Resource centre on India's rural distress

Covid 19: Pastoralism under shadows of fear

-GoI Monitor

Herders faced discrimination and hardships in managing seasonal migrations

Jaga Vashraam Rabari of Vrajvani village in Kutch migrates every summer with his herd of animals for eight months.

Villagers in Pattan, around 300 km from home, usually invite and welcome his group but this time, they were not allowed to enter the villages due to rumours around COVID 19.

“The presence of police personnel also scared us and our mobility was seriously restricted,” he says talking about sudden changes during the lockdown evoked on March 25 in wake of the pandemic.

Around 31 percent nomadic herders like Rabari were stranded while 51 percent said their inter-state movement declined during the lockdown, found a study from five states.

The drudgery of pastoral women, who were stranded outside the villages multiplied because they had to walk longer distances to fetch water, arrange for ration or for selling milk.

Around 93 percent herders reported increase in expenditure cost of livestock. Feeding cost increased four to five times and fodder and water had to be purchased while these would have come for free  if they had reached the pastures on time.

The study, ‘Pastoralist’s Life in Lockdown’, by ActionAid gives details about discrimination, security issues and financial and logistical hardships faced by pastoralists during the pandemic.

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