Is there a future for pastoralism in East Africa?
Based on its many years’ work with pastoralists in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan, Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (VSF) Germany brought out a position paper (2011) on pastoral animal husbandry in East Africa. It clearly sees a future for the pastoralist lifestyle and economic system. It recognises the myriad challenges faced by pastoralists but also the opportunities with the African consumers’ increasing demand for meat, the ability of livestock to graze dryland areas that could not otherwise be used economically for food production, and the contribution of pastoralism to biodiversity. VSF Germany urges policymakers to recognise the contribution of pastoralism to the national economies and conserving the environment. It calls for greater investment in infrastructure in pastoral areas and for policies that ensure pastoralists’ access to land and water to be used in a mobile way. Calls for creating opportunities for some young people to leave and pursue other livelihood, thus relieving the excessive population pressure on the scarce resources in the drylands so that those who remain will indeed have a future.