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«Dispute or Residing Together in Harmony? Bean Cultivation and Theft in Rural Ethiopia Tesfanesh Zekiwos Gichamo Uppsala 2011 EX0681 Master Thesis 30 ...»

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Pankhurst and Hailemariam 2000) and are like life insurance for future. On a more organized level, some well-known informal institutions are Iddir, Iqqub, Debo and Mahaber (Adal 1999; Pankhurst and Hailemariam 2000). They have served the community for a long period of time and are passed down from one generation to another generation (Mammo 1999, p.183). These institutions are respected by local society, have considerable power and they are wide spread household livelihood strategies in Ethiopia. As local institutions are important for everyday life, people want to be a member and they feel secure from future problems. These institutions have their own rules and regulations that are accepted by the society. Denial of these rules and regulations that are set by these 11 institutions leads to punishment in different ways. This suggests that local institutions wield significant power.

An Iddir is a burial association organized by a group of people (Adal 1999;

Pankhurst and Haile Mariam 2000). Members of the group elect a chairperson and cashier and usually they have meetings every month. The cashier collects money and puts it in a bank or holds it himself. This is an informal insurance. The main purpose of Iddir is to help people who have lost a family member by death.

Money will be given to the family based on rules and regulations, which govern this institution. In addition to this, „Gaby‟ (traditional cloth for covering a dead body) and coffin will be bought by the Iddir money. Each person who is member of the Iddir shares the sorrow by visiting the family. There are different types of Iddirs such as community or village Iddir, work place Iddir, friends Iddir and family Iddir (Mammo 1999, p. 187).

Iqqub is a kind of informal saving of money among households living in the same village, business people, and school friends (Mammo 1999, p. 186; Adal 1999).

Regular contribution or collection of money is done based on each household‟s income. Every week or every month, money is collected from each member, and in each collection time, the collected money is given to one member using random selection methods such as lottery system. Rural poor people who have no access to formal saving and credit are the beneficiaries of the Iqqub (Adal 1999).

Households commonly use this money to buy productive assets such as oxen for draught power or use it as a capital to start a small business.

Debo is local institution that functions as work group organization (Dixon and Wood 2007; Adal 1999). During the time of harvest, forest clearing and other tasks, people work together without money. However, the person who solicits help is responsible to prepare food and drink for those who are working. Debo is good for minimizing work load of one family by getting help from the neighbors. In addition to this, women use Debo for Ensete (false banana) processing in rural Ethiopia. This is a good way to save money and time.

12 Mahaber is another local institution in Ethiopia (Mammo 1999; Adal 1999) which is formed by a group of people, especially in the Orthodox Church. It is a kind of social network to prepare Mahaber feast and has spiritual value for Orthodox Church acolytes. Members take turn hosting the feast on a yearly basis. The feast takes place for two to three days and they share what they have with their neighbors and friends. The network usually consists of around ten families.

Even if these local institutions are given less attention by institutions which are created by the state (Pankhurst 2001), they have direct and indirect effect on socio-economic activities of the society. Wolde-Giorgis (1999) pointed out that, Iddirs are involved in natural resource management such as protecting forests, grasslands and water resources (Wolde-Giorgis 1999, p. 302). Wolde-Giorgis argued that it is good to encourage and involve grass root level knowledge in order to enhance food security and natural resources management. In addition to this, Pankhurst (2001) stated the importance of local institutions in natural resource management and conflict resolution as well as respecting local knowledge and tradition is essential for sustainable natural resource management.

Moreover, Adal (1999) indicated that local institutions are playing a significant role for in Ethiopian rural development related to natural resource management, information sharing, resource mobilization and conflict management.

While local institutions are playing a significant role in Ethiopian rural development, the study by Hundie (2010) revealed that they alone could not be effective in conflict management. The study emphasized the importance of government intervention to work together with these institutions and provide a „„locally motivated institutional framework‟‟ (Hundie 2010). Additionally, the study by Yami et al (2011) focusing on communal grazing land, showed that local institutions could not contribute for conflict resolution in some parts of the study area. This was due to lack of consensus among stakeholders such as users and development agents. Yami et al (2011) suggested that policy and development intervention which considers well performing local institution could solve the problem of communal grazing land and improve livelihood.

