Pastoralism, the time-tested form of raising and breeding livestock, today still employs more than 200 million people in 100 countries. ©FAO/Carl de Souza.

Seven reasons why pastoralism supports a better future


This time-tested practice works with nature and offers numerous benefits.

Pastoralism, a traditional and extensive form of raising livestock, employs more than 200 million people in 100 countries. Pastoralists guide and feed their animals through diverse landscapes such as prairies, savannas or tundra.

Employing different species of local breeds that adapt to variable environments, pastoralism is critical to reducing poverty and providing food security in these areas. By working with nature, it champions productivity, sustainability and animal welfare.

Here are seven reasons why pastoralism plays a key role for a better future: 

1. It diversifies food production

In a world where the availability of natural resources and climate patterns are increasingly variable, meeting demand for milk and meat through different methods, including pastoralism, spreads the risk of production failures. Pastoralism provides affordable, high-quality proteins and nutrients to meet local demand and can help reduce a country's reliance on imports. And because herders travel with their livestock and work knowledgeably with nature to access water and forage, production inputs are low relative to outputs.