PASTORALIST FOOD SYSTEMS By Mgeni, Walbert and Amos, Nyangi
Pastoralism or pastoral farming
Branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock
Subsistence system based primarily on domesticated animal production (meat, milk, hides, blood).
An adaptive response the existence of an arid, marginal ecosystem.
any population or segment of population subsisting primarily via pastoralism (if also practice significant amount of agriculture, termed "agropastoralists")
"subsisting" - exclude those who raise animals strictly for exchange value rather than direct consumption.
Based on frequency of movement (nomadism):
Settled pastoralism-keeping animals in one place most or all of year
Transhumance -regular round-trip from home base to pasture
Nomadic pastoralism-moving herds to any avail.
Two theories of their origin
Pastoralism followed mixed farming (rainfall-dependent agriculture with animal husbandry)
Pastoralism was derived directly from hunting and gathering.
Marginal areas, where cultivation is not possible.
The arid land prohibits high yield agriculture and offers a limited indigenous food supply
Mobility allows them to simultaneously exploit more than one environment, thus creating the possibility for arid regions to support their life.
Their subsistence stratergy is adapted to dry barren environment.
Example the Jie of Uganda makes use of the two climatic zones-the relatevely miost west and semidesert east.The Jie transhumance between eat and west regions which they use for their herds in the rainy and dry seasons respectively.
Fire was a method of rejuvenating pasture land and preventing forest regrowth.
With fire and sticks as the main tool, pastoralists have deliberately tended the land, keeping it in forms of pasture suited for their herds.
Pastoralists have a detailed understanding of ecological processes and environmental inputs.
Information sharing is essential for creating such deep knowledge.
This is made possible by formal visiting rules and networks,festivals and initiation ceremonies, keeping dispersed societies linked.
There is therefore no specific form of social organization associated with pastoralism.
However, pastoralist societies are often organised in tribes, with the ‘household’ (often including extended family) as a basic unit for organization of labour and expenses.
Lineages can be the basis for property rights.
Social Org. Cont………..
Maasai society is strongly patriarchal in nature with elder men deciding most major matters for each Maasai group
The central unit of Maasai society is the age-set.
Social Org. Cont…………….
Young boys are sent out with the calves and lambs.
Girls and women are responsible for chores such as cooking and milking.
The laibons are warriors in charge of society's security.
Married women who become pregnant are excused from all heavy work such as milking and gathering firewood
Traditional Maasai lifestyle centers around their cattle which constitute their primary source of food.
The measure of a man's wealth is in terms of cattle and children.
A Maasai myth relates that God gave them all the cattle on earth, leading to the belief that rustling cattle from other tribes is a matter of taking back what is rightfully theirs.
Scarce resources, demographic growth lead to conflicts between pastoral and farmers communities.
Pastures has becomes more difficult, leading to loss of livestock and of livelihoods.
Environmental policies put constrains against herds mobility and overgrazing.
Traditionally, the Pastoralists diet derives largely from herd consisted of meat, milk, and blood from cattle as their staple foods.
Their diet lack grains and vegetables since their land could not support cultivation.
Although meat is eaten,slaughtering of livestock is expectedly uncommon since the herd is the primary source of wealth.
Due to changing circumstances,most pastoralists now include substantial amounts of grain in their diets.
The animal based diet is supplemented with vegetable foods which have been grown, gathered or acquired through trade.
Tradition pastoralists diet was not nutrients sufficient.
Pastoralism coupled with cultivation ensure diet diversification.
Environmental changes and social interaction has enabled them to participate in other income generating activities e.g trade and wage employments.