Land use practices will have a significant effect on the management of rangeland and the sustainable use of natural resources in dryland areas. Much of the empirical work elsewhere indicates that the change in land use in pastoral and agropastoral areas has a strong link with the nature of land tenure in place and the influence of other policy related factors (Unruh, 1995; Lane, 1998; Muhereza and Otim, 2002; Mwangi, 2005; Abdulahi, 2007). But there is ambiguity on the factors that necessitate adoption of a particular land use mainly in pastoral inhabited drylands where the influence of the state and its land use policies are still believed to be minimal or are lacking (Gebreselassie, 2006). This increases the need to examine those factors that possibly contribute to land use change, the influence they will have on household food security and their effect on the sustainable use of natural resources in pastoral areas.
Examining the way land resources are used and managed does not only generate evidence on current land use practices and associated problems but also help examine the prospect of ensuring food security in the long-term. Being pessimistic with the emerging land use patterns in pastoral and agropastoral systems favoring crop farming, a number of studies recommend for the need to evaluate the effect of current land uses on food security and sustainable management of the pastoral drylands (Lane, 1998). This pessimism is rooted in the fact that farming serves as a coping strategy rather than adaptation measure to pursue permanent livelihood strategy (Haug, 2002). Such studies step into critics without examining the causes for a shift in land use in the semi-arid regions. This study asserts that challenges related to food security can be met if changes in land use ensure removal of constraints in rangeland management and support equitable distribution of gains from joint efforts among the vulnerable pastoral/agropastoral communities