Socio-economic determinants of small ruminant pastoralists in India.
Socio-economic determinants ofsmall ruminant pastoralistsDr. Pranav KumarSher-e-Kashmir University of AgriculturalSciencesand Technology of Jammu
PastoralismIn the Indian context, pastoralists can be defined as "members ofcaste or ethnic groups with a strong traditional association with livestock-keeping, where a substantial proportion of the group derive over 50% ofhousehold consumption from livestock products or their sale, and whereover 90% of animal’s feed & fodder is from natural pasture or browse,and where households are responsible for the full cycle of livestockbreeding."
Pastoralism in the Indian HimalayasPastoralism in the Himalayas is based on transhumantpractices and involves cyclical movements from lowlands tohighlands to take advantage of seasonally available pasturesat different elevation in the Himalayas (Bhasin 1988).During the summer, when the snow melts in the higheralpine regions, Himalayan pastoralists move up to theseareas to graze their animals. After the monsoon they movedown to occupy the low altitude pasture for the wintermonths.Movement of people and their livestock proceeds betweenpreviously earmarked sites, which become more or lessregular seasonal bases.Migratory pastoralism is common throughout the Himalayasand, from west to east, some of the herding communities inthe region include the goat and sheep herding Gujjars &Bakrawals of Jammu and Kashmir
Pastoralism in Western India The area that is bordered by the Aravalli hills in thewest and the Indo-Pakistan border in the east is knownas the Thar Desert; receiving average annual rainfallranging from 100-600 mm, it is subject to frequentdroughts, and therefore, pastoralism traditionallyrepresented the predominant land use strategy. In this region pastoralism can be a market-orientedstrategy by landless people specialized in theproduction of animals and animal products for sale; butit can also be a subsistence and drought adaptationstrategy by people who own land. The majority of them are connected with particularlivestock species by their myth of origin, tracing theirdescent to an ancestor who was created by God for thepurpose of taking care of these animals. For instance, the Raika/Rebari are linked to the camel,the Charan in Gujarat are associated with cattle, andthe Bharvad keep mostly small stock.
Size, Location, Ethnic Identities and MigrationPattern of the Major Pastoralist Groups “more than 200 tribes, comprising 6 per cent of thecountry’s population, are engaged in pastoralism” (Khurana,1999) no reliable statistics available on the number of “activepastoralists”. Since Independence, population censuses nolonger collect data based on caste adherence; besides, not allmembers of pastoral castes are actually engaged in livestockkeeping. Only a small proportion of young people from pastoralbackgrounds have the opportunity or interest to becomelivestock herders whereas others are engaged mainly inunskilled labour in cities. Indian pastoralists can be divided into groups that practicehorizontal movement patterns in the dryland regions andvertical movement patterns in the mountainous areas.
Classification of Major Types of IndianPastoralistsA) Himalayan RegionNomadic HerdersVan Gujjars of Uttranchal and Himachal Pradesh and Changpas in Ladakh,Jammu and Kashmir migrate from one pasture to another with their wholefamilies. They do not cultivate land and their entire livelihood revolves aroundpastoral activities. They mostly depend on their neighbouring agriculturalcommunities for cultivable goods for which they perform extensive economicexchange with them.Semi-Nomadic PastoralistsGaddis and Bhotias of North-western Himalayas seasonally migrate to higherpastures with their animals. These nomadic groups own cultivable land andduring half of the year are involved in agricultural activities. Bhuttias living inthe Lachen and Lachung valleys of Sikkim and Monpas of Arunachal Pradeshare also included in this category.Long-distance or Transhumant HerdersVillage pastoralists practice long-distance herding of livestock and areconsidered to be transhumant herders. Transhumance is a grazing strategy "…in which the livestock is generally accompanied by hired men but also byowners and their relatives, but rarely by a whole family, on a long migration ortransit between two seasonal ranges" (Rinschede, 1987).
