Human Ecology pp 173-186 | Cite as

Food Security and Pastoralism in the Northern Sahel



In African drylands, pastoral livelihoods are increasingly under pressure due to persistent encroachment on pastoral space. In general, modern states tend to see pastoral land use as “messy” and seek to make this form of land use more controllable and taxable through projects of sedentarization. In addition, international development agencies often see sedentarization as a solution to food insecurity and poor health care (Fratkin et al. 2004). However, attempts at controlling and settling mobile pastoral communities have a long history in Africa, using three main arguments. First, sedentarization projects have been driven by exaggerated and often unsubstantiated claims that emerged early in the colonial period regarding pastoralists’ destructive impact on the environment. Even though these claims have been undermined by scientific data from the 1980s and 1990s, they continue to thrive as part of African pastoral policies.


Food Insecurity Household Size Labor Migration Large Household Large Herd 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Labor and Social Research (FAFO)OsloNorway
  2. 2.Fafo Institute for Applied Social ScienceOsloNorway

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