National Guidelines for
Livestock Relief Interventions
in Pastoralist Areas of Ethiopia
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - National guidelines
National Guidelines for
Livestock Relief Interventions
in Pastoralist Areas of Ethiopia
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
National Guidelines for
Livestock Relief Interventions
in Pastoralist Areas of Ethiopia
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Correct Citation: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (2008) National Guidelines for
Livestock Relief Interventions in Pastoralist Areas of Ethiopia, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 105 pp.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction 1
1.1 Pastoralism in Ethiopia 1
1.2 About the guidelines 2
1.3 Intended users of the guidelines 2
1.4 How to use the guidelines 2
Chapter 2: Common Principles for all Livestock Interventions 5
2.1 Coordination 5
2.2 Analytical approaches and models 6
2.2.1 Livelihoods analysis 6
2.2.2 Drought cycle management 8
2.3 Preparedness and contingency planning 9
2.4 Community participation 11
2.5 Rapid assessment at community level 12
2.6 Targeting of interventions 13
2.7 Monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment 13
Annex 2.1 Further reading 15
Chapter 3: Destocking and Market Support 17
3.1 Overview 17
3.2 Coordination issues 19
3.3.1 Guidance on the timing of commercial destocking 21
3.3.2 Determining the feasibility of commercial destocking 22
3.3.3 Guidance on the design and implementation of commercial destocking 23
3.4 Slaughter destocking 26
3.4.1 Guidance on the timing of slaughter destocking 26
3.4.2 Determining the feasibility of slaughter destocking 26
3.4.3 Guidance on the design and implementation of slaughter destocking 27
3.4.4 Monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment 32
3.5 Policy implications and outstanding issues 32
Annex 3.1 Contribution of dried meat to recommended daily protein allowances
for different age groups and categories of people 33
Annex 3.2 Monitoring and evaluation indicators for destocking projects 34
Annex 3.3 Further reading 35
Chapter 4: Livestock Feed Supplementation 37
4.1 Overview 37
4.2 Needs assessment and planning issues 39
4.2.1 Cost and logistical issues 39
4.2.2 Guidance on timing of livestock feed supplementation 40
4.2.3 Assessing existing feed resources 41
4.2.4 Assessment of existing local livestock feed suppliers 41
4.3 Design and implementation of livestock feed supplementation 42
4.3.1 Selection of households 42
4.3.2 Types of livestock to be fed 42
4.3.3 Number of beneficiary households and livestock 42
4.3.4 Feeding arrangements 43
4.3.5 Transportation, storage and distribution 43
4.3.6 Feed formulation and management 44
4.3.7 Avoiding feed toxicity during drought 44
4.4 Monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment 45
4.5 Policy implications and future strategies 45
4.5.1 Strengthening markets 45
4.5.2 Pasture and fodder development 45
Annex 4.1 46
Annex 4.2 Further reading 49
Chapter 5: Emergency Provision of Water to Livestock 51
5.1 Overview 51
5.1.1 The importance of water for livestock in emergencies 51
5.1.2 Links to development 51
5.1.3 Options for water provision 51
5.1.4 Distribution 52
5.1.5 Complementary interventions 52
5.2 Needs and feasibility assessments of water sources 53
5.2.1 Collate background information 54
5.2.2 Rapid participatory assessment 54
5.2.3 Coordination issues 54
5.3 Water source selection and intervention design 55
5.3.1 Supply and demand 55
5.3.2 Costs 55
5.3.3 Distribution 55
5.3.4 Water quality and safety 56
5.3.5 Local equity and management issues 56
5.3.6 Long-term management and maintenance 57
5.3.7 Environmental issues 57
5.4 Water trucking 58
5.4.1 Management issues 58
5.4.2 Design issues 58
5.4.3 Distribution issues 59
5.5 Monitoring and evaluation 60
5.6 Policy implications 60
Annex 5.1 Participatory mapping and other PRA/RRA tools 60
Annex 5.2 Daily water requirements for livestock 62
Annex 5.3 Further reading 62
Chapter 6: Animal Health Interventions 65
6.1 Overview 65
6.2 Coordination issues 65
6.3 Clinical veterinary care: general approaches and principles 66
6.3.1 Support to basic services for the examination and treatment of individual
animals or herds 66
6.3.2 Mass treatment and vaccination programmes 69
6.3.3 Guidance on the timing of veterinary interventions 70
6.4 Guidance on supporting basic services for the examination and treatment of
individual animals or herds 70
6.4.1 Guidance on rapid assessment 70
6.4.2 Guidance on the design and implementation of clinical veterinary services 74
6.4.3 Monitoring of veterinary service provision 76
6.5 Mass treatment and vaccination programmes 77
6.6 Support to public sector veterinary functions during emergencies 78
6.6.1 Guidance on disease surveillance 78
6.6.2 Veterinary public health 79
6.7 Policy implications and outstanding issues 80
Annex 6.1 Examples of monitoring and evaluation indicators for primary veterinary
service provision 81
Annex 6.2 Further reading 82
Chapter 7: Restocking 83
7.1 Overview 83
7.2 Needs Assessment and Planning 84
7.2.1 Local acceptability of restocking 85
7.2.2 Cost issues 86
7.2.3 Community participation 86
7.2.4 Environmental issues 87
7.2.5 Timing of restocking 87
7.2.6 Market analysis 88
7.2.7 Areas for restocking 88
7.3 Design and implementation of restocking 89
7.3.1 Selection of individual beneficiaries 89
7.3.2 Types of livestock for restocking 89
7.3.3 Number of animals provided 90
7.3.4 Purchasing arrangements 90
7.3.5 Credit and repayment options 91
7.3.6 Complementary interventions: veterinary care 91
7.4 Monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment 92
7.5 Policy implications 92
Annex 7.1 Checklist for planning restocking projects 94
Annex 7.2 Further reading 95
These guidelines were produced by the National Livestock Policy Forum, convened by the Federal Min-
istry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Under the forum, a series of Working Groups addressed
specific technical areas and the members of the Working Groups were as follows:
Name Organisation or Project
Destocking and Market Support Working Group Members
Dr. Getachew Gebru Global Livestock CRSP/ PARIMA, Chairperson
Mr. Ginjo Giya OXFAM Canada
Mr. Yacob Aklilu Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
Mr. Mitiku Kassa SNNPR Pastoral Areas Development Commission
Mr. Adrian Cullis Save the Children US
Mr. Ali Mekonen Save the Children US
Dr. Solomon Demeke Save the Children UK
Mr. Belachew Hurissa SPS and Livestock Meat Marketing Project
Mr. John Graham United States Agency for International Development
Mr. Sahlu Tekle Ethiopian Live Animals Exporters Association
Mr. Assaye Legesse The World Bank
Ms. Azeb Fissha The World Bank
Livestock Feed Supplementation Working Group Members
Mr. Seyoum Bediye Ethiopian Institute for Agriculture Research, Chairperson
Dr. Amha Sebsibe Amhara Regional Agriculture Research Institute
Dr. Lemma Gizachew Food and Agriculture Organisation
Mr. Teffera Gebremeskel Ethiopian Sheep & Goat Productivity Improvement Program
Dr. Adugna Tolera Hawassa University
Mr. Alemayehu Mengistu Private professional
Dr. Alemu Yami Ethiopian Sheep & Goat Productivity Improvement program
Mrs. Beletu Tefera Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Authority
Mr. William Hill International Rescue Committee
Dr. Italo Rizzi Lay Volunteers International Association
Dr. Dereje Damte Lay Volunteers International Association
Animal Health Working Group Members
Dr. Berhe Gebreegziabher National Veterinary Institute, Chairperson
Dr. Dawit Abebe Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
Dr. Berhanu Admassu Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
Dr. Sileshi Zewde Ethiopian Sheep & Goat Productivity Improvement Program
Dr. Sintayehu Abdicho Ethiopian Institute for Agriculture Research
Dr. Merga Bekana Addis Ababa University
Dr. Mohammed Abdella Haramaya University
Mr. Mulushewa Beshah Ethiopian Veterinary Association
Dr. Yilma Jobre Food and Agriculture Organisation
Dr. Gedlu Mekonnen Save the Children US
Dr. Fasil Awol International Rescue Committee
Dr. Wondwosen Asfaw SPS and Livestock Meat Marketing Project
Dr. Yirgalem Gebremeskel United States Agency for International Development
Dr. Dagninet Yimenu Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Dr. Abay Bekele CARE Ethiopia
Mr. Hilina Mikrie Harrarghe Catholic Secretariat
Restocking Working Group Members
Dr. Workneh Ayalew International Livestock Research Institute, Chairperson
Dr. Tadelle Dessie Ethiopian Society of Animal Production
Mr. Darius Radcliffe Mercy Corps
Mr. Tekle Zeleke Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Mr. Melaku Gebremichael Save the Children US
Mr. Mesfin Ayele FARM Africa
Mr. Hailemariam Hailemeskel Africa Development Bank
Dr. Kassahun Awgichew Institute of Biodiversity Conservation
Mr. Gifawwosen Tessema Ministry of Federal Affairs
Hon. Mr. Awoke Aike Parliamentarian Pastoral Affairs Standing Committee
Natural Resources Management Working Group Members
Mr. Amare Worku Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Chairperson
Mr. Zena Estifanos Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Mr. Gebru Bonger Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Dr. Abebe Fanta Haramaya University
Dr. Cary Farley CARE Ethiopia
Dr. Getahun Mulat Institute of Biodiversity Conservation
Hon. Mr. Mear Ali Sirro Parliamentarian Pastoral Affairs Standing Committee
Dr. Bayou Abera Action Contra La Faim
Mr. Talew Deressa SOS Sahel Ethiopia
Mr. Solomon Wakgari Save the Children UK
Mr. Tefera Mengistu Wondogenet Forestry college
Mr. Kahsay Gebretensaie Ethiopian Wildlife Association
Mr. Abayneh Tulorie Ministry of Water Resources
Dr. Nigussie Tekle Arbaminch University
Mr. Resene Fesehaye Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural research
Mr. Gary Campbell Campbell Project Management Services (Ethiopia) plc
The MoARD acknowledges the contributions of all Working Group members and the in-kind support
provided by their respective organisations and projects.
