The impact of population growth on pastoralists’ livelihood: a case of Ngorongoro district, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
Pastoralism is a source of livelihood for many pastoral families in Ngorongoro District. Many studies have shown a decline in livestock economy in the many parts of the rangelands, but they focused mainly on land use policies and other exogenous factors, neglecting issues of population growth. This study investigated the impact of human population growth on pastoralists’ livelihood in Ngorongoro District. Data were collected from 181 respondents whereby 104 were heads of bomas and 77 were spouses, relatives or friends in the 104 bomas. There were also 36 Key informants. Questionnaire interviews, participatory rural appraisal, observations, Focal Group Discussions and documentary reviews were used to collect the needed information. This study found out that human population had increased tremendously in the last three decades, registering an annual growth rate of 6.9% in the 1988/2002 inter-censual period. The main determinants of this growth were high birth rates and a high rate of in-migration. The population increase was associated with establishment of new settlements (new bomas and new villages) in pasturelands which are critical resources for pastoralism. The study established that the development of settlements in the rangelands was affecting pastoralism by curtailing the range resources. Crucial pastures for dry season as well as that needed for calves and sick animals were the ones turned to settlements and farms for cultivated crops. Also, cattle pathways had been blocked, thus limiting livestock movements. Consequently, livestock economy was suffering in terms of lack of pastures, water and salt licks. Livestock numbers were reported to be decreasing year after year. There was a declining ratio of available livestock numbers to that of humans, as the TLU per capita was now 3.3; far below the recommended minimum of 5 TLU per capita. Consequently, there was an increase in reliance on cereal and other cultivated crops for food since the livestock could no longer provide enough pastoral foods (Milk, blood and meat). Similarly, the size of livestock herds had become too small to allow for the traditional uses of livestock that defined Maasai livelihood. For example, livestock uses for dowry, meat feasts, gifts and other ceremonial uses had been reduced significantly. The decline on livestock has drawn more Maasai pastoralists to other non-pastoral economic activities including adaptation of cultivation, petty business, trades in livestock and casual wage employment as ways of earning a livelihood. These changes however, have the potential of further deterioration in the livestock economy. It was concluded that human population growth in Ngorongoro District has a negative impact on pastoralists’ livelihood. Yet, pastoralism remains to be the main source of livelihood and an acceptable human activity in the area. It is recommended that the government should come up with policy initiatives that can improve the livelihood of pastoralists in the study area. In addition, in-migration into the district should be controlled, and further strategies to manage fertility ought to be strengthened.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF HB3662.9H35)
Population, Ngorongoro district, Tanzania
Hamisi, S. (2015) The impact of population growth on pastoralists’ livelihood: a case of Ngorongoro district, Tanzania, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam