This Is Not About Cows: Historic and Contemporary Challenges to South-Central Madagascar’s Cattle Systems

Madagascar’s most cattle-dependent regions have, in recent years, been surrounded by narratives of a sudden and violent decline in both the sheer number of and benefits conferred by the nation’s distinctive zebu cattle, narratives which largely attribute this decline to theft and insecurity. This paper examines the broader state of cattle-based livelihoods in two such regions, Haute Matsiatra and Ihorombe, through evidence garnered from semi-structured interviews conducted over three weeks in the major cattle market towns of Ambalavao and Ihosy, and in the rural commune of Sakaviro, five kilometers south of Ambalavao.

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