Exegese - Das Gleichnis „Vom Unkraut unter dem Weizen“ Mt 13,24-30

Seminararbeit, 2008

19 Seiten, Note: 1,7


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Decreasing productivities of the pastoral system arising from low pastoral development emphasis by the both regional and central government and various environmental challenges are forcing pastoralists to practice unscrupulous land cultivation. This review paper aimed at presenting overview of the expansion of dryland farming, explores its drivers and prospect of pastoral livelihood among Ethiopian pastoralists. Analytical reviews that critically compare the finding of different research were used and key words were used as searching method. This review indicates that farming is expanding and becoming popular in pastoralist of southern Ethiopia. Pastoralism is in the dynamic condition than ever before due to multiple factor. Climate challenges, land degradation, land tenure insecurity, government policy on pastoralists settlements, conflicts, and socio-economic factors are the major drivers of dryland farming.Thus, traditionally mobile livestock keeping among pastoralists of southern Ethiopia is becoming tougher than ever before. Opportunistic farming in the area is serving as means of subsistence for poor pastoral drop out. Conversion of pastoral lands for cultivation is not appropriate strategy for environmental health as well sustainability of the pastoral system. Practicing only extensive pastoralism in the area is also rarely possible. Therefore dryland farming should support livestock rearing in a way that assures environmental health and economic sustainability for pastoral communities.

Keywords: Dryland Farming; Borana Pastoralist; Pastoralism; Pastoral Livelihood


Dryland area is estimated to support about 50 percent of the world's livestock and 2.5 billion people (CGIAR 2013). Ethiopia’s arid or semi-arid pastoral lands encompass around 63% of the total land area and comprise about 12% of the total population (Demie 2015).Challenging environments in dryland require careful use of natural resources for the survival of the human population in the area (UNDP (United Nation Development Programme) 2014). Pastoral livelihood systems are effective mechanisms for converting these challenging environments and marginal lands into productive ways (USAID (United State Agency for International Development) 2003). Pastoralism is thus a form of risk management within livestock production through mobility and flexible off-take (COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) 2009).

Ethiopia has different agro-ecological zone that allowed existence of many livestock species and created suitable environment for livestock production (Fre and Tesfagergis 2013). Direct contribution of livestock sector to the total output is estimated to 17% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and 39% of the agricultural GDP. The contributions increase to 21% of the national GDP and 49% of the agricultural GDP, when livestock and its product processing and marketing (35.6 billion) are taken into account. If the indirect contributions in organic fertilizer and traction (37.8 billion) are taken into account the contribution of livestock to the GDP will rise to 25.3% (Shapiro et al 2017).

Despite the economic and ecological importance of pastoral systems, exciting policies frameworks at the regional level and national level used to ignore pastoralist from policy agenda. Thus pastoralist livelihood is vulnerable to various risk such as food insecurity, poverty and border conflict with other ethnic group and other natural catastrophes (AU (African Union) 2010). The pastoral system is perceived as less productive and expansion of dryland farming is supported by the Ethiopian government with the exclusive goal of changing pastoralist to agro-pastoralist and sedentary life (Beddada et al 2015). Liao (2015) stated that in pastoral and agro-pastoral area of southern Ethiopia only settled pastoralist were benefited from the seeds and fertilizers provided by government with intension of attracting other pastoralists by different subsidies and supports.

In Ethiopia, different pastoralist communities have engaged in some form of cultivated agriculture, as a diversification strategy to assure household food consumption needs. Access to irrigation due to developed diversions and schemes of Awash, as well development of irrigation facilities along Ganale Shabale River in Somali regional state and Southern Omo along Omo River attracted the interest of pastoralists who reside along river basin to grow food, fodder and horticultural crops around river banks (Tilahun et al 2015). However, those investments primarily focused at welfare of highland investors. In addition, river banks which were used to serve pastoralists as dry season pasture reserve are shifted to crop land. Even the process of delivery of the farms along the river was not pastoralist oriented as far as government interested in large scale commercial farm (Fayera 2009).

