Monday, 11 November 2013
Iziina Rirungi Rigumaho Association (IRRA) is a community based organization registered in Uganda. IRRA is concerned with natural resources conservation in East Africa. Towards this end, IRRA initiated a project to protect the long-horned Ankole cattle (LHAC) in 2012. This project is called Cow Protection Conservancy Uganda (CPCU). Nasasira Livingstone is Director of CPCU. The home of CPCU is Mbarara in Uganda.
The Sanga originated in Ethiopia around 2000 BC when ancient Bos taurus breeds and early Bos indicus (or zebu) breeds were crossed and spread to east, west and central Africa (Felius 1995; Hanotte et al. 2000), reaching Uganda before 1000 BC (Epstein 1971). Payne and Hodges (1997) hold that Sangas reached Uganda sometime between the 10th and 14th century. Epstein’s date was taken from rock paintings found on Uganda’s Mount Elgon. The similar frequency of zebu-specific material in the East African Sangas suggests that the mixing of taurine and indicine genotypes resulted from the original interbreeding that first occurred.
Renowned traditional breeders of the LHAC are the aba-Hima (or Bahima), a cow-keeping community who belonged to Ankole Kingdom (formerly Nkore). This Kingdom (which was abolished by the central government of Uganda in the late 1960s gave the LHAC their name, “Ankole cattle.” Other large scale keepers of the LHAC are the Wanyambo of Karagwe in the Kagera Region of North West Tanzania and the Watutsi of Rwanda and Burundi. Therefore, another international name of the LHAC is Watusi of which the giant-horned variety owned by the Tutsi kings and chiefs, called the Inyambo, is now thought to be extinct. Many other communities living in “the greater cattle corridor” in nine countries within eastern Africa herd the LHAC on a much smaller scale.
The LHAC is particularly amazing. In Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi, the Ankole-Watusi was traditionally considered sacred. They supplied milk to the owners, but were not considered for meat, since that was regarded as taboo. Before the last half of the 20th century, cows which died, particularly the herd’s leading bull, were buried by their “bereaved” owners,. Among the Bahima, each herd of 100 cows has one sire.
Living in the savannas and open grasslands, the LHAC’s diet consists of grass and leaves. They are able to utilize poor quality forage and limited quantities of water. Their horns are actually natural thermostats enabling them to manage extremes of temperature. These survival abilities have enabled them to survive for centuries in Africa and also to be established in other places of the world. Ancient rock paintings and depictions of the LHAC have been observed in the Sahel region and in the Egyptian arts and pyramid walls.
In 2007, world scientists working with FAO announced at Interlaken Switzerland that the LHAC faced extinction within 20 years. Their argument was based on the fact that among all cattle-keeping communities in the least developed and developing countries, agricultural economists and politicians were advising against maintenance of indigenous breeds because their low meat and milk yields posed an economic dilemma in the quest to escape the poverty trap.
The introduction of commercial agriculture by the West on tropical African ranges has introduced so-called high yielding milkers from the northern hemisphere. The leading breed is the Holstein Friesian (HF) itself originated by powerful American corporations such as World Wide Sires. Carried in vials which might have been kept for decades, the semen that is used to proliferate the HF was mainly extracted from only two sires: Chief and Elevation, a rather limited selection of traits indeed!
And the choice is also rather simple were it not absurdly simplistic. Breed money or conserve biological diversity. In Uganda, the campaign to interbreed the LHAC with the high-yielding Holstein Friesian (HF) or to harvest the LHAC outright in favor of the HF has made so much economic sense that there is not a single ranch without an exotic herd.
While it is desirable, even imperative, that as many of the world’s poor people as possible should increase their monetary income, it is suicidal to do so using an interim solution which portends catastrophic environmental consequences. Substituting the LHAC with the HF can only be temporary because the latter is not: (i) suited to the tropical heat, (ii) equipped for the hostile environment tropical heat creates, (iii) tolerant to ad hoc and insufficient veterinary care, (iv) prepared for periods of acute disease loads, and (v) able to utilize low quality forage, especially during periods of acute drought. But the natural veriegatedness of the tropics and the tropical climate is not about to be eradicated from the African rangelands.
In the wake of the Interlaken pronouncements, the government of Uganda, among other players, initiated conservation interventions by establishing a semen and ovary bank at a national conservatory. The breeding centers at Nshara and Ruhengere, for example, are primarily aimed at securing the genetic existence of the LHAC rather than to keep it on its hooves in any substantive way.
