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Policy framework for pastoralism in Africa

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Executive Summary

The mandate of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission is to initiate and promote policies that can contribute to the development of rural economy and improve livelihoods through increasing agricultural productivity, ensuring food security, and enhancing sustainable use and management of Africa’s natural resources.

African pastoralism is defined by a high reliance on livestock as a source of economic and social wellbeing, and various types of strategic mobility to access water and grazing resources in areas of high rainfall variability. Pastoralism is found in all regions of Africa and in some regions, is the dominant livelihoods system. Pastoralists supply very substantial numbers of livestock to domestic, regional and international markets and therefore, make crucial – but often undervalued – contributions to national and regional economies in Africa. Their production systems are highly adaptive, constantly responding to market and climatic trends.
Pastoralist culture is part of the cultural heritage of Africa, and animal and plant resources in pastoral areas comprise one of the most important types of genetic resource on the continent.