Behnke and Kerven (2011) and Little et al (2010) argued that Indigenous pastoral production system produce returns per hectare equal to or greater than those from state-subsidized irrigated farming counter to reasonable expectations. EUTF (European Union Emergency Trust Fund) (2016) reported that complete utilization of the Woyto River waters, for commercial farm, before they reach their historical destination in Chew Bahir (Lake Stephanie) is the most serious problem to the agro-pastoralist along downstream Due to dwindling productivity of the pastoral system arising from limited emphasis to pastoral development (Ejeta 2008) and various challenges like recurrent drought, land degradation, rapidly increasing population and other natural and man-made catastrophe, pastoralist of southern Ethiopia are forced to less rewarding and opportunistic land cultivation (Birhanu and Beyene 2015). Tache and Oba (2010) noted that, the actual yield per household land unit from dryland cultivation was only 31% of the national average contributing only 26% of the annual grain needs. Thus crop cultivation does not appear to be a strategy for mitigating poverty, but it might provide an opportunistic livelihood coping strategy. Dryland farming in most case is seen as a competitive sector to the pastoral system in term of resources completion and believed to have a deleterious effect on the sustainability of the pastoralism if not managed wisely. Therefore, this article is aimed at reviewing the level of dryland farming expansion in the pastoralists of southern Ethiopia and its' drivers as well as prospects of pastoralism.


This review collected different research finding and analyzed evidence on the expansion of dry land farming and its drivers. Qualitative systematic review method were undertaken to achieve the supposed objectives. This review used information already available and analyzed them to make critical evaluation of information. Accordingly, the review addressed issue related expansion of the dryland farming and its drivers in southern part of Ethiopia. In undertaking this review key words like dryland farming, pastoral livelihood, pastoralism and Borana pastoralist were used and these key words served as means of searching information required achieving review objectives. Pastoral livelihood and dryland farming were the most relevant key words used in this review. All information and research findings that have relation with dryland farming in pastoralist of horn of Africa, Ethiopia and specifically in southern Ethiopia were searched and compiled. To find appropriate data for the review searching electronic databases were used as main searching strategy. Different scientific websites like Research Gates, Mendeley, Academia and Google Scholar were used. In doing so scientific findings, books and journals were assessed and critically examined. Finally evidence obtained were compared and analyzed qualitatively in order to reach on final conclusion.


African pastoral ecosystems are an ancestral homeland to a substantial portion of the population for whom pastoralism is atraditional way of life and main production system. However, pastoralism is far from static and continuously adopts various forms of livelihoods as adaptation to various forms of changes (Mortimore 2013).Most pastoralist groups have been cultivating land throughout history. Several years ago the pastoral land of southern Ethiopia was free from fragmentation except small size enclosure (Napier and Desta 2011).

A series of development projects implemented by the joint effort of the Ethiopian government and USAID, the Livestock Development Projects funded by the African Development Bank and World Bank have been introduced from 1960’s to the end of 2000. Sub-projects underThird Livestock Development Projects (NERDU, JIRDU and SORDU) were implemented under the rubric of national economic development slogan. Strikingly, none of these projects produced successful results but paradoxically posed far reaching ramifications to the pastoral lands and livelihoods (Shanaa 2015, Demie 2015).

In Ethiopia, livestock commercialization and monetization of the pastoral economy was also the central focus of internationally financed massive rangeland development interventions in the mid-1970s to early 1990s although most of these projects did not bring the envisaged changes (Birhanu and Beyene 2015).Increasing encroachment of rain-fed cropping into pasturelands is common practice in pastoral communities of southern Ethiopia. Having poor performance dryland farming is a popular diversification strategy, especially among poor herders in sub-Saharan Africa (Mussa et al 2016).