The National Livestock Policy Forum and Working Groups also received technical and financial assis-
tance from the USAID Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative programme, with policy support and technical
editing from the Feinstein International Center, Tufts University.
ATF Agriculture Task Force
CAHW Community-based Animal Health Worker
CCPP Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia
CP crude protein
DCM Drought Cycle Management
DM dry matter
DPPA Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency
Eth birr Ethiopian birr
FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation
HIV/AIDS Human immunodeficiency virus/Autoimmune deficiency syndrome
IDP Internally displaced person
LEGS Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards
M&E monitoring and evaluation
ME metabolisable energy
MoARD Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
MRC Meat Relief Committee
NGO Non governmental organisation
OIE Office international des epizooties (World Organisation for Animal Health)
OPDC Oromiya Pastoralist Development Commission
PRA Participatory Rural Appraisal
RRA Rapid Rural Appraisal
RDA Recommended Daily Allowance
UN United Nations
UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund
USAID United States Agency for International Development
USD United States dollar
The huge areas of Ethiopia occupied by pastoralist communities represent one of the most important
economic, cultural and natural resources of the country. However, for many years Ethiopian pastoral-
ists have faced repeated droughts and experienced emergency interventions which have often under-
mined development programmes. Most recently the severity and frequency of drought in some areas
has increased, creating an urgent need to improve drought risk management and support development
policies in which drought is anticipated and properly managed.
Since 2005 in partnership with USAID and various non governmental and academic institutions, the
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has implemented the Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative
programme. Under this programme the Ministry has led the production of this first edition of the Na-
tional Guidelines for Livestock Relief Interventions in Pastoralist Areas of Ethiopia. The guidelines repre-
sent a synthesis of evidence and best practice as is currently known in Ethiopia, and draw heavily on the
field experience of practitioners and researchers. Crucially, the guidelines use both livelihoods-based
analysis and the drought cycle management model to bridge the gap between emergency response and
development. The guidelines highlight the value of pastoralists’ indigenous livestock knowledge and
skills, and the need to combine this local resource with technical assessments for designing drought
responses. The guidelines also show the benefits of working with the private sector, particularly for
interventions such as commercial destocking.
The guidelines will now act as the point of reference for the design of livestock relief interventions in
pastoralist areas of Ethiopia, and should be used to guide government agencies, donors and non gov-
ernmental organisations. I encourage all stakeholders involved in pastoralist and livestock development
and emergency response to use these guidelines, but also, to contribute to the on-going process of rigor-
ous impact assessment of interventions leading to future revision of the guidelines.
Dr. Abera Deresa
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
1.1 Pastoralism in Ethiopia
In Ethiopia pastoralism and agropastoralism are an important means of livelihood for more than four
million people, with most pastoralists living in the Somali, Afar, Oromiya and Southern Nations regions.
Ethiopia’s arid or semi-arid pastoral lands comprise approximately 63% of the total land area. The Min-
istry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD) estimates that nationally, pastoralists own 73% of
the goats (equivalent to 7.05 million head), 25% of the sheep (equivalent to 4.25 million head), 20% of
the cattle (equivalent to 7.70 million head) and a substantial proportion of the camels (approximately
1 million head).
From a livelihoods perspective, pastoralists in Ethiopia possess relatively high financial assets in the
form of livestock. It is also increasingly recognized that extensive, mobile pastoralist livestock pro-
duction systems are a rational and efficient use of natural resources in non-equilibrium rainfall en-
vironments, and can outperform more modern ranching systems. Increasingly, pastoralist areas are
contributing to domestic and export markets in livestock and livestock products, and becoming more
integrated into Ethiopia’s national economy. However, pastoralist areas are still characterized by
constraints such as low levels of infrastructure development, and weak social services such as health
and education. Pastoralist areas also face human population growth and recurrent drought, with
some indications that the frequency and severity of drought is increasing. These features of pastoral-
ist areas mean that despite their wealth in livestock assets, pastoralist communities remain highly
vulnerable and subject to repeated episodes of short-term humanitarian assistance. It is part of the
overall strategy of the MoARD to promote livestock development in pastoralist areas, and to encour-
age long-term thinking which views natural events such as droughts and floods as predictable rather
than unexpected shocks.
Humanitarian assistance in pastoral areas has been dominated by food aid since emergency interven-
tions began in the 1970s, and food aid provision has been based on the objective of saving human lives.
However, it is increasingly recognized that emergency assistance during drought or flood should also
aim to protect people’s livelihoods. In pastoral areas, livelihoods-based emergency programming means
protection of pastoral livestock in appropriate numbers, and support to the services and markets which
are needed to assist rapid recovery. Therefore, livelihoods-based programming aims to avoid undue
disruption to local service providers and markets, and where possible, work with local actors to design
and deliver drought or flood assistance. In 1993 the National Policy for Disaster Prevention, Prepared-
ness and Management proposed that each district should prepare a drought action plan which would
describe interventions to save livestock, including supply of feed and water, veterinary inputs, livestock
purchase centres and mobile abattoirs. However, these types of emergency livestock-related interven-
tion were not widely applied. When agencies did provide livestock support during drought, experiences
were not well-documented and therefore details of how best to design and implement different types of
intervention were not widely available.
1.2 About the guidelines
These guidelines are designed to promote best practice in the design, implementation and assessment of
emergency livestock interventions in response to natural disasters in pastoral areas of Ethiopia.
The guidelines represent a synthesis of experience from practitioners working in government agencies,
non governmental organisations (NGOs) and research institutes in Ethiopia, plus lessons learned from
other countries with substantial pastoral populations. All information was collated by Working Groups
under the National Livestock Policy Forum, who conducted literature reviews, consulted pastoralists
and professionals, and commissioned research and assessments to determine best practice. The guide-
lines present best practice as it is currently known in Ethiopia, and will be subject to review and refine-
ment over time.
1.3 Intended users of the guidelines
The guidelines are intended to be used by:
Managers and technical staff working for government agencies at federal, regional, zonal and•
woreda levels who are involved in the design, implementation or assessment of emergency in-
terventions in pastoral areas, including staff deployed to the Agricultural Task Forces at federal or
Government staff at all levels who are involved in the coordination of emergency response, includ-•
ing assessment and approval of NGO emergency projects.
Donor personnel and staff of coordination and technical agencies such as the United Nations Of-•
fice for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and Food and Agriculture Organisation, plus any
other donor or UN staff involved in emergency assistance in pastoral areas.
Managers, coordinators and technical staff working for NGOs in pastoral areas of Ethiopia.•
Universities teaching subjects related to pastoral development, rural development, humanitarian•
assistance, disaster risk reduction or related topics.
Research institutes and universities conducing research in pastoral areas.•
1.4 How to use the guidelines
The guidelines are organised into two main sections:
The first section covers principles and issues which are common to all types of livestock-related•
interventions during natural disasters in pastoral areas of Ethiopia. This section includes guidance
Coordination of emergency responseo
Early warning, early response and contingency planningo
Monitoring and evaluationo
Outstanding learning and research issueso
As these issues are generic for all types of livestock response, this section is relevant to all readers.
The second section provides detailed guidance on different types of emergency livestock interven-•
Destocking, including both commercial destocking and slaughter destocking with meat dis-o
Livestock feed supplementationo
Emergency water supply for livestocko
Emergency veterinary careo
Each section includes short case studies which illustrate specific technical points, plus a Further Read-
Common Principles for all Livestock Interventions
This section of the guidelines presents information on cross-cutting issues and principles which are
common to all livestock interventions which are delivered during natural disasters in pastoral areas.
Coordination is the systematic use of policy instruments to deliver humanitarian assistance in a cohe-
sive and effective manner. The coordination of livestock interventions is similar to coordination in other
technical sectors, and relevant policy instruments include:
Continuous data gathering, managing information and contextual analysis•
Mobilising resources and ensuring accountability•
Orchestrating a functional division of labour in the field•
A range of actors can be involved in emergency livestock responses in pastoral areas. Strong coordina-
tion is required to ensure overall technical direction and harmonisation of interventions, and to ensure
that interventions follow these best-practice guidelines. Coordination not only involves linking govern-
mental and non-governmental agencies, but for some interventions, requires liaison and support to vari-
ous private sector actors and their respective bodies. Ideally, the coordination effort should also involve
linkages with government and UN agencies responsible for the provision of food aid and/or productive
safety nets in pastoral areas, thereby also ensuring integrated, harmonised programming between food,
cash and livestock interventions.
