Seminomadic individual herding [Tajikistan]

Chupon / Dajmardei Khaspi (professional herding)

approaches_2565 - Tajikistan

Completeness: 78%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
CDE Centre for Development and Environment (CDE Centre for Development and Environment) - Switzerland

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

When were the data compiled (in the field)?


The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Reference(s) to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Technologies

2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

Pasture management by a single herder, assisted either by an employee or by his own grandchildren, in collaboration with the habitants of the nearby village Karsang.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: The herder chooses his territory by the criteria of biomass, vegetation cover and availability of surface water. In his work he gives special attention to fattening the animals, to not losing any of them and to giving back the right animals to the right tenant at the end of the season. For him it is important to be sincere with the tenants and to pay for lost animals.

Methods: Every method applied serves the target of having an obeying herd. The herder works with lots of patience. In the first two weeks he pays very much attention to keeping the herd together, so the animals get used to each other. The rotational grazing scheme also fulfills the requirement of fattening the animals. Grazing the animals by night-time is a method to make the animals obey better. Part of the work is the daily control of the herd to identify sick animals and treat them.The animals are by the way not led by the herder, but rather accompanied by him.

Stages of implementation: After apprenticeship the herder is entrusted with animals from the village and with the generated income can then gradually build up his own herd.

Role of stakeholders: The herder is responsible for the relation with his animals, with the villagers and with the forest department (contract).

2.3 Photos of the Approach

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied



Region/ State/ Province:

Region of Republican Subordination

Further specification of location:


2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:


2.7 Type of Approach

  • traditional/ indigenous

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

The Approach focused mainly on other activities than SLM (The focus of this approach is providing the own family with income and meat, by herding own and animals of other herders. It is very important for the herder to keep the animals healthy and to give them all back (the fattest possible) to their tenants.)

The herder's motivation to continue his father's work was that it enabled him to nourish his family. In his work he pays attention to fatten the animals enough to make them survive winter and to give them all back.

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: The inhabitants of the village give the herder their animals because they know that the animals will be more healthy on the more natural pastures frequented by him compared with village pastures and because the animals get more reserves for winter-time. The herder claims that the animals need 50% less hay and fodder in winter than the animals grazed near the villages.

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

social/ cultural/ religious norms and values
  • hindering

Being unable to go to parties and weddings.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: As it is not a problem for the herder (but perhaps for his wife and family?) the problem is not tackled.

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

Paying for lost animals.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: As long as the herder can find the lost animal, even if it is dead, he will not have to pay for it.

institutional setting
  • hindering

It is necessary to have good relations to obtain land from the forest administration.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: As M. worked for the forest department for many years, it was not a problem for him to lease land.

legal framework (land tenure, land and water use rights)
  • enabling

If tenure were more secure and land use free, M. would divide the rented land into pasture zone, orchard and cropland. This would ensure more self-sufficiency, but probably less income, because he could keep less animals on the reduced pasture area

  • hindering
  • hindering

For M. the principal problem are bears (and wolves) killing animals.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Since he is not allowed to have a rifle to kill wild animals he has to chase them away with his dogs. This means that in summer, when the bears descend to lower areas for fruit in the orchards, he often has to keep awake by night.

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

The herder himself is the protagonist. In some years he employed and educated young herders.

If several stakeholders were involved, indicate lead agency:

The herder himself implements the approach

3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation self-mobilization Deciding to be a herder
planning none
implementation self-mobilization Once M. knew how to treat the animals he could begin work with an own herd.
monitoring/ evaluation none
Research none

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
  • land users alone (self-initiative)

The herder learnt his profession during an apprenticeship of one year

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by by land users* alone (self-initiative / bottom-up). M. learned all the technologies from his father, but says, that he only does his job half as well as his father.

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Specify who was trained:
  • field staff/ advisers
If relevant, specify gender, age, status, ethnicity, etc.

Young men and boys.

Form of training:
  • on-the-job
Subjects covered:

Teaching of herding method: He tells his assistants not to beat the animals, not to shout at them, to treat animals fairly so they obey and to nourish them sufficiently so they don't walk away by night.

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?


4.4 Monitoring and evaluation


There were no changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation: None

There were no changes in the Technology as a result of monitoring and evaluation: None

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

If precise annual budget is not known, indicate range:
  • < 2,000
Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: local community / land user(s) (All costs): 100.0%

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?


5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • food-for-work

Also paid in cash: Whereas his grandsons help him and get food therefore, the herder sometimes employs assistants who are paid.

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

More biodiversity, less fertility decline, less cover reduction (compared to the grazing method used near the villages)

Did the Approach empower socially and economically disadvantaged groups?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Young men herding in Faizabad area, one of them only a few ridges in the east of M.

Did the Approach lead to improved livelihoods / human well-being?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Whereas in the villages every family has to send someone as a herder once per month, M. earns money for his job and breeds his own animals. On the other hand the family structure is disrupted by the c

Did the Approach help to alleviate poverty?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

In finacial terms, it did (by generating income), But in terms of education, it did not help.

6.2 Main motivation of land users to implement SLM

  • increased production

Animals get fatter than on the common pastures

  • environmental consciousness

The herder somehow has a consciousness of only taking from nature for what he has paid

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • yes
If yes, describe how:

The herder intends to continue his work as long as physically possible. He though wants to take less animals in the following year and instead more cows and less sheep and goats. He says that cows are easier to keep and in addition, he is paid four times more for a cow than for a sheep or a goat.

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Each tenant has animals with their own comportment. M. only has to deal with a little number of tenants (and thus animal comportments), whereas the village herds are composed by animals of much more tenants.
animals can get used to each other. The composition of the big village herd is not always the same.
The herder is always the same and treats the animals fairly: he leads the animals slowly and doesn't shout at them or beat them.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
With around 600-700$ per season, the work as a professional herder is quite well-paid (for rural areas). (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: As soon as work in the foreigner (especially Russia) becomes scarce, herding will be more attractive again.)
For people with a tight relationship to nature and god (in the case of M.) this area is a good place, since remote. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: There will probably continue to be religious, nature-bound young people.)

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
The trees damaged by the animals are a problem from the herder's point of view. He sees the main problem in the past civil war, when lots of trees were chopped illegally. He says that tree-planting would not be a solution, because then grazing would not be possible anymore either.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
The way of living is not modern in the young peoples' eyes: They prefer social and urban to rural, solitary life. As long as poverty predominates in the villages and cities cannot offer enough jobs to young people, agriculture and herding will stay interesting. Though, new (old) forms of herding might appear, such as herding in groups.
Night grazing makes sheep eat impalatable (poisonous) plants and than become sick (according to a specialist from CARITAS). Training and workshops could be a platform for the discussion of such critical aspects.

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