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Annex H: Niger range and livestock project social soundness analysis
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The Niger Range and Livestock Project has the twin aims of increasing the incomes of pastoralists in central Niger, and finding a long-term ecological balance in the zone. Sheep epidemic and the risk of cattle or camel rustling have resulted in the overrepresentation of goats in the Tuareg herds. The Tuareg form a small, politically independent group which is heavily involved in the market as a means of rebuilding their herds. They are relatively sedentary, but transhume along a northwest-southwest route to the salt cure. The Peul recognize the dominance of the Tuareg, and live in scattered and small communities and lack deep kinship groups; this makes for difficult census taking. They have few market needs and are irregular in their transhumance patterns. The paper outlines the forces which have brought change to the region. Firstly is the destruction of the Tuareg traditional political economy by the French, then the intensification of agriculture through the freeing of Tuareg slaves. The creation of a national boundary with Nigeria blighted the Tuareg trade routes, and this was followed by a decline in the terms of trade. Population pressure increased as a result of national social policy and the building of wells, and the onset of the Sahelian drought gave rise to in higher losses. The project is experimental in nature, and has broad implications, particularly in the light of a changing environment, including the tripling of uranium mine labor demands and the competition for salt trade. It is founded on the establishment of social organization and communication, both of which are hampered by the low population density. There is no guarantee of success, and the project may see the number of pastoralists continuing to decline. However, if it is successful, pastoralists will be encouraged to change their management strategies by overcoming technical constraints which they now face, and their level of autonomy will be enhanced by their increased bargaining power in the Nigerian economy. Replicability will be assured by the intensive research into herding management and the development of cost-effective technical intervention, although it is recognized that other areas have different social arrangements and managing practices. -from Blench and Marriage Annotated Bibliography