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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Contingent Variables and Discerning Farmers: Marginalizing Cattle in Ethiopia's Historically Crop-Livestock Integrated Agriculture (1840-1941)
Author:Bekele, Getnet
Periodical:Northeast African Studies
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:agricultural history
land use
land tenure
animal diseases
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
History and Exploration
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/northeast_african_studies/v009/9.2bekele.pdf
Abstract:This study documents the history of livestock production in Shewa (highlands of Ethiopia) since around the middle of the nineteenth century. The data come from European travel narratives, contemporary Ethiopian documents, and informants' testimony. The historical evidence shows that for most of the nineteenth century, the Shewan agricultural landscape was endowed with both crop fields and pasture. However, starting around the early 1890s, per capita livestock production in Shewa entered into a phase of constant decline. The initial shock to the region's one-time bustling livestock sector came from the infamous 1889-1892 rinderpest pandemic (and the famine that accompanied it), which killed the animals in large numbers. Yet in the long term, the ability of the Shewan farmers to recover from that shock and reconstitute their productive activities was shaped by their interaction with the changing regional/national political economy. If the balance between crop and livestock production in the region tilted rather dramatically in the course of the last two centuries in favour of the former, it was primarily because of farmers' proactive responses to shifting property regimes and politics, which tended to encourage the expansion of crop agriculture at the expense of pasture and other forms of land use. Ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]