During drought, different types and combinations of livestock interventions are required at different
times of the drought cycle. Coordination helps to ensure that different interventions complement each
other under an overall coherent strategy, with appropriate sequencing of interventions. The combina-
tions and types of interventions are described more fully under the guidelines on drought cycle manage-
ment (see section 2.2).
At federal level, the MoARD Agriculture Task Force (ATF) is the main government coordinating body
with respect to livestock interventions. The ATF is replicated at regional levels. The ATF brings together
all relevant UN, NGO and private sector actors.
In addition to formal coordination entities convened by federal and regional government, various ad
hoc coordination groups can be formed to lead specific types of intervention.
2.2 Analytical approaches and models
2.2.1 Livelihoods analysis
During the last 25 years or so, pastoralist areas of Ethiopia have experienced repeated cycles of
livestock relief and development programmes. Nearly always, these programmes have been discon-
nected and often, they have been contradictory. While development seeks to build local capacity
for decision making and management, relief agencies often override local organisations claiming
that decisions have to be made quickly and impartially by technical experts. Development supports
privatisation and the creation of services which are financially sustainable within an enabling regu-
latory framework. Relief repeatedly undermines this process by delivering free or subsidised inputs
in isolation of local, private service providers. One of the main outcomes of this relief-development
incoherence is confusion and resignation at community level, and suboptimal investment in private
services and livestock marketing.
When the dichotomy between relief and development is viewed from a livelihoods perspective, it is
evident that badly designed relief programmes may save lives in the short-term but in the long-term,
make people more vulnerable. In relation to these guidelines, livelihoods analysis increasingly points to
the need to harmonise livestock relief and development programmes in pastoralist areas, and use relief
to complement development processes. In practice, this means that access to livestock markets and
the utilisation of local livestock resources in relief interventions can help to stabilise livelihoods, and
enhance the sustainability of other productive interventions (such as community-based animal health
care) by increasing purchasing power.
The need for more livelihoods-based thinking and practice also arises from important trends in pasto-
ralist areas of Ethiopia and beyond. These trends include growing interest and investment in livestock
export markets, gradual acceptance of privatised veterinary services at a policy level, climate change
and environmental trends such as bush encroachment.
Box 2.1: Livelihoods analysis and pastoralism
Livelihoods analysis aims to understand how people source, develop and use assets within a com-
plex set of trends, shocks, and formal and informal policies and institutional arrangements. Such
analysis is commonly based on a livelihoods framework which categorises assets in terms of five
main types of capital:
Human capital represents the skills, knowledge, ability to labour and good health that together,
enable people to pursue different ways of making a living. In pastoralist areas, formal education
and health services are often poorly developed and levels of literacy and health are low. However,
pastoralists possess rich indigenous knowledge on livestock health and production, and some com-
munities have traditional healers and traditional schools.
Social capital is the social resources which people use to pursue different ways of making a living.
Social capital includes networks, group membership, relationships of trust, and access to the wider
institutions of society, including political institutions. The concept of reciprocity is important, as
are the exchanges which facilitate co-operation, reduce transaction costs and safeguard the poor.
Pastoralists often have strong social capital at community level, with complex systems of indigenous
social support based on the exchange of livestock.
Financial capital is the financial resources which people use to achieve livelihood objectives. It
relates to both production and consumption, and the availability of cash (or equivalent) which en-
ables conversion to other types of capital. In pastoralist communities, financial capital is based on
the ownership of livestock or access to livestock resources. People consume directly from livestock
(e.g. milk) and sell livestock and livestock products – markets are a crucial factor in the attainment
of financial capital.
Natural capital is the natural environmental resources which people use to make a living. It includes
soil, water, vegetation and wildlife resources, and encompasses access rights and land ownership.
In general, pastoralist areas are characterised by low rainfall with high spatial variability. It is this
rainfall pattern which largely determines the seasonal movement of pastoral herds, and the seasonal
variations in production and markets.
Physical capital is the basic infrastructure and producer goods needed to support livelihoods. In
pastoralist areas, the physical capital required to support livestock production is often poorly devel-
oped. This includes roads, communication infrastructure and livestock markets.
Access to and use of these different types of capital is determined by various factors:
Seasonality, particularly seasonal variations in rainfall, livestock production and the terms of trade
for livestock and cereals.
Trends such as global climatic trends, the increasing occurrence and severity of drought, the growth
of export markets for livestock, environmental change associated with bush encroachment, private
enclosure of rangeland, and human population growth.
Shocks such as livestock disease epidemics and conflict; as drought becomes more regular and
predictable it might be categorised as a seasonal factor rather than a shock.
In addition, pastoralist livelihoods are affected by various formal and informal norms, policies and
2.2.2 Drought cycle management
In the case of slow onset emergencies such as drought, livelihoods analysis highlights the need to pro-
tect assets and support the services and systems which in the long-term, are required for recovery and
development. Increasingly, it is becoming questionable whether drought really is a shock, but more a
regular and predictable event which occurs seasonally.
In terms of the practicalities of designing livestock interventions, these can be categorised according
to their relevance at a particular stage of a typical drought cycle. Some interventions such as water
supply and veterinary care are always needed, whereas other interventions are appropriate only at cer-
tain times. For example, support to commercial destocking should occur during the alarm/alert phases
whereas restocking should take place during the recovery phase.
Early warning system
with triggers for action
Recovery livelihoods-based programming
Veterinary inputs - service provision
Ongoing early warning system
Early livelihood-based programming:
Ongoing drought monitoring
Figure 1. Livelihoods-based livestock interventions in the drought cycle.
These guidelines refer to livestock interventions during the alert/alarm phase, the emergency phase and
the recovery phase. A prerequisite for an effective and timely response is a strong early warning system
based on livelihoods indicators. In pastoralist areas, such systems include indicators of livestock status
and market conditions.
Assigning different interventions to different stages in the drought cycle indicates that combined in-
terventions are often needed. For example, in the alert/alarm phase commercial destocking to remove
some animals from the rangeland should be accompanied by efforts to protect the remaining livestock,
such as veterinary care, feed supplementation and water provision. The need to combine different in-
terventions simultaneously is a challenge, particularly if different interventions are assigned to different
agencies - hence the need for strong coordination.
Not only are different interventions appropriate at different stages of drought, the intensity and scale of
the intervention often needs to change during the drought cycle. An example of activities at different
stages of a drought is provided below.
Table 2.1. Example of the type and intensity of activities required at different stages of a drought cycle
Stage of drought cycle Activities
Alert Organise meetings with government livestock departments and relief•
Facilitate visits to areas of concern•
Assist commercial destocking•
Conduct water point surveys and check state of repair of water facilities;•
check status of water management committees (if any)
If not already in place, start weekly tracking of cereal and livestock prices•
Check status of veterinary services, including availability of drugs in pub-•
lic and private sectors, and status of CAHWs
Alarm Scale up and intensify all the above activities, plus:
Intensify commercial destocking•
Expand livestock/cereal exchange•
Define strategies for livestock feed supplementation•
Support veterinary care as needed•
Rapid rehabilitation of water points; co-ordinate with human water sup-•
ply agencies as necessary
Emergency Scale up all of the above activities, plus:
Destocking for slaughter and local meat distribution•
Supplementary feeding of core breeding animals•
Recovery Maintain veterinary interventions, plus:
Restocking of viable pastoralist households•
No drought Drought contingency planning•
2.3 Preparedness and contingency planning
A common experience during emergency response in pastoral areas of Ethiopia has been that livestock-
related interventions have been delivered late, thereby reducing their relevance and effectiveness. This
problem occurs even among agencies with long-term development programmes and experiences in a
given area, and relates to at least two constraints affecting early warning and early response. First, exist-
ing early warning systems are not yet well linked to drought response or drought cycle management,
and so early warning reports do not fully assist agencies to design responses. Second, the absence of
agreed triggers for response tends to delay response because different actors conduct their own assess-
ments, often independently of others. In addition, once a decision has been made to act many agencies
have to prepare funding proposals because contingency funds are not available. Even when contin-
gency funds are accessible, administrative and procurement processes delay response.
All of these issues relate to broader institutional and organisational capacities to prepare for, and re-
spond to emergencies in the country, and are not specific to livestock interventions in pastoralist areas.
However, current evidence points to the cost-effectiveness of early response to drought in pastoral areas
using approaches such as commercial destocking (Box 2.2).
Box 2.2: Cost-effectiveness of commercial destocking
During commercial destocking in parts of Moyale woreda in 2006 drought , households received
Eth birr 1,620 (US$ 186) on average from the sale of cattle to traders, approximately 5,405 house-
holds were reached and the total inflow of cash into communities from private traders was approxi-
mately Eth birr 8.8 million (US$ 1.01 million).
