Livestock and pastoralism

Livestock are essential for livelihoods in Africa, particularly in the drier, marginal pastoral areas. Yet development investments in the livestock sector have consistently failed. Over several decades, IDS research has challenged the assumptions of much conventional policy thinking. By making the case for a non-equilibrium approach to understanding range lands, for example, the opportunistic strategies of pastoralists can be recognised.

ETHIOPIA Somali Region. Female herder walking in the desert with her goats. The region has suffered overgrazing during the drought, and the soil has become unstable. 
Credit: Dieter Telemans / Panos

Living in the drylands means living with uncertainty, and standardised,blueprint approaches to development can never work. Recognising dynamic ecological systems means rethinking the principles of livestock and range management, as well as approaches to animal health and veterinary disease control. Uncertain environments also require new thinking for planning and policy processes and systems for tenure, marketing and administration.

Photo credit: Dieter Telemans / Panos

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA)

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a five-year, DFID-funded, research programme consortium which aims to produce new evidence and policy insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa and their differential outcomes for local people and economies. More details

Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium

A STEPS-led consortium of researchers aiming to advance understanding of the connections between disease and environment in Africa, focusing on animal-to-human disease transmission.. More details

Future Agricultures Consortium

The DFID funded Future Agricultures Consortium is an Africa-based alliance of research organisations seeking to provide timely, high-quality and independent information and advice to improve agricultural policy and practice in Africa. More details

Impact Evaluation of the PSNP and HAPB 2012

Since 2003, the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) has been implementing a new Food Security Programme (FSP). In 2009, this programme was reviewed and reformulated. More details

Livestock, Livelihoods and Health

Livestock, Livelihoods and Health is an interdisciplinary research programme exploring diseases that can be transmitted from wild or domesticated animals to people (known as zoonoses). More details

Myanmar Pig Partnership

The Myanmar Pig Partnership is focusing on the risks of zoonotic disease emergence associated with the rapid growth and intensification of livestock production in Myanmar in recent years. More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre

The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development. More details

Veterinary Science, Transboundary Animal Diseases and Markets

Focusing on the case of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in southern Africa – and specifically Botswana, Nambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe – this research is exploring the economic, social and political trade-offs arising from disease control strategies geared towards promoting commercial beef exports and achieving a ‘livestock revolution’. More details

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This is the cover of a Working Paper

Education Provision to Nomadic Pastoralists

IDS Working Paper 126 (2001)

Educationally, pastoralists appear to be a paradox. From the point of view of official education they are a complete failure: in terms of enrolment, attendance, classroom performance, achievement, continuity to higher education and gender balance they regularly score badly. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The New Institutional Economics of Privitizing Africa's Veterinary Services

Office International des Epizooties: Scientific and Technical Review 18.2 (1999)
This is the cover of a Working Paper

Crop-Livestock Integration: The Dynamics of Intensification in Contrasting Agroecological Zones: A Review

IDS Working Paper 63 (1997)

This paper examines crop-livestock integration, one of the key dynamics in the process of agricultural intensification. It traces the history of the 'mixed farming' concept, and describes the conventional trajectory of integration of crop and livestock sectors on smallholder farms, as well as the key processes involved. More details

When Livestock are Good for the Environment: Benefit Sharing of Environmental Goods and Services

IDS Working Paper 45 (1996)

Livestock producers are coming in for increasing criticism world-wide on the grounds that livestock production is bad for the environment. But the environmental consequences vary widely, depending on the specific local circumstances. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Living With Uncertainty: New Directions in Pastoral Development in Africa

Recent years have seen a major rethinking of some of the hallowed assumptions of range ecology and range management practice. This book examines the management and policy implications of new ecological thinking for pastoral development in dryland areas, and the consequences of living with uncertainty for many aspects of pastoral management and administration. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Range Ecology at Disequilibrium: New Models of Natural Variability and Pastoral Adaptation in African Savannas

This book reviews recent biological research on African rangelands and highlights the management implications for future donor and national government policy. The relationship between livestock numbers and range degradation is debated, and more appropriate techniques for the assessment of rangeland carrying capacity and degradation are proposed. More details

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