Poverty, pastoralism and policy in Ngorongoro: lessons learned from the Ereto I Ngorongoro pastoralist project with implications for pastoral development and the policy debate

Poverty, pastoralism and policy in Ngorongoro: lessons learned from the Ereto I Ngorongoro pastoralist project with implications for pastoral development and the policy debate

Protecting pastoralists' livelihoods: lessons from Ngorongoro, Tanzania

Recent years have seen pastoralist communities in Tanzania becoming increasingly impoverished and vulnerable, due to  livestock diseases, drought, fluctuating market prices and unfavourable policies. This paper discusses strategies to address the last of these factors with reference to the Ereto-Ngorongoro Pastoralist Project, which was set up in response to growing concern about the unprecedented and rising levels of poverty among pastoralists in Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA).

The paper begins with a brief overview of pastoralism in Tanzania, the policy environment in which pastoralist production systems operate, and approaches to improving pastoralist livelihoods. It then looks in detail at pastoralist livelihoods and production in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and reviews the Ereto I project and its impacts. The paper concludes with lessons learned from Ereto I and considers how these lessons can be linked to policy dialogue on support for sustainable pastoralist livelihoods.

The authors find that Ereto I succeeded in promoting sustainable development and reducing poverty by using participatory approaches to work with pastoralists on their own development issues and providing appropriate support for their livelihood strategies. The authors argue that this provides an important example with far-reaching implications for policy dialogue in the present context of pastoralism and policy formulation in Tanzania.

Key lessons learned include:

  • maximising the size and returns from livestock herds in good years to generate a surplus for the inevitable bad years is crucial as a means of reducing pastoral poverty
  • the links between water rights and range management are critical for the sustainable use of pasture, improved livestock productivity and peaceful co-existence of different communities
  • pastoralism is not just a traditional form of raising livestock, it is a livestock-based livelihood system regulated by ecology with complex modes of social, political and economic organisation with the capacity to adapt to changing environmental and socio-economic conditions. Thus, adopting a holistic approach is crucial

 

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