Chapter : 2. Pastoralists in the Modern World

A. Where have the Grazing Lands Gone?

Before arrival of the colonial rulers, the Maasailand spread over a vast area from North Kenya to the steppes of northern Tanzania. This gradually shrank due to the following reasons:
(i) The colonial powers were hungry for colonial possessions in Africa. Once they reached Africa, they began to cut it down in different colonies.
(ii) The best grazing lands were gradually taken over for white settlement. Massai were pushed into a small area in south Kenya and north Tanzania.
(iii) The colonial governments promoted cultivation. Local peasant communities began to take control over the pastoral lands. Pastoral lands further fell.
(iv) Large areas of land were also turned into game reserves. Pastoralists were not allowed to enter these reserves; they could neither hunt animals nor graze their herds in these areas. Very often these reserves were in area that had traditionally been regular grazing grounds for Maasai herds.
(v) The loss of the finest grazing lands and water resources created pressure on the small area of land that the Maasai were confined within. Continuous grazing within a small area inevitably meant a deterioration. of the quality of pastures. Fodder was always in short supply. Feeding the cattle became a persistent problem.

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