Pre-Crisis Market Analysis: Goat Market System in Jamshoro, Umerkot, and Tharparkar Districts of Sindh Province, Pakistan

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Executive Summary and Key Recommendations

The Pre-Crisis Market Analysis (PCMA) was conducted in the Jamshoro, Umerkot, and Tharparkar districts of Sindh, Pakistan from November 30th to December 11, 2016. The PCMA was premised on a drought emergency scenario for Umerkot and Tharparkar districts and both flood and drought for Jamshoro district. The PCMA looked at market functionality in ‘normal’ and ‘emergency’ times, how the market has responded to past emergencies, and how it might respond to future emergencies. The timing of the ‘normal’ and emergency scenarios is presented in the following sections.

The PCMA compliments the HEA (Household Economy Analysis) conducted in 2015, which looks at resilience and needs at the household level, and the SDNA (Sindh Drought Needs Assessment), which examines the impact of drought on agriculture, livelihoods, food security, nutrition, and water and sanitation. Together, the HEA, SDNA, and PCMA form the basis for the Situation and Response Analysis Framework (SRAF), which the Pakistan Food Security Working Group plans to undertake in the first quarter of 2017.

The PCMA in Sindh was led by one international expert, co-facilitated by a local leader and conducted by 23 Pakistani professionals representing the Government of Sindh (Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA-Sindh) and Bureau of Statistics Sindh (BoS Sindh), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Welthungerhilfe (WHH), Secours Islamique France (SIF), Action Contre la Faime (ACF), Plan International, BEST, and the Gorakh Foundation.

The overall PCMA effort was focused on two critical markets: wheat flour and goats. A separate report is prepared for each of the critical markets. Livestock in general and goats in particular are significant in Sindh and for Pakistan – as of 2006, Sindh contained 23% of the nation’s nearly 60 million goats.

The target population around which key research questions and the PCMA gap analysis are built is poor and very poor households in the three districts; for those households goats are their single major asset from which they derive nutrition and income. The three districts studied contain different livelihoods zones and bear different levels of risk for chronic drought and sudden-onset emergency, affecting the markets for goats, fodder, and water. When possible, the PCMA illustrates what is broadly applicable to the goat market system across the three districts. When necessary, discussion of the findings disaggregates and picks out points salient particularities. To briefly summarize findings and recommendations:

  • The functionality of the goat market is strong in normal times, but times are not normal: goats are the most widely kept animals across all wealth groups, and are especially favoured by poor and very poor households. Fodder in different forms and goats can be readily purchased from a variety of market actors across the districts, and regional and urban markets maintain a steady turnover. However, ‘normal’ times have proved elusive over the years; after a major drought in 2013-2015, all of Tharparker and much of Umerkot are again facing drought conditions. For a herd of goats to be financially viable, households must have access to foraged fodder for much of the year, reducing the need to rely on the market. Drought conditions decrease the volume and quality of natural fodder available, weakening goat health and raising disease susceptibility. Outbreak of disease is widespread, thinning herds and compelling pastoralists that can’t access veterinary medicines to make distressed sales of their livestock assets, which increases supply in the market exerts downward pressure on market prices.
  • Technically discrete, longer-term programming is required to increase resilience. The most effective, sustainable, and long-term manner of reducing the impact of chronic and sudden onset natural disasters in Sindh is an arc of programming that spans years, rather than manifesting in fits and spurts in emergency response. Ultimately, land reform and agricultural policy reform are required, accompanied by investment in water infrastructure, improved animal husbandry practices, and training, education and alternative livelihoods programming to reduce climate change risk. Absent the will to address such complex, deeply rooted issues, technical assistance can make great gains in food security and livelihoods for vulnerable agro-pastoralists and pastoralists in Sindh, through programs such as those in this short, illustrative list: stocking and de-stocking programs, mass animal vaccination, improved breeding and selection techniques, chilling stations for milk, improved cold storage and animal processing improved expansion and improvement of irrigation and water management infrastructure designed for pastoralism, debt relief and affordable microfinance for agro-pastoralists, expanded rural mobile networks, and market information dissemination mechanisms. Such programming is within the mandate and technical capability of many of the PCMA stakeholders. Specifically for the Food Security working group: for the anticipated SRAF and for programming undertaken in 2017 and beyond, this report recommends striking a balance between meeting basic needs in emergency response, and mitigation and longer-term development and resilience efforts. A variety of programming options are described in this section, and in the Response Recommendations section, below.

