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Investments in Pastoralism Offer Best Hope for Combating Droughts in Africa’s Drylands

ScienceDaily (Aug. 23, 2011)

Investments in Pastoralism Offer Best Hope for Combating Droughts in Africa’s Drylands

ScienceDaily (Aug. 23, 2011)

As hunger spreads among more than 12 million people in the Horn of Africa, a study by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) of the response to Kenya’s last devastating drought, in 2008-2009, finds that investments aimed at increasing the mobility of livestock herders — a way of life often viewed as "backward" despite being the most economical and productive use of Kenya’s drylands — could be the key to averting future food crises in arid lands.

The report, "An Assessment of the Response to the 2008-2009 Drought in Kenya," suggests that herding makes better economic sense than crop agriculture in many of the arid and semi-arid lands that constitute 80 percent of the Horn of Africa, and supporting mobile livestock herding communities in advance and with timely interventions can help people cope the next time drought threatens.

The best way to prevent famine in arid lands is to ensure herder access to critical dry-season grazing and watering areas. All the herders interviewed for the report said that obstacles to the movement of their herds — caused by lack of roads, land conflicts and demographic pressures — constituted the largest problem they had in protecting their animals and livelihoods.

The authors found that investments such as better roads, markets, information access, agricultural outreach and schemes that pay herders for wildlife conservation and other ecological services may cost money in the short run, but in the longer term will help stabilize dryland communities and prevent famines.

Pour en savoir plus (ScienceDaily)

Page publiée le 18 novembre 2011, mise à jour le 2 août 2014