Tag Archives: pastoralism

International Camel Conference at Islamia University Bahawalpur Pakistan

The International Camel Conference (ICC) under the patronage of Camel Association of Pakistan and the Islamia University of Bahawalpur was organized in Baghdad campus of Islamia University (19-21 Dec 2013). Bahawalpur being the city of the great Thar desert and home of camel culture was the right choice for this event. Many scientists, research scholars, camel herders and students from different universities and institutions participated in this important event on the camel. Many animal scientists, students and camel herders from Balochistan province also participated.

Marrecha camel safari caravan passing nearby the Dirawarr Forte

Camel is the unique heritage of the region Cholistan

FAO Balochistan chapter sponsored a group of camel herders and L&DD officials to participate in the conference. The conference was very versatile of its nature, not only covered the camel science but provided a good opportunity to camel people to know about the camel culture of great Thar desert which is famously known as the Cholistan. The vice-chancellor of the IslamiUniversityty (Dr Iftikhar) was very kind and humble while providing all the best facilities and opportunities to the conference participants. Camel scientists from 7 different countries also participated.The Desert’s Livestock Species Have Tremendous Potential for Milk Produciton

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The scientists presented their work on camel culture, milk production potential, milk characteristics, camel breeds and breeding, diseases and economic opportunities etc. The local media covered the event in a very nice way and kept the country audience and viewers aware regarding the conference. At the end of the camel conference, the following recommendations were suggested.

  • To maintain camel genetic and production diversity with the involvement of the camel herders and policymakers
  • To maintain camel habitats, especially Cholistan desert intact and safe from land grabbing etc
  • The slogan of ‘DESERT SHOULD REMAIN THE DESERT‘ was given for Eco-conservation of Camels and ‘SAVE PASTROLISM
  • More interaction development among the camel people, camel scientists and policymakers should initiate
  • Research on camel diseases and other health issues should initiate and coordinate with the international bodies in this field
  • Publication of full-length articles of the abstracts received in ICC-2013 in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Industry Liaison for Value Addition of camel products
  • Enhanced collaboration with foreign camel researchers and institute

IMG_2082[1].jpgCamel conference was a great opportunity, except the bad weather with the heavy fog. At the end of the conference, the meeting of the CAP was organized and some decisions were made. The decisions of the CAP are given in the ensuing lines.

  • The foreign scientist (not more than 5) will be invited purely on merit basis to make it more worthwhile and fruitful
  • The meeting was held on 21st Dec at 8 pm
  • I suggested a seminar (with very specific title) and with very specific number of participants
  • The seminar will be in the month of Jan or Feb 2015, as the next ISOCARD is in June 2015 Almatay Kazakhstan
  • The venue of the meeting will be decided later but most probably, Karachi, Uthal, Quetta or Lahore
  • CAP member list will be compiled according to the registered members in 3 categories, i.e.
  1. category A. Scientist/Activist/NGOs
  2. Category B. Camel Herders
  3. Category C. Students
  • Next election will be held on the occasion of the Seminar in 2015
  • The CAP registration amount, other income and expenditure if any, will be compiled and will be present to the cabinet
  • A Skype/online consultative meeting of the willing CAP members or other scientists to highlight/fix and mention the priority areas on camel in Pakistan

I am very pleased now, as the importance of camel is being appreciated in Pakistan. In the climate change context and challenge of food security; camel is the best choice to accept these challenges.

Value of Bicultural Protocols for the Concerened Communities

Value of Bicultural Protocols for the Concerened Communities

Biocultural community protocol (BCP) is the documentation of bio-assets, prodution systems, history, heritage, traditional knowledge (TK), landscape, culture and products of the relevant community. BCP empowers communities and giving voice to local/native communities, especially pastorlaists  (In line with rights-based policy). It develop awareness about culture, value and tradition to address challenges (cross breeding, producst/innovations). Also it helps in awareness about the rights of the communities, i.e. grazing, breeding and political rights etc. It is a good tool of information exchange, communication to other stakeholders and linking different communities.

