Martin Loft

Name ID 351

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Africa Online
Extract Date: 1996

Survival of the Maasai and Tatoga?

Features Africa Network All rights reserved Distributed by Africa Online, Inc.

The Tanzanian government has been called upon to ensure the survival of the Maasai and Tatoga Pastoralists residing in the Ngorongoro conservation area(NCA) in the northern part of the country.

The call was made in Arusha by an expert in pastoralism, Martin Loft, of the committee for pastoralist issues, an International Network based in Denmark.

Loft told reporters that the Maasai Pastoralists living in the area had the right to survive and should be helped by the government and the general public to ensure that famine does not enter their area of great wealth.

'The Pastoralists have experienced a dramatic decrease in their livelihood to the point where two thirds of the population have dropped below subsistence level,' Loft said.

About 24,000 people of the 42,000 Pastoralists residing in the area survive only due to the help given by their slightly more fortunate relatives.

The call came about in response to the government order that all agricultural activities in the NCA should stop by next January.

The government decreed in a cabinet paper of June, 1994 that the ban on cultivation in the NCA would be re-imposed in January, 1996, when it was expected that economic alternatives to agriculture should be in place.

So far, the expert said, no action had been taken by the responsible NCA authority (NCAA) to introduce alternative economic activities despite the government decree, threatening the lives of the people in the area with famine.

The 8,292-square kilometers NCA in Arusha region was established in 1959 as Africa's first multiple land use area, with the aim of perpetuating the harmonious coexistence between semi-nomadic Pastoralists and their herds on one hand and protection of wildlife and conservation of natural resources on the other.

All protected areas in northern Tanzania and southern Kenya were formerly pastoralist lands. However, Ngorongoro is the only place where men have been allowed to continue co-existing with wildlife in the natural surroundings.

Extract ID: 716