The pastoral farming system: Balancing between tradition and transition

Jan De Leeuw, Philip Osano, Mohammed Said, Augustine Ayantunde, Sikhalazo Dube, Constance Neely, A. Vrieling, Philip Thornton, Polly Ericksen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The African pastoral farming system consists of livestock and drylands crop-based production that supports an agricultural population of 38 million people of whom 13.4 million in sub-Saharan Africa are extremely poor.

Human population growth has resulted in low per capita livestock and land resources, and while the farming system has options to develop agriculture, further demographic expansion will exacerbate degradation and inequality.

While there is potential for agricultural development, e.g. through intensification and greater market orientation, such development needs to take into account pastoral peoples’ access rights to resources and minimize trade-offs with current land and water users.

Effective drought management, a key to the success of pastoralism, relies on multiple resource management strategies and community interactions. Therefore, there is a need for policies that strengthen the resilience of agriculture and pastoralists livelihoods through, e.g. support to livestock mobility, agricultural insurance, sustainable land and water management as well as monetary and legal support for effective implementation.

Interventions that strengthen opportunities for a future outside agriculture, such as education and job creation, are needed for those living in chronic poverty.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFarming Systems and Food Security in Africa
Subtitle of host publicationPriorities for Science and Policy under Global Change
EditorsJohn Dixon, Dennis P. Garrity, Jean-Marc Boffa, Timothy Olalekan Williams, Tilahun Amede, Christopher Auricht, Rosemary Lott, George Mburathi
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9781315658841
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2019


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