Classification of Major Types of Indian PastoralistsB) Western RegionUrban Pastoralism: Urban pastoralism refers to the keeping of buffaloes and cattle in and atthe periphery of large cities (Ahmedabad, Baroda, and Jodhpur) for milkproduction with market-purchased fodder. Certain pastoral castes, especiallythe Bharwads of Gujarat, engage in this strategy. Village-based Pastoralism:Village-based pastoralism (sedentary to semi-sedentary, depending onrainfalls) is the type of pastoralism usually practiced by owners of small tomedium sized sheep herds, by goat owners and by also by some camelpastoralists, for instance in Pali District of Rajasthan. Herds usually return tothe village for the night, although they may stay away for several days. Long-distance Group Migration:Long-distance migration (for 9 months of the year) is undertaken mostly byowners of large sheep herds, but also by some owners of large camel herds. Permanent Migration:Permanent migration is a local term used to refer to pastoralists who nolonger return with their herds to the villages. This situation is reported forRaika sheep breeders from Pali District in Rajasthan. Some of their familymembers stay permanently with the sheep herds in Madhya Pradesh.
Livestock is an essential part of the socioeconomic structure ofrural India as a source of livelihood and provider of draughtpower, manure and energy.Over the last three decades livestock production grew fasterthan crop sector as a whole and made significant contribution toagricultural growth, which is considered to be an importantfactor in poverty reduction in most developing countries (Birthalet al, 2006)Jammu & Kashmir, a north-western hill state of India, hasvaried agro-climatic conditions across various regions and basedupon this diversity/geographical locations, the state has beendivided into three distinct regions, viz. Kashmir region(temperate), Ladakh region (cold arid), and Jammu region (sub-tropical). Each region provides suitable production environmentto the particular crop-livestock mix, based upon its setting.
The Social Context of Pastoralism Small ruminants (sheep and goats) are a major componentof the pastoral population’s household economy in India.They are kept for both tangible (cash income, milk, meatand home consumption) and intangible (savings,insurance against emergencies, cultural and ceremonialpurposes) benefits (Verbeek 2007). The current population of small ruminants in India isestimated to be 124.36 million goats and 61.47 millionsheep with an annual growth rate of 3.10 and 3.87respectively (Livestock Census 2007, Department ofAnimal Husbandry, Dairying & Fishery, GoI). The cattle population, especially of sheep and goats hasdecreased in Jammu and Kashmir. The rapid decline inlivestock populations can be attributed to a combinationof factors including the political instability in the region,shift towards sedentarisation of the nomads, drought,land use change and Competition for water and forageamong others.
J&K’s Livestock Population 1950-2011.The cattle population, especially of sheep and goats animals, hasdecreased in Jammu and Kashmir.The rapid decline in livestock populations can be attributed to acombination of factors including the Political instability in the region, shifttowards sedentarisation of the nomads, drought, land use change andcompetition for water and forage among others.
J&K’s Livestock Population trendNineties was the base line from where the livestock population keepdeclining due to disturbed conditions in the state of Jammu and KashmirIn the year 1951 the total livestock population of Jammu Kashmir was32.19 lakhs, in the year 1977 it increased up to 46.58 lakhsIn the year 2002, it increased to 39.5 lakhs. Again it declined to 32.93lakhs in 2007. Where as in 2011 it reached up to 34 lakhs in the state.In the year 1951 the total livestock population of Jammu Kashmir was32.19 lakhs, in the year 1977 it increased up to 46.58 lakhs
Socio - economic determinants of theGujjars and Bakarwalscommunity The coming slides compares the changes in socioeconomic characteristics of Gujjars and Bakarwalsas per the field work report 2011 and KhatanaStudy of 1984. An attempt has also been made to examine thedwindling share of livestock economy in the totalincome of the community. Other socio economic characteristics like croppingpattern, workforce participation rates andcontribution of livestock economy of the Gujjars andBakarwals are also used as parameters for socioeconomic determinants.
