ArticlePDF Available

Living With Uncertainty: New Directions in Pastoral Development in Africa

Authors:

Abstract

Contributors vi Preface ix Acknowledgements xiii 1 New directions in pastoral development in Africa 1 IAN SCOONES 2 Climate variability and complex ecosystem dynamics: implications for pastoral development 37 JIM ELLIS 3 New directions in range management planning in Africa 47 GREGORY PERRIER 4 Forage alternatives from range and field: pastoral forage management and improvement in the African drylands 58 WOLFGANG BAYER and ANN WATERS-BAYER 5 Livestock marketing in pastoral Africa: policies to increase competitiveness, efficiency and flexibility 79 JOHN S. HOLTZMAN and NICOLAS P. KULIBABA 6 Tracking through drought: options for destocking and restocking 95 CAMILLA TOULMIN 7 New directions in rangeland and resource tenure and policy 116 CHARLES LANE and RICHARD MOOREHEAD 8 Pastoral organizations for uncertain environments 134 DJEIDI SYLLA 9 Dynamic ecological systems and the administration of pastoral development 153 JEREMY SWIFT 10 Improving the efficiency of opportunism: new directions for pastoral development 174 STEPHEN SANDFORD References 183 Index 207
Living with Uncertainty: New
Directions in Pastoral Development
in Africa
(Preface and Chapter One)
edited by Ian Scoones
ITDG:London, 1995
© ITDG 1995
... In recent years, under the impetus of the New Ecology (Scoones 1999), a paradigm shift has occurred under the influence of non-equilibrium theory, which challenged the traditional assumption of stability in ecological systems, based on the study of human dynamics in drylands. Nomadic pastoralism, for example, has been reconceptualized (among the first, Scoones 1995). New research in political ecology has challenged the view that African pastoral ecosystems were stable and balanced. ...
Article
Full-text available
Drylands cover more than 40% of the earth’s land surface, are found on all continents, and are home to 30% of the world’s population. Due to water scarcity, they are generally considered unsuitable for lasting human settlement. While pastoralism has been reconceptualized recently as a rational, efficient, and sustainable way to live in drylands, agriculture without irrigation is generally considered unfeasible in hyper-arid and arid drylands. This article presents data collected in ethnographic interviews in dryland areas in three countries, Sudan, Pakistan, and Ethiopia, to document and understand the cultivation practices of pearl millet, finger millet, and sorghum in drylands. Contrary to general trends favoring adoption of more water-intensive crops, our results show that farming without irrigation represents a viable strategy even where rainfall is considered insufficient. We argue that it is important to recognize the sustainability and value of dryland agricultural systems, past, present, and future.
... Several studies have documented how communities who are highly exposed to climate variability adapt to uncertainty (Scoones, 1994;Mehta, 2005;Hastrup, 2013;Rudiak-Gould, 2013). In Kutch, for example, local communities have responded to drought-related uncertainty by adopting diverse strategies to cope and live with water scarcity (Mehta, 2005). ...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we use a political ecology lens to look at how COVID-19 adds to a set of existing uncertainties and challenges faced by vulnerable people in the marginal environments of coastal India. Over the last few decades, local people have been systematically dispossessed from resource commons in the name of industrial, urban and infrastructure development or conservation efforts, leading to livelihood loss. We build on our current research in the TAPESTRY (https://tapestry-project.org/) project in coastal Kutch and Mumbai to demonstrate how the pandemic has laid bare structural inequalities and unequal access to public goods and natural resources. The impacts of COVID-19 have intersected with ongoing food, water and climate crises in these marginal environments, threatening already fragile livelihoods, and compounding uncertainties and vulnerabilities. Extreme weather events such as cyclones, droughts, heatwaves and floods in the last couple of decades have also compounded the problems faced in these regions, affecting seasonal migration patterns. We demonstrate how responses from “above” have been inadequate, failing to address problems, or arriving too late. Authoritarian leaders have used the pandemic to “other” and victimise certain groups and polarise society along religious lines. Lockdowns and covid restrictions have been used to surreptitiously complete environmentally destructive infrastructure projects, while avoiding resistance and opposition from affected local communities, who have also been subject to increased surveillance and restrictions on movement. While state responses have often been unpredictable and inadequate, there has been an outburst of local forms of mutual aid, solidarity, and civic action. There are also many examples of resilience at the local level, especially amongst communities that have largely relied on subsistence production. Despite the acute suffering, COVID-19 has also prompted civic groups, activists, and local communities to reflect on the possibilities for reimagining transformative pathways towards just and sustainable futures.