13 In rural area, crops theft, cattle raiding and thievery of other agricultural products were mainly related to poverty, used as a means of expressing opposition to unemployment, low wage and it was considered to be a habit for some people (Fafchamps and Minten 2003; Shakesheff 2002; Schechter 2007). In addition to these, it was used as coping strategy for temporary poverty. Even if crop theft is an unacceptable behaviour in a society, it is still common to see in different parts of the world. Theft is resulting in a huge loss for farmers who invest their money and time (Schechter 2007).





The studies by Fafchamps and Minten (2003) and Schechter (2007) have shown that poverty itself has its own contribution for theft. Rural poor were using crop theft as a risk coping strategy in the time of temporary poverty (Fafchamps and Minten 2003). Fafchamps and Minten (2003) argued that the rural poor used crop theft to consumption smoothing in a bad time. According to Schechter (2007), poverty was one of the reasons for the thief to commit the crime in rural Paraguay.

More importantly, the rural poor who were living in isolated areas were the ones who suffered more from crop theft and other crimes (Fafchamps and Minten, 2003). Crop theft mainly took place in the areas that were most isolated from the city. This shows that mostly the poorest people were vulnerable to crop theft. This happened where there was weak security system (Fafchamps and Minten, 2003).

Based on Aaronbrooks (1986) and Schechter (2007) studies, farmers were reluctant to arrest thieves and take legal action because they afraid that the thieves could come and take revenge in return. So the farmers preferred not to take any action. At the same time, they stated that the laws were very weak and were not good enough to protect them. Also, they thought that the police might be busy with their work in town. Similarly, the study by Schechter (2007) indicated that only few victims of theft reported to the police for legal action. They did not punish physically even if the farmers caught the thief while thieves were stealing their property.

14 In their study Hai et al., 2003 showed that theft occurred predominantly by children on their way to school or other place. This was mainly for sale, but also for own consumption. Sometimes children got instruction from their older family members, because their older family members thought that the punishment for them would be worse than for the children (Hai et al., 2003). Schechter (2007) stated that „„more of a crop is stolen when it is planted on a plot along a footpath‟‟ and that the farms which were far away from the farmers‟ home were more vulnerable to theft than the farms which were near to the home.

Shakesheff (2002) showed that when employment opportunity was low, rural poor were forced to crop and wood theft in rural Herefordshire. In this area, rural poor engaged in crop theft to meet the basic necessities of their family. Moreover, Shakesheff (2002) argued that rural people used crop and wood theft as a means of protest for low wage or unemployment. As a result, theft is regarded as a weapon of the poor (Scott 1985; Shakesheff 2002). Unemployment, low wage rate, and high food price were the determining factors for the extent of the theft and other crime (Shakesheff 2002). Both men and women especially widows who did not have husband and supporter participated in crop theft. Most crop theft was for immediate consumption rather than for sale. As Shakesheff (2002) stated that the main motivation for crop theft was poverty in rural Herefordshire.

The study conducted by Perkins and Thompson (1998) showed that during European settlement in the Antipodes, cattle raiding was a means of getting income by selling the stolen beasts. In addition to this, people used stolen cattle for consumption by slaughtering. More importantly cattle theft was used as a means of possessing more land. According to Fleisher (2002) study, the motivation for cattle raiding in Tanzania was to get money out of stolen cattle. Fleisher (2002) pointed out that „the cause and the effect‟ of cattle raiding was clan warfare.

Where there is lack of legal enforcement, rural farmers use different strategies which are informal control in order to limit theft. In rural Paraguay, as the study by Schechter (2007) indicated, farmers give gifts and promise to continue in the future to give gifts to the „‟person that they believe to be a thief‟‟ to limit theft. Schechter (2007) argued that a person who is trustworthy receives less gifts than the person who is not trustworthy. Another strategy was monitoring the farm in the night.

Even if there were various challenges, Karltun et al (2008) pointed out that in rural 15 Ethiopia local institutions were playing a great role in the controlling of crop theft.

