Water and Pasture Availability on Livestock Routes Under a Changing Climate: A Case of Ilemela and Magu Districts in Tanzania

Siwa Ernest, Martine Hagai, Japhet J Kashaigili


The beef cattle production system practiced in the Lake Victoria Basin is
mainly extensive, which involves cattle grazing on natural pastures. This
system is characterized by overgrazing, low livestock production and soil
degradation. Under the effects of global climate change, these pastoral
management challenges are expected to increase. As the impacts of climate
change to beef cattle production over the Lake Victoria Basin is unknown,
this study used participatory mapping method and focus group discussions to
assess spatial changes in livestock routes in relation to water and pasture
availability in Ilemela and Magu districts of Mwanza region, Tanzania. GIS
technology was used for the formalization of spatial layers. It was revealed
that there were many changes in livestock routes such that some have
become roads, some have been lost, and others narrowed. These changes
were due to increase of settlements and cultivated areas, and more
specifically a general decline of water sources and grazing land. This implies
that appropriate strategies such as a land use planning, stock routings
modification, education on effective cattle farming and intervention by
rainwater harvesting should be designed so as to adapt to climate change
effects, and improve livestock production in Ilemela and Magu districts.

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