... The need to promote and facilitate unrestricted livestock mobility in semi-arid regions of the world has been recognized by social and biophysical scientists (Kitchell et al. 2014;Sharma et al. 2003;Ellis and Swift 1988;Niamir-Fuller 1999;Scoones 1994) as well as the national governments of many countries in the world, especially Africa (Bonnet and Hérault 2011;Touré 2004;Wabnitz 2006). This recognition, in support of mobility and the rights of pastoral communities, however, did not translate into action, in terms of creation of suitable policies and institutions to ensure livestock mobility (Kitchell, et al. 2014;Sharma et al. 2003;Fernandez-Gimenez and Le Febre 2006;Galvin 2009;Niamir-Fuller 1999). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Seasonal migration is one of the main characteristics of mobile pastoralism. Similar to other parts of the world, mobile pastoralist communities of India also practice seasonal migration. However, very little is understood about this age old livestock production system, especially in the Indian context. Alarmingly, studies on the different facets of mobile pastoralism and seasonal migration patterns across the country including the Deccan Plateau region hitherto remain abysmally poor or absent. In this background a study was commissioned by Sahjeevan-Centre for Pastoralism to map the seasonal migration routes of the pastoralists across the Deccan Plateau region of India, with an objective to gain better understanding of the system.
... However, pastoralists' responses to external shocks, including droughts, are influenced by public support measures. State-sponsored storage or destocking (via grain subsidies or livestock pricing policies) often lead to new balances (sometimes imbalances) in the humanenvironment system (Scoones, 1994). Turner (2002) and Gautier et al. (2016) also highlight the role and functioning of rural markets (access and distance to the market, price of trading, and advance/debt system in negotiation) that influence livestock management faced with a shock. ...
Article
Full-text available
Analyzing the sustainability of grazing livestock farming systems in the drylands at the farm and household or territorial levels (in terms of food security, well-being, value chain performance, feed supply, and maintenance of common grazing resources) constitutes a major challenge in the context of global changes. In particular, social–natural interdependency in an entanglement of spatial and temporal scales complicates the development of a common and systematic framework for assessing the sustainability of these grazing livestock systems. Our objective is to give an overview of some fundamental sets of indicators usually used and elaborate on some principles to guide the sustainable assessment of grazing livestock systems in drylands. To do so, this paper reviews a set of empirical, theoretical, and methodological studies related to the analysis of risk, adaptability, vulnerability, resilience, and sustainability of livestock systems in drylands based on grazing (mostly pastoral systems, but also some integrated crop-livestock systems). More concretely, this review seeks to compile a set of indicators to inform the processes of assessing the sustainability of livestock socio-ecosystems. It points to the wide range of approaches that have been used to address the sustainability of grazing livestock systems, ranging from those that focus on ecological or social approaches to more integrated and systemic approaches; from indicator-based approaches to those focusing on processes; from quantitative approaches to those that point out the need to take qualitative aspects into consideration; and from research-based assessments to participatory approaches. Based on this review, we propose a multi-scale indicators framework combining scales of space, time, and coordination to address the sustainability of these livestock systems. This framework aims to constitute a sound basis for elaborating a system of information that will contribute to and support policymakers and development agencies in developing their policies and measurements in order to ensure the sustainable development of pastoral and agropastoral systems in the short and medium-term. However, this study also warns about the multiple contextual scopes of the indicators and their implications, which reveal differing dynamics (and therefore adaptive capacities) of these systems.
