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Research trip to the International Livestock Research Institute

by Gunnar Dreßler

At the end of November, I spent one week at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi and Addis Ababa. About one year after Felix’ research trip to Ethiopia, I had the opportunity to return to ILRI to work on a first project report with our project partner Lance Robinson.

So what have we done since last year? During the stakeholder workshop in Ethiopia, a few main issues had been identified that affect livestock-based livelihoods. Out of these, the expansion of crop cultivation into communal pasture land is one of the key challenges to pastoralists in the Borena zone: as communal pasture land is reduced, the livelihood of households that still rely on pastoralism is challenged, which may result in even more households turning to crop farming. This may lead to a vicious cycle where livelihoods of all households are in danger.

Over the last year, we have developed a concept and a first implementation of a simulation model – LUCID (Land Use Competition in Drylands) – as a tool for supporting land use planning processes, and to address decision-making around competition among alternative land uses in pastoral and agro-pastoral drylands.

During the project meeting in Nairobi and Addis Ababa, we had the opportunity to demonstrate and discuss the current prototype model with local experts, including a land use planning officer from Yabello, Ethiopia. In the next months, we will now work on finalizing the model implementation and developing alternative scenarios of land use, specifically related to where and how much cultivation is allowed to expand in pasture land.

A first version of the model and a project report written during my stay at ILRI are already available for download here.

In mid-2017, we plan to host another stakeholder workshop in Yabello to present the model and the scenarios developed from it. Discussing the scenarios developed through the model will allow stakeholders to explore how current and upcoming planning processes can address the challenges of land use competition in a balanced way.

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