Maasai Pastoralists: Diversification & Poverty

95% of Longido households own livestock, and 7% own more than half of all livestock. Earnings breakdown was:
  • 43% from livestock
  • 34% from non-farm activities
  • 22% from cultivation
67% of all households cultivated land but 37% of lowland and 22% of upland farmers did not have a crop due to drought, wildlife damage. Crops contributed less than 25% of total income.

45% of surveyed did not plan to expand due to cost and availability of labour, oxen, or tractors as main constraints.

Alternative sources of income are: watchman, government employee, teacher or casual labourer, rent from urban properties, livestock trading, sale of firewood or traditional craftwork and businesses, such as owning a small hotel or restaurant. Most women sold staple items such as milk from cattle, retail of small quantities of tea and sugar to neighbouring households. 

Why This is Important

The Maasai in the Longido region rely heavily on farming, with 43% of their income coming from livestock. A key insight is that 45% of farmers did not want to expand based upon lack of labour or capital such as tractors. 

Homewood, K., Coast, E., Kiruswa, S., Serneels, S., Thompson, M., & Trench, P. (2006). Maasai Pastoralists: Diversification and Poverty. (N/A). Retrieved October 5, 2014, from

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