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Pastoralism on the Margin

29 November 2004

Pastoralism is a culture, an ancient mode of livestock production and a way of life, which makes extensive use of grazing in the lowlands of eastern Africa and the Horn. However, this culture, form of production and way of life has reached a critical point. A process that began under colonialism – the dispossession of land and the promotion of agriculture – has been continued and accelerated by independent African states in the region.Pastoralism on the Margin shows that the material base of pastoralism has been all but eroded in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and the situation has been exacerbated by climatic change, conflict, disease, drought and famine.The author, John Markakis, argues that the upsurge in development interest in pastoralism has done little to meet pastoralists needs, despite the huge amounts of money poured into the region. He discusses the many changes that have been visited on pastoralist men and women in the area and their way of life, and debates whether pastoralism can survive.Pastoralism on the Margin concludes with a set of recommendations aimed at the governments of the region, at donor agencies and at bodies working on conflict resolution in this part of Africa.

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John Markakis