Completed Projects

Provided below are short summaries of the projects that have been completed.
Forum for Research on Grasslands and Pastoralism

The HERDing Project

Heritage, dignity and adaptations in times of rapid change

Sustainable development for pastoralist women in India; Collaboration between the University of Leeds and the Centre for Pastoralism.

Funded by the British Academy’s Sustainable Development Research Programme, the HERDING project focuses on women in mobile pastoralist communities and provides an opportunity for pastoralist women to speak about their roles and the importance to them of religion, gender, culture and nature. This project draws on multiple disciplines including gender studies, development studies and the sociological study of religion to gauge the complex transformations of pastoralist women’s lives. It investigates the role that their beliefs and practices play in constructing a sense of shared heritage that links them to the land and their animals and how this heritage is changing.

The project works with four communities of Hindu and Muslim pastoralists in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh. Academics from the University of Leeds and the Centre for Pastoralism are working in partnership with NGOs that have developed a long-standing body of work on pastoralism and on the promotion of women’s well-being and empowerment. These organisations are Anthra in Pune, Kachchh Mahila Vikas Sangathan and Setu Abhiyan in Kachchh, and the Himachal Van Adhikar Manch in Kangra.

  • Vali and Devi, two pastoralists who took part in the project © Krutika Haraniya

Pastoral Breeds of India

This study counters the characterisation of herders managing largely unproductive animals, by establishing that 40% of India’s 197 recognized animal breeds have been bred and are still managed by pastoral communities. The study, consolidated as a report - Pastoral Breeds of India, details this remarkable contribution to India’s domesticated genetic diversity, one that is rarely recognised. It also makes the point that our collective failure to support these pastoral systems will necessarily lead to a drastic erosion of our genetic stock, an outcome that should be of widespread concern.

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  • A young herder and a Bellary calf in Karnataka. © Ishaan Raghunandhan

Impact of the COVID - 19 lockdown on pastoralists of India

A test of resilience - how have herders in India fared during the Covid-19 pandemic?

This study, conducted in nine Indian states and two union territories: Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Ladakh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttarakhand, aimed to capture some of the core problems that pastoral communities experienced during and following the COVID-19-induced national lockdown imposed in March 2020. The survey suggested that pastoralists experienced many of the difficulties that farming communities have spoken of. However, some impacts were specific to pastoralists, and were a function of their mobile lifestyle and, in some instances, their identities. The study emerged as a report which was published in 2021, and its data is used in our advocacy-related work and our work on the FRA.

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  • Meeting herders during the Covid survey at Virudhunagar and Madurai districts, Tamil Nadu. © Dr. P. Kumar

Desi Oon

An assessment of India’s indigenous wool economy

In 2018-20, CfP undertook a study to better understand value chains associated with indigenous wool across seven states. Our survey documents large-scale changes in herd composition maintained by pastoral communities, a deterioration in the state of woollen textiles and artisans, and a fall in the value of indigenous wool. The report feeds into our work on wool-based livelihoods and the Desi Oon Hub.

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  • A wool weaver’s workshop in Barmer, Rajasthan © Dr. Arun Mani Dixit

❮   View Ongoing Research
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