Total economic value of Kenyan pastoralism

Undervaluation of pastoralism had led to inappropriate policies and the promotion of alternative production systems that make less economic sense, cause more environmental damage and are making pastoralists destitute. The World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism (WISP) compiled data on the total economic value (TEV) of pastoralism in Kenya, collected through the IUCN project “Kenya’s drylands: wastelands or an undervalued economic resource?”. The study Total economic valuation of Kenyan pastoralism draws attention to the multiple values of pastoralism, also those than cannot be measured in monetary terms. It shows that pastoralism provides numerous services that are not normally quantified and are thus ignored in development planning. It also compiles those values which are sometimes measured, such as meat and milk production, but fail to influence planning and policy, perhaps because the data are not disaggregated. The frequent arguments by policymakers or development planners that pastoralism is not economically viable are based not on empirical evidence but rather on hand-me-down “wisdom” or prejudice. This report highlights the strong economic rationale of pastoralism, the significant contribution it makes to Kenya’s economy and the many goods and services of pastoralism that are routinely overlooked. It recommends that these values be given much greater consideration. Otherwise, planners risk substituting mobile livestock production in the drylands with something inferior, incurring a tremendous opportunity cost.

Posted on 9 July 2012 in Value of Pastoralism