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Livestock Systems and Rural Livelihood: From Prediction to Prevention of Food Crisis Cycles in the Sahel Mamadou M. Chetima AN SC 640, TIES Seminar Wednesday.

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Presentation on theme: "Livestock Systems and Rural Livelihood: From Prediction to Prevention of Food Crisis Cycles in the Sahel Mamadou M. Chetima AN SC 640, TIES Seminar Wednesday."— Presentation transcript:

1 Livestock Systems and Rural Livelihood: From Prediction to Prevention of Food Crisis Cycles in the Sahel Mamadou M. Chetima AN SC 640, TIES Seminar Wednesday November 02, 2005

2 Overall Goal of PhD Study the dynamics of farming systems in the Sahel Appraisal of the economic importance of livestock systems for various social groups Assessment of the potential for intensification of livestock systems Identification of the factors which hinder the intensification of livestock systems Simulate various scenarios to examine the cost-benefit of specialization or integration of crop and livestock systems according to agro-ecologic zones General policy recommendation for strengthening rural household capacity to withstand environmental shocks, national and regional policy change

3 Today’s Topics Explore the nature of the farming system in the Niger Examine the role of livestock system in rural economy Identify the conditions which result in food crisis Discuss existing studies relevant livestock systems-rural livelihood-food crisis Identify areas for possible contribution State research questions and methodology to pursue these questions Stimulate discussion on relevance and feasibility of the study

4 Background and Significance Niger statistics and map: recall previous presentation: 80% rural, 80% subsistence agriculture, least developed country in the world, experienced famine last summer where about 3million people (1/4 of the population) were at risk. The last famine in Niger this summer, reminded us that: Food crises can be predicted Ringing the alarm mobilizes international aid, but when it comes, it is often too late for many in need Food crises are not about national inventory of food stocks, but about non- access to food by individuals Relief efforts should be about helping farmers to hold on to the assets which will help them recover after the famine. Sahelian agriculture (or at least in Niger, Mali, Burkina, and Mauritania) is still very rudimentary and very much at the mercy of climate vagaries Environmental conditions (climate, pest) still remain a major precursors of food crisis National as well as regional policy responses if not appropriate can exacerbate the crisis Livestock are among the assets which are called upon first in time of crisis

5 Background and Significance My masters research showed: Average hectare of cropland per capita has been about 1 from 1961 to 2002, which suggests that, to support the growing human population, agricultural production growth was mainly through extensification. Question: how far could cropland be expanded given that agricultural land is not limitless?

6 Background and Significance My masters research showed: –Cereal and pulses production has been increasing –Cereal ~ 80-90%, pulses ~ 5-15% of total food calories –Oil cops and livestock production has been decreasing –Oil crop ~ 5-15%, livestock ~ 2-5% of total food calories

7 Research has shown… Livestock as food and income and intensification provide even more food and income: Cattle production enhances the likelihood of meeting the complex objectives of farm households to produce food and to earn income. Economic growth that provides opportunity for the rural poor is part of the solution to the deforestation problem, albeit a long-term solution. …intensification [to] refer to the process of modifying production practices to increase both output per animal and output per unit of land…

8 Research has shown… Intensification should account with the objectives of both producers and policy makers Objectives for producers include profit making, restricting the costs of production, and ensuring secure food supplies to their households. Objectives for policy makers include, in addition to greater livestock output and less pressure to clear forests, more livestock products for consumers of varying incomes, more rural employment opportunities, and less importation of farm inputs and livestock products, improve the country’s income distribution, and limit government spending.

9 Research has shown… Intermediate intensification may be more preferable thank complete specialization Restricting the cost of purchased input in tropical cattle systems (rather than maximizing output per animal) increased farm profitability. Specialized, intensive systems despite higher predicted productivity per unit land, may not result in greater profit, lower production costs, or fewer risks for individual producers, especially short term. Empirical evidence from tropical Latin America suggest that land- using technologies have lower costs per unit of milk than land- saving technologies: halving the amount of land use to produce milk with specialized dairy systems in Costa Rica would increase production cost from 52 to 212% (4 times).

