Karamoja region hosts about 20% of Uganda`s cows (2.53Million cows). In this semi-arid region, Pastoralism is major land use, depending exclusively on natural pastures in an open grazing communal land where resources like pastures and water are shared. Due to the seasonality of the climate, the quantity, type and nutrition composition of the pastures tend to fluctuate seasonally, with poor quality pastures dominating in the dry season due to prolonged droughts or floods, continuous over-grazing and lack of range improvement interventions. Therefore Pastoralists in Karamoja move from one place to another.
Pastoralism is viewed by the herders in Karamoja as food security and social system supporting society and the economy. Livestock is sold, used as oxen, used for marriage and building relationships.
However, about 84 percent of people in Karamoja are unable to afford a nutritious daily diet, 45 percent of households having limited access to food, and over half of all households not having much diversity in their diet, with about 88 percent illiterate
Pastoralists in Karamoja keep a large number of livestock, moving from one place to another in search of pasture and water. Due to mobility, Pastoralists have come into conflict with cultivators, protection agencies, local governments across borders, and natural resource depletion during drought. Additionally, Pastoralists have been blamed for spreading livestock diseases.
Due to the low development indices in the Karamoja region, negative perceptions on Pastoralism being unable to support the economy, owing to the limited research that documents and shows the contribution of Pastoralism into the economy. Development stakeholders have blamed mobility of Pastoralists in the region for poor service delivery such as education, and health among others.
Moreover, in Uganda the absence of a particular law or policy governing Pastoralism has exposed the livelihood to neglect and abuse.
What we are doing about this
KDF envisions a society where the needs of pastoralists are met and their rights respected. With the full awareness and realization that pastoralism has received negative publicity for a long time and that Pastoralist land is prone to grabbing due to the communal ownership system, coupled by the vulnerability brought about by competing for land uses and livelihoods in the region, KDF shall endeavor to;
- build pastoralists networks that will spearhead the protection of pastoralist rights;
- carry out extensive research to provide information for Pastoralist advocacy;
- protect customary land used communally for grazing;
- build the capacity of local Pastoralist institutions;
- increase representation of Pastoralists in different policy fora;
- publish information on Pastoralism in Karamoja.