Survival of pastoralism in Africa (Technorati / Masabahouse / IRIN)

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“ONE LINK” – AFRICA: Can pastoralism survive in the 21st century? (IRIN)

ISIOLO, 13 July 2007 (IRIN) – Pastoralism is under threat – from climate change, shifting global markets and increased competition for land and other natural resources – even though it generates substantial income in areas where conventional farming is not possible. Those who believe that pastoralism – based primarily on raising livestock in arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) – can last into the 21st century, argue that increased urbanisation will mean a greater demand for livestock products – and hence, a greater role for pastoralists. Those who do not regard pastoralism as a viable long-term lifestyle argue that globalisation, increasing competition for land resources due to population growth, and climatic factors such as desertification and prolonged droughts in ASAL areas, mitigate against its survival.

Either way, at least 40 percent of Africa’s land mass is dedicated to pastoralism, with significant variations among countries. In Kenya, for example, government statistics indicate that pastoral areas occupy at least 80 percent of the land mass, home to about 10 million people and 90 percent of the country’s wildlife.

For the full report, read on…

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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