The commoditisation of pastoral milk

Pastoralists´ integration into market dynamics is mostly addressed through the lens of trade in meat products, involving male traders. Pastoral milk, mostly traded by women, is often ignored. Good production of healthy milk is definitely the best way to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of a pastoral system at whatever level. Milk is central in the livelihood of pastoral households. Its nutritional, social and economic roles have been comprehensively assessed.

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Youth moving to town: a major cause of uncertainty among the pastoralists of Isiolo, Kenya

Young people amongst the Waso Borana play an important role in their community through herding, digging wells, protecting cattle from raids and guarding their territories. Waves of change have invaded Isiolo, and this has caused the youth to be swept away from their traditional roles in their pastoral communities. Instead, they are joining many other young people who have migrated to urban areas without a plan for employment once there.

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Should we cry over spilled milk? The case of Sardinia

The rage of Sardinian shepherds explodes because of the low milk price, and thousands of litres of milk are thrown into the street or fed to pigs.  

From the 1970s, the Sardinian sheep dairy sector has often faced cyclical periods of crisis – the current one being one of the most dramatic.

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Pastoralism has a comparative advantage in variable environments

Based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Fiona Flintan is Rangelands Governance Scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute and is Technical Coordinator for the International Land Coalition’s Rangelands Initiative. She also offered a short video commentary on the PASTRES project at our launch last year.

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Pastoralists are experts at improvisation

At our launch workshop last May, we invited a number of the participants to comment on the themes of the PASTRES project in short video clips. These complement the ones already shared from the PASTRES team on China, Italy and Kenya, as well as the project overall.

Echi (Christina) Gabbert, from the University of Goettingen in Germany and coordinator of the Lands of the Future network, discusses, in the video below, the way pastoralists are experts at responding to a tough reality, able to improvise and make use of practical knowledge.

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The PASTRES project’s first year!

The PASTRES project has been extremely busy during 2018. This blog presents an overview of activities covered in the recent newsletter. If you haven’t already, do sign up for the bi-annual newsletter, here.

Following our launch event at IDS, Sussex in May, we have recruited three PASTRES PhD students who will be joining us at IDS, Sussex early next year. They will be joined by three more PhD students, also working on pastoralism issues. We have also selected a number of new honorary affiliates who will work closely with the project, contributing to the agenda.

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Negotiating uncertainties on the Tibetan plateau in China

The pastoral areas of the Tibetan plateau in China have been through numerous upheavals over the past decades. From collectivisation to the household responsibility system, to increasing individualization and marketization in recent times. Over the last decade in particular, massive investments have been made in infrastructure development, with roads, rail lines and new towns and cities being built across the plateau.

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When pastoralism meets oil: learning from oil finds in Turkana, Kenya

Eastern Africa is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies. Foreign capital has streamed into this region over the past ten to fifteen years – into large infrastructure programmes consisting of roads, railways, ports and pipelines, and into large resource developments ranging from geo-thermal in Kenya’s Rift Valley to windfarms in Kenya and neighbouring Ethiopia, and oil and gas projects in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. New motorways, shopping centres and office towers are sprouting in the region’s capital cities – a testament to the new wealth that is flowing in and being created.

Yet much of the large investment happens in rural areas – places distant from political and commercial centres, where the state let alone multi-national capital has rarely made itself felt. Many of these areas also have complex conflict legacies, and elaborate locally-specific ways of managing conflict and making peace. That is the genesis of a recent project on ‘Large-scale resource development at the rural margins’ – to understand what happens to governance and conflict in remote rural areas where large new developments are unfolding.

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Pastoralism under pressure in northern Kenya

Pastoralists  in Isiolo county in northern Kenya feel under siege, with their way of life under threat. Isiolo has been the home of the Waso Boran pastoralists for many decades, but attacks from neighbouring Somali herders, encroachments by agriculturalists from Meru, expansion of conservancies and planned road, pipeline and resort city mega-projects are affecting all pastoral livelihoods, creating many new risks and uncertainties. One elder warned us: “We were the majority in our area, but now we are becoming a minority. This means conflict is coming”.

In a scoping visit for the PASTRES fieldwork in Kenya, the PASTRES team talked to many people. Government officials in town, local experts and activists and pastoralists at water points and other meeting places. A number of themes emerged, each of which highlight different dimensions of uncertainty.

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