Those households which sold cattle used the income as follows:
28%• on food for people
19% on livestock feed•
12% on transporting livestock to better grazing areas•
9% on human health•
7% was saved•
6% on veterinary care•
5% on school expenses•
15% on other items•
Overall, 79% of the income derived from destocking was used to buy local commodities or ser-
vices, and of this proportion, 37% of income was used to support remaining livestock.
Even though the intervention took place relatively late in the drought, the benefit-cost ratio of the
commercial destocking in terms of aid investment was estimated at 41:1.
Source: Abebe et al. (2008)
Emergency preparedness and contingency planning activities which can support early response to
emergencies in pastoralist areas include the following:
Contingency plans and triggers – all agencies should develop contingency disaster plans with clearly-
defined triggers for action and the subsequent release of funds and other resources. Many of the most
effective emergency livestock responses have been implemented by agencies with long-term develop-
ment experience in a particular area, and which have incorporated disaster response plans into devel-
opment programmes. Such plans are informed by knowledge of past crises, and the types of response
which can be implemented within a given operational and funding context. It is important that con-
tingency plans are developed with local partners and include specific, clearly defined and pre-agreed
triggers for prompting action and the release of contingency funds.
Procurement and administrative arrangements – using these guidelines and by reference to their own
operational experience, agencies should pre-empt the types of livestock intervention which are most
likely to be applied in different types of emergency and in the case of drought, different phases of the
drought cycle management model. They should ensure that supportive and rapid procurement, and
other administrative procedures, are put in place before emergencies occur. Despite the development
of contingency plans, during implementation some agencies are faced with unexpected financial or ad-
ministrative barriers within their own organisations. Innovative livelihoods-based programming around
livestock can require the rapid procurement of novel items, such as large quantities of animal feed.
Alternatively, it may need contracts with private sector operators such as transport companies, feed sup-
pliers or veterinary workers. Agencies need to review their administrative procedures in light of the need
for flexibility and rapid decision making during emergency response.
Drought cycle management - contingency plans should be based on the principles of drought cycle
management and early response, with appropriate sequencing of interventions. Although drought is
usually described as an emergency, livelihoods-based approaches suggests that drought should be
viewed as an expected and normal event in many dryland areas. Systematic impact assessment and
benefit-cost analyses of early livelihoods-based drought interventions such as commercial de-stocking
clearly show the rational for this approach. During drought in pastoralist areas, different combinations
of interventions are appropriate at different stages of a drought, and drought cycle management uses
specific indicators to trigger these different responses.
2.4 Community participation
Pastoralist and agropastoralist communities in Ethiopia possess very rich indigenous knowledge on
livestock husbandry and health, and natural resources such as vegetation and water. Increasingly, this
indigenous knowledge is becoming documented by research institutes, universities and other actors,
and is central to the process of community participation in the identification, design, implementation
and assessment of livestock relief interventions. Guidelines for ensuring community participation are
Involvement of vulnerable groups - all specific sub-sets and vulnerable groups in a population are
identified, informed that an assessment and possible intervention(s) will take place, and encouraged
to participate in the assessment process. The actual or potential uses or ownership of livestock often
varies in pastoralist communities according to wealth, gender or other factors. If community views are
represented only by more wealthy or powerful individuals, it is possible that livestock interventions will
be biased towards these people. While wealthier people might own larger animals such as cattle or
camels, and request assistance for these animals, it is possible that poorer female-headed households
would prefer assistance with sheep and goats, poultry or donkeys. Agencies need to be sensitive to these
differences and ensure appropriate representation of different groups.
In relief settings there is no standard definition of participation. For some agency staff, participation can
mean the delivery of inputs to affected communities who have not been involved in setting priorities or
identifying needs. In this case, people participate in the programme often because they have no choice.
Other types of participation are based on a process of joint assessment, implementation, monitoring
and evaluation. This type of participation assumes that affected communities have a right to be involved
in the programme and can make intellectual contributions which improve effectiveness and efficiency.
The common principle of participation recognises that local knowledge and skills are valuable resourc-
es for relief agencies and should be actively sourced.
When specifically seeking the involvement of women in relief programming, knowledge of local social
and cultural norms is required. It is usually better to hold separate meetings with women, where men
cannot dominate or influence the discussion. Similarly, such meetings are best facilitated by women.
Indigenous knowledge and sustainability - key indigenous livestock production and health knowledge
and practices, and pre-existing livestock services should be documented and used. Sustained services
or inputs are most likely to emerge from disaster responses when these responses promote participation,
recognise local knowledge and skills, and use and strengthen pre-existing services and systems. In the
case of livestock interventions, agencies need to be especially aware that when relief operations are
implemented in isolation of local private service providers, these local systems suffer. In some cases,
early interventions which allow livestock keepers to convert some of their livestock into cash also en-
ables people to buy the commodities and services they wish. A similar result can be achieved through
Social and cultural norms - interventions are based on an understanding of social and cultural norms.
Social, cultural and religious beliefs and practices influence livestock ownership, and the use and con-
sumption of livestock products. Uses of certain types of animals or animal-derived feeds may seem ap-
propriate and practical to outsiders, but may be resisted due to local customs. Although people are not
always averse to adopting new practices, such adoption often takes time and the use of agency staff with
long experience in the communities concerned. When rapid intervention is required, an understanding
of social and cultural norms helps to ensure that interventions are appropriate.
2.5 Rapid assessment at community level
The reliable and timely assessment of needs, capabilities and intervention options is a crucial stage in
any livestock-based emergency response. The assessment should provide an understanding of the role
of livestock in the livelihoods of different socio-economic groups within a population, and an analysis
of appropriate livestock interventions in relation to operational context and existing service providers
Participatory analysis - the assessment should use systematic, participatory inquiry conducted by
trained workers, and it should also triangulate findings with pre-existing technical data when avail-
able. Rapid and systematic participatory inquiry is an appropriate and valid approach to collecting and
analysing information with local people. The approach requires clearly defined objectives/questions
and a methodology which focuses on meeting these objectives. Validity of findings increases with the
level of training and experience of agency staff who conduct the inquiry; when data is cross-checked
with pre-existing technical reports, government data or published data; and when results are discussed
and verified with local livestock workers, when available. When conducted well, participatory inquiry
inherently seeks to understand the perceptions of vulnerable and marginalised groups and therefore,
automatically disaggregates data by subgroup.
Security and safety - the assessment should include a rapid review of the operational environment and
the security and safety implications of different livestock interventions. Essentially, livestock assets are
valuable, and the ownership or management of livestock may place people at greater risk of violence,
abduction or abuse. Analysis of the local security environment in relation to livestock ownership pat-
terns, recent history of livestock looting or raiding, husbandry practices and the need to access livestock
services or markets should indicate high-risk practices and activities. These practices and activities
include moving livestock to insecure grazing areas or water points, using grazing areas which are
mined or which have unexploded ordinance, or containing livestock at night in unprotected areas. The
assessment should analyse the trade-offs between the potential livelihoods benefits of greater livestock
ownership or access to livestock products, with the security risks. In some cases, traditional livestock
management might be modified to enhance protection. In addition, agencies need to understand the
risks to their own staff or the staff of partner organisations.
Assessing local services and markets – the assessment should clearly describe existing local service
providers, explain if and how the interventions will work with these actors, and define an exit strategy
intended to maximise the sustained use of local services and markets. Livestock interventions which
support local services and markets are an important aspect of livelihoods-based programming. Local
service providers include livestock feed suppliers, water suppliers, veterinary and para-veterinary work-
ers, livestock traders and livestock transporters. The assessment should describe these actors, their cur-
rent capacity and their potential capacity.
Policies and regulations - the assessment should include a rapid analysis of national policies and regu-
lations which may enable or prevent certain interventions, and review the capacity of local regulatory
bodies to enforce official rules and regulations as needed.
2.6 Targeting of interventions
Emergency livestock interventions should aim to protect the assets of the most vulnerable groups within
a population. This principle together with the realities of the funds available in disasters means that
some form of targeting is needed in most if not all programmes. In some cases, a particularly vulnerable
group is relatively easy to identify and target because they are already congregated around a food aid
distribution point, or living in an IDP camp. In other situations, vulnerable people are still living within
communities and a special effort is needed to identify them and target them. Note that if the principle of
community participation has been followed (section 2.4) and the initial participatory analysis has been
done well (section 2.5), the needs and capacities of specific vulnerable groups will already be known.
Some additional guidelines for targeting are as follows:
Targeting criteria - should be based on an understanding of the actual or potential uses of livestock by
vulnerable groups, and they should be clearly defined and widely disseminated. The targeting criteria
should be developed with community representatives or better, in wider community meetings, and
should be informed by prior knowledge of vulnerable groups by agency staff, as obtained during the
initial participatory assessment. In communities who are highly reliant on livestock, analysis of indig-
enous social support systems will often reveal different types of vulnerable people by wealth, gender or
social relationship. Working with local community groups can lead to a targeting system based on this
Targeting mechanisms - to ensure transparency and impartiality during the selection of beneficiaries,
a targeting mechanism should be agreed with representatives of the wider community and/or specific
vulnerable groups. Mechanisms will vary from place to place, but may include public meetings in
which the targeting criteria are explained and the actual selection takes place. In some communities,
such public selection may be inappropriate for social or cultural reasons.
