Understanding the Dynamics of Land Transaction Practices in Agro- Pastoral Neighbourhoods of the Karrayu: The Cases of Abadir and Merti

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"Studies indicate that land has been transferred in Ethiopia from one household to another by different arrangements, in addition to inheritances. The foremost arrangements include different variants of sharecontracts, loans, leases, mortgages, sales, pledges and gifts. Of course, these land transactions have been carried out within policy environments both under the military regime and the current government that impose restrictions and prohibitions on such local land deals. Being a transhumant pastoral society, where grazing lands are communally accessed and controlled, land transactions of the kind practiced elsewhere in agrarian communities has had no practical meaning and relevance to the Karrayu until the recent past. However, as a result largely of external pressures, the community is currently undergoing an unprecedented process of transformation in the patterns of its traditional land use and ownership, settlements, and associated institutions. Thus, in the wake of the gradual shift to agro-pastoralism and the evolution of horticultural communities, new sets of values have come about in relation to the meanings attached to land and its various uses as well as the social organization of production. These developments have resulted in the introduction of different kinds of land access institutions into the community that had not existed before. "While this information sheds light on the socio-economic transformation and evolving land access institutions in Karrayu community, a number of important issues still remain to be addressed by way of better understanding and appreciating the dynamics of the process. A comparative analysis of different land access strategies may produce evidences that should be informative and enlightening, thus filling out the exiting gaps of knowledge. Such an investigative approach will enable understand more deeply the strategies, opportunities, and dilemmas that different actors are presented with in their choice of one land transaction mechanism over another. The varying social contexts in which the arrangements are formed, negotiated, executed and renewed also need to be contrastively analysed for greater appreciation of the workings of the arrangements and their implications for those involved. Other issues that deserve further investigation have to do with the social networks used in accessing and channeling information regarding land transactions. Likewise, an in-depth analysis of the aspects and stages of the process such as: contract formulation, negotiation, execution, and renewal - steps necessary to validate or legitimise land transaction agreements - is believed to contribute further insights on the issue. Not least, these 'unofficial' land transaction practices require close consideration vis-à-vis the national land policy and pertinent regional bylaws. As already stated, the arrangements operate despite legal restrictions and prohibitions, which is proof of the characteristics of inventiveness, resilience, and negotiability inherent in the process of local land dealings. This study therefore tries to address the dynamics of land transaction practices in the Karrayu agro- pastoral neighbourhoods from these broader perspectives and intends to furnish research output of wider and more relevant policy implications."



IASC, land tenure and use, pastoralism, agriculture, institutions