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Role of mobility to face long drought (1995-2011) in the Coastal Zone of Western Desert (Egypt)

Alary V., Aboulnaga A.M., Bonnet P., Osman M.A., Tourrand J.F.. 2013. In : EAAP. Book of Abstracts of the 64th annual meeting of the European federation of animal science, Nantes, France, 26-30 August, 2013. Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers, p. 169-169. EAAP Annual Conference. 64, 2013-08-26/2013-08-30, Nantes (France).

Mobility is well known as a factor of flexibility of livestock systems and adaptation to harsh conditions. By enlarging the potential resources, the mobility can be considered as a way to reduce climatic risk. The objective of the study is to understand the role of mobility faced to the 15 drought years that have faced the Coastal Zone of Western Desert (CZWD) in Egypt (1995-2011). A farm survey has been conducted in 2011 among a sample of 120 farmers in the dry rainfed area from El-Alamein to Libyan border. The analysis is based on factorial and clustering methods based on synthetic indicators related to mobility (duration, distance), complementation (during and after the transhumance) and animal performance (reproduction performance and mortality rate) and profitability (net income by head of animal). A first typology shows that only the large breeders with more than 400 sheep and goats practice long transhumance during the last 15 drought years. The rate of profitability remains low due to high mortality. The other breeders adapt complementation procedure (mainly feed concentrates and grains) according to a strategy of maintaining their animal stock (maximizing reproduction rate) or a strategy of survival (by maximizing the profitability per animal) during the long drought. The lowest profitability was registered for breeders that maintain short mobility (less than 7 km). The natural feed intake cannot fulfill the animal need of energy to walk. So mobility is an adaptive mechanism to tough drought conditions to maintain the animal stock for the 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 normal climatic conditions, the mobility becomes a factor of profitability.

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