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Controversial role of mobility faced to climate changes in the rainfed coastal zone of Egypt

Alary V., Aboul-Naga A., Abdelzaher M., Hassan F., Messad S., Bonnet P., Tourrand J.F.. 2012. In : Book of Abstracts of the 63rd Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science : Bratislava, Slovakia, 27-31 August 2012. Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers, p. 339-339. (Annual meeting of the European Association for Animal Production, 18). Annual Meeting of the European Association for Animal Production. 63, 2012-08-27/2012-08-31, Bratislava (Slovaquie).

Mobility is well known as a factor of flexibility and adaptation of livestock farming system in harsh conditions. By enlarging the resource potential, the mobility is considered as a way to reduce climatic risk. The objective of the study is to understand the role of mobility facing 15 drought years that have affected the North West Coastal zone of Egypt (1995-2011). A field survey has been conducted in 2011 among a sample of 120 farmers located in the rainfed zone, from El-Alamein east to Libya boarder west. The analysis is based on multiple factorial methods based on synthetic indicators related to mobility (duration, distance), supplementary feeding (during and after the transhumance) and animal performance (reproduction and mortality rates) and profitability (income/head of animal). A first typology shows that, only the large breeders with more than 400 sheep and goats practiced long transhumance during the last 15 drought years. Rate of profitability remains low due to high mortality. The other groups adapt complementary feeding (mainly concentrates and grains) according to strategy of maintaining the animal stock and maximizing reproduction rate or survival strategy by maximizing the profitability per animal during the last drought. The lowest profitability is registered for breeders that maintain short mobility (less than 7 km). The natural range did not fulfill the energy requirements during the walk. So mobility appears as a successful adaptive mechanism to drought conditions to maintain their animal stock for large breeders, at the detrimental of profitability. But it has its limitations for small breeders, with the objective of economic survival due the high rate of mortality. Only in good climatic conditions, the mobility becomes a factor of profitability.
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