... Pastoralism historically emerged as a local solution to offer well-being and food security on marginal lands too arid or hostile to be cultivated (Pyne, 2001;Scott, 2017). Regardless of cultures and zones, the fundamental principle was to domesticate animals for meat, fibre, milk, and so forth (Dias, 1981a(Dias, [1953) and to use mobility to cope with the uncertainties of challenging environmental dynamics (Scoones, 1996(Scoones, , 2021. The mobile lifestyle in marginal lands, though, was negatively perceived by nascent settled agricultural societies, and pastoralists were soon associated with barbarians and/or subhumans (Porter, 2012;Scott, 2017). ...
Article
The idea of multifunctionality permeates European agriculture. Pastoralism is not spared and is valued as a vector of environmental management of the mountainous areas. Multifunctionality is nonetheless connected to entrepreneurial agriculture. Although entrepreneurship is disseminated in the European agricultural sector, little is known about the entrepreneurial evolution within traditional mountain pastoralist communities. This ethnographic paper builds on the case study of mountain sheep pastoralists in Braganza, Portugal, to augment this knowledge. It dives into the dynamics of production of sheep farming to uncover the cultural drivers of traditional pastoralism in Northern Portugal. Results show that pastoralists are unresponsive to the entrepreneurial narratives of multifunctionality as they respond to the occupational identity of shepherds in a moral economy of subsistence ethic. Pastoralists nevertheless own a valuable environmental agency grounded in their condition of rural dwellers. Tailored narratives to their subsistence ethic are then required to rapidly address and valorize this environmental agency as new fire regimes progress and traditional pastoralism stands at the brink of extinction in Portugal. These results may ultimately contribute to global literature and policy making on pastoralism, multifunctionality and environment; worldwide pastoralist communities share holistically cultural features and convergent historical trajectories.
Article
Full-text available
Settler colonialism in Kenya and elsewhere was, amongst other things, an environmental regime based upon specific ideologies of resource use and availability. The resource rights and requirements of nomadic and pastoral communities were written away in favor of extractive uses rooted in capitalist production, as well as a mythical ideal that settlers could create a facsimile of pre-industrial Britain overseas. This article argues that settlers’ pursuit of these goals in the region of the Ewaso Ng’iro river led to a discursive and material erasure of indigenous livelihoods and claims to water downstream. In removing, diminishing, and eliminating the flow of the river into the Northern Frontier via large scale irrigation operations, the settlers of the Nanyuki region placed the river within an ethnonationalist ideology of water that elevated their new European Eden above all else. By tracking the slow diminishment of the Ewaso Ng’iro’s water level and the settler-nomad contestation over it, this article shows that the possible erasure of a rural population whose way of life was antithetical to both the racial and economic priorities of settlers was a necessary side-effect for the realization of a proto-econationalist ideology emanating from the upper middle class and elite settlers of the Ewaso Ng'iro’s catchment area.