Socio economic determinants ofpastoralists Educational Level Workforce Composition Workforce Structure Occupational Mobility Land Resources : Average size of thelandholdingPercentage share of the Land size Cropping Pattern Livestock size : Average Size of Livestock per Family Sources of the Income :Pattern of income distributionIncome from the Flock ProductsIncome from the Supplementary Sources Income variations
Educational Level among Gujjars and Bakarwals among theBakarwalspopulation majorityof 79.3 percentworkers areilliterate, 77 percentmales and 90females are illiteraterespectively. In the Gujjarscommunity 70.8percent areilliterate, the malesand the females are67.2 percent and86.9 percentrespectively.
Workforce Composition among Gujjars and Bakarwals 60.3 percent of theGujjars and 33.2percent of theBakarwals workersare cultivators. Live stock occupationis one of the majoroccupation . In the agriculturallabourers category 5.8percent of the Gujjarsand 2.2 percent of theBakarwals areengaged. Agriculture andLivestock are the onlytwo major sectors ofthe Gujjars andBakarwals.
Workforce Structure of pastoralists Livestock accounts 35.2percent of the main workforce while agricultureshare is 32 percent. A high percentage of themain workers areconcentrated in thelivestock sector. Labour and servicesector contributes 23.5and 6 percent of theworkers.
Occupational Mobility Nowadays the economy of theGujjars and Bakarwals is notfully dependent on the livestockas it was before the start ofmilitancy in the state of Jammuand Kashmir. the percentage of livestockeconomy at the time of Khatanastudy (1984) was 52 percent andit came down to 21 percent onlyin 2011 study. In the agriculture sector 26percent of the families wereengaged in the 1984 and in thelater period 43.0 percent were inthe agriculture sector. In the government jobs sector inthe 2011, the share hasincreased i.e. 10.8 percent incomparison to 3.8 percent of theKhatana Study.
Reasons behind the occupational shift After leaving the livestock economy, nowpastoralists are shifted to government jobs,agriculture and various kinds of labour works main reason behind the occupation shift in thepre 1990 and post 1990 period is hostilecondition in the state of Jammu and Kashmirfrom last two decades. 50.8 percent of the families left the transhumancepractice due to the militancy in the state, whicheffected their seasonal movement. 17 percent of the respondents think that sufficientpastures are not available to graze their animalsin the summer areas. Modernization impact also left its influence on theGujjar and Bakarwal community, 22.3 percent ofthe households thinks that due to the children’seducation many of the communities start settlingin the winter areas and adopted otheroccupations. Another 10 percent labeled other factors behindthe intergenerational mobility.
Land Resources Traditionally, the Gujjar andBakarwals society is knownfor having commonownership of land ratherthan individual ownership. But of late there has beenchange in the ownershippatterns of land in the tribalsocieties as the laws of the countrydoes not recognize anycommunity ownership ofland but individualownership of the land. There have been a lot ofanomalies when theindividual land rights weregranted to tribal peoples.
Average size of the landholding The socio economicallyadvanced people amongthem took full advantage ofignorance of their tribalfellowmen and manipulatedthe land ownership rights intheir names. This led to the concentrationof the vast land in the handsof few tribal households ofthe Gujjars and Bakarwals. the average size of thelandholding increases from1.82 ha in the Khatana’sstudy to 3.9 ha among thesample population many of the familiespurchased land during thelast few years and are shiftingtowards sedentarisation.
Percentage share of the Land size The households owning2-4 acres of landaccounts 40.5 percent ofthe total households. about 60 percent of thehouseholds having lessthan 4 acres of land.Only 40 percent of thehouseholds having morethan 4 acres of the land The Majority of the landholdings of the Gujjarsand Bakarwals in Jammuand Kashmir is marginalbelow 2 acres 7 percent of thehouseholds who arereported to be landless
Cropping Pattern majority of cultivated landis devoted to the maizecultivation (71 percent)which is a staple diet ofthese nomads and acareless crop too. It implies that maize is oneof the single dominant cropin the Jammu and Kashmir. Wheat occupies thesecond (12 percent)important crop of theGujjars and Bakarwals. While 6.3 percent of theland is cultivated for rice. About 5.7 % of land isdevoted for fodder crops
Livestock Economy In a transhumant society of the Gujjars and Bakarwals, the flock is majorsource of production and forms large portion of the total income. The people of this community, in addition to the flock of sheep and goatsalso own other animals like horses, mules, bovines and oxen. Buffalo number has increased from last few years due to sedentarisation ofpastoralists , sale of the milk is the major source of income for them.