CPCU is using the ecological diversity approach, arguing that the LHAC, like any other species, has its traditional ecological niche which, once destroyed, will be difficult to recreate regardless of availability of gene banks. Conserving any species starts with ensuring the integrity and stability of its habitat. Laboratories, however sophisticated, cannot cope with the multitude of permutations involved in ecosystem equations.
Simply defined, the CPCU approach is COWS: “Conserving Our World Sustainably” That’s our motto…, our rallying call. Regrettably, breeding standards which made the LHAC survive for thousands of years against tropical diseases, heat and its effects, among other hardships, have been significantly interfered with especially since the last half of the 20th century. Animal drugs, confinement, beef farming, and worse of all, bush clearance in the name of making farms fit for HF have not only stripped the ranges of numerous plant life but it also has led to disappearance of homeopathic, naturopathic and therapeutic agents beneficial, not only for the LHAC, but needless to say, all animate life.
In Uganda, the Bahima are integrally experienced with breeding standards of the LHAC and how suitable the environment should be in order to carry a given LHAC population. They attach spiritual significance to their cows, which directly or indirectly attach them to pastoral land and land resources and all in nature. For instance for the Bahima, every hill and valley, every well, tree, shrub and herb has a name that suggests the LHAC links or delinks them “to historical or mythical events and to the ancestors who gave them these cows and taught them to love them” Mark Infield (2003).
With this in mind, the CPCU approach is to enable traditional local communities (TLCs) in the cattle corridor, who have kept the LHAC there for millennia, to continue doing so without degrading their pastures and ecosystems on pastures depend in pursuit of recent standards of measure for wealth and livelihood.
Our goal is ultimately to create a self-sufficient, sustainable, community-wide conservation effort which will serve as a springboard for a return to sustainable environmental conservation among the LHAC dependent communities. We believe replication will easily come along quickly once it can be proven that economic self-sufficiency centered on COWS is possible.
CPCU activities are based on 5 pillars, namely:
· Mobilize—create awareness
· Organize—associate, systematize and restructure
· Coordinate—harmonize, regularize and synchronize
· Cooperate—work in partnership, liaise, and/or bridge
· Manage— operate, lead by example and/or mentor
CPCU has set out to achieve the following specific objectives centered on the LHAC and the traditional local communities (TLCs) whose livelihoods continue to revolve around it:
1. Demonstrate that the LHAC is both economically profitable and sustainable
The TLCs generally recognize a number of important roles the cow plays in their lives. These include, among others, that the LHAC: (i) is a source of food for the family; (ii) dictates protection of the commons and communal ties; (iii) is the basis of the beauty and utility they consider in the natural world; (iv) serves as a seal of social contract and, often, as a medium of dispute resolution; (v) is an indicator of prosperity and social status; and (vi) inspires spiritual (probably metaphysical) satisfaction, and/or empirical knowledge. CPCU has set up a conservancy in which to demonstrate all known best practices in the management of the LHAC as learned from the TLCs.
2. Demonstrate that it is easier to achieve sustainable land management (SLM) of East African rangelands with the LHAC than with the HF
Sustainability of any ecosystem is best ensured by the people who live within and directly depend on it for their livelihood. Outsiders can only play a support role. This includes the design of models and methodologies for land management. The Bahima, for example, inherited a rich fund of indigenous knowledge (IK), which enabled them to live productively, for several millennia, with their LHAC without antagonizing their environment whose lifecycles they keenly observed, maintained and protected. CPCU has set the conservancy within a TLC that is most interested in sustaining this way of life.
3. Rediscover the socio-cultural and spiritual framework that has long been the basis of the harmonious balance between man and nature among LHAC keepers
The TLCs long-established practices entail a close symbiotic relationship with the cow and the environment. This stems from ancient civilizations that based continuity and survival on sustainable cow economics. For instance, among the Tutsi it was taboo to kill a cow for its meat. The meat craze is only recent: it came with the advent of “modernization”. CPCU will explore this framework of domestic animal management for land and environmental sustainability.
We hope you like to support this endeavor.
For details, please visit our website: www.rigumaho.org.
You may also post your thought or response on our blog: http://rigumaho.blogspot.com/
Epstein, H. (1971). The Origin of the Domestic animals of Africa. New York, Africana Publishing Corporation. 465.
Felius M., 1995. Cattle Breeds: An Encyclopedia. Misset, Doetinchem. 799.
Hanotte, O., Taweh, C.L., Bradley, D.G., Okomo, M., Verjee, Y., Ochieng, J. and Rege, R.E.O. (2000). Geographical Distribution and Frequency of Tourine Bos Indicus Y Specific Allele Amongst Sub-Saharan Africa n Cattle Breeds. Molecular Ecology 9 387-396.
