Increased vulnerability to food shortage among Fulani nomads in Niger

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This paper examines the vulnerability of the WoDaaBe, a sub-group of the Fulani, to famine in Niger, central Africa. The WoDaaBe are nomadic pastoralists, raising cattle, sheep, goats, and camels and donkeys for transport. They have an increasing tendency to rely on purchased grain as herds decrease and milk supplies dwindle. Analysis of data collected from 1980 to 1983, showed that household herds have become inadequate in providing a subsistence livelihood and that the WoDaaBe were selling animals to meet their cash needs. In so doing they are undermining their long term food security position. The paper goes on to explain the nature of this problem in the context of the 1968-74 drought, which had a profound long-term effect on the food security of the WoDaaBe. Despite the prevalence in the literature of diversification as a coping strategy in the face of famine, the WoDaaBe have tended to concentrate their labour inputs. This has led to the WoDaaBe's low levels of entitlement during times of famine, resulting in economic vulnerability. What is needed is better policies rather than new technologies: the adaptive strategies of the WoDaaBe should be supported not undermined. (CAB Abstract)


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Pastoralism, Famine, Rural development, Food supply, Nomadism, Ecosystem Farm/Enterprise Scale Field Scale