In recent decades, researchers and development practitioners have explored strategies to manage shocks and reduce food insecurity in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) especially through introduction of modern scientific approaches and interventions; for instance promotion of exotic livestock breeds, but these interventions have not yielded desired results. This has been attributed to the fact that most of these interventions ignore pastoralists’ own indigenous knowledge and practices and thus tend to have low acceptability. Recognizing the need for context-specific locally-acceptable and adaptable solutions to pastoralists’ challenges, the present study assessed the role of indigenous knowledge and practices in reducing food insecurity in pastoralists’ households in West Pokot County, Kenya. Data was collected from arid and semi arid locations. A focus group discussion, key informant interviews and individual surveys on 191 households were conducted. Results demonstrate the value attached to traditional customs, guided migratory patterns and sustainable human-environment interactions in adapting to the harsh environment and mitigating food insecurity. Results from a binary probit regression analysis showed that seasonal transhumant migration, traditional pasture conservation and planting indigenous drought tolerant crops have a significant effect in reducing household food insecurity. The findings point to the need for documentation of indigenous knowledge and practices and their integration in long-term programs and plans aimed at building resilience in pastoralist systems.
Key words: Pastoralists, indigenous knowledge, local practices, food security.
Copyright © 2019 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0