Payne, W.J.A. and Hodges, J. (1997). Tropical Breeds: Origins, Breeds and Breeding Policies. Oxford, UK, Blackwell Science Ltd.
 Sanga is another name the long horned Ankole cattle are known by internationally. A place called Sanga, well known for these cows and inhabited by the Bahima, their renowned keepers, is situated in the heart of the cattle corridor.
 J. Roscoe, The Bahima: A Cow Tribe of Enkole in the Uganda Protectorate, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 37, (Jan. - Jun., 1907), pp. 93-118 ; Bahima http://agtr.ilri.cgiar.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=98&Itemid=116
 The Discovery of the Source of the Nile by John Hannington Speke, http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3284
Accounts of Giants in Africa, http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/gigantes/Africa.html
Monday, 18 February 2013
Ekitabo eki kikahandikwa ahabw’ekigyendererwa eki. Okutunga gye n’okurinda gye ente, n’okukwata gye ensi y’ente ahabw’okwenda kugigumyaho eshugaine ahabw’abaitu abarigumaho itwe tutakiriho. Omurimo ogu nigukorwa ekibiina ky’abantu b’obutoosha, Cow Protection Conservancy Uganda (CPCU).
Okubanza ekitabo eki ni nki hongyera abarigumaho boona itwe tutakiriho. Kandi ngaruka nkihongyera tata, Rubaregyera Kaciga Ezekiel (Kaributi). Oku yaabaire akunda ente n’obweziriki bwe kuzitunga gye nibyo byangizire okundi nambwenu. Hoona nabwo, ekitabo eki ni nkihongyera omuntu weena otungiire ente omu Nkoora y’ente, na weena ou guri omwoga gwe okukunda n’okutunga gye ente. Ni nkugira nti “kaitungye, zirikagumaho gye omu nsi yaazo enungi niikanya!”
Ekiteekateeko ky’okubanza ekikuru!
‘Ijo eihano rikaraara nyin’eka yaagwa eiraro, yaayoga omu ka ye. Ab’owaabo bamwirukanzya kumukwata ngu bamugarure omu ka, obundi bakabona omubazi gw’okumutambira, bagumuha akira. Mbwenu kubaba bamutembekire amaguru nairuka abatsigire, abugana abandi bantu bari kumumanya. Banu bati, ‘yaiwe hakagabaki?’ Onu ati ‘maawe ngu banyirukangize ni benda kunkwata ngu bangarure omu byangye, beitu nyangire.’
Mbwenu ni tu ba tanga ngu mu garukye omu byanyu.
Ekitabo eki kikozirwe emishororongo mikye ey’ebigambo ebyaihirwe hanu na hariya omu kitabo ekihango Iziina Rirungi Rigumaho. Ebihandikiirwe omu ni biruga omu kuchondooza okwatwaire emyaka mingi nikukorwa. Nitugira ngu amagyezi g’aba-nya-Nkore amaingi, gabiikirwe aha rurimi rwabo omu bigambo byabo. Otarirondera ahandi!
Okuchondooza oku kukakorwa aha batungire e nte. Abamwe bari omuri Uganda abandi n’aba Rwanda, Burundi, Kongo na Tanzania. Aga n’amahanga ataano ahari mwenda agari kurabwamu ekiturikweta Enkoora Y’ente omu kitabo omu. Enkoora Y’ente ekabaganisibwa emyatano y’amahanga mwenda ey’abajungu bataireho kutaanisa Afrika. Okuhitsya nahati, ebichweka by’e nsi y’e nte egi biri omu mahanga ago, omu burugwa-izooba bwa Afrika. Amahanga agututarahikizemu amaguru gaitu omu kuchondooza oku, tukagazamu omu muringo ogw’okushoma ebiri kukwata aha batungi b’e nte abaayo. Nigo Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, na Sudan. Ni tutiina ngu omu biro bit’ari bya hare, e nsi y’e nte egi n’ebaasa kugumaho omw’iziina kwonka. Ahakuba etahiriirwe endwara: okutooreza ebihangire, okureetaire e nte ez’etuura etungire baziragura ngu ziri hakye kuhweraho kimwe. Ekigambo “Enkoora Y’ente” ni tuza kukiganiiraho omu kichweka kya kana.