2.7 Monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment
Monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment are one of the weakest aspects of livestock relief pro-
grammes. In the absence of good evaluation and with limited understanding of livelihoods impact,
agencies can easily fall into a pattern of simply repeating the same interventions over many years.
Monitoring systems - should be systematic and established as soon as possible during implementation.
Monitoring should be conducted with sufficient frequency to enable rapid detection and correction of
problems, while also ensuring accurate recording of activities and expenditure. Monitoring indicators
need to be carefully selected to have meaning beyond a simplistic measurement of inputs (for example,
see Box 2.3).
Box 2.3: Meaningful indicators
Many monitoring and evaluation reports present data on activities, without relating the data to tar-
get communities, livestock populations or other baseline information.
Example: animal health
A report which states that ‘1,500 sheep and goats were dewormed’ might look impressive in terms
of activity. But, assume that the sheep and goat population in the target areas was 100,000 and the
estimated incidence of worm disease during the project period was 10%. In this example, 1,500
treated animals actually represents only 15% of the population at risk and therefore, low cover-
age of the intervention. A more meaningful indicator would be to report the number of treatments
against the number of animals at risk of disease.
Example: water provision
A report states that ‘10 wells were improved’, again showing a level of activity. But, more useful
indicators would be the five standard indicators for service provision viz. changes in accessibility,
availability, affordability, quality and acceptance. These indicators are relatively easy to measure
and can be presented against a baseline.
Local monitoring and evaluation indicators - following the common principle of community partici-
pation (section 2.4), the monitoring and evaluation of livestock interventions should be participatory
in nature. Not only can livestock users make intellectual contributions to the assessment and design
of interventions, they are also well-placed to observe the impact of these interventions over time. Par-
ticipatory approaches to monitoring and evaluation can use local people’s own indicators of benefits
derived from livestock. When combined with monitoring data on project activities, an accurate picture
of project impact can then be developed.
Evaluate against objectives – the project evaluation should aim to assess achievements against the
original stated objectives of the project. It can combine measurement of technical indicators and com-
Assess livelihoods impact – impact assessment goes beyond project objectives to examine the changes
in people’s livelihoods which have resulted from a project. For emergency livestock interventions such
impacts can include consumption of livestock-derived foods by vulnerable groups, uses of income
derived from the sale of livestock or livestock products, benefits derived from access to pack animals,
or social benefits such as livestock gifts or loans. Impact assessment should aim to understand these
benefits and the relative importance or role of projects in increasing or decreasing these benefits.
Coordinated approaches - for programmes involving multiple agencies, standardised and coordinated
approaches to monitoring and evaluation allows programme-wide lessons to be generated. Standardised
approaches can be based on a set of core objectives, issues or questions common to all agencies, while
also allowing for the flexible use of community-defined indicators in different locations.
Annex 2.1 Further reading
Abebe, D., Cullis, A., Catley, A., Aklilu, Y., Mekonnen, G. and Ghebrechirstos, Y. (2008). Livelihoods
impact and benefit-cost estimation of a commercial de-stocking relief intervention in Moyale district,
southern Ethiopia. Disasters, 32/2, June 2008.
ALNAP (2003). Participation by Crisis-Affected Populations in Humanitarian Action: A Handbook for
Practitioners. Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action,
Overseas Development Institute, London, UK.
Anon (2007). Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards - Second Consultative Draft November
Anon (2003). Livestock Interventions: Important Principles for OFDA. Office for Foreign Disaster
Assistance, Washington DC. http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/disaster_
Gosling, L. and Edwards, M. (1995). Toolkits: A practical guide to planning, monitoring, evaluation and
impact assessment. Development Manual No. 5, Save the Children, London.
IIRR, Acacia Consultants Ltd. and CORDAID (2004). Drought Cycle Management: A toolkit for the
drylands of the Greater Horn. IIRR, Acacia Consultants Ltd. and CORDAID, Nairobi, Kenya.
Morton, J. (2006). Pastoralist coping strategies and emergency livestock intervention In: J.G. McPeak
and P.D. Little (eds.), Pastoral Livestock Marketing in Eastern Africa: Research and Policy Challenges.
Intermediate Technology Publications, Rugby, 227-255.
Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative (2007). Impact Assessments of Livelihoods-based Drought Interventions in
Moyale and Dire Woredas, Ethiopia. Feinstein International Center, Tufts University. http://fic.tufts.edu/
Pratt, C. (2001). Traditional Early Warning Systems and Coping Strategies for Drought Among Pastoralist
Communities, North Eastern Province, Kenya. Feinstein International Famine Center, Medford.
Smith, G. and Lough, R. (2001). Drought-Related Livestock Interventions. Food and Agricutlure
Organisation, Rome, Italy.
The Sphere Project (undated). The Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response.
The Sphere Project http://www.sphereproject.org/content/view/27/84
Transitional Government of Ethiopia (1993). National Policy on Disaster Prevention and Management.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Destocking and Market Support
During drought in pastoral areas a substantial number of livestock will perish, and communities will
therefore lose some or all of their animals. Recovery of herds after drought can take many years, during
which time households remain dependent on local support mechanisms or external aid. Alternatively,
after drought, restocking programmes may assist some households but are far more expensive than pre-
serving key livestock assets during a drought. At a time when market prices for livestock can be falling,
destocking aims to convert non-essential livestock into resources - mainly cash or meat - which people
can use during the drought.
Destocking has been carried out in Ethiopia since the 1980s when the Relief and Rehabilitation Commis-
sion (now the DPPA) and UNICEF initiated destocking operations to provide relief meat to feeding camps
in the north and south of the country. Since then, a number of agencies, mainly NGOs, have carried out
destocking in pastoral areas for slaughter and meat distribution. Such operations have usually been small-
scale, localised, and often implemented in an ad hoc fashion. More importantly, these interventions have
nearly always started late in the drought cycle when substantial livestock mortality has already occurred,
or when livestock had lost considerable body weight resulting in a sharp decline in prices. The value of
animals salvaged in this way has generally been minimal although some useful lessons have been learnt
that now have the potential to support the design of more effective destocking programmes.
More recently, ‘commercial destocking’ (sometimes called ‘accelerated livestock off-take’) has been
used in pastoral areas of southern Ethiopia, with government and NGOs facilitating linkages between
livestock traders and drought-affected communities. Therefore, there are two main approaches to de-
stocking currently being used in Ethiopia:
Commercial destocking• involves the engagement of livestock traders to boost livestock off-take
from a drought-affected area so that they can be fattened and sold through terminal markets. This
type of destocking provides pastoralists with cash, which they can then use to buy the commodities
and services they need, including items to protect their remaining livestock. This type of destocking
should take place as soon as possible, at the onset of drought.
Slaughter destocking• programmes are based on the purchase of livestock by an aid agency, fol-
lowed by immediate, local slaughter and the distribution of meat in either a wet or dry form. This
type of destocking takes place later in a drought, at a time when livestock traders are no longer
One way to view destocking is as a cash-transfer mechanism. As such, commercial destocking is pre-
ferred because it results in pastoralists selling animals earlier in a drought and receiving a higher price
per animal. Even when livestock prices are falling and grain prices are rising during drought, the sale
of only a few animals can provide a pastoral household with sufficient grain to sustain it for weeks or
Box 3.1: The value of livestock sales during drought for sustaining pastoralist households
Drawing on experiences from commercial destocking in Moyale woreda, southern Ethiopia in
2006, it was known that livestock traders were paying on average Eth birr 438 per head of cattle
purchased. If a pastoralist sold only one animal and used the money to buy grain to feed the
household, then approximately 292kg of maize could be acquired (assuming a maize price of
Eth birr 150/100kg). This amount of grain could cover the energy requirements of a seven-person
pastoral household (two adults and five children) for 83 days.
Although in this example it is unlikely that the maize would be the only type of food eaten by the
household the calculation shows the value of commercial destocking. Not only were the cattle pur-
chased using funds from the private sector, a potential saving in terms of food aid was also evident.
Using the sale price of livestock during a slaughter destocking intervention in Dire woreda in
2006, similar calculations can be made as follows:
Amount of maize which
can be purchased (kg) from
the sale of one animal
Number of days for which pur-
chased maize could cover a seven-
person household energy needs
Camel 580 387 110
Cattle 290 193 55
Sheep and goats 70 47 13
Although these calculations will vary from place to place, they indicate that even during drought
when livestock prices are low and grain prices are high, the sale of livestock to buy food for people
is efficient in terms of acquiring food to sustain families during drought.
While the calculations in Box 3.1 show the logic of converting livestock into grain for people, both
types of destocking outlined assume that to some degree, pastoralists will use some of the cash derived
from destocking to protect their remaining livestock assets. Therefore, destocking relates to the concept
of maintaining a ‘core herd’ which is needed for post-drought recovery. It follows that various other
types of livestock service or intervention are complementary to destocking because they may assist pas-
toralists to maintain a core group of adult breeding animals. Depending on the timing of destocking and
private sector actors in a given area, these additional services may be available from private suppliers or
service providers, or, will need to be provided by government or an NGO. The services include:
Supplementary feeding - the adequacy of feed resources for the animals that are retained after destock-
ing needs to be considered and provision made for supplementary feeding as necessary. Ideally, if de-
stocking is conducted early enough private suppliers can provide at least some of the required feed.
