Increasing resilience of livestock migration in the arid areas of India
This is a white paper that describes the results of a household survey of migratory pastoralists as well as results from GPS collar and land classification that tells us what type of forage resources pastoralists are utilizing. The report also highlights on the importance of water. The project on “Coping strategies for livestock smallholders in the fact of climate change and soaring feed prices: Case study of livestock mobility in the state of Rajasthan, India,” was conducted to analyze existing and emerging trends with respect to livestock mobility. Following ICARDA’s innovative ‘systems’ approach, this study was implemented by a multi-disciplinary team of range ecology and management research scientists, socio-economists, and spatial analyst (GIS) scientists from ICARDA, Oregon State University (USA), and the Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) in India. The project, funded by the CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), aimed to inform the formulation of policies and government initiatives that could improve the livelihoods of pastoralist communities. The project evaluation was completed taking into consideration the impacts of climate change, a growing demand for livestock products, and the promotion of modernization agendas as a pathway out of poverty. Researchers spent a year collecting geospatial data and recording GPS locations for two selected migratory herds in the region. Existing policies related to pastoralism were also reviewed. Researchers provided the following conclusions and recommendations: Improving the condition of the common grazing lands and religious trust-owned pastures with community participation could provide better forage resources that fulfill the nutritional requirements of migrating animals. • The interventions of state government through the provision of mobile veterinary services and quality medicines on different migratory routes will help reducing losses to livestock owners. • Control of criminals shall provide a healthy space to livestock owners in different regions and ensure safety of people engaged in this enterprise. • The provision of government services, such as watering camps and post processing facilities could potentially reduce grazing pressure in the present migration routes by dispersing herders to new areas. • Increasing awareness of government provided veterinary services at key points along the migratory route through a promotional campaign would greatly benefit many migratory pastoralists. It was also concluded that migration of animals reduces grazing pressure in herders’ home villages and allows for herders to follow forage according to climate variability. This mobility provides resilience in the face of increasing climate variability.