The influence of mechanized farming and industrialization on the Oromo people, their traditional livelihood strategies and their environment in Ethiopia

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Abstract

This article discusses the influences of mechanized farming and industrialization on the Oromo traditional livelihood strategies and environment. Both qualitative and quantitative research approaches were employed for the study, specifically, observations, interviews, focus group discussions, case studies and surveys were used for data collection. The study revealed that, the traditional livelihood strategies of the Oromo and their environment are highly affected by mechanized farming and industrialization in the study area. These include the loss of crop land, the loss of pasture land, the loss of forest, the loss of water resources and other environmental damage. Moreover, it was found that people are not consulted in most cases about land expropriation for mechanized farming and industrialization; more often than not the community had no involvement at all. The whole process of land transfer was not disclosed to the local people and as a result, their traditional livelihood strategies were affected. The relationship between mechanized farming and industries, and local communities is not always harmonious. The community perceives industry and mechanized farming as their enemies. Consequently, mechanized farming and industries are kept safe by security forces. Correct environmental use by the local people in general and appropriate land use in particular is broken; fair water use is also ignored. Therefore, rather than favouring a few exploitative investors, the Government should empower the local community.

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