Pastoral land encroachment by neighboring agriculturalists and farming by herders themselves; development of irrigation and tourism are principal causes for the loss of pastoral rangeland.Land grabbing by outside investors for the sake of commercial crop and ranches is also the major cause (Lind et al 2016, Little and McPeak 2014). In some parts of southern Ethiopia, the pastoral land is allocated to private companies for commercial agriculture, especially in riverine areas which are often critical dry season resources for pastoralists. Pastoralistsare also displaced due to such intervention and large-scale irrigation schemes (AU 2010). Accordingly, pastoralists across Omo River are encouraged and sometimes coerced by government to practice farming due to government-initiated large scale irrigations which have been started by the investors from the highlandareaforcing pastoralists to abandon potential pasture area (Mortimore 2013).

Traditionally, Borana pastoralists were reliant on their livelihoods on the products of their livestock, using them as food or in trade for grain (Angassa and Oba 2008).In Borana pastoralist of southern Ethiopia, different non-pastoral livelihoods have been practiced by pastoral households in response to various factors like climate-induced risks and subsequent failures of subsistence pastoralism. Weakening productivity of the pastoral system mainly leads to the increasing dominance of the previously disparaged low-return non-pastoral pursuits embraced by pastoral households as a result of recurrent vulnerability to exogenous shocks and growing pastoralist destitution (Birhanu et al 2008).

Crop cultivation is becoming popular livelihood option among Borana pastoralist of southern Ethiopia albeit only experimentally. Almost every household has a small parcel of a farm within which there is an enclosed land usually up to two hectare for the purpose of grass conservation during the dry season. Pastoralists' practice of private enclosures for cereal cultivation largely began in the mid-1990s and perhaps culminated in the first decade of this century (Birhanu and Beyene 2015).

Farming was originally adopted by shock victims and the destitute (Desta and Coppock 2004). Climate-induced recurrent pressures later made it a common experiment among pastoralists of southern Ethiopia primarily to avoid livestock selling required for supplementary cereal purchases in the widely pressing circumstances of declining milk yields (Birhanu and Beyene 2015). For poorer households that have few or no livestock, cropping provides them with new opportunities to generate much-needed income and consumption goods (Gemtessa et al 2007). Different studies reported strong involvement in farming by middle-wealth and rich herders (Angassa and Oba 2008, Desta et al 2008 and Tache 2008).

Participation of pastoralists in cultivation is increasing from time to time. According to Desta (1999), 67% of 311 households in three selected districts of Borana zone practice cultivation with significant variation in the percentage of households cultivating at different study sites. After about a decade, a study made by Tache and Oba (2010) reported that 95% of the householdsparticipated in crop cultivation. A study made in the Liben district of Guji zone also reveals that92 % of the households were a participant in crop cultivation and the proportion of land being used for crops in Borana in Liben district was greater than 16 % (Boru et al 2015).The coverage surpassed the 9 to 12 % assessed to be suitable for crop production (Coppock 1994). This implies that marginal lands not suitable for cultivation are being used without proper management.

In terms of area under cultivation Adugna and Aster (2007) reported in the Dire District of Borana Zone, 1.2% of the total land area of the district was cultivated. While the later study made by Tilahun et al (2017) in the same district reported, cultivated land accounts for 4.4% of the total area.The share of crop to the incomecompositionof pastoralists is increasing.Farmingcontributesan average share of 18 percent of the total income of the household in selected districts of Borana zone (Birhanu et al 2008). The existing trends, in general, show that crop cultivation is overwhelmingly expanding in pastoral area due to exclusive focus of government on farmingand recurrentdrought that left most of the pastoralist poor imposing them to be opportunisticin existing options.


The literatures on pastoralism demonstrate that pastoral livelihood systems are increasingly under pressure because of multiple and reinforcing natural and anthropogenic disturbances (Birhanu et al 2008, Fratkin 2013 and Tache 2010). Multiple factors like increasing climate variability, land degradation, land tenure insecurity, different government policies, and many other factors are challenging pastoralism.Thus pastoralism in Ethiopia in general and southern Ethiopia in particular is currently under stress due to economic, political, demographic, and environmental factors that force herders to search for additional ways toearn an income. Dryland farming is the dominant and competitive livelihood option in the areadue to government support to the sector (Beddada et al 2015 and Tilahun et al 2017). The most important cause for this shift into crop cultivations are climate change and variability, land degradation, land tenure insecurity, pastoral settlement policies and conflict among pastoral group.

