By Stephen Devereux and Ian Scoones
As part of discussions on the future of pastoral production systems in East Africa there have been a number of recent interventions arguing that something urgently needs to be done to deal with a Malthusian style crisis in pastoral areas. In short, the argument goes, there are too many people which, combined with a declining (or not increasing) productivity of the natural resource base, means that not enough livestock can be kept to sustain a viable pastoral system. This argument has been most eloquently and effectively argued by Stephen Sandford in "Too many people, too few livestock: the crisis affecting pastoralists in the Greater Horn of Africa". This is a response to this piece, aimed at sparking a wider discussion.
While there has been much discussion of the importanceof innovation in African agriculture, remarkably littlehas focused on mobile pastoral systems. Everyone agreesthat science, technology and innovation must be at thecentre of economic growth, livelihood improvement anddevelopment more broadly. But it must always be asked:what innovation - and for whom? Decisions about direction,diversity and distribution are key in any discussionof innovation options and wider developmentpathways.
In March 2009 over 50 pastoralists from acrosssouthern Ethiopia and northern Kenya from a dozenethnic groups gathered in the Borana lowlands at the‘University of the Bush’ to debate key pastoral developmentissues.
Cashing in or Crashing Out? Pastoralist Livelihoods in Somali Region, Ethiopia
Presentation by Stephen Devereux. Institute of Development Studies, Sussex
Research Update By Abdi Abdullahi Hussein FAC Pastoralist Theme, November 2010 Recently, the growth of small towns in the Somali region of Ethiopia has spread to pastoralists seeking ties to important new markets Camels are the most important signifier of wealth and determinant of status in the community; their milk has been mostly used for domestic purposes In Gode town, one pastoralist struck on an idea to market camel milk in towns Today, this innovation is spreading widely and hundreds of camels are forming ‘milk villages’ around towns to meet increasing demand
Research Update By Bokutache DidaFAC Pastoralist Theme, November 2010In the pastoralist livelihood, the most important change is physical fencing of areas - but reserving a section of rangeland for later use has always been an integral part of the pastoralist innovation land use system Today, expansion of crop cultivation near towns and increased livestock marketing is triggering de facto private enclosures (e.g. in Moyale District) – these contribute to fragmentation of a rangeland ecosystem that is very inter-connected Pastoralists are responding with community reserves: heaps of hay within enclosures covered for protection from rain and sun; these community ‘fodder banks’ are meant for use in the elongated dry season and drought years
Research Update By Abdirizak A. Nunow (Moi University, School of Environmental Studies, Eldoret, Kenya, and Inter-Parliamentary Union of IGAD (IPU-IGAD), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) FAC Pastoralist Theme, November 2010 Huge tracts of land in the Tana Delta, critical pasture resources for the pastoralists, are being set aside for large industrial scale farming for export crops, bio-fuels and minerals More than 25,000 people living in 30 Delta villages stand to be evicted from their ancestral land in favour of corporations and foreign governments In the 2009 drought, there were 3 million heads of cattle in the Delta, coming from as far as Wajir district in north-eastern province. The pastoralists response to the Delta ‘land grabs’ is desperate but some aspects are inspiring
Town Camels: Pastoral Innovation in a fast Changing World Case Study from Gode Town, Somali Regional State, Ethiopia
By Abdi Abdullahi Hussien, Seid Mohamed Ali, and Abdurehman Eid Tahir
Because of demographic, socio-economic and political factors, Ethiopian pastoralists are settling down - triggering unprecedented growth of small towns and the creation of urban centers throughout the pastoral lands of Ethiopia. Pastoralists have had to adapt to new situations or risk being left out - without sustainable incomes. One initiative taken by ‘town pastoralists’ (is camel dairy production in and around small towns and urban centers. Contrary to their traditional beliefs, increasingly pastoralists are keeping camels nearer to towns to supply milk to growing urban markets and capitalize on increasing growth of township. This innovative effort on the part of pastoralists to sustain their livelihood has not yet been adequately tracked and documented.
The Long Conversation: Customary Approaches to Peace Management in Southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya
Patta Scott-Villiers, Hussein Boru Ungiti, Diba Kiyana, Molu Kullu, Tumal Orto, Eugenie Reidy and Adan Sora June 2011
FAC Working Paper 22
This working paper is a contribution to understandings of peace-building among pastoralists. From a pastoralist perspective, it throws light on the achievement of peace in a five-year effort led by leaders of the Borana and Gabra peoples of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The instigators of the research, elders of Gabra and Borana, set the frame of the inquiry and its analysis, assisted by researchers from the Institute of Development Studies and Pastoralists Consultants International.
Their study reveals four aspects of peace management among pastoralists inthe Kenya-Ethiopia borderlands: moral consensus, information exchange, law and surveillance. It shows how these principles are understood, debated and acted upon by particular segments of society and with varying degrees of success in rural and urban areas and in different districts. To explain to an external audience some of the background, we draw on the work of Marco Bassi on vernacular procedures of consensus, and his observations on how moral and political principles entwine within East African pastoralist societies.
The study, by focusing on local people’s expressions to a group of local elders, necessarily plays down the roles of those that people understood less, saw less of, underestimated, or decided to remain silent about. Thus the story risks the impression that the indigenous citizens involved in this case manage peace, security, crime and violence with a minimum of outside help, which would not be entirely true. We hope the reader will tolerate this bias in order to understand the pivotal role of citizens in building peace.
Pastoralist areas of the Horn of Africa are experiencing rapid change. Markets are opening up, helping to improve livelihoods and generate substantial new wealth for local and national economies. Political and constitutional changes are creating opportunities for pastoralists to influence decision-making around the allocation of public resources as well as laws and practices affecting their rights. New technologies such as mobile phones as well as improvements in roads are opening up pastoral areas to greater movements of people, goods, and ideas. And new ways of delivering services to mobile and remote pastoralist populations have improved their access to healthcare, veterinary services and education.
CAADP Policy Brief 06
by Kate Wellard-Dyer
Pastoralists in the Horn of Africa have struggled for centuries with drought, conflict and famine. They are resourceful, innovative and entrepreneurial peoples, by necessity. While there are profound difficulties in creating secure livelihoods for all, there are also significant successes.
The African Union’s Policy Framework for Pastoralism in Africa recognises pastoralists’ contributions to national and regional economies – supplying huge numbers of livestock and livestock products. Pastoralists’ production systems are highly adaptive and constantly respond to market and climatic change. At the same time human development and food security indicators are amongst the lowest on the continent. The Framework is designed to secure and protect the lives, livelihoods and rights of pastoral peoples, and is a platform for mobilising and coordinating political commitment to pastoral development in Africa.
This policy brief, based on latest research by Future Agricultures Consortium, reviews understandings and misunderstandings about pastoral livelihoods - innovation and entrepreneurship, not just coping and adapting; and cooperation and networking across borders, not just conflict and violence. It highlights the multiple pathways for future development of pastoral areas and offers an alternative view of pastoralism and practical ways forward.
Speech by Hon. Mohamed Elmi, Minister of State for Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands, on 13 February 2013 at the Nairobi launch of the book Pastoralism and Development in Africa: Dynamic Change at the Margins.
Thursday, Jun 20th