Our Work

CfP has established collaborative programs across India aimed at enhancing pastoral livelihood security, securing access to grazing resources, promoting the contributions of pastoralism to the country’s socioeconomic and cultural front through outreach, and improving our understanding of pastoralism through research. While we divide our work into four broad categories, there are obvious overlaps between these.
Our research efforts, for example, feed into our Outreach initiatives such as the Living Lightly exhibitions or into shaping our advocacy work for our wool thematic. Returns on herding are clearly dependent on having access to markets, but equally, if not more so, they are dependent on securing access to grazing. Herder lives do not exist in the silos represented below – we use these merely as a means of describing our work.
© Kalyan Varma


CfP works on two initiatives in an attempt to strengthen pastoral livelihoods. Milk Matters focuses on facilitating the procurement of milk from pastoral populations and strengthening pastoral dairy ecosystems. The Desi Oon Initiative works with researchers, craft-based organisations and government agencies to rebuild markets for indigenous wool. Each of these is expanded below.
Milk matters: enhancing returns from pastoral milk
The Desi Oon 

Research: understanding 
pastoral systems

Research on Indian pastoralism has tended to be isolated and often heavily theoretical. It has rarely added up to a significant body of work that could have policy implications or the ability to attract the attention of civil society, government, and industry. Our research unit has three overarching goals: 
  • Deepening the field of pastoral studies in India.
  • Facilitating big-picture research aimed at interrogating mainstream positions on grassland management and pastoral mobility.
  • Undertaking applied research that feeds into Sahjeevan’s and CfP’s programmatic interventions
Towards furthering this agenda, we undertake or commission research or partner with a wide range of researchers, universities and NGOs to facilitate research on pastoral systems across the country.


The lack of awareness about pastoralism has made it difficult to generate support for this way of life. Acknowledging this, we host various events and publish reports geared toward making pastoralism more visible across the country. Through our outreach initiatives, we hope to reach a variety of audiences including, but not limited to, students, academics, policy-makers, designers, and even pastoralists themselves. Our outreach work is structured around three major initiatives – the Living Lightly – Journeys with Pastoralists exhibition, our quarterly broadsheet Pastoral Times, and Pastoral Dialogues. Read about each in detail at the link below.

Securing Herder Access to Forage with Forest Rights Act

In most states with pastoral populations, there is growing evidence of dwindling herder access to lands they have grazed in the past, some due to land conversion for cultivation or for industry, but mainly due to frequent forest closures by the Forest Department in the interests of conserving biodiversity. CfP is working with affected communities across five states and with government agencies to facilitate the filing and settling of claims to traditionally grazed lands through the Forest Rights Act (2006). Without access to grazing, pastoralism will become increasingly difficult to sustain.
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