Gendered Livelihood Implications of Resource Access for Livestock Productivity Improvement in the Mixed Croplivestock System of Central Highlands, Ethiopia
Poor farmers require essential assets to increase benefits from their livelihood activities. This paper demonstrates gender implications of accessing different livelihood assets in order to improve productivity and thus reduce poverty. Gendered Sustainable Livelihoods Framework (GSLF) with Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools was used to look at various issues related to livestock productivity and its contribution to farmers’ livelihood improvement. Three major target groups of farmer households were purposely sampled to take part in PRA exercises. Aiming at improvements in livestock productivity and gendered livelihoods, this comparative study was conducted in two case areas (Lenche Dima watershed and Kuhar Michael kebele), from June 2008 to February 2010, using qualitative approach. The study explored (1) the gender and livelihoods variations of access to assets and outputs/benefits, (2) implication of the above variations in improving water productivity especially for livestock keeping and then other livelihood activities, and (3) challenges, gaps, and entry points for targeting gender sensitive interventions. The result showed the existence of different levels of (1) gender and livelihoods variations between sites in accessing resources and benefits and (2) implications of the above variations on water productivity for livestock and other uses. Among the targeted farmer groups, women and young poor male farmers were identified as disadvantaged. This is mainly due to the limitations in accessing: 1) natural asset (land) for both farmer groups, 2) human asset (labor) for women farmers and 3) financial asset (money) for young farmers. They were also observed as more vulnerable groups for shocks like production failure and drought. Social assets such as kinship, joint arrangements, sharecropping and exchange arrangements, and Debo/Jigi-group works were important assets identified as temporary solutions helping these disadvantaged groups in addition to their own coping mechanism. The study suggests that a consideration of the limitations of the disadvantaged groups in water/livestock development intervention options is necessary to narrow gendered livelihoods variations and hence minimize poverty.
Key words: gendered-livelihood, livelihood-asset, livestock-productivity, mixed production system
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