As ownership of the sheep and goats concerned, sheep is being a renewablesource of wool is mostly preferred over the goats.Share of both small and big animals per family has declined since 1984
Livestock size 3.8 % populationin the Khatana’sstudy had 251-300 herd sizewhere as only 1percent of thehouseholds hasthis size of theherd size in 2011sample survey Larger herd sizehave declinedamong theGujjars andBakarwals.
Average Size of Livestock per Family&Engagement of the shepherds The average size of the livestock in2011 study sample was 32 whereas theKhatana study research (1984) had 82 ,so it is quite clear that livestock numberdeclined significantly. Rich or maldar Gujjars and Bakarwalswho have large herds of cattle’s useshepherds on the contract bases. In the surveyed households, in theKhatana study the shepherds help wastaken to control the animals. 63 percent of the families have theshepherds in 1984. Whereas it camedown to only 22 percent in the samplesurvey of 2011. So here it can be concluded that thesize of herds declined from the past fewyears, so there is no such necessity forthe shepherds.
Sources of Income & pattern of income distribution Income of pastoral community isderived from flock, land andsupplementary sources in the grossincome. Contribution of flocks was 75.46percent in the total income of thehouseholds in the Khatana’s studywhile the share came down to 41.5percent among the samplehouseholds in 2011. The land resource contributes 8.24percent in the Khatana’s study whileit goes up in the sample populationi.e. 36 percent. Supplementary sources contribute16.3 percent in the Khatana’s studywhile it moves up to 22.5 percentamong the sample households flocks contribution in the totalincome declined with over a periodof time and income from landresources income goes up.
Income from the Flock Products Income from the sale ofanimals contributes asmuch as 80.6 percent ofthe total flock income; itsshare is highest among allthe sources. The second highestsource of income is frommilk 9.5 percent. Whilethe share of the woolproducts is 7.26 percent. On the Gross incomesource wise from the flockproducts, we can see thatincome from the woolproducts came downwhile from milk and milkproducts goes up.
Income from the Supplementary Sources It is observed that the supplementary income inaggregate contributes 22.5 percent of its share. The share of the supplementary sources of incomealso goes up during the last two decades. In the earlier times Gujjars and Bakarwals were fullytranshumants and the larger share of the incomecomes from the flocks. But now many of them left the seasonal migration andshifted towards other occupations, the share in the tourism increases from 11.4 percentin the Khatana’s study to 33.5 percent in the presenttime. Nowadays, many of the nomads during the summermonths are working in the Amarnath Yatra and othertourism related activities in the Valley of Kashmir.Collection from the Forests Gujjars and Bakarwals households are invariablydependent on the forests for their one need or theother. Forest collection goes down to 14 percent from 33.2percent in the Khatana time.
Income variations Income variation is one ofthe main features of theoccupational mobility amongthe Gujjars and Bakarwalsfamilies. Income in the Pre 1990period was too low amongthe Gujjars and Bakarwalswhere as significant jump isfound in the income in thepost nineties period. 36.2 percent of the familieshave below Rs 1000monthly income in the pre1990 period in comparisonto it 13 percent familieshaving this income in thepost 1990 period.
Summary of socio economic determinants ofpastoralists The economy of the Gujjars and Bakarwals of the SamplePopulation (2011) was compared with the Khatana’s study of1984. Earlier their major chunk of income comes from livestock butnow their sources of income has shifted towards othersources like land resources, labour works, tourism,business, govt. jobs etc. The land size also increased among the sample population. Herd size declined significantly in the selected sample of theGujjars and Bakarwals. Economy of the Gujjars and Bakarwals from the past fewyears has shifted from the livestock economy to otheroccupations. The reasons may be militancy in the Jammu and Kashmir,impact of urbanisation, modernisation etc.
