Kerstin Zander:
How to Compensate Pastoralists for Conserving the Borana Cattle in Kenya and Ethiopia


University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF), Germany

The Borana cattle in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia have unique traits that make them suitable for the harsh environment in the lowlands and have ever been part of the pastoralists' identity. Borana cattle are also the main source of the pastoralists' income. Nowadays the certainty of this income is in jeopardy due to genetic erosion and dwindling number of pure Borana animals. This depletion of the breed has many driving factors such as population pressure, ecological changes, natural catastrophes and adverse economic conditions. Conservation efforts of these important animal genetic resources (AnGRs) by governments and other stakeholders would ensure not only the well-being of the pastoralists but also prevent losses in genetic materials for future use. At the moment, there are no compensatory mechanisms targeting pastoralists.

This paper tackles various questions related to compensation strategies for Borana cattle, e.g. which type of the Borana breed should be maintained, which regions and which pastoralists should be involved and how much should be the level of compensation. The empirical data analysed in this paper was collected through interviews of Borana pastoralists in Ethiopia and Kenya. The pastoralists were asked about their attitude towards the importance of different cattle breeds and towards compensation payments as well as about their awareness for a change in the traditional cattle management. In order to reveal differences within the breed, phenotypic characteristics were measured in different regions. Finally, conservation priorities were given accordingly to pastoralists' preferences and attitudes, the degree of ``pureness'' of the Borana cattle and the conservation costs.

Keywords: Animal genetic resources, Borana cattle, compensation payments, costs of conservation, phenotypic traits


Contact Address: Kerstin Zander, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF)Walter-Flex-Straße 3, 53113 Bonn, Germany, e-mail:
Andreas Deininger, September 2004