Veterinary support - destocking can reduce the risk of disease transmission by reducing animal den-
sity and the removal of sick animals. However, adequate veterinary care still needs to be provided for
remaining animals. Again, if conducted early in a drought, veterinary care can be provided by private
Water supply - adequate water for the needs of remaining animals needs to be provided as well as the
water that is required to ensure hygienic practices during slaughter destocking operations.
In addition to these services, agencies need to be aware of food aid distribution and safety net provisions
in a given area and where possible, integrate livestock interventions with these other types of assistance.
Although destocking is sometimes justified in terms of limiting pressure on grazing resources, to date in
Ethiopia there is limited evidence to show the environmental impact of these interventions. It is possible
that large-scale commercial destocking could have positive environmental impacts, and this is an area
which requires evaluation in future.
3.2 Coordination issues
Many agencies in Ethiopia have had substantial involvement in planning and implementing destocking
programmes. Ensuring that this experience contributes to future responses is more likely to result in a time-
ly response and effective implementation. In particular, commercial destocking requires linkages between
actors such as traders who are not based in pastoral areas, and actors on the ground in pastoral areas. This
type of destocking requires a strong, central coordination body for ensuring support and harmonisation of
local and international organisations (both governmental and non-governmental) and livestock traders. In
previous commercial destocking approaches, the Livestock Marketing Authority has taken an overall lead
in facilitating the process and has worked closely with NGOs and livestock traders.
n slaughter destocking, operations tend to be more localised and these interventions are far less reliant
on actors who are not normally present in pastoral areas. Therefore, the coordination effort needs to be
particularly strong at the regional and woreda levels. The coordination needs, for example, to ensure
consistency in livestock sale prices offered to pastoralists in neighbouring areas. Specific functions of
coordination bodies during destocking include:
Needs and capacity assessment - coordinating the collection and collation of information required to
identify priority areas for intervention and to assess needs to be addressed by the response.
Identification of lead and support agencies - conducting an assessment of the capacity of agencies
operating in affected areas e.g. extent of presence in the field, length of experience, knowledge of lo-
cal norms and customs. This will help to ensure that the resources devoted to the response are used
Support for policy measures - for example gathering market price data to assist with the setting of prices
paid under a slaughter destocking programme.
Engagement with traders - in commercial destocking, ensuring that traders are identified to participate
in a commercial destocking initiative and that their needs and any contractual obligations are properly
Facilitation of livestock transport by easing taxation - in commercial destocking, the coordination
body can liaise with different tax authorities along routes where livestock are being transported by
Provision of uniform services - ensuring that the support services required by the programme such as animal
feeds, water, slaughter equipment and personnel are provided at all locations in which it will operate.
Establishment and management of contingency funds - coordinating the different sources of funds re-
quired to support the operational costs of the destocking programme is a way of ensuring that they are
Ensuring linkages with food aid and safety nets – liaison with food aid and safety programmes can assist
targeting and other aspects of destocking.
Documentation of experiences and practices - effective recording of lessons learned (e.g. in
respect of intervention timing and management, efficiency, efficacy, cost-benefits and levels of
community participation) is likely to be of considerable value in enhancing the value of future
Table 3.1. Advantages and disadvantages of destocking
Allows purchase of livestock which otherwise would
have died, thereby provides cash to households
(commercial destocking), or, cash and meat to
households (slaughter destocking); meat is a use-
ful dietary supplement particularly for children and
pregnant or nursing women.
Livestock prices can be rapidly eroded in
emergency situations. As a result, commercial
destocking initiatives have a narrow window
of opportunity during which implementation is
The cash derived from destocking - especially com-
mercial destocking - is often used to support local
markets and services, and to protect remaining
livestock. This reduces the need for other interven-
tions and helps to maintain the local markets and
services needed for recovery.
The interest of commercial traders will partly
depend on factors such as the final demand
for meat or live animals in terminal domestic
or export markets, and the capacity of holding
grounds or feedlots. Commercial destocking is
therefore highly dependent on the state of live-
stock markets during normal periods.
Commercial destocking can be very cost-effective
as a large part of the financial burden is borne by
Some traders may have insufficient capital to
buy large numbers of animals. The provision of
rapid loans during drought is currently problem-
Slaughter destocking can augment other sources of
food aid by redistributing meat within affected com-
Some pastoral communities are reluctant to
consume meat from drought-stricken animals for
cultural reasons. Careful dialogue with communi-
ties is needed to change attitudes.
If a substantial proportion of the livestock popu-
lation in a given area is destocked, pressure on
natural resources may be reduced.
Commercial destocking by private traders partly
depends on good infrastructure, especially
roads, to access more remote communities.
As part of an integrated emergency response,
judicious destocking can be used to enhance the
viability of other interventions aimed at preserving
herds (e.g. supplementary feeding).
Removal of livestock from a community is
a drastic measure. Other interventions (e.g.
relocation or supplementary feeding) will allow
more rapid herd reconstitution during the recov-
If a longer term view is taken, destocking offers the
opportunity to cull poorer quality or chronically
diseased stock. These may be replaced with better
animals during the recovery phase.
Many NGOs are not used to working with
traders during emergencies, or donors may not
allow NGO support to traders.
Box 3.2: National coordination arrangements during commercial destocking in Ethiopia
During the 2006 drought in the Borana area of Ethiopia, a national coordination strategy was de-
vised through the State Ministry of Agricultural Inputs and Marketing, comprising Ethiopian Live
Animals Exporters Association, Meat Exporters Association, Oromiya Pastoral Development Com-
mission (OPDC), NGOs, UN agencies and academic partners. Initially, meetings were held on a
weekly basis and bi-weekly thereafter as the drought situation improved.
All national and export livestock traders were invited to participate in commercial destocking
(through mass media) and field visits were arranged for the traders in three drought-affected areas.
NGOs on the ground arranged purchase sites and secured temporary assembling grounds close to
purchase points for the traders. Similarly, the Ministry in collaboration with the OPDC arranged ac-
cess for the traders to acquire temporary holding grounds close to fattening centres.
USAID also arranged a meeting between commercial banks and the livestock traders to explore if
fast track loans could be made available. However, the banks were not in a position to provide loans
to the traders due to time constraints.
The strong coordination enabled the purchase of some 25,000 head of drought-stricken cattle by traders,
by far the largest amount of livestock purchased in the history of destocking interventions in Ethiopia.
3.3 Commercial destocking
Although experiences with commercial destocking in Ethiopia during drought are limited, assessments
conducted so far indicate that this intervention should be prioritised above other types of livestock
intervention during the early stages of drought. The cash which is transferred to pastoralists during com-
mercial destocking is derived from the private sector, and the key role of government and NGO actors
is to link livestock traders with communities who need to sell some of their livestock. Furthermore, the
cash acquired by pastoralists is used for local purchases of commodities and services and therefore
helps to maintain local economies. Expenditure on livestock feed, veterinary care or the transport of
livestock to distant grazing areas also helps to reduce the need for government or NGOs to intervene
with these types of support.
3.3.1 Guidance on the timing of commercial destocking
In Ethiopia various sources of early warning information are available to indicate that commercial de-
stocking is required. In areas where early warning systems are not operational, field-level assessments
by experienced practitioners can be as useful as early warning reports. In the case of early warning
systems based on remote sensing, field-level verification of information is required.
Using the drought cycle management model, commercial destocking should take place in the alert
and alarm stages of a drought, and the indicators which can inform a decision to support commercial
Deviations in water availability and pasture production - rainfall failure or reductions in precipitation
in the short and long seasons in any given year will generally lead to reduced pasture and standing
water. In some cases, this could be a localised problem that can be resolved by indigenous responses.
Periodically however, drought may affect the entire eco-system and extend to populations in neighbour-
ing countries. The severity and extent of disruption in biomass availability is monitored by the online
Livestock Early Warning System.
Non-seasonal changes in market activities - increases in livestock availability at markets (without a cor-
responding increase in demand) can indicate that livestock keepers are resorting to distress disposal. In
this situation, prices will fall but individuals may hope to salvage some value from their animals through
normal market channels. Under these conditions, a 25 per cent drop in livestock prices is generally
regarded as a trigger point for initiating destocking.
Increases in cereal prices - early in the alert stage of a developing drought, cereal prices can show a
tendency to rise with no associated increase in the value of livestock. In this situation, a 25 per cent
increase in cereal prices can be regarded as the threshold for considering a destocking operation.
Unseasonal migrations - early migrations in search of pasture and water are often initiated before the
drought situation worsens and mass migrations commence. These generally involve the removal of only
the most valuable animals and, when occurring widely, may provide strong evidence of indigenous
concern that a drought may be approaching. Indeed, indigenous approaches to predicting drought are
often accurate and should be recognised.
