Herdsmen and land management

Photo credit: Pixabay

Massai people in Tanzania

Tanzania: Climate Change and Ideal Land Management

Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)



THE story of a pastoralist in a remote part of Iringa Region on the Iringa -Dodoma road who tried to hang himself after losing 400 heads of cattle due to drought still lingers in my mind.

That was in 2006. He was a rich man by some standards but one day he woke up a very poor man.

The fact that he had nothing worth his name on earth and the loss of social status in the community made him decide to take his life rather than face the humiliation.

Massai herders - http://media-3.web.britannica.com/eb-media/55/20155-004-C8550C5E.jpg
Massai herders – http://media-3.web.britannica.com/eb-media/55/20155-004-C8550C5E.jpg

Many Masai pastoralists lost huge numbers of livestock, a situation which made some of them migrate to Kenya with what had remained of their herds, where the drought was not so severe.

When the drought ended, the pastoralists came back home with their herds and a new breed of cattle which could tolerate harsh conditions.

They also learned some lessons; one was the importance of land use planning- setting aside different areas for grazing during the dry season and the rainy season instead of leaving the herds to graze anyhow.

Massai in Tanzania - http://www.serengetivacationlandsafari.com/images/maasai-tribe-in-tanzania.jpg
Massai in Tanzania – http://www.serengetivacationlandsafari.com/images/maasai-tribe-in-tanzania.jpg

They also brought with them some seeds and cuttings for legumes and grass that could grow well in semi-arid areas instead of depending only on indigenous pastures.

Read the full article : allAfrica

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

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

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