Pastoral development and the use of para-vets in southern Sudan

Pastoralism in Sudan has produced complex and varied livestock management systems, finely adapted to local environmental conditions. The isolation of pastoral communities has made it difficult for development agencies to form working relationships with them, and mistakes have been made when donors attempted to introduce unsuitable breeds and crops. The author advocates post-drought restocking with camels because of their high tolerance of drought and low susceptibility to disease, and with goats, which are not labour-intensive and reproduce at a fast rate. This article traces the social consequences of evicting pastoralists from range lands to make ways for cash crops like cotton, and the environmental consequences of overgrazing. It describes Oxfam's programme of rehabilitation among pastoralists, with its emphasis on the use of locally-trained para-vets, and community participation in the management of animal health services.