Organising around breeds pays dividends

Pastoralists present a statement to Dr DK Sadana, Director of the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources

Lobbying by LIFE-Network India, an alliance of NGOs and pastoralist groups, is beginning to bear fruit as policy changes that benefit indigenous livestock and rural livelihoods.

For example, the scope of the “Recognition of Forest Rights Bill 2005”, that originally only gave rights to forest-dwelling tribes, was expanded to include the grazing rights of nomadic and settled pastoralist communities in forests. This legislation was passed by parliament on 7 December, 2006.

The National Draft Policy on Farmers emphasises the close relationship between livestock keeping, sustainable livelihoods, and access to grazing land. It spells out the need for securing pastoralists’ forest grazing rights, including in national parks and other protected areas.

An increasing number of Indian government actors are starting to take notice of the role of pastoralists as custodians of livestock breeds and their role on conserving biodiversity.

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