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Contenuto archiviato il 2024-05-29

Milking drylands: gender networks, pastoral markets and food security in stateless Somalia


As drought and famine conditions are increasingly affecting livelihoods in the Horn of Africa, food security in critical drylands is becoming a major issue of concern for the international community.

This research initiative seeks at challenging traditional research interfaces in order to enhance food security and sustainable development of rural communities inhabiting marginalized areas vulnerable to conflict, ex-migratory patterns and fundamentalism. Somalia with this respect represents a unique case, due to its lack of a central government to assist communities during critical times and the exposure of its economy to the global frame.

Within this context, the role of market mechanisms is increasingly important to provide options for local subsistence and development. A comprehensive analysis of Somali pastoral markets will provide relevant elements for better understanding and further assisting the livelihoods of these communities. More specifically, camel milk marketing is a developing enterprise in Somali drylands, led by women and aimed at ensuring food security, generating some income and coping against critical situations.

By investigating the socio-economics of milk marketing and provide a comparative analysis with better-known and men-led livestock trade, the research aims at assessing the relevance of gender roles and household economic strategies to ensure local food security and options for socio-economic development of Somali communities. Options for utilizing pastoral markets as an early warning system for critical situations will also be analysed.

While the research candidate is a tropical agronomist with a specific experience in sustainable drylands management, his collaboration with the Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University (NL) will allow the research to enhance a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach, which is vital to understand and analyse the complexity of pastoral markets in ungoverned rural areas.

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