Climate change and variability

Pastoralism is believed to be effective livelihood means and production system in dryland and the lessons of history have provided evidence on the abilities of pastoralists to cope with environmental shocks (Blench 2001). Ithas been predicted that climate variability and change will continue to impact the drylands heavily (Fratkin and Robin 2003), resulting in an expansion of livelihood outside pastoralism like farming.Climate change is seen as a key ecological driver that influences the dynamics of sub-Saharan rangelands hence is likely to affect mobility trends, locally and internationally as pastoral systems transcend national borders. Pastoral areas in Ethiopia are characterized by frequent drought and high livestock mortality that threaten the viability of pastoral livelihood and lead to famine and human death (Birhanu and Beyene 2015 and Hamito 2009).

Similar to many pastoral groups in sub-Saharan Africa, pastoralistsof southern Ethiopia have been the victim of recurrent drought and ironic climate change. Different climate-related risks such as recurrent drought, high temperature, low rainfall, and bush encroachment affect the livelihood of the communities (Angassa and Oba 2008, Desta et al 2008, Hurst et al 2012 and Tache 2008). Length of cycle of recurrent drought is becoming smaller and the effects of drought are becoming more severe than ever before in Borana pastoralist of southern Ethiopia (Jatani 2010, Megersa 2013).The different events of drought in Borana historymostly caused livestock losses and that in turn increased enclosure for crop cultivation and other coping strategies are summarized in (Table 1). The events are organized in line with the Gada period of Borana communities. Consequently these climate-related risks reduced the reliance of Borana pastoralists on livestock for living and forced them to look for other livelihood option among which crop cultivation is the dominant one (Beddada et al 2015, Birhanu and Beyene 2015 and Doyo et al 2018).

Land degradation

Rangeland degradation is a global concern, affecting not only pastoralists who rely on healthy rangelands for their survival but others who suffer from resultant hydrological disturbances, dust storms, commodity scarcity, and social consequences of uprooted people (Musa et al. 2016). Factors likeheavy grazing, recurrent drought, rangeland cultivation, bush encroachment, human population pressures, shortage of rainfall, inappropriate uses of land resources and soil erosion are causes major cause of rangeland degradation (Teshome et al 2016)

Having a close link with climate factors, land degradation is one of the major factors that contribute to the dwindling of mobile pastoralism on one hand and the expansion of dryland farming on the hand. Montimore (2013) noted that in Sub-Saharan Africa climax (carrying capacity) is approaching as the supply of free land becomes exhausted and vast areas of cultivable land are slowly transformed from natural ecosystems to managed agro-ecosystems. Rangeland degradation induced by the large number of livestock population, recurrent drought, and inappropriate settlement put effects on pasture availability as well as livestock productivities. Besides reduced productivities, livestock population ratio is decreasing because of rising human population and reduction of livestock population (Little and Mcpeak 2014, Blench 2001).

The major cause of land degradation is usually considered to be overpopulation of livestock. However, pastoralists still want to rise large herd to preserve their prestige and social status in communities. Managing livestock holding along with proper rangeland management should be priority option for pastoralists. However, in the face of reduced grazing lands, recurring droughts, and declining livestock numbers, many traditional pastoralists have turned to cultivating land as a form of livelihood diversification being initiated by local government (Beddada et al 2015 and McCabe et al 2010).

Lack of land tenure security

In eastern and southern Africa there are no specific pastoral policies or laws that explicitly address pastoral land tenure issues. Instead pastoral land tenure when addressed falls under other policy instruments and laws such as a national constitution or poverty reduction strategies, or as a sub-component of national sector-based laws on land, forests or the environment (Shanaa 2015). Limited or uncertain resource tenure and access to, or ownership of land, water, and other resources is a long-term, fundamental constraint for pastoralism. These problems can also lead to non-sustainable resource use and environmental degradation (African Union 2010).