Major Problems Experienced by Pastoralists The problems that pastoralists face are as much social and political aseconomic and resource-based.Himalayan Region While the government has included the Himalayan pastoral groups, with theexception of the Uttranchal Gujjars, in a reserved category for government jobs andother facilities, Himalayan pastoralists are finding it difficult in many ways to followtheir traditional livelihoods.The immediate threats like…. Government attitudes to PastoralismIn social evolutionary thinking, the nomadic lifestyle has traditionally been treated asless civilized, less productive and more degrading than a settled lifestyle. This culturalbias is clearly manifested in many of the colonial/historical documents, and seems tohave many policy level implications for the Himalayan pastoralists. Pastoralistscontinue to be treated as a problem for administrators in terms of collecting taxes orcontrolling the population. Non-Recognition of Pastoral Land Rights:The local pastoral groups regard themselves as owners of the pasture resources inHimalayas and there is an extensive customary usage of these resources by the localpastoralists. Population Growth and Land FragmentationAs a result of growing human population in the Himalayan region, land resources perhousehold are decreasing, with sub-division and fragmentation of agricultural land.
Major problems contd…..Livelihood Threats:Reduced Pastures: Across all the Himalayan states, the pastoral livelihoods are seriously threatened by theproblem of shrunken pasturage. This decreasing availability of pasture resources has been due tomisinformed conservation policies of these states, as discussed and illustrated above, and encroachment onthe pasture resources.Disturbed Migratory Routes:The migratory graziers in Himalayas travel long distances from low to high altitudes. On their way to summeror winter grazing lands, they halt at common lands of various villages, which is important for animal forageand their social relations with the agricultural communities. The Himalayan states have gone throughdramatic development in the last few decades and besides infrastructure development these states haveseen tremendous tourism development, extensive road building, hydro power plants, hotels etc. across thelength and breadth of the Himalayas. As a result, pastoralists frequently have had to alter their migratoryroutes and face problems of livestock being killed on roads, thefts and a constant pressure to move. Thereare instances where animals die of eating noxious weeds growing close to the roads or on degraded land.Sedentarization Sedentarization of pastoralists is now widespread, both because of active government policies and becauseof lack of support for migratory pastoralism. The Himalayan states like Himachal Pradesh andUttaranchalhave tried many times to settle their local nomadic communities, although this is against the verylogic of migratory pastoralism in Himalayas.
Policies for pastoralistsThe first policy responses should be to: Discontinuance of any policies which are designedsolely to end pastoralist mobility: under a range ofenvironmental and institutional conditions, mobility is arational strategy that maximizes welfare and minimizesnegative impacts on the environment Exploration of alternatives for human service deliveryto mobile pastoralists and strengthening pastoralism asa productive system in a number of ways: strengthening local natural resource management promoting conflict resolution mechanisms introducing well-designed grazing fee regimes drought management policies zoning of rangelands
Sedentarisation of Pastoralists:Policy Pressures and Policy Options Sedentarisation of nomadic and transhumant pastoralists can takeplace for a number of overlapping reasons: Explicit government policy to settle pastoralists because mobilepastoralism per se is perceived as "primitive" or as a problem (for theenvironment, service delivery, taxation, law and order and nationalsecurity). In some cases this has involved settlement of pastoralistson new irrigated schemes. Inappropriate land tenure policies and insecurity that inhibit mobility Pastoralists voluntarily settling to get easier access to governmentservices, wage employment Destitute pastoralists settling quasi-voluntarily to get access to relieffood (often on a long term basis), food-for-work etc. Pastoralists settling in sub-humid areas made available for yearround settlement by the control of human or animal diseases Pastoralists settling pre-emptively in areas where available land israpidly being claimed.
