Pastoralist Knowledge Hub

Institutional recognition for pastoralists

Argentinian pastoralists keen to demonstrate their value through community-collected socio-economic data

02/07/2018 -

Although pastoral farming has a long history in Argentina, pastoralists feel overshadowed by large-scale and intensive livestock production systems on the one hand, and by agriculturalists on the other. This lack of institutional recognition at the local and national levels limits access to support services such as market opportunities, financial institutions, health care and education. The recently launched Pastoralist-Driven Data Management System (PDDMS) project is especially important in this context to give voice to pastoralists who have been made invisible over the years.

Implemented by the Pastoralist Knowledge Hub in partnership with Fundación Gran Chaco, the PDDMS project was launched at a training workshop held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from May 29-31. 30 pastoral representatives from different parts of the country attended to discuss how to collect, analyze and share information on their production system and to influence pastoralist-friendly policies at the national and international level.

Pastoralists in Argentina follow both seasonal transhumance as well as horizontal mobility, rotating from one camp to the next every few months in areas such as Patagonia, the Chaco, the Puna and the Andean steppe. They rear all types of livestock, including small ruminants, cattle and camelids. Despite the services they provide to the country in terms of safe and healthy food, biodiversity, and cultural legacy, they face increasing appropriation of their communal resources from large scale animal and crop farming as well as land acquisition for industries.

Socio-economic and livelihood based data can be a powerful tool with which to advocate pro-pastoralist policies. The participants of the workshop were especially keen to participate in the project to fulfill this crucial gap in knowledge. They suggested several improvements to the survey tools to include more context specific concerns and to include greater representation for pastoralist women and the need to include them in national legal frameworks.

Funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and developed in partnership with the Centre de Coopération Internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), the project is being implemented in Chad and Mongolia along with Argentina – three different contexts, with three different institutional set-ups. Not only will the data collected help build the capacity of pastoralists in these countries and empower them to address their issues, it will also help to showcase the breadth and scope of pastoralism to a global community of development practitioners and policy-makers.