Unusual migration routes - vertical migrations along unusual routes and taking place either at normal
times or out-of-season may indicate local perceptions of a worsening situation. Examples of unusual
vertical migrations include the migration of Afar to Cheffa and Issas to West Hararghe, Dakata, the Erer
Valley and Fafem.
3.3.2 Determining the feasibility of commercial destocking
Commercial destocking is highly reliant on private livestock traders and therefore, the domestic and ex-
port demand for livestock and meat at a particular time, plus the capacity of holding grounds and feed-
lots, should be assessed. Livestock traders will not buy substantial numbers of livestock from drought-
affected areas unless there is a demand for live animals or meat at terminal markets in Ethiopia or
outside the country. It follows that rapid analysis of the overall livestock marketing situation is central
to assessing the feasibility of commercial destocking, and the scale of the livestock purchases which
might take place. Such analysis should involve experts and government technical staff with a detailed
and up-to-date knowledge of the local and national livestock marketing systems, trends in the export
of livestock and meat, and the facilities and services that are in place at all levels. This rapid analysis
should then inform dialogue and discussion with livestock traders in order to reach a joint decision on
whether or not commercial destocking should take place.
Some specific issues which need to be considered during the rapid analysis and subsequent dialogue
with traders include:
The location and size of the drought-affected area(s), and therefore, an approximate estimation of•
types and numbers of livestock which might be available for sale.
The general body condition of different species and types of livestock, and their market value;•
while some traders may prefer to buy only animals in relatively good body condition, other traders
may buy thin animals with a view to fattening them.
The demand for specific types of livestock and meat in various domestic and international mar-•
The capacity of abattoirs, feedlots and holding grounds, and government commitment to making•
land available as temporary holding grounds if necessary.
The location of the drought-affected area(s) with respect to main roads, accessibility to communi-•
ties who may sell livestock, and an understanding of the additional transaction costs required to
reach more remote areas.
The capacity of local government and NGO actors to work with communities to create temporary•
markets, and to explain the commercial destocking approach to communities.
The commitment of government to relax certain taxation issues or other bureaucratic procedures,•
thereby enabling rapid purchase and transport of livestock by traders.
Options for combining off-take of livestock with the provision of livestock feed to remaining ani-•
mals, using the same vehicles.
During the analysis and discussion with livestock traders it is important to note that traders cannot be
forced to purchase livestock in situations where demand at terminal markets does not support substan-
tial purchases and inflow of animals into the supply chain. The status of markets will largely determine
the economic rationale and ultimate success of commercial destocking. Government and NGO actors
also need to be aware that livestock traders may request loans to assist rapid procurement, but that ide-
ally, traders should use their own capital to buy livestock. Systems for the approval and administration
of rapid loans to livestock traders are not well developed, and are not easily supported by many NGOs
or private banks. When loans are to be used, a control mechanism should be put in place to ensure that
loan funds are used specifically for the purchase and transport of animals.
3.3.3 Guidance on the design and implementation of commercial destocking
Most types of livestock interventions in pastoral areas during drought are very much under the control
of government agencies and NGOs, and these actors can work with communities to design specific
aspects of the intervention in question. In contrast, commercial destocking is largely shaped by market
factors and the need for private traders to make a reasonable profit from their activities and minimise
risks to their investment.
Design and implementation issues which can be influenced and facilitated by government and NGOs
Communication and liaison with communities - to explain the commercial destocking approach and to
introduce livestock traders to communities e.g. through field visits arranged for the traders.
Identification of sellers - discussion with communities to agree which households should sell animals.
As shown in Box 3.1 the sale of only a small number of animals can enable a household to acquire
sufficient grain to meet its nutritional energy needs for many weeks, or even months. In terms of relief
assistance, it is therefore preferable to support an approach whereby many households have the oppor-
tunity to sell small numbers of livestock, rather than a few households selling many livestock.
Support measures - through a strong, central coordination body government and NGO actors can help
to ensure that various support measures are in place to facilitate commercial destocking. These mea-
Health inspection of purchased livestock• - by government veterinary public health officers.
Temporary holding grounds• – the coordination body should support implementing agencies by
liaising with regional, zonal and woreda authorities to secure temporary holding grounds where
traders can assemble purchased animals until they are fit for transportation. Traders may also re-
quire additional land close to feedlot centres in order to accommodate increasing numbers of
Provision of water and feed -• the national coordinating body should coordinate the provision of
feed to livestock purchased by traders on a full cost recovery basis. These animals should also be
given access to existing water points in the operational area.
Veterinary services -• liaison with the Department of Veterinary Services will ensure that recom-
mended vaccines and drugs can be supplied for livestock assembled by traders by veterinary pro-
Fuel availability -• the national coordinating body should take measures to ensure the availability of
fuel along major destocking routes.
Security -• coordination with local authorities will be needed to make sure that accessible sites are
safe and secure enough for commercial destocking.
Taxation -• the national coordinating body should negotiate with federal and regional customs of-
fices to exempt livestock traders from paying transit taxes when moving livestock across regions in
times of emergency.
Transport -• the use of options, such as government owned vehicles, should be explored to alleviate
transport shortages for moving livestock. Support should also be provided by the Road Transport
Authority in order to minimise unnecessary delays.
Control measures - a number of control measures need to be implemented to minimise the likelihood
of unscrupulous individuals capitalising on the situation for personal gains. These measures are particu-
larly important in the case of transport subsidies and as such subsidies are not a preferred option for de-
stocking, they will not be commonly applied. In the event that transport subsidies are used, purchased
livestock need to be marked (tagged or tattooed) and local officials need to ensure that their departures
(date, time, vehicle particulars and operators etc.) are properly documented. Inspection officers receiv-
ing animals at fattening centres can then verify that the livestock have been properly transported by
checking against the original documents. In general, payments should only be made after ensuring that
purchased stocks have arrived at the fattening centre.
Selling arrangements - working with communities and traders to agree on issues such as the location
and timing of purchase areas and temporary markets. Agencies need to identify target locations for
destocking programmes based on both need and feasibility. Access problems can be a major issue limit-
ing the geographical coverage of commercial destocking. Households wishing to sell livestock may be
scattered within villages, and villages may be some distance from each other. Therefore, commercial
destocking may tend to benefit people in villages that are relatively close to major roads at the expense
of people living in more remote areas. To some extent, this problem may be addressed by adopting a
rotational operation in which isolated communities are reached by specifying fixed, temporary market
days for different locations. Purchase sites and timing of markets should be determined in consultation
with local communities. They should generally be existing villages or temporary settlements to avoid the
need for lengthy trekking of weakened animals.
Box 3.3: Expanding coverage through temporary markets
During the drought in 2006 in parts of southern Ethiopia, commercial destocking took place in
which private livestock traders were introduced to pastoralist communities with livestock to sell.
February 2006 the traders purchased 6,292 male cattle by expanding coverage
through temporary markets. Purchased cattle were either transported directly to holding grounds
in Nazreth, Awash and Metehara, or held in the Moyale area where they were provided with fod-
der until they were healthy enough to travel.
The traders used temporary market places to expand their coverage and utilise the time efficiently
so that they could destock as many animals as possible. Malab, Tilo Medo, Tuqa, Argen, Medo,
Goofaa, and Dembi are among some of the sites established as temporary market places in Moyale
woreda of Ethiopia.
Examples of some temporary market places around Moyale during the 2006 drought
Location of tem-
Number of cattle
Total price Date of sales
Tuqaa 708 512 362,240 February 5th – 8th,
Qatella 826 428 353,505 February 5th – 8th,
Malab 51 453 23,100 February 5th, 2006
Total 1,585 466 738,845 February 5th – 8th,
Monitoring arrangements - so that livestock purchases by type and price can be recorded and assigned
to specific households. This is a key role for NGO or government actors, and can greatly assist evalua-
tion and assessment of the destocking at a later stage.
Aspects of commercial destocking which are heavily influenced, if not determined by the traders in-
Types of livestock for purchase - the species, age and sex of livestock to be purchased, and the preferred
body condition. Traders know the best end-markets for purchased livestock and will select animals ac-
cordingly. As a general rule, young adult or adult male animals in good body condition will be bought,
although in some situations traders will also buy very thin livestock knowing these animals can be fat-
tened and sold at a later date. To some extent, trader preferences will match pastoralist’s preferences,
because pastoralists will tend to retain adult breeding females to assist herd recovery after drought.
The prices of livestock - the prime motivation for traders is profit. Traders realise this profit as a result
of low prevailing purchase prices for drought-affected animals. When animals are thin, a rapid weight
gain is possible when they are returned to an adequate plane of nutrition.
A significant element of profit maximisation for traders is the minimising of costs including road access,
provision of water, feed and security. As a result, traders will opt to purchase animals that are in better
condition (for the price) and closer to roads.
3.4 Slaughter destocking
Slaughter destocking is a less preferred option compared with commercial destocking, because it usual-
ly takes place when livestock traders are no longer willing or able to buy livestock from drought-affected
areas. Therefore, slaughter destocking occurs during the emergency phase of a drought when livestock
condition is very poor and unless purchased and slaughtered, large numbers of animals are likely to die
without any benefit (or only very minor benefit) to their owners. Slaughter destocking usually requires
the use of funds from aid agencies and therefore is limited in terms of the numbers of animals which
can be purchased.
