INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS AND LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION UNDER SMALL- HOLDER FARMER MANAGEMENT IN THE FACE OF CLIMATE CHANGE: A CASE OF GURUVE DISTRICT
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Indigenous knowledge systems of livestock care and health care is the only asset in the hands of the small holder farmers to mitigate the impact of climate change on livestock production. This study explores the role of indigenous knowledge systems of livestock care and veterinary care in the face of climate change. Developing countries such as Zimbabwe bear the brunt of climate change due to poor mitigation capacity. Small holder farmers are more affected by climate change than large scale commercial farmers because it is difficult for them to diversify to other livestock species which are tolerant to climate shocks. However ethno-veterinary knowledge is not evenly distributed in society. Gender, age and social class are major determinants of the amount of knowledge that one has. The elderly have more knowledge on ethonoveterinary practices because the knowledge is experiential. Specialists like ethno veterinary herbalists also have more knowledge on ethno veterinary methods because of their specialized skills. Government departments like the department of Veterinary Services are stumbling blocks to the development and utilisation of ethno veterinary medicines because they dismiss them as unapproved and based on mythology. Instead, farmers are encouraged to use modern veterinary medicines. However, the use of ethonoveterinary methods persists because of their ready availability and affordability. Climate change has increased the number of disease in livestock; this makes ethonoveterinary medicine more relevant and useful to adapt livestock production to climate change. This study exposes the need for adaptive mechanisms if small livestock production is to remain viable under the growing threat of climate change.
Subjectindigenous knowledge systems
small-holder farmer management