After animals die, northern Kenyan pastoralists turn to farming

Thomson Reuters Foundation, 11 November 2014, Abaqdera, Kenya, Sophie Mbugua 

The drought of 2011 that afflicted the Horn of Africa was the last straw for Abdulahi Ali. The pastoralist from Abaqdera, a village in Northern Kenya's Garissa County, lost almost his entire herd of cattle.

"I had 50 cows and only three remained, and out of 30 goats only six remained after the drought," he said.

Lukia Muhamud, Ali's wife and a mother of seven, said even now droughts remain "more frequent nowadays. Most of our animals have died while the ones that survive are too weak," she said. 

Such pressures are what have driven the family to forsake pastoralism for agriculture - a radical move in a community where livestock confer social status.

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