Compared to commercial destocking, there is much more experience in Ethiopia with slaughter de-
stocking and in part, this is because slaughter destocking usually takes place later in a drought.
3.4.1 Guidance on the timing of slaughter destocking
Although slaughter destocking is less preferred to commercial destocking, it is still an intervention
which can offer a rapid way of reducing the burden of livestock upon peoples’ livelihoods under the
extreme conditions of an emergency situation. At the same time, it can deliver tangible benefits to af-
fected households by providing meat or cash, and can also provide short-term employment for a limited
number of community members.
The decision to conduct slaughter destocking or not should be informed largely by information on the
stage of a drought and the behaviour of livestock traders. Therefore slaughter destocking should take
A drought has entered the emergency stage in terms of drought cycle management•
Traders are no longer willing to buy livestock due to factors such as the poor body condition of•
animals (and therefore, high mortality during transportation) or the inaccessibility of communities
due to poor roads or other reasons. At this time, sharp drops in livestock prices resulting from loss
of condition are evident.
It can be noted that some areas may be viewed by traders as inaccessible during the alert or alarm stages
of a drought and in these situations, slaughter destocking could be considered before the emergency
3.4.2 Determining the feasibility of slaughter destocking
A number of key questions can assist agencies to assess the feasibility of slaughter destocking.
What is the stage of the drought and state of livestock markets? As indicated in section 3.4.1, the need
for slaughter destocking partly depends on the stage of the drought and a rapid decline in livestock
value in local markets.
Are there particular households which could be assisted? Within a community there may be specific
disadvantaged sub-groups at particular risk of severe food or income deficits. Slaughter destocking can
be a way to target these groups with assistance in the form of cash or meat.
How might cultural factors affect the intervention? Some target populations may have cultural prefer-
ences that will hinder slaughter destocking and meat distribution. For example, in Borana areas during
drought in 2006 communities were initially reluctant to consume dried meat from thin, drought-strick-
en livestock. Considerable community-level dialogue and patience was required to change attitudes
and when evaluated some months later, people actually appreciated the dried meat as a source of food
during the drought.
What is the human food supply situation? Slaughter destocking can deliver food relief to affected
households if supplies from other sources of emergency assistance are not adequate.
Are there local community groups or local leadership in place? Slaughter destocking works best when
the objectives and implementation are discussed with communities and a common understanding is
reached. Strong local community groups or traditional leaders can greatly facilitate this process, and
help to organise various stages of the intervention.
Are there any local security concerns? If aid agency staff have to carry large sums of cash into an area
which has been targeted for destocking, the prevailing security situation will need to be assessed and
the safety of all staff guaranteed. In conflict situations, livestock can be attractive to criminals as they
are easily mobile, disposable for cash or otherwise used for wealth accumulation. This can present an
additional source of insecurity for their owners. Furthermore, destocking operations may also present
an attractive target as they involve the handling of large amounts of cash in insecure areas making com-
munities more vulnerable to risks. It may be possible to reduce this risk by the use of a coupon system
that recipients can redeem against cash at a more secure central location.
3.4.3 Guidance on the design and implementation of slaughter destocking
In slaughter destocking, drought-affected livestock are purchased by an aid organisation. Purchased
livestock are then slaughtered locally and either fresh or dried meat is distributed to targeted house-
holds. Within communities there are various distinct groups of actors and beneficiaries who need to be
recognised and involved in the intervention. These community-level actors and beneficiaries are:
Local or traditional leaders or decision-making groups•
It can be useful to work with local or traditional leaders to establish a ‘meat relief committee’ (MRC) or
similar local body. An MRC can be of considerable value for helping to identify beneficiaries, oversee-
ing the operation and ensuring that distributions reach the intended recipients. The formation of MRCs
can also help to distribute power that might otherwise be monopolised by other ‘Food Relief Commit-
tees’ and share some of the general responsibilities of the implementing agency. Other specific roles for
an MRC include:
Assigning responsibilities to different community groups•
Assisting with the identification of beneficiaries•
Organising groups for slaughtering and meat distribution•
Distributing live animals for slaughter•
Supervising slaughter, meat distribution and the collection of hides and skins from the beneficiary•
groups for the intended purpose, if needed.
Slaughter destocking: Key design issues
Ideally, a participatory approach should be used during all stages of design and implementation with
frequent use of open meetings in communities in which people can hear and contribute to discussion.
Selection of livestock sellers - this should be based on clear, commonly understood criteria for identify-
ing the most vulnerable households. Wealth ranking or similar techniques can assist this process, and
the actual selection method should be sensitive to local culture and avoid compromising the dignity of
the families involved. As the extent of livestock purchases is likely to be finite and defined by budgetary
considerations, it is likely that not all drought-affected animals available for purchase can actually be
purchased within a given community. Therefore, decisions will need to be made on who is eligible to
sell animals and receive cash payments. Ideally, livestock sellers in a slaughter destocking intervention
should comprise as many of the most vulnerable households as possible, with due emphasis on female-
Types, number and prices of livestock to be sold - depending on the available budget, an agency will
need to work with communities to carefully define the number and type of livestock which can be pur-
chased from each household. The greater the number of animals purchased from each household and
the higher the price per animal, the fewer the number of households which can be targeted. Again,
discussion and decisions on these issues can take place in open meetings so that it becomes commonly
known how decisions were reached. The amount of cash to be received by a household from livestock
sales during slaughter destocking, needs to be sufficient to make a substantial contribution to household
income during the anticipated drought period. If too little cash is received, households will continue to
rely heavily on other forms of assistance, whereas if too much cash is received, fewer households will
As a general rule young, reproductive female animals should be excluded from slaughter destocking
programmes as they will form the foundation stock for herd re-establishment during the recovery phase.
Old male animals, surplus young males, non-reproductive females and ailing stock (excluding any that
may pose a disease risk to the people who eventually consume them) may be used for slaughter de-
stocking. Often it will be sound practice for less drought tolerant species (cattle and sheep) to make up
the bulk of the animals to be destocked.
Excessive differences in the purchase price of animals for slaughter destocking within and between
neighbouring geographical areas can lead to resentment and harassment of staff working for lower pay-
ing agencies. Strong coordination within and between areas can help to overcome these problems. The
coordinating body should assess the prevailing livestock market prices in various localities to determine
a uniform purchase price for each type of species, which should be adhered to by all implementing
agencies in the same geographical area.
Types of meat for distribution - dried meat processing can be a complex and costly process that in-
volves skinning, cutting, slicing, salting, cooking, drying, storing and guarding the meat. It is important
that proper hygiene procedures are implemented and that plenty of water is available for processing and
cleaning. Local rituals, beliefs and taboos relating to animal slaughter may need to be taken into ac-
count with guidance from local NGOs or other agencies with long-term development experience in the
particular area. Fresh meat distribution is a far less complex process once purchasing and distribution
systems have been put in place, but has the disadvantage that fresh meat is more perishable than dried
meat. Overall, fresh meat distribution is relatively simple and cheaper than dried meat distribution.
Amount of meat to be distributed - in order to represent a useful dietary supplement to vulnerable indi-
viduals, the amount of meat distributed should be sufficient to make a good contribution to daily protein
requirements, for a sufficient number of days. Annex 3.1 provides the recommended daily allowance of
protein for people of different types and ages, and can be used to estimate for how many days a specific
weight of fresh or dried meat can cover a person’s or households’ protein requirements.
Box 3.4: Amount of meat derived from different livestock species if slaughtered during
Livestock species and type Approximate body-
weight if drought-
of fresh meat in car-
of dried meat from 1
Afar/Issa adult male
Somali adult male
Cattle, adult male 120–150 45–60 9–12
Sheep, adult male 10 5–6 1
Goat, adult male 10 5–6 1
Selection of meat recipients - the people selected to receive meat should include the most vulnerable
families in the community and particularly those with many children, pregnant or nursing mothers,
widows and the aged. For cultural reasons, it is likely that targeted households will share the meat with
non-targeted households in pastoral and agro-pastoral settings. If this is the case and sufficient quanti-
ties of meat are available, distributing meat more widely in the community will help to avoid resent-
ment. Distribution may also include community-level facilities such as schools, hospitals or prisons that
would otherwise go without direct supplies of food.
Hygienic slaughter and meat distribution - the capacity for the programme to implement hygienic
slaughter and meat preparation practices needs to be considered at the design stage. Slaughter destock-
ing should include pre and post mortem inspection by livestock or public health officers. Environmental
contamination can be reduced by slaughtering on concrete slabs with effective drainage systems or if
such facilities are not available, by changing the slaughter sites as frequently as possible. Allowing ben-
eficiary families to do their own slaughtering and distribution of fresh meat can reduce risks of disease.
Proper disposal of inedible offal, blood and other wastes and hygienic meat preparation practices can
be encouraged by providing rapid, basic training to community members. Locally-acceptable practices
relating to the slaughter and skinning of animals and the preparation of dried meat must be observed
and understood. These may be based on religious or cultural grounds, or in some cases may simply be
associated with taste preferences. For example, in some areas meat may be boiled first before drying