Climate Variability and Livelihood Strategies Pursued by the Pastoral Community of the Karrayu People, Oromia Region, Central Ethiopia
Abstract: Variability in seasonal rainfall and precipitation as a result of climate change has been threatening the already fragile livelihoods of pastoral communities in Ethiopia. The current study was conducted to elucidate climate variability, perception, and livelihood strategies in the Karrayu pastoral area of Fenatale district, in the Oromia region of the country. A semi-structured questionnaire, key informant interviews, focus group discussions were used to elicit data climate variability and livelihood strategies in the community. One hundred twenty randomly selected sample respondents were used for the study. Assessment of the climate variability was based on reports of Metehara (1968-1984) and Awash (1985-2007) Stations of the National Meteorological Service Agency and primary data collected from the area. Rainfall coefficient (RC), least square regression models (rho), standardized rainfall anomalies (SRA) and coefficient of variation (CV) were used for analysis of the data. The findings identified eight rainy months and four dry months with rainfall coefficients of > 0.6 and < 0.6, respectively. However, March, April and September had a moderate concentration (RC 1.0 - 2.0) while July and August had higher rainfall concentration (RC > 2.0). There was an increase in the maximum and annual average temperature and a decline in the minimum annual temperature from 1965-2007, which was also augmented by the perception of 66% of the respondents. The seasonal rainfall variability was significantly higher (CV ranged from 0.25 to 0.80) than the annual rainfall variability (CV = 0.18). Thus, a large proportion of Karrayu pastoralists perceived less water and food (76%), migrated to other areas (73%), became dependent on Participatory Safety Net Program (72%), and eked out a living by collecting and selling firewood and charcoal (57%) as major livelihood strategies. In conclusion, the results of this study have revealed that there have been such persistent increments in temperature and seasonal rainfall variability that the pastoralist community in the area has been markedly resorting to various livelihood strategies to adapt to climate variability and change. However, to complement the community efforts, integrated livelihood development mechanisms better be devised with active involvement of different stakeholders for sustainable development of the pastoral and agropastoral communities of the Karrayu including early warning systems, collection of reliable climate data, disaster risk reduction and risk sharing strategies to avert the risk of vulnerable groups of the community from the hazards of climate variability in particular and change in general. Likewise, further critical studies are recommended regarding trend analysis and variability of rainfall of the study area using other parameters to substantiate these findings.
Keywords: Climate Variability; Karrayu; Livelihood Strategies; Pastoral Community
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