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Livelihood strategies and the role of livestock in the processes of adaptation to drought in the Coastal Zone of Western Desert (Egypt)

Alary V., Messad S., Aboul-Naga A., Osman M.A., Daoud I., Bonnet P., Juanes X., Tourrand J.F.. 2014. Agricultural Systems, 128 : p. 44-54.

DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2014.03.008

Analyses of the roles of livestock in household livelihood in the context of global change and the different stresses triggered by such changes are not rare. However, the many changes that threaten the actual functioning of the systems and trigger many uncertainties concerning capacities to adapt to external shocks require new research approaches. In this paper, we explore the links between capital assets, risk perception, measure of income, and livestock adaptation using a typology value based on multiple factorial analyses. We examine the specific role of livestock in the processes of adaptation to a 15-year drought. The study is based on a farm survey of 182 Bedouin families in the Coastal Zone of Western Desert of Egypt in 2011. Our results show that livestock is still a core component of Bedouin society with a significant typology value. However, for Bedouin families located inland, livestock is mainly an economic safety net in the case of drought; whereas for family members who recently moved to town, livestock is a social safety net vis-à-vis the traditional society which enables them to cope with economic hardship and participate in social events. How livestock is managed during drought events and the role of livestock in the process of adapting to drought depends less on the size of the herd before the drought in the rain-fed zone and more on traditional social and official networks. Consequently, limiting the impact of drought in this zone requires paying more attention to the management of collective action, including livestock policies and feed subsidies.

Mots-clés : Élevage; adaptation; sécheresse; zone aride; zone côtière; groupe éthnique; revenu de l'exploitation; niveau de vie; famille; sociologie; changement climatique; désertification; méthode statistique; adaptation aux changements climatiques; Égypte; sédentarisation

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