Pastoralism: Governance and development issues
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The paper suggests that there has been a shift in theoretical understanding of development that has moved from a cultural ecology to a political ecology citing the fact that human-livestock-land interactions are explained less in terms of loss of carrying capacity or desertification and more in terms of common property rights, increased economic differentiation and social stratification, and incorporation and domination of tribal pastoral groups by larger state systems (236). Fratkin makes a critical evaluation of the theory of Hardin's tragedy of the commons as applied to pastoralism. He shows that although development thinking and policy has been based on the assumption that common property resources will be abused by rational people, leading to a widespread endorsement of the increase in private ownership and land tenure, the premises on which such beliefs have been based demand radical re-examination. He traces two critiques of the tragedy of the commons as applied to pastoralists. The first is from the social scientists whose challenge is directed towards the assumption that communally held resources meant no restriction on use. According to this argument, degradation occurs not through overpopulation, but through uneven population distribution, and the problem lies not with the fact that resources are held in common, but with the fact that there are no rules governing their usage. As a result of the literature on the tragedy of the commons Galaty (1993b The pastoralist's dilemma: common property and enclosure in Kenya's rangeland. In Food systems under stress in Africa, ed Vernooy, p110, Ottowa: Int. Dev. Res Cent.) proposes the concept of the pastoralist's dilemma, which occurs when the pastoralist demands to own his share of the common land, seeing that the land is not controlled by communities, but more importantly, the community is undermined by state or private interests (244). The second line of attack is mounted by natural scientists who see climatic disruptions as due to larger phenomena such as the El Niño/ Southern Oscillation. Fratkin reports two strands of sedentarization, firstly as a response to the lure of the market and wage labor, and secondly involuntarily as a result of loss of land through construction work, war or famine. He cites reports of the negative social and economic consequences of sedentarization, for example poorer nutritional status and higher incidence of disease among the settled Rendille children in Kenya than amongst their nomadic neighbors. He proposes that there are two responses to the crisis facing pastoralism, either it could be abandoned altogether, and the populations brought into a sedentarized society, or it could be restored and protected, with access being granted to fair prices, water, and autonomy. Fratkin describes some pastoralist movements in the Sahel, but proposes that access to credit and a monetary economy are prerequisites for the security of pastoralist families to enable pastoralists to pay for veterinary medicine, schooling and other essentials. For the future, pasture and water must be granted as rights, which may be communal or village based, but guaranteed by law nonetheless; he sees the recognition of customary land tenure as essential for the continuation of pastoralism. Further, he highlights the need to co-ordinate pastoralist needs with wildlife needs, so as to break the conflict between them, and to promote both.