IOPA ORMOTI Ranch Project
The Maasai people since the 1923 land tenure act have progressively continued to lose their traditional grazing lands; this land provided the necessary grazing grounds, water sources and salt licks for their cattle. Cattle form the backbone of Maasai society by providing milk, meat and blood as dietary requirements. Cattle also have a spiritual and ceremonial significance as owner defines hierarchy within the community.
Private ownership of land for agriculture, tourism and conservation has inhibited the nomadic life of the Maasai; the ownership of land within indigenous communities is administered through customary communal tenure for pastoralists and peasants. Nearly any private ownership of the Maasai in for example stone houses, agriculture land and factories, means that their lands can easily be leased off to more economically productive holdings without consent of the local community. The loss of land and other socio-economic factors has relegated the Maasai to one of the most economically disadvantage position in Tanzania and Kenya. The typical Maasai family lives on less than 2 Dollars a week and after minimal living expenses have been met there is barely any money left for educations, saving and/or family wealth improvement.
Maasai land supports both Pastoralism and the richest biodiversity of mammals on earth. An estimated 70% of this wildlife is dispersed outside protected areas on land which overlaps with Pastoralism. In these lands, people, wildlife and livestock have intermingled for centuries. Since 1950s, this intermingling has declined as conservation policy excluded people and livestock from newly created parks while growing human population and expanding agriculture excluded wildlife. As a result, wildlife population have declined, livestock population have remained stagnant and millions of pastoralists have become less food secure. National parks are now left without the beneficial effects of pastoral grazing and bush clearing practices. The remaining pastoral lands are becoming fragmented, with grazing and water resources crucial to pastoral livestock and wildlife being diverted to agriculture use. This is increasing exclusion of pastoralist and wildlife from the highest potential land and causing land-use conflicts.
IOPA have decided to do something with the above mentioned problems. IOPA will involve and collaborates with the local communities as much as possible, to give an example to the Maasai pastoralists on how it is possible to improve the living conditions of Maasai, livestock and wildlife in the same area, being the ORMOTI Ranch Project.
Mission & Vision
The aim of IOPA ORMOTI Ranch Project is to create a better environment for the Maasai peasants, their Livestock and the native wildlife in the ORMOTI RANCH PROJECT area. The philosophy is that wildlife and the livestock of Maasai can continue to live together if the land they are using is managed properly.
The core business of ORMOTI RANCH PROJECT is good management of the 11.600 ha. of land. Good management includes restriction for number of livestock on defined grazing places and diseases control while at the same time improving the climate and bio-diversity by forestry management (tree planting and pruning) and water management. By crossbreeding Maasai cows with other species in combination with creating other sources of income for the Maasai people, Less pressure will lay on the land and its natural resources. Income increase and diversify for the local inhabitants will be created by inviting Eco-tourism to the area and promoting small scale jatropha, timber, honey and aloe production to the local community.