African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6638

Full Length Research Paper

The role of indigenous knowledge and perceptions of pastoral communities on traditional grazing management in north-western Tanzania

Ismail Saidi Selemani1,2, Lars Olav Eik3, Øystein Holand1, Tormod Ådnøy1, Ephraim Mtengeti2 and Daniel Mushi2
  1Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P. O. Box 5003, N-1432, Ås, Norway. 2Department of Animal Science and Production, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P. O. Box 3004, Morogoro, Tanzania. 3Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric), Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P. O. Box 5003, N-1432, Ås, Norway.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 26 September 2012
  •  Published: 23 October 2012



Traditional forage conservation, locally known as “ngitili”, which involves retaining an area of standing vegetation from the beginning of rainy season and opening it up for grazing at the peak of dry season, has become an important strategy for rangeland rehabilitation in the north-western semi-arid part of Tanzania. The present study assessed the current rangeland management practices, the role of indigenous knowledge onngitili conservation and perceptions of agropastoralists on communal resources management. Data were collected from a total of 10 villages of Shinyanga rural and Meatu district. Over 90% of villagers were agropastoralists, where the mean numbers of specific livestock per interviewed household were 51 cattle, 40 goats, 20 sheep and 7 horses. The two most important traditional rangeland management strategies practiced by agropastoralists in this region were ngitili conservation and seasonal movement of livestock herds. Management of common resources was perceived to be problematic and most agro-pastoralists shifted from communal rangelands toward individual private ngitili. Interviewed agro-pastoralists claimed that, unequal sharing of benefits accrued from communal resources and poor management of communal ngitili lead to the preference of private ngitili to communal ones. The contribution of indigenous knowledge of Sukuma people lead to the success of ngitili conservation. However, the sustainability of this vital local knowledge is questionable. This paper recommends participatory management that allows integration of existing local knowledge in rangeland improvement.


Key words: Local knowledge, ngitili, rangeland degradation.