In Malawi, women preferred to grow bitter cassava than Sweet cassava due to theft. Based on Chiwona-Karltun et al (2000) study 90% percent of interviewed women stated that cultivating bitter cassava was a strategy to minimize theft. The last thing that the farmers do is abandoning both crop cultivation and rearing animals due to fear of theft (Karltun et al 2008; Schechter 2007). This in turn highly affects investment decisions of the farmers and household wellbeing (Schechter 2007).

16 Known for its rich natural resources and multi ethnic makeup, Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa. As shown in Fig. 3.1, Ethiopia is bordered on the East and Southeast by Somalia, the East by Djibouti, the South by Kenya, the West by the Sudan and the North and Northeast by Eritrea (Press and Audiovisual Ministry of Information 2004). Due to the many lakes and rivers that could be potentially used for economic development, Ethiopia is called the water tower in the Horn of Africa (McCornick et al 2003). It has rich but underutilized natural and human resources.

In spite of all its natural resource endowments, still Ethiopia finds itself at the lowest rung of economic development (MoARD 2010).

The recent Ethiopian Central Statistic Authority report shows that the number of population increased from 53.4 million in 1994 when the last census was conducted to 73.9 million in 2007 at an average annual growth rate 2.6 (Central Statistic Authority (CSA) 2008). Out of the total Ethiopian population, 84 % live in rural areas; the remaining 16 % are living in urban areas. About 44% of the total population (45% in rural areas and 37% in urban areas) are found to be below poverty line (DFID 2004) 1075 Birr/adult in 1995/96 prices (MoARD 2010).

People who are living in rural areas are „increasingly vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity‟ (Teklu 2004 and MoARD 2010).

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation statistical year book 2009, the GDP per capita of Ethiopia is US$ 175 ($constant 2000 prices) (Food and Agriculture Organisation 2009). As a result Ethiopia is categorized among the poorest countries in the world. Moreover, Ethiopia in order to finance its economic activities heavily depends on foreign aid and borrowing in addition to its export earnings (Alemu 2009). Based on UNDP (2008) report, Ethiopia‟s Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.406 putting the country at 171 out of 182 countries.

Like other low income countries, Ethiopia is also in the race to achieve millennium development goals, which were set by the United Nations in 2000 (UN 2007).

17 Under the current government, Ethiopia is divided into nine ethnically based administrative regional states: Afar, Amhara, Benishangul-Gumaz, Gambela, Harar, Oromiya, Somali, Southern Nations Nationalities and People's State, Tigray and two administrative cities i.e Addis Abeba (capital city) and Dire Dawa (chartered city). The regions are divided into Zones and each zone was subdivided into woredas (district councils) which comprise Kebele (local councils) in urban areas and peasant associations in rural areas (Central Statistic Authority (CSA) 2008).

Figure 3.1 Map of Africa showing Ethiopia

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The study was conducted in Beseku Ilala peasant association in South Central Ethiopia. It is located between 7º 20´ and 7 º 25´N and 38º45´ and 38º 55´ E and 240km south of the capital city, Addis Abeba. Under the current governmental administrative system, Beseku Ilala peasant association is located in the Arsi Negelle district, East Shewa Zone of the Oromia Regional State (Fig 3.2).

Arsi Negelle district is bordered by Arsi Zone to the East, Shashamene district to the South, Seraro district to the Southwest, Southern Nations, Nationalities‟ and peoples‟ Regional state to the West and Adami Tullu district to the North. There are 35 peasant association and 3 urban kebeles in Arsi Negelle district. According to Central Statistics Authority 2008 population and housing census survey the 18 number of population in Arsi Negelle district (Wereda) is 264,314. Out of the total population of the district 80% and 20% were living in rural and urban area respectively (CSA 2008).

Figure 3.2 Map of Ethiopia showing Arsi Negelle district (Wereda) and Beseku Ilala Peasant Association Source:- Google Based on the local administrative system Beseku Ilala peasant association is divided in 61 Gotes 4 ; and in each Gote there are 30- 34 households (Beseku Peasant Association 2009).



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