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The Emerging Trade in Donkey Hide: An Opportunity or a Threat for Communities in Kenya?

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DOI: 10.4236/as.2019.109087    89 Downloads   271 Views

ABSTRACT

Donkey hides are used in a form of Traditional Chinese medicine called ejiao, the demand for ejiao is currently so high the global donkey population is currently in decline. Africa’s donkey population is considered a key source for the trade, with Kenya being highlighted as being particularly affected. In Kenya donkeys play a vital contribution to people’s livelihoods; this study aimed to explore the potential impact of the donkey hide trade on small holder farmer’s livelihoods. The study was conducted in five counties in Kenya; data was collected using household survey questionnaires, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. When household survey participants (n = 421) were asked if the number of donkeys in their herd had decreased within the last two years 34.2% (n = 144) reported a decrease, of those 43.8% (n = 63) reported the selling of donkeys as the primary cause of reduction in herd size. Increased money spent on the transportation of farm produce, water and firewood was the most frequently reported effect of the loss of donkeys (62.5%, n = 263). Some focus group discussion participants said that they had previously sold their donkeys to raise money for school fees, likewise 43% (n = 97) of focus group discussion participants said that they would sell their donkeys to pay medical bills. Results from the study suggest that small holder farmers are choosing to sell their donkeys for an instant boost in income, but long-term this is unlikely to be a sustainable livelihood option.

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Carder, G. , Ingasia, O. , Ngenoh, E. , Theuri, S. , Rono, D. and Langat, P. (2019) The Emerging Trade in Donkey Hide: An Opportunity or a Threat for Communities in Kenya?. Agricultural Sciences, 10, 1152-1177. doi: 10.4236/as.2019.109087.

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