Arid waste? Reassessing dryland pastoralism

East Africa harbours a huge hidden asset: its millions-strong herds of dryland livestock managed by pastoralists. Many policymakers in the region regard pastoralism as archaic and economically inefficient – perceptions that are not evidence-based, yet drive much regional policy. New findings show that pastoralism has immense potential value for reducing poverty, managing the environment, promoting sustainable development and building climate resilience. In Kenya alone, the sector is worth an estimated ¾ billion dollars a year. Persistent undervaluation has effectively trapped up to 20 million pastoralists in a cycle of poverty, conflict and environmental degradation. Now, with climate change biting, the time is ripe for a conceptual framework that captures the total economic benefits of this livelihood system. The briefing paper Arid waste? Reassessing the value of dryland pastoralism looks at pastoralism’s total economic value, which reveals its immense potential to reduce poverty, manage the environment, promote sustainable development and build climate resilience.

Posted on 9 July 2012 in Value of Pastoralism