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Milking Drylands: The Marketing of Camel Milk in North-east Somalia

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Increasing market integration appears to be an unavoidable process for most pastoral societies. Raising substitution rates between direct utilisation of animal products and consumption of cereals exchanged through markets is the most important reason for consistent population growth on rangelands (Helland 2000). To some extent, market exchanges are therefore a determinant of pastoral livelihoods, especially during the dry season when internal food production does not always satisfy households' energy requirements. While offering potential for development, market integration of pastoral economies also presents critical risk factors. Increasing interdependence on regional and global political and economic environments compound pastoral vulnerability to climatic extremes. The Milking Drylands research initiative 1 addresses these issues in one particular area of the world, Somalia. In this paper, mechanisms regulating the marketing of camel milk in north-eastern Somalia (Region of Puntland) are analysed in order to provide relevant insights into a society that continues to experience a lack of central government and institutional capacities. Our preliminary research findings provide some indications that pastoral dairy marketing serves a number of economic as well as social functions, through the exchange of a number of commodities, non-commodity services and information, which aims to satisfy the needs of both pastoral and urban communities.
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Keywords: DAIRY MARKETING; DRYLANDS; GENDER; PASTORALISM; SOMALIA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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  • Nomadic Peoples is an international journal published by the White Horse Press for the Commission on Nomadic Peoples, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Its primary concerns are the current circumstances of all nomadic peoples around the world and their prospects. Its readership includes all those interested in nomadic peoples, scholars, researchers, planners and project administrators.
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