Enclosure if the East African rangelands: recent trends and their impact

Enclosure if the East African rangelands: recent trends and their impact

The enlosure of rangelands is bad for East African pastoralists

This article discusses the enclosure of rangelands and registration of exclusive rights to grazing by individuals or groups of pastoralists. This trend has been increasing greatly over the last twenty years. This occurs because:

  • it is encouraged by governments, planners and multi-lateral donor agencies in an attempt to 'rationalise'the use of rangelands. This arises from a wish to see the pastoral sector move towards more market-oriented production and make a greater overall contribution to the national economy
  • it is initiated by pastoralists as a response to a perception that good land is becoming more secure and there is a need to lay claims to a demarcated area in order to protect grazing rights

This paper:

  • analyses the reasons why such enclosure is taking place
  • the short and long term impact on different groups
  • the technical and environmental issues which are related to enclosure

The article concludes that:

  • there is much semi-nomadism associated with both planned and spontaneous enclosure, and reciprocal social relations still allow significant access by those excluded to the enclosed areas
  • the beneficiaries of the enclosures are the national governments which control them and the richer pastoralists who ally themselves with the state and gain power and influence through their increased access to resources. The losers are the poorer pastoralists, pushed further and further into marginal land, and eventually out of pastoralist production completely
  • this process is an inherently political one, since it concerns questions of access to and control over resources
  • it is a growing and important trend with far-reaching implications for the future of nomadic pastoralism

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