The ‘livestock efficiency paradigm’ needs to be revised post-Corona

Raika pastoralist in Rajasthan (India) setting out with his camel herd to harvest biodiversity and convert it into health enhancing camel milk.

We need to improve livestock efficiency to enhance sustainability has been the mantra promoted by most experts. However, this approach has not considered that animals (and people) are ‘holobionts’ and come together with billions of micro-organisms. (Wikipedia: A holobiont is an assemblage of a host and the many other species living in or around it, which together form a discrete ecological unit.) Efficiency applied to biological organisms breeds pandemics, so we need to diversify, disperse and decentralize livestock keeping, if we want to prevent a repeat of the current crisis. For this we need to take guidance from the pastoralist playbook, suggests LPP’s Ilse Köhler-Rollefson in this article:

Counting pastoralists – our international collaboration

Experts participating in the ‘Counting Pastoralists’ study during our workshop held at LPPS in Sadri (Rajasthan): ( r.)Kamal Kishore (India), Jacob Wanyama (Kenya), Maria-Rosa Lanari (Argentina) and Evelyn Mathias (Germany), flanking LPPS ground manager Ramlal Jat.

Pastoralism is absolutely a worldwide phenomenon, but it takes different guises and has variable significance in individual countries. This is one of the reasons why nobody knows how many pastoralists there are in the world. There is no uniform definition and countries do not collect data on how many of their livestock are kept in pastoralist systems. In a project supported by Misereor, LPP has contracted country studies to experts in three countries (Arhentinia, Germany, and Kenya/Uganda) to look into developing a unified methodology. Currently we are at the stage of discussing the country reports in weekly Zoom meetings.

Counting Pastoralists Workshop, 1-4 September, Sadri India

We are happy to announce the Project Workshop “Counting Pastoralists” that will take place from 1st until 4th September in Sadri (India) at LPPS Campus.

As there are no dependable statistics on the number of people depending on pastoralism, beyond very vague estimates, in 2016, LPP, in collaboration with partners of the Indian Rainfed Livestock Network (RLN) developed a new methodology for arriving at more accurate data which takes livestock populations, local knowledge/ground truthing and national level statistics on household sizes and animal holdings into account.

Content of the workshop is to test and improve the methodology to count/estimate the size of pastoralist populations and their economic contribution. The participants of the workshop are a team of experts on pastoralist communities from different countries (Argentina, Kenia, India and Germany) who will discuss and exchange their experiences with different methods approaches.