Case Studies

The research in POLISES focuses on two case studies: the pastoralist areas of the Eastern High Plateau in Morocco, and the region of Borana pastoralists in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya.

The focus on Kenya, Ethiopia and Morocco is motivated by several reasons: in all three countries, a large number of people subsist on smallholder farming, with livestock playing a major role. Their farming is affected by recurring droughts and combined effects of global change. Furthermore, large projects have been put in place to enhance food security; and last but not least, a profound empirical knowledge basis is available through our cooperation with experienced researchers in these countries.

Why we focus on livestock

Livestock breeding is a key activity in the world’s dry areas and is indispensable in tackling issues of global concern.



More than 4 million people in Morocco live below the relative poverty threshold and most of them are located in rural areas. Agriculture provides 80 per cent of rural jobs...


Kenya / Ethiopia

The plains and highlands of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya are characterised by irregular rainfall and low soil fertility. As a result, mobility has long been a key element in the economy of the local Borana Oromo pastoralists.