Feeding Africa: Climate Change, Environmental Sustainability, and Pastoralism

Today there are leading scholars who argue for the resilience and economic importance of transhumant pastoralism to semi-arid and prairie lands in rural Africa. African pastoralists make significant contributions to national economies (Rugadya 2017) and their meat and dairy production are critical to daily nutrition and food habits in African urban and rural communities. Yet, it is still unclear whether national governments are willing to invest in the livestock sector in ways that take advantage of the local and regional strategies that pastoralists have used, and which for the large part have sustained pasturelands. Large agribusiness projects, capital intensive interventions that promote ranches and a turn to ‘modern’ livestock raising fall short as solutions to protecting grasslands in the face of climate change and concerns for environmental sustainability,. Meanwhile, pastoralists themselves are caught between radical Islamisists and/or criminal transnational networks in the north and defensive farmers to the south, all of which severely constrain historic grazing strategies. This panel aims to explore these problems and report on recent developments on the ground, whether in government policy, rural farming community practices and relations with pastoralists, or within herder communities. What are ‘modern’ solutions in the face of new data on climate change, for African pastoralists?

Please send paper proposals to Wendy Wilson-Fall at [email protected] by March 12, 2022.