Nomadic Cattle Herders and Customary Rights for Grazing in North Gujarat, India

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"In spite of the trend towards the domiciliation of grazers and stall feeding, nomadic cattle herders still exist in some pockets of India. North Gujarat is one such place where some groups of the nomadic cattle herders from Rajasthan visit after monsoon with their cattle for grazing. After due consideration of their resources and risk management, herders make a decision on the size of herders and cattle, and select their leader and sub-leader. They move to Gujarat in November and return to Rajasthan in July. In Gujarat they stay in a particular village where they make payment for the exclusive use of the village commons and post-harvest farmlands. Earlier, they were not restricted to access to the commons of any village in the region; the customary rights for grazing the commons were open to various stakeholders. But in recent times, as competition for grazing increased among the stakeholders, some village authorities have started selling the exclusive grazing rights to the highest bidder. Accordingly, the nomadic cattle herders had to cope with the situation and buy the rights of grazing. This paper is divided into two parts. Organizational and functional aspects of the nomadic groups are explained in first part; this is useful in understanding the life and economy of nomadic people. The nomads strategies of family resources and risk management are analyzed in view of changing society, in which competition for resources is getting tougher."
commons, herders, nomads, resource management, IASC