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Threats to the Pastoral Commons: Land Grabbing, Agribusiness, and Hydroelectric Dams in Ethiopia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Fratkin, Elliot
Conference: Commoners and the Changing Commons: Livelihoods, Environmental Security, and Shared Knowledge, the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Mt. Fuji, Japan
Conf. Date: June 3-7
Date: 2013
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8894
Sector: Grazing
Region: Africa
Subject(s): pastoralism
land grabbing
land tenure and use
Abstract: "The Federal Government of Ethiopia has dramatically accelerated programs of displacement and resettlement of pastoral and semi-pastoral societies in different regions of the country. These populations make up only 12% of Ethiopia's population yet produce the majority of the country's livestock, the largest number in Africa. Although pastoral production requires mobility for access to grazing and water, the Federal government dismisses these practices as 'primitive' and inefficient. The Ethiopia government has focused economic development on hydro-power and large scale irrigation farming projects for rice, wheat, sugar, and cotton, much of it along rivers in under-populated pastoralist regions. The government's goals include 'modernizing' their pastoral populations by providing social services through resettlement and alternate economies of wage labor and farming. These policies have not been successful and have engendered resistance from the affected pastoralists. Drawing on examples from the Omo River, Awash River, and Borena Plateau, this paper makes recommendations to maintain pastoral livelihoods by preserving common lands while improving social services."

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