Thesis
Full-text available
It is well known that the development and adaptation capacities of rural communities in the developing world largely depend on the flexibility of the communities’ ‘social structure’ (the community as a norm-group itself, together with its ‘institutions’ as the legal, moral and ideological framework). ‘Structures’ that have been identified by research as being crucial for rural livelihoods are found to be specific non-market security structures that are based on concepts of solidarity, reciprocity, and kinship. It is also widely acknowledged that ‘agency’ (understood as the decision-making and action-taking of individuals, including their aims to influence others) also plays a role. However, very little is known about how the interplay between ‘structure’ and ‘agency’ shapes institutional change and adaptation. Specifically, proper analytical frameworks for analyzing this interplay are missing. This dissertation aims to contribute to our understanding of development and adaptation capacities of rural communities against the backdrop of current mechanisms of social security and their evolution, to the interplay of different factors in such processes of institutional change, and the relationship between structure and agency, as well as to the required development of appropriate analytical frameworks. Empirical research was conducted on the Mahafaly Plateau in South-West Madagascar with three detailed micro-studies on cases of change, analyzing them through the lens of Contemporary Classical Institutional Economics and the Framework for Modeling Institutional Change (Ensminger 1992), then proposing suggestions on how to improve the framework. The cases reveal that indeed ‘agency’ is an important factor shaping institutional change on the local or regional level. Institutional change is found to be both driven by collective action as well as evolutionary mechanisms. Importantly, agency is influencing both of these mechanisms. The results may be transferred to other rural societies of the developing world that also base the enforcement of their formal institutions on orality, ideologically value personal freedom and procedural liberty, and show a high diversity of institutions of all kinds. For such societies, the results suggest that the societal environment on the one hand favors adaptation on the level of individuals or small groups and allows these actions to evolutionary change institutions. On the other hand, adaptation based on designed institutional change and collective action is difficult to plan and execute. The framework applied to the cases is shown to be suitable as it allows us to shed light on changes in institutions including ideology as a result of the interplay between individual actors and their behavior, changes in external factors such as relative prices, the constellations of actors, and their bargaining power. By modifying the framework by adding ‘agency’ as one of the core elements, the analysis becomes even more comprehensive.
Preprint
Since the 1970s, the Sahel region has been struck by severe droughts that has brought suffering to human populations. Scientists also observed declining rainfall leading to desertification in the zone. Against this backdrop, in 2007, several African states launched the international Great Green Wall (GGW) project that aimed to create a strip of forest from Senegal to Djibouti, crossing areas mostly devoted to pastoralism. We examined the social, land tenure and environmental implications of the GGW in Senegal, in the light of policies for pastoral inten-sification of the zone. The colonial heritage of the foresters from the Senegalese National Green Wall Agency who implement the project on the ground influences how reforestation is managed today. To understand how local populations relate to the space affected by the project and their resources, we organized par-ticipatory workshops in four contrasted study sites along the Senegalese portion of the GGW path. Our results show that trees are of great importance for lo-* Corresponding author cal populations, whether agricultural or pastoral, but even more so in pastoral areas. Despite this, the national and international narrative considers Sahelian pastoralism and overgrazing as strong drivers of desertification. The paradox is that overgrazing is linked to the public policy of boreholes densification. Taking a Commons approach, we show the current and past role played by water in pasture management, and how water accessed by boreholes no longer regulates grazing practices. A Commons approach would pave the way for assisting stakeholders at different levels to favour regreening the Sahel.
Article
Opening Paragraph There is a growing body of research that addresses issues of income distribution and the mechanisms of inequality in rural farming communities in Africa (see, for example, Hill, 1972; Matlon, 1981; Kitching, 1980; Sutter, 1981; Watts, 1983). Unfortunately a recognition of the importance of economic inequality in African societies dependent on animal husbandry has lagged behind. Much of the research on pastoral systems of production of the past several decades has been carried out by anthropologists whose work, to the extent that it addresses issues of economic heterogeneity at all, has emphasised the types of ‘levelling’ and ‘adaptive’ mechanisms common to pastoral systems. Recurrent issues of focus have been the ideology of equality which tends to predominate in pastoral societies, the limited development of political hierarchies, the limitations on herd size imposed by family labour and ecology, the wide-spread transfer of assets at critical moments in the life cycle, and the apparent similarities in consumption levels of different households (see, for example, Barth, 1961; Goldschmidt, 1971; Dahl, 1979a; Schneider, 1979).
Article
Three methods for measuring the benefits of commercial and subsistence livestock production in Africa are discussed. Firstly, biological measures of herd performance are illusstrated with material from Botswana. Secondly, the profitability of the herding operation can be measured economically, a technique which requires the ascription of cash values to in-kind produce. An improved method for imputing these values is presented. Finally, one can compare the nutritional status of human populations engaged in commercial and non-commercial livestock production. Each of these three techniques provides a limited description of the total environment which conditions farmer decision-making. As a general rule, therefore, we should favor a combination of techniques and exercise considerable skepticism in evaluating the results of any undimensional comparison.