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Providing a vital perspective on pastoralism in Eastern Africa

A new project has been launched to address challenges of developing livestock value chains in pastoral, as well as in mixed crop-livestock systems.

July 19, 2016
  • East Africa

Advocating for securing, protecting and improving the lives and rights of pastoralists in Africa has long been a key focal area for CTA. A number of activities have been supported, including technical workshops, high-level policy dialogue fora and study tours and publications, including Moving Herds, Moving Markets: Making Markets Work for African Pastoralists, a compendium of 15 case studies describing the challenges facing livestock value chains in nine African countries and the solutions which have been applied by the different actors involved.

in line inceptionFirst row, L-R: Mr Eric Mwaura, IIRR; Dr Albin Sang, Kenya Ministry of Agriculture; Dr Ameha Sebsibe, ICPALD;
Second row, L-R: Dr Steve Staal, ILRI; Dr Osman Babikir, ICPALD; workshop participants.

'Building Resilient Pastoral Communities through Cross-border Livestock Value Chains in the IGAD Region' – an integral component of CTA's Eastern Africa Flagship Project – is a 3-year project which will be implemented in contiguous pastoral communities across western Kenya and north-eastern Uganda, known as the Karamoja Cluster. Through its activities, the project aims to reach a total of about 10,000 pastoralist households who earn their livelihoods mainly from keeping cattle and small ruminants and it will work to address the challenges of developing livestock value chains in pastoral areas.

The project recognises the enormous opportunities that livestock husbandry and associated activities provide as levers for local and regional economic development. With regards to pastoral production systems, which are a dominant way of life for millions of people in the arid and semi-arid lands of the region, project activities will be anchored on the facilitation of cross-border livestock trade, which has assumed increasing importance in the region and is touted as a significant growth area. However, significant effort will be exerted to ensure that lessons and experiences are shared widely across the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) sub-region.

Encouraging dialogue

An inception workshop for the project was recently held from 9-10 June 2016 in Nairobi with the support of collaborating partners: ICPALD (a technical agency under IGAD with specific responsibilities for pastoral areas development); and IIRR, a well-recognised international NGO with and a proven track record of managing livelihoods-focused pastoralist programmes in the Horn of Africa. The workshop was attended by 28 experts and other stakeholders including officials from local governments (Kenya and Uganda), relevant NGOs and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). ILRI has expressed interest in partnering with ICPALD and IIRR with respect to piloting innovative risk management and ICT-based market information systems relevant for pastoral areas.

Workshop participants agreed on the centrality of pastoral livestock keeping as a vital livelihood activity for the majority of people in the Karamoja Cluster and discussed the various challenges that pastoralist livestock keepers face. Participants noted the timeliness of the project in terms of strengthening the voice of pastoral livestock keepers and encouraging dialogue between pastoralists and policymakers. The workshop was instrumental in enhancing the understanding of key stakeholders on the specific components of the project and the partnerships that can be forged with other similar initiatives on pastoral livestock value chains and informal cross-border livestock trade in the project area.

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