Effects of cattle rustling and household characteristics on migration decisions and herd size amongst pastoralists in Baringo District, Kenya
Njehia, Bernard K.
Kaimba, George K
Guliye, Abdi Y
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Pastoral communities in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) of Kenya depend on livestock for their livelihood. However, these ASALs are characterized by temporal and spatial climatic variation, making availability of resources uneven. Mobility is a key strategy used by pastoralists to efficiently utilize available resources, notably pasture and water. This strategy is being interrupted by a vicious cycle of livestock rustling/raiding. This study was conducted to elucidate the effects of livestock rustling and other household characteristics on migration decisions and herd size amongst pastoralists in Baringo District in Kenya. A sample of 110 pastoralists were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Binary probit model was used to explain the probability of migrating while ordinary least square was used to explain effects on herd size. Gender and age of the household head are significant (P < 0.1 and P < 0.05, respectively) determinants of migration, whereas both also significantly (P < 0.1) influenced herd size. Intensity of rustling and loss of livestock to drought and/or disease also significantly (P < 0.01) influence the decision to migrate. Level of education had significant (P < 0.1) and negative influence on herd size, whereas size of household had significant (P < 0.01) and positive impact on herd size. Non-livestock income had significant (P < 0.05) and negative influence on migration and herd size. The practice of livestock rustling, rampant amongst pastoralist communities in Kenya and sometimes occurs across borders, influences pastoralists' decision to migrate and also their herd sizes. It destabilizes communities and undermines their normal livelihood strategies, thus contributing to increased poverty. Increasing the level of development in pastoral areas and formulation of appropriate policies will help in controlling the rustling menace.