Mobile schools to boost literacy of pastoralistsThe absence of education for theirchildren is a major problem. TheJammu and Kashmir Governmenthas come up with the novelschemeNomadic women can breatheeasier now as the mobileschools take care of the basiceducation of their children .More and more children areattending these seasonal schools.The number of children outsideschools has fallen from 3.76 lakh in2002-03 to 68,051 in 2007-08
Institutions, which speak for / Represent theInterests of Major Pastoralist GroupsGrassroots-level pastoral organizations or associationsprovide a path to empower pastoralists.There are quite a few government and non-governmentinstitutions, which represent the concerns of pastoralists inthe Himalayan states. Government InstitutionsDepartments of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Environmentand Forests, and Revenue jointly implement variousdevelopment programmes for the Himalayan pastoralists: Animal Husbandry departments are functional in all theHimalayan states, as separate or subsidiary units ofDepartments of Agriculture. These departments areessentially involved in livestock development programmes,but their major focus is on settled farmers. Revenue and Forest Departments are responsible for thepasture development in the Himalayan states.
Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs)/Institutions Leh Nutritional Project (LNP): Leh Nutrition Project is based at Lehin Ladakh of Jammu and Kashmir. The organisation is workingamongst the Changpa nomads of Rupshu plains for their integratedrural development, which includes the predominant issue of healthand education Society for Advancement of Village Economy (SAVE): Society forthe Advancement of Village Economy is based in the Kullu district ofHimachal Pradesh and they are trying to fight for the pasture rights ofdisplaced local Gaddi pastorals after the notification has been issuedfor the Great Himalayan National Park. Rural Litigation and Employment Kendra (RLEK): Rural Litigationand Employment Kendra (RLEK), is working for the land rights ofGujjar pastorals in Rajaji National Park, Uttaranchal. They are alsorunning programmes for education and employment generationinitiative amongst this pastoral population. Center for Science and Environment (CSE): CSE is anenvironmental organisation and has been conducting appliedresearch and also publishing papers on the myth of Himalayanpastoralism and environmental degradation
Western Region (NGOs)/Institutions Bher Palak Sangh This is a federation of shepherd societies (353 societies) composed of nearly10,000 households from semi-arid western districts of Rajasthan which is chaired by Bhopalaram Raika Pashu Palak Mitr :Pashu Palak Mitr (literally “friend of the animal breeder”) is a monthly newspaper thathas been serving as a communication tool for Raika/Rebari throughout India, for the last five years. Itcurrently has 1570 subscribers/members in 14 states. It has been successful in making some of theproblems faced by pastoralists known to the (state) government Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan (LPSS) ; This is a registered voluntary society (NGO) with the specificobjective of improving pastoral livelihoods through advocacy, facilitation and support projects. Itdeveloped out of research with camel pastoralists and has a strong base among camel breeders of theGodwar area. Its activities consist of camel health services, training of pastoralists in use of modernmedicines, research and documentation on ethnoveterinary medicine, support for camel milk marketing,camel breed improvement, income generation for women, exposure tours etc. Marag or Maldhari Rural Action Group :Maldhari Action Group is an NGO in Gujarat that seeks to“create greater levels of awareness among the Maldharis, to organise them into different groups and tointroduce specific development programmes within these community-based structures”. Its activities focuson formal and informal educational activities, group building for developmental activities, animalhusbandry and pastureland development (with a focus on better management of natural resources) andupgrading skills of Maldhari women in their traditional crafts. LIFE (Local Livestock For Empowerment of Rural People), an initiative for endogenous livestockdevelopment and community based management of animal genetic resources. ANTHRA, an NGO of female veterinarians that works with Kuruba shepherds in Karnataka. SEVA (is working with a variety of pastoral groups in southern India, incl. Toda and Vembur sheepbreeders, encouraging community-based conservation of their indigenous breeds; is part of the LIFEinitiative, and might be in a position to provide information on South Indian pastoralism.
Acknowledgement BHASIN, VEENA (1988) Himalayan Ecology:Transhumance and Social Organization of Gaddis inHimachal Pradesh. Kamal Raj Enterprise, New Delhi. Khatana, Ram Parsad, Transhumance Economy of the Gujjarsand Bakarwals, Unpublished thesis submitted to the Centrefor the Study of Regional Development, School of SocialSciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Sharma, Vijay Paul, Ilse Köhler-Rollefson and John Morton.Pastoralism in India: A Scoping Study. Jointly carried out bythe Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad (India)and the League for Pastoral Peoples, Germany.