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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Of markets, meat, maize & milk: pastoral commoditization in Kenya
Authors:Zaal, FredISNI
Dietz, TonISNI
Book title:The poor are not us: poverty & pastoralism in Eastern Africa
Editors:Anderson, David M.
Broch-Due, Vigdis
City of publisher:Oxford
Publisher:James Currey
Geographic term:Kenya
dual economy
Abstract:In this chapter, the authors examine whether commoditization eases the tension that can exist between the limited capacity of pastoral production and household needs in Kenya. To do this, they develop a caloric production and exchange model to analyse changing pastoral production and consumption patterns, thereby linking nutritional and economic measurements. Their model evaluates shifts in the caloric terms of trade over time, relates this to market risk analysis and assesses the exchange relationship in food energy terms of products bought and sold. In this way, they are able to show for two Kenyan cases, the Pokot pastoralists of the northwest and the Maasai of Kajiado District, at what points the sale of livestock will bring the pastoralist comparative advantage in caloric terms. The relatively stable and advantageous terms of trade favouring pastoralists appear to indicate the general value of this strategy, supporting the view that commoditization can improve household food security in the cases studied. But this depends upon the operation of a functional livestock and cereals market and whether pastoralists are able to choose when to enter into exchange. While commoditization is evident in both Kajiado and West Pokot, each is taking a different road. In West Pokot, commoditization is the road to survival; in Kajiado, it is the road to the ranch. The way in which commoditization affects individual households very much depends upon their initial economic status. Poor households generally use the market as a means of survival; wealthier households are able to exploit market opportunities in a more structured way. Notes, ref.