Theme 6: Pastoralism--Oral Sessions

Description

Kazakhstan contains a large share of the world’s remaining “near-natural” temperate grassland, so how the Kazakh rangelands are managed has global implications for plant and animal biodiversity, carbon stocks, and at a national level for the wellbeing of Kazakhstan’s land, people and the economy.

The extensive livestock and rangeland management systems of Kazakhstan were transformed after the early 1990s. Privatisation had deep and very damaging structural impacts. There are now considerable inequities in the distribution of state support, landed resources and livestock, with the appearance of a minority of large-scale livestock owners. Government policies allowed these livestock owners to register title over former state pastureland containing key natural and infrastructural resources. As the national economy was bolstered by oil and gas extraction, increased demand for meat encouraged accumulation of livestock and capital investment into larger livestock enterprises, widening the disparity with the majority of small-scale livestock owners, who also own the majority of the livestock.

The Kazakh government now has programmes that support large-scale livestock owners, through subsidies backed by loans from international financial agencies. The mass of small-scale owners is ignored, as the government considers these mostly sedentary livestock farmers to be economically unviable and their animals a threat to the grazing land around villages. This is because small-scale livestock owners are unable to achieve economies of scale permitting seasonal migration to distant pastures, in contrast to the bigger-scale livestock owners who have re-adopted the former migratory management system.

Smaller-scale livestock producers are major suppliers of livestock products to the market and also uphold rural livelihoods with employment and food. Government efforts to promote productivity and growth for the livestock sector could promote seasonal mobile livestock management for small as well as large-scale livestock owners, which can be more environmentally sustainable and economically efficient than greater reliance on cultivated fodder crops and reduced grazing.

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Interplays between Policy and Practice on Rangelands in Kazakhstan since the 1990s

Kazakhstan contains a large share of the world’s remaining “near-natural” temperate grassland, so how the Kazakh rangelands are managed has global implications for plant and animal biodiversity, carbon stocks, and at a national level for the wellbeing of Kazakhstan’s land, people and the economy.

The extensive livestock and rangeland management systems of Kazakhstan were transformed after the early 1990s. Privatisation had deep and very damaging structural impacts. There are now considerable inequities in the distribution of state support, landed resources and livestock, with the appearance of a minority of large-scale livestock owners. Government policies allowed these livestock owners to register title over former state pastureland containing key natural and infrastructural resources. As the national economy was bolstered by oil and gas extraction, increased demand for meat encouraged accumulation of livestock and capital investment into larger livestock enterprises, widening the disparity with the majority of small-scale livestock owners, who also own the majority of the livestock.

The Kazakh government now has programmes that support large-scale livestock owners, through subsidies backed by loans from international financial agencies. The mass of small-scale owners is ignored, as the government considers these mostly sedentary livestock farmers to be economically unviable and their animals a threat to the grazing land around villages. This is because small-scale livestock owners are unable to achieve economies of scale permitting seasonal migration to distant pastures, in contrast to the bigger-scale livestock owners who have re-adopted the former migratory management system.

Smaller-scale livestock producers are major suppliers of livestock products to the market and also uphold rural livelihoods with employment and food. Government efforts to promote productivity and growth for the livestock sector could promote seasonal mobile livestock management for small as well as large-scale livestock owners, which can be more environmentally sustainable and economically efficient than greater reliance on cultivated fodder crops and reduced grazing.