As mentioned in an earlier blog post on innovation platform meetings, the innovation platform in Inhassoro District identified the use of communal pasture areas as one of the main actions to improve goat production in the district. Although pasture areas existed before the Mozambique civil war (1977-1992), they have been out of use for many years. Each project community identified one or two areas for communal grazing of goats. However, setting up of communal pasture areas and managing them sustainably requires attention to several technical and social aspects, for example, dealing with overgrazing, community agreements and overall management. As such, smallholder goat keepers asked for the project’s support to re-use the areas.
The re-use of communal pasture areas in Inhassoro District is relatively new. A graduate student from Wageningen University, Yvane Marblé, therefore studied the carrying capacity of the pasture areas and identified possible management ideas for the areas in the communities. The findings are contained in her MSc thesis, Creation of communal grazing areas for goats in southern Mozambique: future perspectives.
To implement communal pasture areas and facilitate the process, CARE extension officers requested for training on this topic as they had limited knowledge and experiences with these. The imGoats technical consultant Michaela Cosijn (pictured), ILRI project manager Saskia Hendrickx, ILRI postdoctoral scientist Birgit Boogaard and Yvane Marblé therefore designed and conducted a 1.5-day training course on communal pasture areas based on Yvane’s thesis.
The training consisted of three parts:
- Technical aspects regarding the management of communal pasture areas, including the carrying capacity of the pasture areas, availability of vegetation, and variation in vegetation and number of animals.
- Social aspects on the management of the pasture areas such as organization of labour as well as governance of the areas.
- Developing a training program for smallholder goat keepers.
The main learning objectives of the training were to:
- gain technical knowledge about sustainable management communal pasture areas;
- understand that there is no blueprint to manage communal pasture areas but that different communities may choose different management solutions, depending on specific environmental and social conditions in their community;
- understand the complexity of several social issues related to communal pasture areas, such as possible social conflicts and the labour involvement of women and children; and
- use the knowledge gained to deliver a training program for smallholder goat keepers on how to manage communal pasture areas.
The authors of the manual are grateful to Ann Waters-Bayer for facilitating contributions from members of the following mailing lists:
- Coalition of European Lobbies for Eastern African Pastoralism
- Community of Practice for Pro-poor Livestock Development
- Endogenous Livestock Development
- Participatory Technology Development Forum and Prolinnova
The contributions of Pier-Paolo Ficarelli, Michael Blümmel and Kees Swaans of ILRI and Camila Rivero-Maldonado and Amosse Maheme of CARE Mozambique are gratefully acknowledged.