The role of camel production in household resilience to droughts: evidence from Karamoja, Uganda
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Recurrent and prolonged droughts have exacerbated the problems of pasture and water scarcity in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), hence, the need for immediate and long-term adaption strategies to such shocks. Camels are increasingly being integrated in mainstream livestock production system as an adaptation strategy to droughts. However, rigorous empirical evidence on the role of camel rearing in household resilience to droughts remains scarce. This study used cross sectional data from 116 households in the Karamoja sub-region of Uganda to examine the effect of camel adoption on household resilience to drought. The study determined camel adoption behaviours and factors influencing them as well as the effect of camel production on household resilience to droughts in Karamoja. Resilience to drought was measured as an index constructed from consumption and income smoothing indicators using principle component analysis method. The effect of camel adoption on household resilience to droughts was estimated using the Lewbel's estimator. Descriptive statistics show that 45% of the surveyed households owned at least one camel and camel Tropical Livestock Units (TLUs) constituted 25% of the total TLUs of the herd among adopting households. Econometric results show that number of alternative sources of income and tropical livestock units of cattle owned by a household increased adoption levels whereas increased share of non-farm income reduced camel adoption levels. Age of the household head and the households living in Moroto were significantly associated with increasing intensity of adoption whereas household size, credit access, household’s experience of food insecurity and crop area cultivated significantly decreased intensity of camel adoption. A unit increase in proportion of camel TLUs significantly increased household resilience to droughts by 20%. Membership in groups was positively related to household resilience while predominantly pastoral households were less resilient. The study recommends that livestock markets are improved to leverage full benefits from camel products and camel related businesses.