10 Research has shown… Intermediate intensification focus on efficiency of existing resources In regions where credits and technical assistance often are not readily accessible, low resource producers probably can intensify only by adopting practices requiring little or no additional coast and few new management skills. Prices and pricing policies link producer to consumers. Because rural development partly depends on matching of alternative livestock technology with land use potentials and land user objectives, policy makers need to asses better the alternative livestock technologies and land use systems.

11 Research has shown… Rational behind Livestock accumulation Livestock accumulation at maybe not rational at the community level but it is at the household level in pastoral systems: (i) income is directly related to herd size (ii) wealth held in the form of livestock offers higher return over time than formal savings even when accounting with periodic herd losses (iii) accumulation at the household level is preferred to restocking through redeploying formal savings in local livestock markets (iv) herd size post-crisis is an increasing function of herd size pre-crisis, suggesting herd accumulation serves a self-insurance function. To the extent that collective externalities exist, this study finds that they result from suboptimal distribution of animals (also found by T. Lybbert) and may be compensated for by increased labor effort.

12 Research has shown… Rational behind Livestock accumulation When consumption comes primarily from livestock holdings, maximizing herd size makes sense even if it increases expected mortality. In the face of the considerable, frequent exogenous shocks due to rainfall and other causes (e.g., disease, predators), self-insurance through herd accumulation may be costly but it is the most effective way to survive wealth shocks and to assure future consumption.

13 Research has shown… Promote Livestock accumulation, first, then turn possible overstocking into an advantage In the short to medium-term, herd accumulation in such environments should be facilitated, not hindered. Efforts that support mobility should be designed to reduce externalities resulting from suboptimal spatial distribution of accumulated animals. In the long term, a combination of formal insurance, higher rates of return to formal savings, and the development of livestock markets that allow self-restocking (also found by T. Lybbert) could reduce the economic incentive to accumulate animals. In addition, the development of alternative income generation strategies other than livestock raising could offer households currently involved in pastoral production a greater possibility of smoothing income streams over time.

14 Research has shown… … Promote Livestock accumulation, first, then turn possible overstocking into an advantage (from T. Lybbert: helping stimulate means for wealthier pastoralists to diversify their asset holding may help them while also providing investable funds for non-pastoral activities) These longer term efforts should build on the pastoral production system and attempt to strengthen it rather than displacing it.

15 Research has shown… Continued need for testing not assumption to prevent mistakes Considering the irrationality of accumulation of herd and the existence of negative externalities in pastoral production as hypothesis to be tested rather than certainties on which policy can be based. The empirical foundation that such research, could provide to pastoral development program, will help ensure that the record of failure characterizing past efforts need not characterize the future.

16 Research has shown… Livestock role and pastoral risk management Multiple roles livestock play in this setting: (i) a source of food (milk, meat, and blood) (ii) a provider of services (manure, traction, and transport) (iii) an object of status (iv) a shore of wealth. Moreover, livestock helps regulate Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) rangeland ecosystems, so livestock mortality and productivity may be endogenous to pastoralist husbandry decisions.

17 Research has shown… Livestock role and pastoral risk management Same environmental risks for all, larger shocks for poorest: even if covariate climatic events and aggregate stocking rates on common property rangelands propel livestock cycles, as long as households differ in their ability to cope with or migrate these risks there are likely to be dramatic differences in the damage sustained across pastoral households.

18 Research has shown… Livestock role and pastoral risk management Both culturally and economically, reduced livestock wealth means diminished status and living standards, especially if other opportunities and productive activities are not available. Mortality, more than sales, regulates herd stocks Livestock primary role as an assets whose productivity affects its price. Calves mortality is negatively correlated to weather, but not total mortality. Climatic shock can affect pasture quality and availability more than can be done by overstocking. The challenge of pastoral risk management extends far beyond responding to climatic variation.

