Shipping out the “desert ship”: camel marketing in the northern Kenya/southern Ethiopia Borderlands

By Hussein Abdullahi Mahmoud

This study examines the newly emerging and vibrant camel marketing processes in northern Kenya/southern Ethiopia borderlands. This trade has become an attractive economic activity only in the past few years. Pastoralist innovation is key to risk mitigation and survival in an uncertain environment and most importantly to livelihood improvement. The emergence of new camel markets and the overwhelming response from pastoral communities in the wider region to participate in the trade supports the premise of an on-going pastoral innovation. Although camels have not been prominent market commodity in pastoral Horn until fairly recently, this activity is a good example of a promising enterprise with potential to transform the livestock-based economy with direct benefits to local herders. Unlike cattle marketing, studies on camel marketing are just beginning to emerge in the region. This is partly because camels have not been offered competitive prices as they have low demand in the market place in the Horn of Africa. Focusing on the Moyale market on the Ethiopia/Kenya border and through extensive fieldwork and the use of secondary data the study seeks to understand this dynamic and innovative enterprise and the ways in which herders and traders respond to emerging market opportunities.

File: Hussein Abdullahi Mahmoud.pdf