Process of BCP

Community initiates and owns BCP. Then Invites others stakeholders if appropriate, aim for government reconition and follow up if applicable. The shephards, traditional philosophers, elders, healers and other stakeholders are taken on board in this process. The pastoralists BCP is mainly focus on genetic resources for food and agriculture and grazing lands.

For further reading:

http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/G03404.pdf

http://saves.org.pk/site/pub/401.pdf

http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Presentation-Abdul-Raziq.pdf

http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/docs/BCP_for_livestock_keepers_web.pdf

http://naturaljustice.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf/BCP-Toolkit–final-online-version-(1).pdf

Link

League for Pastoral People

League for pastoral people strives for the conservation of pastoralism. 

 

Issues of the interest

What is the problem?

About 70% of the world’s one billion poor people – defined as those living on less than US$ 1.25 per day – are partially or totally dependent on livestock. Farm animals generate cash income, but also food, fibre, fuel, fertilizer and traction; they act as a ‘bank on hooves’ and medium of exchange for maintaining social relationships. On top of these many essential functions and services that livestock provide, they are also self-replicating. In many respects, livestock is an ideal asset, even more crucial and useful than money for poor people.

Smallholders and pastoralists. For many smallholders livestock is just one component of a more multi-faceted livelihood strategy. But for pastoralists with their long heritage of livestock keeping, herds of animals are their only material asset, besides their often rich traditional knowledge and local institutions that enable them to make use of marginal environments.

Mainstream livestock development. promotes a model of livestock production in which only the output of one product (usually milk, but also wool or meat) counts. In the process, locally adapted breeds are replaced by exotics which require purchased feed and other inputs, while also being susceptible to diseases and not being able to fulfil a multi-functional role. On the other hand, more fundamental issues for the survival and well-being of livestock keepers, such as secure access to common property resources, affordable and reliable animal health care, political empowerment as well as value chains for local products are ignored.

Factory farms take over… While support for small-scale livestock keepers has failed, industrial animal production has been conquering much of the globe. Originating in North America, the so-called “Livestock Revolution” has spread to Europe and much of Asia, and is now anticipated for Africa. This phenomenon entails not only huge industrial production units, but also a change in ownership structures: family owned farms are replaced by “integrated” set-ups in which the whole value chain – from animal feed and inputs to the final food product – is controlled by a few large multinational companies. In essence, small and medium-sized livestock producers who raise animals in a sustainable and usually fairly humane way, making use of local resources, are being forced out of business throughout the world.

Support factors for the corporate take-over of livestock rearing include: large subsidies for industrial producers; the current world trade system which pits producers in distant places against each other, making the margin per animal very low; the low status and reputation of livestock keeping as a career and, finally a paradigm about livestock development, held by scientists and policy makers, that only considers the output of products and ignores the huge externalities.

Impacts of the Livestock Revolution

  • The amassment of huge numbers of animals in a single production unit creates ideal conditions for the outbreak of epidemic diseases, requiring the routine use of antibiotics. When diseases do break out – as in the cases of bird flu, swine flu, and others – they often quickly spread around the globe, creating enormous costs that are borne by the tax payer.
  • This type of production is extremely energy intensive and depends on huge inputs of fossil fuels, industrial fertilizers, and other synthetic chemicals. Intensive livestock production is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.
  • The amassment of animals leads to an accumulation of their wastes, which pollute both air and water.
  • Animal welfare is a huge concern.
  • The system is vulnerable to shocks and puts long-term food security at a peril since it utilizes mono-cultures of both feed crops (maize and soy) and livestock (whose genes are also owned by companies).
  • The automated production units eliminate rural jobs, leading to a rural exodus. This has enormous implications for rural livestock keepers: in the US rural poverty is higher in areas where industrial production sites are located.

What is the solution?

Instead of amassing animals in huge factories, we need to decentralise livestock so that they can make use of local resources, including crop waste products and the scattered vegetation in marginal areas, such as deserts and mountainous zones. This approach hinges on the commitment, knowledge and expertise of livestock keepers, especially those who have a cultural tradition of animal rearing, such as pastoralists. For a sustainable future of the planet, we need to acknowledge and reward the role of such livestock keepers in the conservation of biological diversity, in contributing to food security and providing healthy food. This must be done by providing them with secure access to grazing areas and with services, market opportunities (fair prices and infrastructure), as well as access to appropriate education.

