Thematic details 
of our work

CfP works across India on collaborative programs to enhance pastoralist livelihood security, obtain mainstream recognition of livestock breeds developed by pastoral communities, explore ways of securing their access to grazing resources, promote research to enhance understanding of pastoralism and outreach to educate the public on ​their concerns and their socioeconomic and cultural contributions.
While we divide our work into five broad categories, there are obvious overlaps between these. Our work on pastoral breeds, for example, is strongly linked to our livelihoods-related work for the simple reason that pastoralists develop breeds in order to maximize on quite specific characteristics - such as the production of milk, wool or meat. Our work on reducing herder-snow leopard conflict in the Himalaya also has a strong breed connection since traditional sheep breeds had a far stronger predator avoidance instinct compared with the hybrids that they have been replaced with. Returns on herding are clearly dependent on having access to markets, but equally, if not more so, they are dependent on securing access to grazing. Herder lives do not exist in the silos represented below -- we use these merely as a means of describing our work.


CfP works on three initiatives in an attempt to strengthen pastoral livelihoods. Milk Matters focuses on facilitating the procurement of milk from pastoral populations by a wide range of agencies. Pastoral Dhanda principally explores ways by which an entrepreneurial ecosystem with an interest in pastoral dairy products might be strengthened. The Desi Oon Initiative works with researchers, craft-based organizations and government agencies to rebuild markets for indigenous wool. Each of these is expanded below. 
Milk matters: enhancing returns from pastoral milk
Pastoral Dhanda: building artisanal enterprises
The Desi Oon 

Keepers of Genes: 
Securing mainstream recognition 
of pastoral breeds

Mainstream government livestock breeding programmes maintain and breed animals largely to maximize production of milk or meat. In contrast, pastoralists across the Indian subcontinent have bred animals from multiple perspectives, attempting to maximize both productivity and the animal’s capacity to adapt to the climatically challenging environments they inhabit - drought, elevation, excessive rainfall and so on. Such intensely focused breeding is responsible for the large biodiversity of India’s cattle, buffaloes, pigs, donkeys and camels.

Securing herder access to forage

In most states with pastoral populations, there is growing evidence of dwindling herder ability to access lands they have grazed in the past. Some of this is due to conversion of grazing lands to cultivation or being taken over by industry but the key reason behind the increasing obstacles in accessing forage is the high incidence of forest closures by the forest department in the interests of conserving biodiversity. CfP is working with affected communities in multiple locations and with government agencies to facilitate the filing and settling of claims to traditionally grazed lands. In the absence of access to grazing, pastoralism will become increasingly difficult to sustain.

Research: understanding 
pastoral systems

Unlike African pastoralism, which has had the focussed attention of multidisciplinary research teams for well over 4 decades, Indian pastoralism has been the subject of the occasional PhD thesis that has remained isolated in time and space. There is no coherent body of work on Indian pastoralism. And while researchers and policy makers can draw upon some knowledge from African research, the reality is that Indian pastoralism is fundamentally different from that in Africa since so much of Indian pastoralism is strongly rooted in some form of exchange with agricultural communities that they connect with. As a result, the ecological, economic and social dynamics are quite distinct.
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