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Pastoral Systems

Pastoral production systems in the Dry Areas are constrained by over-grazing, land degradation, climate variability, and seasonal gaps in feed supply. As a consequence, livelihoods are often constrained by scarce natural resources.

In response, Dryland Systems is actively gathering data and analyses as an initial stage in understanding present constraints and opportunities – and using this data to develop innovative plans that can effectively overcome these challenges, boost productivity, and improve livelihoods.  

The Program is targeting the development of coping mechanisms to help farming communities mitigate the impact of climate change, rising temperatures, and increasingly scarce water resources; developing decision tools for improved land and water management; piloting and demonstrating promising technologies and techniques; and building the capacity of local communities.

Some examples of the work Dryland Systems is doing to strengthen pastoral production systems:  
Resilience-enhancing options for pastoral communities: researchers at ICRAF are quantifying resilience-enhancement through the use of trees, crops, and livestock in East and Southern Africa. Effective approaches to assess and quantify resilience enhancement will be disseminated to regional partners.
Community-based breeding lessons: Community-based breeding lessons with communities in Ethiopia are delivering significant improvements to flock performance.      
Insurance against losses: An index-based livestock insurance scheme offers the potential to stabilize livelihoods and improve degraded rangelands.

Value-addition: Improving the quality of local wool and mohair products is helping female producers to tap into lucrative export markets.