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Land Use and Tenure Insecurity in the Drylands of Southern Ethiopia

John McPeak and Peter D. Little

Journal of Development Studies, 2019, vol. 55, issue 6, 1307-1324

Abstract: This paper examines changing patterns of land rights and use in Borana and Guji zones, southern Ethiopia. It seeks to understand how heterogeneous groups of pastoralists and agropastoralists gain access to land under varied institutional configurations. We find different means of exclusion are pursued, including private enclosures that rely on customary institutions, government administration, and/or hybrid combinations to enforce claims. We also find that some herders may be making claims to farm plots with the goal of securing access to land rather than planting crops. By assessing how different situations and socio-economic factors affect land claims, the paper deepens understanding of motivations for plot acquisition by pastoralists and challenges the common dichotomy between customary and formal administrative rules and institutions.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2018.1469745

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