Society of Animal, Veterinary and Environmental Scientists (SAVES)

Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR) are crucial for livelihood in the drylands of the world. The pastoral people are the custodians of the AnGR in difficult environment of drylands. AnGR are the building blocks for future livestock development that will enable animal producers to respond to environmental changes. The ability of indigenous/pastoral livestock breeds to survive natural calamities (droughts, climatic extremes and diseases) is necessarily more important than high productivity. Such animals are generally close to their wild ancestors, enabling them to resist diseases and feed & water scarcity. The need of modern veterinary care is thus limited. Unfortunately the State of the World Report on AnGR predicted that 20% of livestock breeds are at risk of extinction and the average breed loss is 1 breed per month. The pastoral livestock breeds are more prone to this erosion. These issues demanded efforts to bring them in the minds of scientists and policy makers.

In 2005, the like-minded scientists organized the SAVES. Originally it was a Pakistani society, soon many international friends and scientists joined it. Now it is an international society.

Objectives

  • Conservation of AnGR and Indigenous knowledge through the strengthening of the pastoral peoples
  • Characterization and documentation of AnGR with the perspectives of the livestock keepers
  • Documentation and validation of the Indigenous knowledge with the participation of the communities
  • Research projects on the pastoral livestock production systems, products, culture and ecosystems
  • Value additions to the local livestock products for the wellbeing of the livestock keepers and conservation of the breeds
Tools

  • Livestock keepers rights (LKR)
  • Community Bio-cultural Protocols (BCP)
  • Mobilization and organization of the livestock keepers

http://www.saves.org.pk

Camel is not just a source of earning livelihood and food security but a main player in cultural and recreational goodwill of the camel’s pastoralists in its habitats. In Pakistan, camel is being enjoyed for many recreational purposes but dancing is one of the most important and unique event, especially among Marrecha camel paternalists. The Marrecha camels’ pastoralists are very fond of camel dancing and practice annual events to share the performance of their elite camels. According to Marrecha pastoralits, their camels are the best in learning dancing and even other commands. They define their camels as obedient & humble and good in learning different commands. Marrecha camel quickly learn dancing, riding/racing in desert and even working commands in the agricultural fields and densely populated cities’ street. This breed of this camel is highly liked by the people of Cholistan and its adjoining areas for accessibility in desert, beauty of gesture and good learning ability. To read more about Marrecha camel and Cholistan please click the links below;

https://camel4all.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/marrecha-camel-of-cholistan-desert/

http://www.pastoralismjournal.com/content/1/1/3

Camel passing by the Draban forte in Cholistan desert of Pakistan

The title of the photo is self explained.

Land grabbing and Restrictions to Pastoralism in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of the important countries of the dryland region of the world. Afghanistan is home and cradle of precious livestock breeds. The old civilization of zoroaster domesticated the present day bactrian camel in the ancient city of Bakhtria in Afghanistan. Afghanistan places precious and well adapted livestock breeds with very touchy livestock culture and home of nomads (Kochis).

Kochis or pastoralists having diversity of livestock species and breeds. They are the custodian of such precious animal genetic resources and guardian of the rich culture of nomadism.

Afghanistan being the land of wars and conflicts, now new and modern problems and conflicts area arising in the country. Because of the wars, there were restriction of the nomads movement with their livestock in some parts of the country.  Now arable farmers and warlords are grabbing the land for construction and high input agriculture production which further restrict the movement of livestock.

Nomadism is very important for livestock and flora diversity. Restriction affects the livestock production systems of the Kochis very negatively. Such phenomenon, i.e. land grabbing is further harmful for livestock biodiversity.

It is the utmost need of time to give attention to this issue and save pastoralism and their precious livestock breeds and culture. I hereby appeal international organizations like FAO to facilitate nomadism in Afghanistan and resist land grabbing and restriction of livestock movement of the nomads or Kochis.