In the event of flooding, physical access to markets is partially or completely disrupted for a short period of time. Depending on the location, direct assistance is needed by agro-pastoral households for 1-5 months while floodwaters recede and households strive to recover. Recovery in the period immediately after flooding requires direct and in-kind intervention. A range of market-sensitive programming options is appropriate after flood waters recede:

Cash and vouchers are appropriate for resilience, mitigation and emergency response. Even when not actively affected by emergency conditions, poor and very poor households are living far below the World Bank’s 2015 international poverty line of $1.90 per person per day: for example, in the irrigated wheat livelihood zone of Jamshoro and Umerkot, the average income per person per day in poor households is $0.70.3 As such, households are facing chronic poverty every day; chronic or sudden onset natural disasters increase the severity of their financial and nutritional challenges, and diminish resilience. As wheat flour, fodder, goats, and other markets for key goods and services are strong, and households have a market orientation for their income and food security, a variety of market-based and market-sensitive options are viable for helping actors in Jamshoro, Umerkot, and Tharparkar. The Food Security working group, with support of ECHO, has been investing in raising the technical capacity of helping actors in Sindh to implement cash-based interventions, for example through two 2-day workshops held in June, 2014. However, the appropriateness of cash and vouchers in any area of Sindh is directly dependent on market functionality: taking the 2010 floods as a worst case scenario, “markets took a few more months to recover due to the degree of damage and duration of persistent floods.”

In the event of a chronic drought emergency, market-sensitive programming can be used to halt and reverse negative coping mechanisms, restore animal health through access to nutrition and medicines, and allow restocking through reproduction.

To reduce the human impacts of possible impact of future floods, this report makes the following recommendations:

  • Conduct targeting and sensitization. By design, neither the HEA nor the PCMA have sought or presented all of the information necessary for targeting of specific market actors or households. Pakistan is highly exposed to climate change, meeting several of the risk thresholds described in a 2011 report produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change.6 Given current scientific data and the lived experience of weather and climate-related events in Sindh over the last 10 years, it is highly likely that drought and/or flooding will be affecting vulnerable persons; undertaking targeting exercises as a precursor to resilience building programming or as preparation for more rapid, effective emergency response is strongly recommended. At the household level, humanitarian actors should seek to understand how households would utilize cash received in a distribution, and if that is in keeping with the design of the size and frequency of the cash distributions, and any complementary programming. An ACF meta evaluation of cash transfers after the 2010 flooding in Sindh concluded that households spent 50% of the cash received on food, and 40% on health, as disease incidence spiked to high levels after the floods, while a WFP end line report on the impact of cash programming in Tharparkar, Umerkot, and Sanghar districts showed that households spent two thirds of the cash received on food. Targeting and sensitization should also yield actionable information about the appropriate delivery methods for cash, given limited mobile networks in rural areas, widespread illiteracy and inexperience with cash cards and ATMs.9 Examples for technical design and implementation may be gleaned from the government of Pakistan’s Citizen’s Damage Compensation Programme (CDCP), which used a card platform to distribute nearly $500 million USD to 1.6 million flood affected households in Pakistan between 2010 and 2013.

  • Pursue achievable, low-tech solutions to strengthening pastoralist resilience: most of the tools required to make pastoralists and their goats more resilient are already present and being used to a certain extent by the government of Pakistan and helping actors. Large-scale vaccinations, improved breeding selection, de-stocking/re-stocking programs, goat food supplement and fattening programs, low-tech rainwater harvesting and water storage techniques can be undertaken as disaster risk reduction and/or emergency response programming. While the government of Pakistan is correctly pursuing higher profile, complex programs with its international partners, local NGOs and their international partners, in collaboration with relevant government actors can expand agricultural extension programming to improve practices and outcomes at the ground level.