19 Research has shown… Livestock role and pastoral risk management Existence of traditional social networks used to reconstitute herd after shocks, to generate needed labor for the required herd mobility. Marketing and social insurance mechanisms based on reciprocity play a limited role in moderating wealth shocks. Rather, biological phenomena – calving and mortality- are the primary drivers of herd dynamics among a population that holds nearly all its wealth in the form of livestock. Part of the mortality experience is associated with covariate shocks, primarily rainfall. But household-specific asset risk dominates.

20 Research has shown… Livestock role and pastoral risk management The existence of multiple dynamic wealth equilibria implies an important role for policy, both in keeping currently viable pastoralist from falling into poverty traps and in helping extricate those who have fallen into a low-level equilibrium trap. Once a pastoralist’s herd gets too small, the household must sedentarize, becoming ensnared into a poverty trap from which it can be difficult to escape.

21 Research has shown… Relying on market (intensification elsewhere) vs. Extensification The bio-economic module provides feedback between the economics of today’s crop choices and the biophysics that explains the long-term changes in natural resources. Intensification is only profitable at locations where the marginal cost of increasing productivity from intensification is lower than the average cost of production at the frontier. This is clearly a challenge to technology, since yields on the frontier are typically about one-third of the yields from intensification, yet the out-of-pocket costs from intensification are often ten to fifteen times as large.

22 Research has shown… Relying on market (intensification elsewhere) vs Extensification Farmer’s often-stated preference for using home production to satisfy subsistence indicates a certain degree of aversion to relying on markets. This preference can be explained by the uncertainty in cereal prices and cash availability. Labor is a limiting factor (increase household size?) The short planning horizon appears to be the driving factor in farmer’s decision making. Policies to lower food prices to reduce pressure to home produce food, or lowering input price to induce more intensification, would be ineffective in reducing farmer’s propensity to clear new land. The short-run profitability of the new lands are made very apparent to farmers with narrow temporal view, and could only be overcome by very aggressive, and unrealistic, input or food subsidies.

23 Research has shown… Modeling farming systems As future research, it is suggested that next generation modeling activities include a more general set of land clearing activities, such as over-grazing marginal lands and deforestation associated with firewood. The social costs would also need to be expanded to include the negative impacts from lower village livestock populations and reduced land available for nomadic pastoralists who rely on communal grazing lands during the dry season. Considerable feedback among the three activities is expected as they compete for a continually shrinking supply of land. Additional analysis could also consider how poor weather would factor into the farmers decision making, and if it would further aggravate land extensification through production risk.

24 How systems dynamics is a useful tool Can describe the farming system Can exhibit all relevant feedback loops Can help simulate various scenario Can inform on the immediate as well as the long-term outcome of each alternative How it is perfect for this kind of work A tool as well as a methodology to analyze complex systems Once the model is tested and validated, it can be used to replicate the study in similar areas.

25 Overall model

26 Sub-model


28 Plan of action Identify leaders in the field Visit sites What data will collect How will collect data

29 Conclusions Food security is a critical issue Limited research leaves gaps Systems Dynamics as a tool Broader context

30 References Blake, R. W. and C. F. Nicholson, Eds. (2004). Livestock, Land Use Change, and Environmental Outcomes in the Developing World. Responding to the Livestock Revolution--the role of globalisation and implications for poverty alleviation. Nottingham, Nottingham University Press. Lybbert; Travis J., C. B. Barrett, et al. (2004). "Stochastic wealth dynamics and risk management among a poor population." The Economic Journal 114(498): 750-777. McPeak, J. (2005). "Individual and Collective Rationality in Pastoral Production: Evidence From Northern Kenya." Human Ecology 33(2): 171 - 197. Nicholson, C. F., R. W. Blake, et al. (1995). "Livestock, Deforestation, and Policy Making: Intensification of Cattle Production Systems in Central America Revisited." J. Dairy Sci. 78(3): 719-734 Vitale, J. D. and J. G. Lee (2005). Land Degradation in the Sahel: An Application of Biophysical Modeling in the Optimal Control Setting. American Agricultural Economics Association Meeting, Providence, Rhode Island, Vitale and Sanders.

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