Implementation of Holistic Land and Livestock Management technique for the restoration of degraded land using mobile kraals Bomas for improved crop fields, rangeland management, and sustainable livelihoods.
About the Implementing organization
Name: Africa Centre for Holistic Management (ACHM)
Year of establishment: 1992
Type of organization: Legally recognized non-profit status
For many years, people have been taught that having too many animals in the area damages the environment and the “business as usual” practice is to do destocking. ACHM has proved that with good management, livestock help to increase forage, improve soils and recharge underground water bodies. Livestock is utilized as a tool for land restoration by combining them into large herds to harness the power of their hooves to break up hard ground. In this way, air and water can penetrate to help plants grow. Their grazing is timed to prevent overgrazing to keep perennial grasses healthy which greatly minimizes the need to burn them and expose the soil to the drying effect of the sun. For the success of the program, herders are trained on planned grazing and establishment of mobile kraals which is an alternative to the business as usual approach of uncontrolled grazing. The other area is women overcoming some cultural barriers. Ownership and management of livestock have traditionally been male domains while women are mainly involved in small livestock projects like rearing chickens and doing household chores. However, women took leadership roles in livestock management and hold leadership positions in Planned Grazing Committees and in herding cattle. The holistic management model has attracted international attention as a good practical way of addressing issues of land degradation, water and crop fields rehabilitation.
Forests / Rivers / Grasslands / Drylands
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Renewable energy / Climate action
There have been environment benefits including reduced land degradation with the establishment of 13 paddocks covering 13839 hectares. In Sianyanga village, the community had water problems, the land was degraded, there was no grass for livestock and crop yields were declining. The earth had developed a hard surface and when it rained the run-off ended up as silt in the local Nalomwe river. The community had to move livestock 15 km to Gwayi River, where they camped for most of the dry season. “Since the program started we now plan our grazing and our animals spend specific periods in a paddock before they are moved to another one. Unlike in the past where cattle traveled longer distances to get water, our animals are now healthier because they get enough water and grass” said Balbina Nyoni, a project member. Because of this practice, which has improved soil aeration, water penetration and seed germination, most rivers in the area that had ceased to flow have started to flow again.
Sustainable Development Impacts
The project addressed SDG 2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Thus, 16 communities with an estimated population of about 5,000 are now food secure through sustainable food production systems (HLLM) and are implementing resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production. The practice also helps to maintain ecosystems and strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, and drought that characterize the region. SDG 15 combat desertification, restore degraded land and soils using the mobile kraals as tools of which 13839 hectares of land were protected from degradation. Other SDGs that have been impacted include SDG 13 through the use solar water pumping systems instead of diesel engines to mitigate the effects of climate change. Women also participated effectively in the program and are well represented in leadership positions thus addressing SDG 5.
In Zimbabwe, poor land and livestock management together with climate change shock like drought have resulted in low productivity leading to food insecurity. The results produced by the programme with an increase in crop yields by about 3t/ha without application of artificial fertilizers and increased vegetation cover by 20% show that this is an approach that can be scaled in Zimbabwe especially in agro-ecological regions 4 and 5 that are characterised by persistent drought, excessive land degradation, and biodiversity loss. In Hwange, Communal lands only 16 communities have implemented the program. Thus, for the program to have more impact, it should be implemented in all the communities. ACHM is working with partners such as World Vision to upscale the project. Now that most of the communities in Hwange have been trained on the model, additional funding is required for the establishment of enabling infrastructures such as water and mobile kraal materials.
Locally the program has been replicated in most parts of Zimbabwe with Africa Centre for Holistic Management (ACHM) working with communities and other NGO’s in the arid region of Chivi in Masvingo Province and Debshan Ranch in the Midlands Province to restore degraded land and increase crop yields. Njeremoto Biodiversity Institute is working with communities in Shurugwi District in Midlands Province. ACHM has also reached many communal farmers indirectly through training and close to 100 facilitators from organizations within Zimbabwe as well as from Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Somalia have been trained. The model has also attracted international attention. “I am hoping to apply this principle to my land,” said Nighat Hasnain, a UK-based lands and water resources consultant. Hasnain was part of a powerful team of over 70 scientists from around the world who recently visited the ACHM center to study the model.
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