dynamics model.

The focus area will be Samburu district, particularly the lowlands where pastoral farming is the single most important economic activity. In order to allow model validity testing, a survey questionnaire is employed to provide specific demographic variables. Other biotic and abiotic variables that will be utilised include rainfall, forage, market prices, human population, herbivores population, school enrolment and land use systems. The model will then be calibrated with the survey data and different mitigation strategies employed to evaluate their effects on the pastoral wellbeing and the expected poverty levels. The results are then tested against the data from other areas for the purposes of generalization.

Presenter: Saidimu Leeseto

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