Pastoralism and climate change

The VSF (Vétérinaires Sans Frontières) report on The role of small-scale livestock farming in climate change and food security includes pastoralists as “small-scale livestock farmers” – indeed, it gives particular attention to them in this report, including some examples from East Africa. The report looks at: i) how sustainable small-scale livestock farming (SSLF) systems are and whether they can contribute to climate-change mitigation; ii) how efficient SSLF practices are in producing animal-source foods needed by a growing population and in responding to future food-security challenges; and iii) how successfully SSLF communities have traditionally adjusted to climate variability and how their strategies can help better to respond to climate change. A major question addressed is: “Is extensive smallholder livestock farming, which relies on natural pastureland, as responsible for climate change as intensive animal husbandry, which relies on intensively grown crops imported from overseas?“ The report illustrates how SSLF – specifically pastoralism – fits into the new solutions for responding to climate change. One of the case studies is from Turkana, Kenya, where the major recommendation is: Action is urgently needed to stop the violence between neighbouring pastoral communities and to direct humanitarian aid more towards pastoralists’ restocking and training and less towards food relief. The executive summary (11 pp) can be found here. The entire report (146pp) can be found here.

Posted on 2 October 2012 in Pastoralism & Climate Change