Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review

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The Dynamics of Land Transaction Practices among the Karrayu Pastoralists in the Upper Awash Valley of Ethiopia: The Cases of Abadir and Merti Communities

A Gebre


The pastoral mode of adaptation in the Awash Valley region of Ethiopia has long been under increasing pressure and stress as a result of manmade and ecological factors. The expansion of large-scale irrigation
agriculture and conservation schemes has over the years led to the expropriation of vast portions of prime grazing land. Like other neighbouring pastoral groups in the area, pastoral Karrayu have borne the brunt of the resulting consequences. Unable to a large extent to practice their transhumant pastoral way of life in the customary way, the Karrayu have become compelled to resort to alternative livelihood strategies. Irrigated farming in the well-watered neighbourhoods is a major activity that they have embarked upon. In the wake of this shift have come about transformations in the patterns of settlement and land use and tenure arrangements. Concomitantly, horticultural communities have evolved, accompanied by different land access institutions and emerging land transaction practices. This study was conducted with a view to examining the dynamics of the evolving land use and access strategies, and generating fresh evidence in the context of a community under transformation from pastoral to agro-pastoral form of livelihood. The study was undertaken in an agro-pastoral setting, unlike most others that were conducted predominantly in smallholder agricultural communities of the highlands. Therefore, it is expected that the study will impart fresh insights of academic relevance as well as policy implications, thereby helping to fill the existing gap in knowledge on the subject of land use and tenural research.

Keywords: Pastoralism, pastoral land tenure, land transaction, sharecropping, land leasing
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