E nte ezi turi kugambaho nizo zaabandize omu nsi egi yoona. Ni zeetwa e nya-Nkore nari ensanga. Otungire e nte weena bamweta omuriisa nari omu-nya-nte. Abatungi b’e nya-Nkore abari kurangaanwa munonga, omuri Uganda, nangwa n’omu nsi yoona, ni beetwa Abahima (nari aba Hima). Ti hariho orikubaasa kumanya ebi abaatungire e nte aba bakora nari ebi baamanya byona, yaaba atabandize kwetegyereiza gye amakuru agari omu bigambo bibiri: okuriisa n’okutunga. Kandi nabwo yaaba ateetegyereize “omu-hima” nari “obu-hima” ni ki. Ni ngira ngu hati waatunga ekishushane. Ebi ni bimwe omu bi turi kugambaho omu kitabo eki. Mbwenu nu katukumurikire ebicweka ebirimu.
Ni tugamba aha ku ragura okuhwaho okw’e nya-Nkore n’akabi k’enjungu. Ni tugamba aha aha nte: obukomooko bwazo n’obuzaare bwaayo n’omuntu. Ni tugamba aha nya-Nkore—oku ziriisibwa, oku zituungwa, amagara gaazo, n’ekyazigumizeho okuhitsya hati. Ni tukushoboororera eki ekigambo okutunga kimanyisa—okutunga nari okutuungwa ebintu eby’omuntu atuungire. Ni tugamba aha “diini” ey’otuungire e nte, n’omutaano oguri rwagati y’okutunga ebintu n’okukanyisa ebintu. Ni tugamba aha Nkoora y’Ente mutebe—e nsi y’e nte omuri Uganda; oburungi bw’Enkoora Y’ente, e nsi y’e nte okugirwa amafa nari amafamu; emyanya-ekozirwe. Ni tugamba aha nsi y’e nte ‘okwoma aha mutwe nk’amasha’. Ni tugamba aha bwata nkamyo. Enkamyo nari okutonyeza ni ki? Amate g’amakama ni ki? Amakamo! Ni tugamba aha kufa kw’emitwarize y’obuzaarwa bw’obuhangwa bw’abanyante, omuziro gw’okwita e nte, endwano omu kubaho kwona, ebyatairweho kuramura okubaho kwona buri obu kushagizana, n’omuramuzi w’okubaho kwona.
Ni tugumizamu tugamba aha kubaho okw’enganda ez’ebigira amagara byona (nangwa n’ebitagaine bigira enganda zaabyo!) Oruganda rwo ni ki? Ni tugamba aha bukuru bw’okubaho kw’enganda, sayansi y’eby’enganda z’ebiriho byona, n’aha ky’ataiseiseho enganda z’abantu. Ebyo okubiikira e nte kwo kukiriho; abaana b’abanyante ni baija kukumanya ebyo!? Ni tugamba aha kakwate ak’eby’obuzaarwa bw’abantu bugira omu nganda zaabo.
Ni tugamba aha kinyaigana eki ekya 21, ekinyaigana ky’ “entunguuka” y’abantu b’e nsi boona. Okutunguuka kwo ni ki? Hariho omutaano rwagati y’ebigambo okutunga n’okutunguuka? Emidigizi (nari emibigizo) ni ki? Ni tugamba aha kabi k’okutooreza ebihangire. Ahakuba twebirwe ngu ‘ameehangye gakaita kanyamunyu’, kandi ‘owakukizire akukiza ekishuba’, kandi ngu ‘eshegu y’enyegano ehonora omunwa’! Ebindi, n’eby’omuhangiso gw’okutungira akatare. Ni tugamba aha mwanya gw’enjungu omu katare k’e nsi yoona, tugamba n’aha mwanya gw’e nya-Nkore omu nsi yoona. Beitushi ‘ekyayega kukama kiraara n’emboha’ bantu-mwe!
“Iziina rirungi rigumaho” naryo niturigambaho. Oburungi oburikukirayo! Okwetegyereza ebikuru! Amagara marungi! Itungo erihikire n’okushemererwa! na ‘kabikanye . . . ! egi ei bagira ngu niyo eba ‘kabichwekye’ nari shi ‘. . . kabirandukye’ ni tugigambaho. Ekya mwenda ni ‘…ekyahereruka’; n’eki ekibagira ngu, ‘…n’ekinyubure’.
Eky’ahamuheru, ni tu kutondoorera ebigambo bikuru ebirimu emiguutuuro. Yetegyereze ngu omu kitabo eki tukoraise orurimi “oru-nya-nte”. Ni tumanya ngu baingi mwayebirwe orurimi rwaitu oru. Nikwo kugira ngu, buri kigambo eki tuteekateekire ngu n’obaasa okutakimanya nari okutakyetegyereza gye, ni tukishoboororaho omu kichweka eki. Ahakuba ni twenda ngu oyetegyereze gye ebiri omu kitabo eki.
Ni tukwendeza okushoma gye!