Having originally been a livestock ranch, Borana has a long history of cattle ranching and grassland management. Cattle are used as a tool to enhance the quality of the grazing. Cattle grazing reduces the moribund grass biomass, promotes seed dispersal, increases the nutritional value of the grass and decreases the risk of bush fires.
The importance of cattle gives Borana common ground and shared concerns with its neighbours. Every week the cattle are run through a spray race to rid them of ticks. This is beneficial to Borana’s wild herbivores as the tick population and the diseases they spread is kept under control. Ranching also contributes financially to the running of the conservancy. The beef and lamb used in our kitchens is grown on the ranch.
Our holistic rangeland management programme based on principals developed by Alan Savory and facilitated by LWF goes from strength to strength as large tracts of community grazing lands are coming under structured grazing plans. Borana acts as a grass bank for the programme and the boundaries between Borana and the community ranches, which once clearly defined the difference between managed and over-grazed lands no longer exist as the negative impacts of over-grazing have become a thing of the past. Access to improved genetics, better pasture and the availability of Borana’s weighing scales is contributing to a more secure financial future and less stress during times of drought for pastoralists’ livestock. A strong local employment policy and incentive schemes within our own livestock management programme are also contributing factors.