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Improving Pasture Management and Livestock Rearing

Submitted by Dirk Rolker 5th April 2013 5:42

Livestock rearing is the major component of arid agriculture. It plays an integral role in Rajasthan, where the people and their land are closely bound up with livestock rearing and farming. Climate change is already affecting people’s livelihoods in Rajasthan. In the project region of Udaipur district, more erratic rainfall and rising summer temperatures have destabilised incomes. As a result, many people have already migrated to other villages or urban areas, or borrowed money from money lenders, mostly on unfavourable terms.

The greater variability in precipitation combined with heavier rainfalls after longer periods of drought have increased soil erosion on already degraded lands and heightened the vulnerability of pasturelands in the project area. Climate variability and change will most likely lead to a reduction in plant density, cover and diversity and in the replacement of species. During deficient rainfall years, farmers have already observed an average reduction of 30-45% in fodder production. In a region so closely linked to livestock rearing, these changes have immense effects on a wide variety of livelihoods.

The project focuses on these challenges in two villages in Udaipur district. These villages are mainly characterised by undulating terrain with larger sections of land unused due to degradation. Private pasturelands in the villages constitute the focus of this project. Many private pastures are neglected by their owners, who often lack the resources and knowledge to avail themselves of the benefits of minor management interventions. In response, the project is introducing Integrated Group Pasture Management, an approach involving community participation in converting wasted, un-used pasture land into productive pasture land. Community members are made aware of the kind of physical measures needed to improve their pasturelands and how to put them into effect. These measures include soil and water conservation, e.g. continuous contour trenches, or gully plugs, to maintain soil moisture and recharge groundwater. Other interventions include the planting of trees and the introduction of fodder saving mechanisms. The knowledge and experience gained on these private pasturelands can then be replicated on other pasture lands, such as common lands.


This project is a joint undertaking of the project Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Areas of India (CCA RAI) and Action for Food Production (AFPRO).

CCA RAI is jointly implemented by the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and the German development organisation Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.