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


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.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Aabø E., Kring T. 2012. The Political Economy of Large-Scale Agricultural Land Acquisitions: Implications for Food Security and Livelihoods/Employment Creation in Rural Mozambique. Maputo, Mozambique. United Nations Development Program. Retrieved from

  • Asafa J. 2001. Fighting against the injustice of the state and globalization: comparing the African American and Oromo movements. PALGRAVE, New York.

  • Asebe R. 2012. Contesting Views on a Protected Area Conservation and Development in Ethiopia. Social Science, 1: 24-46. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Ayalew G. 2001. Pastoralism under Pressure: Land Alienation and Pastoral Transformations among the Karrayu of Eastern Ethiopia, 1941 to Present. Shaker Publishing, Maastricht.

  • Azeb W., Mauser W. 2017. Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts of Large-Scale Agricultural Investment in Gambella Region, Ethiopia. Journal of US-China Public Administration, 14, 4: 183-197. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Barua B. 2010. Development Intervention and Ethnic Communities in Bangladesh and Thailand: A Critique. Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences, 2, Special Issue 1: 372-400. Retrieved from .

  • Barume A. 2010. Land Rights of Indigenous People in Africa: with Special Reference on Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. Denmark: IWGIA.

  • Boku T. 2008. Pastoralism under Stress: Resources, Institutions and Poverty among the Borana Oromo in Southern Ethiopia. Environment and Development Studies, Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway (PhD thesis).

  • Buli E. 2001. The Socio-Economic Dimensions of Development induced Impoverishment: The Case of the Karrayu Oromo of the Upper Awash Valley. Addis Ababa University.

  • Gezmu A.B. 2013. The human impacts of flower farm development in the Ethiopian Rift Valley region. University College Cork.

  • Kurantin N. 2012. Indigenous Knowledge, Industrialization and Resource Management in the face of Globalization. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Posluschny-Treuner M. 2012. International Large-Scale Land Acquisitions in Ethiopia: The Key to Trigger Agricultural Modernization, Development and Poverty Reduction? Paper presented at the 4th ECPR Graduate Conference, Jacobs University, Bremen. Retrieved from .

  • Seo K., Rodriguez N. 2012. Land grab, food security and climate change: a vicious circle in the global South. [in:] Chhetri, N. (ed.) Human and Social Dimensions of Climate Change. Retrieved from

  • Taddesse B. 1995. Deforestation and Environmental Degradation in Ethiopia: The Case of Jam Jam Province in Northeast African Studies, New Series, 2, 2: 139-155. Michigan State University Press.

  • Tesema T. 2002. Bribing the Land: An Appraisal of the Farming Systems of the Maccaa Oromo in Wallagga in Northeast African Studies, New Series, 9, 3: 97-113, Special Issue: The Oromo in Ethiopian Studies: Confronting Challenges to Politically Engaged Scholarship, Michigan State University Press.

  • UNESCO. 2003. International Workshop on the Importance of Sacred Natural Sites for Biodiversity Conservation. Kunming and Xishuangbanna Biosphere Reserve, People’s Republic of China. Retrieved from

  • United Nations 2009. The State of the World’s Indigenous People, Economic and Social Affairs. New York. Retrieved from en/SOWIP_web.pdf

  • Workineh K. 2005. The Utility of Ethical dialogue for marginalized voices in Africa. Addis Ababa University.


Journal + Issues