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Quantifying the Contribution made by Pastoralists to African Economies, Ecosystems, and Wildlife

Pastoralists, people who raise livestock in the open and are often nomadic, are being overlooked as a benefit to world food security and biodiversity. That’s according to a study released Wednesday by the Germany-based League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development. The study, which looked at five countries, including Kenya and Uganda, says a scarcity of data makes it difficult to quantify the contribution of millions of pastoralists to economies, ecosystems, and wildlife. A new study calls for the proper recognition of pastoralists communities in their countries. The League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development (LPP), an NGO, commissioned a study of five countries to find the estimated number of pastoralists. The report, published Wednesday finds that none of the governments used pastoralism as a category for data collection, making the pastoralists invisible and creating a data gap of millions of people, their way of life, and how they raise livestock. In Kenya, 4 million people who identified themselves as pastoralists rely on livestock, worth more than $1 billion. In 2019, the Ugandan government proposed abolishing nomadic pastoralism, saying such a practice was dangerous for communities that rely on it. The pastoral communities in Uganda’s Karamajong region that mostly depend on the livestock criticized the move and said it violated their rights.  The report calls on governments around the world to support and strengthen the pastoralist system with information, policies, and investments to make the sector more sustainable.