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Thinking the Un-imaginable: Pastoral futures and International Investment Flows

Thinking the Un-imaginable: Pastoral futures and International Investment Flows

by Prof. Dr. Wendy Wilson (Lafayette College Easton, Pennsylvania, USA)

Tue, July 13, 18:00, Zoom 631 5208 3123, Passcode: 517267 (RS Learning)
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This presentation examines the imperative to imagine new and divergent futures of transhumant pastoralism in Africa. The presentation will address the precarity of transhumant pastoral production systems in the context of expanding global capital and current “land grab” threats in the Sahelian and Savannah areas of West Africa. I base my query on three salient claims: herders are essentially entrepenurs, herders control mobile capital (livestock) in a world of global financescapes (Appadurai), and new science is increasingly adding greater perceived value to Africa’s grasslands. I frame the discussion by focusing not on farmland acquisition as such, but rather potential dangers of global corporate quests for new investment opportunities.  I address this topic by considering the future impact of scientific research which will entail the wide realization that mobile livestock production in semi-arid lands is more efficient and produces greater economic value than commercial farming so far, which is capital intensive.  My leading question is the following: what would happen if investment goals begin to include speculation of wealth on the hoof?

If international capital has begun to infiltrate West African farming systems and cause transformations in land use, labor organization, and governance, why has it not yet directed these energies towards pastoralist communities? And is this something that we should worry about?

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