This paper presents an in-depth investigation of the livelihood strategies of Fulani pastoralists in north central Nigeria. Results show a diversified crop-livestock system aimed at spreading risk and reducing cattle offtake, adapted to natural resource competition and insecurity by extensification, with further diversification into off-farm activities to spread risk, increase livelihood security and capture opportunities. However, significant costs were associated with extensification, and integration of crop and livestock enterprises was limited. Mean total income per capita in the study area was $554 or $1.52/person/day with 42% of households earning less than 1.25/person/day. Income levels were positively correlated with income diversity and price received per animal sold, rather than herd size. The outcomes of this livelihood strategy were favourable across the whole community, but when individual households are considered, there was evidence of moderate economic inequality in total income, cash income and herd size (Gini coefficient 0.32, 0.35 and 0.43 respectively). The poorest households were quite vulnerable, with low assets, income and income diversity. Implications for sustainability are discussed given the likelihood that the negative trends of reduced access to natural resources and insecurity will continue.
- Journal Article