Livestock, Destitution and Drought:The impact of restocking on food security post-disaster

By C. Heffernan
ODI-Pastoral Development Network ; Livestock: Coping with Drought


A Tugen herdsman´s flock of sheep at a water hole near Lamalock, Baringo District, Rift Valley Province.FAO - F. Mattioli

Restocking is increasingly viewed as the primary method of rehabilitating the small-scale pastoral sector after disaster. In the last decade, approximately $100 million has been spent on programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. In the early years of restocking, the majority of projects among pastoralists were implemented in response to disaster. In general, restocking was seen as a method to ‘rehabilitate’ the impoverished into the social and economic fabric of pastoralism. In the ensuing decades, the focus of programmes has subtly shifted. At present restocking projects are being implemented as relief, rehabilitation and as a means of development. Projects are viewed as a method of supporting a households immediate nutritional needs and livelihood long-term. As such, restocking is often justified as a means of improving household food security. However, little evidence exists that programmes are able to fulfil these goals. This paper examines concepts of food security in relation to pastoralists and attempts to quantify the impact of restocking on pastoralist households in Northern Kenya.

Although restocking has been carried out in a large number of nations, Kenya was chosen due to large number of programmes which have been implemented over the last fifteen years. Presently, over 20 projects have been instituted in response to drought among pastoralists. Four of these projects provided the basis for this study. The projects chosen differed in scope, environment, time since implementation and the number of livestock given.

The first section of the paper, analysis how food security can be both theoretically defined and practically applied. Whereas, the second section examines the impact of restocking projects on food security at both the household and project level. Food security parameters such as capital, investments and stores were evaluated. Household economic conditions were utilised as a proxy to measure food security. At the project level, the influence of the size of the restocking package on present and future food security was evaluated.

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