The 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia proclaims in Article 40 (5) that “Ethiopian pastoralists have a right to free land for grazing and cultivation as well as a right not to be displaced from their own lands”. Paradoxically, contrary to Article 40 (5) of the 1995 Constitution, pastoral policy statement of the government emphasizes the settlement or sedentarization of pastoralists although it mentions this is done on phased voluntary basis (Demie 2015, Shanaa 2015).

To strengthen land tenure in the country, government is carrying out land certification programme in the highlands and it hopes to provide holders with robust and enforceable land tenure security through land administration systems. However, because of lack of clear land tenure procedures in the pastoralist areas, pastoral lands are encroached on resulting in tenure insecurity (Demese et al 2010). The regional governments of Oromia and SNNP have not yet formulated comprehensive policies on common property regimes to pastoral areas. A good example mentioned by many is the extensive land use plan study in pastoral area of Borana zone conducted by Oromia region whose implementation is yet to be seen (Temesgen and Gebru 2015).

Significant Borana participation in crop cultivation occurred only after, Gumi Gayo assembly in 1972 ‘blessed farming’ as another economic venture (Birhanu and David 2007). According to this report, there was strong opposition to the expansion of cropping in the rangelands during the time. But, later they acknowledged that the changes in land use have had inevitable consequences on their livelihoods. As noticed by Tache (2010) uncertain future of land tenure is among the major factors that drive the Borana pastoral community towards fragmentation of the grazing lands which later expanded due to decreased productivity of the pastoralism. In turn, perceived insecurity of land tenure contributed to the massive rush of pastoralist to crop cultivation in the pastoral communities of southern Ethiopia.

Government policies on settlement

Despite considerable progress towards supportive policies, pastoralists continue to suffer from cultural and spatial isolation, and political marginalization in many African countries (African Union 2010). Traditionally, pastoralists' settlement patterns reflected the seasonal variation of key pastoral resources and villages systematically established to ensure the availability of pasture on livestock watering and non-watering days. Currently, however, villages are concentrated one after the other (Tilahun et al 2015) in the manner that contradicts customary pastoral land use and sustainable resource management practices (Tache 2010).Sub-division of administrative units with new boundaries restricts pastoral mobility, insists loss of common grazing areas, and increased market access and dependence on crop cultivation. In the 1970s and 80s, sedentarization in Borana was associated with local attractions, such as the construction of big water ponds, and the recent decentralization of public administrative and social-economic services has intensified the process (Abebe 2016).

Experience from Karamoja pastoralist in Tanzania also revealed that government used to push to the confined settlement with "almost obsessive zeal," pushing them out of livestock and into agricultural production (Burns et al 2013). Current Ethiopian government policy strategically focuses on the settlement of pastoralists and encourages sedentary farming by pushing the pastoral system to the sideline (Beddada et al 2015).The farming training efforts encourages the adoption of livelihood based on a permanent settlement. According to Liao (2014), some NGOs even provided pastoralists with selected seeds and fertilizers to encourage farming. Similarly, the establishment of saving and credit organizations supported by NGOs is also connected with the idea of diversifying livelihoods and put less emphasis on livestock herding. This in turn push pastoralist to participate in opportunistic farming.


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Exegese - Das Gleichnis „Vom Unkraut unter dem Weizen“ Mt 13,24-30
Universität Bielefeld  (Fakultät für Geschichtswissenschaft, Philosophie und Theologie Abteilung Theologie)
Grundkurs Neues Testament
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Exegese, Gleichnis, Unkraut, Weizen“, Grundkurs, Neues, Testament, synoptischer Vergleich
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Janina Pfaffner (Autor:in), 2008, Exegese - Das Gleichnis „Vom Unkraut unter dem Weizen“ Mt 13,24-30 , München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/116404


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