Pastoralists strategically use the heterogenity and variability of rangeland environments to their advantage. Their core production principle is to manage animal-environment-interactions rather than to control enviromental conditions through use of external inputs. Herd mobility, local livestock breeds and indepth knowledge on characteristics and distribution of resources are key for pastoral production to be resilient, productive and economically efficient.

DITSL staff has over 25 years working experience in pastoral livestock systems, mainly in eastern, but also in western and southern Africa. We focus on understanding how pastoral systems function and why pastoral producers do what they do. Using innovative participatory methods, we integrate pastoralists‘ knowledge to understand their breeding, grazing and resource use management. We also focus on understanding the complex organisation of the pastoral livestock value chains, for instance through assessing activities and business relationship management of pastoral livestock traders.

Based on the understanding of pastoral production principles we put emphasis in our research and development activities on co-designing innovations jointly by pastoral land-users, scientists and other relevant stakeholders.  With this actor-orientied approach we strive to support pastoral societies  and put them in the position to discuss, plan, implement and monitor development interventions and thereby influence their own future.