poverty in Africa

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by jaratengodondi, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. jaratengodondi

    jaratengodondi New Member

    Jul 26, 2008
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    I think permaculture is the ansnwer for poverty erradication in the third world countreis.I wrote this article in another forum please read on .First I would like to do a quick introduction. My Name is Caleb Omolo. I was born in Kenya in a village in Kamagambo Location in South Nyanza District. The biggest town in my Village is called Rongo.I am from a Luo tribe by birth. The luos are one of the Nilotic tribes. Most of us are spread through Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
    I came to the USA as a foreign Student many years ago to go to College.I am now a Naturalised USA citizen. In this article I would like to talk about the Zebus and development in my tribe on the Lake Vivtoria basin.
    Many Government projects and international projects in my village have been a total disaster. Billions of dollars from the World Bank and many other organizations have been sent to provide aid, with the very best of intentions. This Month alone Bill Gates Foundation Donated 56 million Dollar to Heifer International for Rural Agricultural Development, that is just one example . Tremendous sums of money go to Africa and there are so many organizations in Africa, which truly believe that their programs will eradicate poverty. Often, projects which look good on paper or in theory produce the sad result of making most of the people they are intended to help only poorer.
    I am only going to write about my 30 years observation
    of all the well- intended projects that wind up making my people poorer.The reason why they all fail is that all of the project did not fix the immediate needs of the recipient. Most village need what they help fix their problems right away and they have to be fully involve from bottom up. The biggest problem the village face is land degradation coursed by poor project plannings.The tribes are still the tribes we must work with them to fulfill their need through improving their locally available resources, Land , Water, and their Domestic livestock's.The Government and the international organisation can not just fixed one with out fixing the other, The biggest problem most villager face in food is becoming so expensive and many of them can not afford to buy them. The soil in the villages are so depleted of nutrients that nothing can grow on them. Last time I was in my village I was a palled by the rate the soil is getting washed away into the rivers and the rivers which were blue with fresh water is now yellow. Most of the top soil are getting washed away and the trees are no longer there. There are water drilling projects which have good intention but are just adding more problems because that is where the Zebus goats and sheep find green pasture and the villager set up their gardens near the water hole and they have to cut more trees to make fence to guard against Animals from eating the plants and vegetables.

    In my tribe agriculture plays a very crucial role in the economy of many households. In fact majority of the people that is their only source of income. The demands created by steadily increase in population and the pressing need to increase agricultural production are forcing most Rural communities to find ways to help them increase a agricultural production.
    Zebus cattle have historically played a multiple roles both in economic terms and socio- cultural traditions in many rural villagers. The Zebus have been valued not simply as a source of food such as their milk, meat, hide, and blood, but , as a visible sign of social status among the peers. The Zebus are the tractors of the villagers, one trained zebus can do the work of ten people mostly women .People use them for plowing draft tractions and for transportation of heavy load on Zebu transportation carts and sledges.
    Most rural house hold use Zebus to pay dowry payment for the brides . Zebus beefs are used allot for ceremonial occasions and in funerals, . Many cultures such my Luo tribe slaughter so many Zebus for different rituals, During the funerals several zebus are slaughtered for different rituals to apiece the dead.
    The Zebus have low milk production that is the only advantage the exotic high milk producing high breeds such Frisian Holsten and cross breeds have over Zebus.The exotic breeds are highly susceptible to endemic cattle deceases and tick borne ones which the Zebus had overs the years have acquired a fair degree of natural immunity to.
    There have been so much Miss information or rather luck of information about the important tole Zebus play in most Rural communities ,most environmental experts and animal scientist and lenders such as wold Bank and Environmentalists tells us that the best way to help us is first to get ride of our on productive Zebus, goats and sheep's.They claims that our land will repair itself is we can keep the Cattle out of the Land for a few years.
    Yes they are right about land degradation which this Zebus are coursing.Overgrazing is the most destructive force against environment. Most farmers and Zebu raisers are bigining to accept that and they are looking for ways to control over grazing. When properly done grazing of livestock's has been proved to be environmentally friendly but when not done properly can be very destructive to the environment.
    To be realistic most villagers will never completely cross their indigenous cattle's. What need to be done by the world bank and other environmental experts is to show us how to better integrate livestock and better farming practices and land use.Mixed farming should be the answer.
    Let me explain the economic impact of the Zebus. The problem is not with the Zebus but better land use and management system. The Zebus plays multy purpose roles. They are very important in most rural agricultural practices.so the planners from World Bank peace corp, land o lake and Heifer International should encourage the improvement rather than the elimination of the zebus. If you ask any animal expert from Europe and America to list ten reasons they associate with their livestock's the top on the list will be to make a profit, but when you ask a villager from the tribes to list ten reasons they associate with livestock's , the top on their list of ten reasons will be status symbol in the community.In most rural villages profit is the last thing they will list. making their owners happy and ceremonial cultural reasons , source food rank very high on the rural community list of reasons why they keep their Zebus. The rank of a man in a rural village are determined by how many Zebus, sheep's and goats one owns. In the village most farmers will tell you that when you take good care of your Animals , your needs will be well taken care of by your animals, they provide the farmer with milk ,meat and draft power.
    The Western experts should work with the farmers on better sustainable Zebu rearing that are highly integrated with their food crops and cash crops since they rely heavily on Zebus for their daily livelywood.The Zebus have the ability to convert grass and other products into animal food such as milk and milk products, they are also the main source for organic manures from their dungs.
    The experts from the west should listened to our side of the story before they advised us to cross breed or to adopt to high breeds such high milk producing cattle's.most of the rural farmers will tell you that their Zebus are the only security they have a agaist disasters such as famine and drought.Zebus can survive for months with very little food and water.
    So the best way for the world bank and other experts to help us is to assist us in showing us how to improve on mixed farming practices such organic agro forestry which most rural framers were practicing before the experts came in and better land use where in a mall plot of land people and their zebus can co exist. The exotic high breeds are very expensive for rural farmers to own and manage. Sustainable agro forestry mixed with the Animals brings income all year round on a daily basis and the Farmers are diversified they do not just want to depend on the milk business which is very profitable but very risky because of the high mortality rate of the exotic animals .When the Zebus are well taken care of they are very productive and they breed very fast , plows for long hours .
    I own 20 zebus one Sahiwal zebu and three crosses. I use confinement rearing which makes my animals help improve the environment rather than destroy the environment.The herder and farmers in my village who used to own large herd of zebus have abandoned the practice because it is no longer realistic. The land in the village have been divided and sub divided into small plots and the more the population increases the more they divide the plots of land in other wards land is becoming too precious.
    Therefore a better form of farming and land management system needs to be adopted. agro forestry and confinement animal rearing practices needs to be encouraged.On such a system one acre of land can easily support 20 zebus and their calf's.Unlike open grassing where one needs 20 acres of grassing land to sustain 20 Zebus and their calf's.One big advantage of confined grassing is that the zebus are very safe a against predators.
    With sustainable mixed farming of Agro forestry and better animal husbandry combined in a small plot of land makes confinement rearing an ideal because it keeps animals in cool tree shades which make them very comfortable eating forage minerals and water. The animals more productive and very heathy.
    Caleb omolo

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