UCA News - Issue 98
University of Central Asia’s Mountain Societies Research Centre launches manual for herders to improve pasture and livestock management in the Kyrgyz Republic
The University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Mountain Societies Research Centre (MSRC) and its partner, the Swiss National Centre for Competence in Research North-South (NCCR North-South) launched its Herders’ Manual for the use of pasture committees and livestock herders in the Kyrgyz Republic on 19 October 2011.
The Manual was developed to facilitate capacity development of village institutions, herders and other stakeholders for the sustainable management of pastures and livestock. “The Manual blends traditional and scientific knowledge to provide simple, effective tools for improving both animal and pasture productivity and consists of three main sections: Key Pasture Plants, Pasture Management, and Livestock Management. Information is organised in a digestible and easy-to-use format for a range of stakeholders, including herders, planners and scientists,” said Dr Inam-ur-Rahim, UCA Senior Research Fellow and the Manual’s co-author.
Supported by the Mountain Partnership and The Christensen Fund, the Manual aims to share knowledge and promote the adaptation of innovative and sustainable livestock and pasture management practices, and contribute to a positive change in livestock management and sustainable pasture management in rural areas of the Kyrgyz Republic. UCA and NCCR North-South will also be launching a Herder’s Manual for Western Pamirs, Tajikistan by the end of the year.\
The Manual was developed through a participatory and consultative process. “In 2010 and 2011, researchers consulted local herders, village committees and community members to gather information on pasture plants, pasture monitoring and pest control, as well as livestock breeding, health and production management.
This approach enabled researchers to link herders’ knowledge with existing scientific data, while learning about their priorities and needs. Validation exercises further ensured that the Manual’s content and format has utility and relevance in the region,” said Dr Nasreen Dhanani, UCA Deputy Director and Director of Research.
In June 2011, the draft manual was presented by co-authors and UCA Senior Research Fellows Dr Daniel Maselli and Dr Rahim at the International Symposium on Pastoralism in Central Asia: Status, Challenges and Opportunities in Mountain Areas, co-hosted by UCA and NCCR North-South and attended by over 140 researchers, policy makers, and development practitioners from Central Asian and other countries. Prior to its publication, the draft manual was circulated among herders and other stakeholders, and their feedback was incorporated.
The launch took place at UCA in Bishkek, where participants were welcomed by Dr Dhanani and Mira Arynova, Regional Coordinator of NCCR North-South in Central Asia. The event featured a panel discussion, moderated by Mr Abdumalik Egemberdiev, Director of Pasture Department in the Agriculture Ministry of the Kyrgyz Republic, with 20 herders from Osh, Jalal-Abad, Batken, Suusamyr, Chui, Naryn and Issyk-Kul regions of the Kyrgyz Republic, including those originally interviewed during the information collection stage. Participating herders, contributing specialists and attending pasture department members shared their experiences and discussed their strategy to maximize the impact of the Herders’ Manual through on-the-job capacity building of pasture committees.
“This is a very important and useful book for us, local herders, as we lack knowledge in pasture management and use. I found the language simple and understandable, and I believe the information provided in the Manual will help us improve our livestock and pasture productivity,” said Mr. Urmat Omurbekov, Chairman of the Pasture Committee ‘Cholpon’ from Kochkor rayon.
The Manual is available in Kyrgyz, Russian and English languages at:http://msrc.ucentralasia.org/Resources/Events?Nid=248
Photographs of the launch are at: http://www.ucentralasia.org/PhotoGalleries/Album/10
University of Central Asia’s Mountain Societies Research Centre (MSRC) is a university-wide, interdisciplinary research centre dedicated to addressing the challenges and opportunities within Central Asian mountain communities and environments. The MSRC’s goal is to support and enhance the resilience and quality of life of mountain societies through sound research on the sustainable development and management of their physical, social, economic and cultural assets. For more information: http://msrc.ucentralasia.org/