Common Property Resources - Livestock
SA PPLPP is focusing on the theme common property resources in relation to livestock
Common property refers to some form of shared resource tenure – usually involving a group that uses and manages the resources. Common property resources constitute all such resources which are meant for common use of the villagers without any individual ownership right (Jodha, 1986). These resources can broadly be categorized into common property land resources, common forest resources and common water resources.
In addition and referring to the agrarian society in South Asia especially, there are also a range of private lands which are seasonally open for grazing; livestock can normally freely graze on crop land after the crop is harvested providing animals access to stubbles, crop residues and grasses on boundaries while available fodder trees are lopped; private pasture lands too are normally open to all when the grass crops have been harvested. The Good Practices identified primarily refer to the former; i.e. Common Property Resources (CPR ) namely grazing lands, forested areas, and other community lands under common property regimes.
In the context of SA PPLPP, where we focus on livestock developments in the interest of poor livestock keepers, the interest is towards CPR as an important source of feed and fodder; i.e. grasses, tubers, creepers, flowers, leaves and pods of shrubs and trees. Water is in addition an important source.
The main source of feed and fodder for small and large ruminants as well as camels is not planted fodder and/or manufactured feed (dairy meal etc.), but first crop by products and – residues and secondly feed and fodder from CPR. In general, the poorer the livestock keepers are, the more their animals depend on CPR; whether there is a correlation between increasing number of poor livestock keepers (agricultural labours, marginal and small farmers, pastoralist/nomadic communities) and decrease in quantity and quality of CPR is difficult to prove due to lack of data but there is a high probability as per Jabir, 2007.
Animal husbandry departments in the region (Bhutan being an exception to some extent), related research institutions/centres (e.g. Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Fodder production farms, Forest Research Institutions), other Government entities such as National Dairy Development Board as well as the traditional dairy development oriented NGOs/cooperatives (BAIF, primary cooperatives, BRAC etc) have primarily focussed upon crop by products/residues and secondarily on planted forages/fodder crops. In addition, an overemphasis on breed improvement (cross breeding) has not sufficiently taken into account the corresponding nutritional requirements and made these efforts turning economically unviable especially in the resource poor areas and farms.
In case of forest related institutions the focus has been on forest land use/protection and hardly on managing grass land and fodder trees/shrubs; the component of grasses and tree fodder falls under the category of non-timber-forest-products (NTFP) but these are not quantified while fuel, timber and others are (Tejwani, 2007).
It is definitely a constraint that feed and fodder deriving from CPR is not quantified while its monetary value is not assessed ((Tejwani, 2007), (Brara, 1992)) and access to these fodder and feed resources for the villagers interested in grazing their animals, lopping the trees and harvesting the pods, is constrained in many ways.
The multitude of institutions involved in watershed development too have not significantly addressed the impact of soil and water conservation measures in terms of increase in type of biomass and who has access to it; although increase in cropping area and intensified cropping of existing crop land leads to more crop by products these are not automatically available to landless livestock keepers while the existing CPR are reduced (diverted towards crop lands) and/or put under rigid protection including ban on grazing .
In many ways, Common Property Resources are under threat and the main causes are as follows:
a) Traditional institutions managing CPR have broken down for various reasons among others due to tenure being taking over by Government Institutions,
b) CPR are allocated for other purposes such as Special Economic Zones (Industrial Development Areas with attractive tax exemptions), Bio fuel production (e.g. Jatropha), Infrastructural development (roads, dams etc), Mining, Clean Development Mechanism (carbon sequestration), distribution of plots to landless families etc,
c) Increasing number of livestock and decreasing grazing areas and thus overstretching of and high competition among users of these resources,
d) Others such as various types of encroachment.
However, the primary source of feed and fodder for poor livestock keepers is derived from CPR.
SA PPLPP’s interest in identifying and documenting Good Practices in managing CPR is threefold namely:
i. arriving at concrete evidence that investing in development and management of CPR in a holistic manner can be an effective and efficient means to contribute to poverty reduction ;
ii. to anticipate current strength of the livestock sector in South Asia which is not in direct competition with agriculture (non-grain based systems; non-planted fodder systems) but synergetic (integration of animals in crop, food and forest production systems) and/or pastoralism oriented; it is about the relative extensive systems of keeping animals which efficiently convert the non-food produce –often called “waste”- from crop, food, forest and pasture systems,
iii. while providing evidence for the former two, have a multitude of GPs at hand for dissemination.
As can be learnt from the Good Practices identified, the more livelihood and poverty oriented NGOs are those which have facilitated the evolution of Good Practices. Next, there are also some communities who managed to adjust traditional systems with time and kept the CPR productive and ecologically sound.
The diagram ‘Holistic Development of CPR: four window perspectives and its dynamics’ presented on the right visualises holistic development and management of CPR whereby including the relationship with livestock.