Pastoral responses to crisis in the Horn

A working paper of the Future Agricultures Consortium “Into the fold: what pastoral responses to crisis tell us about the future of pastoralism in the Horn” (2014, 20pp) by Jeremy Lind and Lina Ribera Barrero looks at how pastoral livelihoods are likely to evolve in the Horn of Africa as the area becomes increasingly incorporated into the global economy. Taking the example of Maasai herders in Laikipia in central Kenya, it shows how trends of accelerating livestock commercialisation and private investment in rangeland are changing the dynamics of pastoralism. The Maasai have been confined to group ranches and many have given up livestock-keeping. The focus of the study is on how herders responded to the severe drought of 2008–10 and tried to recover from this crisis. Many left but, among those who have stayed on the group ranches, the better-off were those who also engaged in farming, beekeeping and salaried work. The findings suggest that, in future, the majority of Maasai herders will be pushed into diversification or will leave pastoralism completely, while a minority will derive great benefit from economic transformation of pastoralism.

Posted on 2 August 2014 in Pastoralism & Marketing, Pastoralist Livelihoods & Nutrition