The Maasai traditional Livestock Management



The Maasai Management Strategies are profoundly based on the traditional Maasai Organization. It is important to know the main guiding serial institutions when talking about the Maasai because these institutions have the basis for how and why the pastoral strategies are used and how they persist.

The Livestock Economic Subsistence Strategy

The traditional Maasai economy is basically a kind of mono-livestock subsistence economy. This economy has a familiar mode of production whereby most of the animal products are used more for consumption and the remaining for reciprocal exchange and cash.

This makes livestock for the Maasai to play a central role in economic, social and cultural system for the group, for example:

Livestock provides the basis for subsistence. It provides the badly needed food, e.g. milk, meat, blood and the hides and skins

Livestock is a traditional form of wealth or capital used as legal tender for most of the economic transactions, e.g. for trade to obtain cash to buy supplementary foods and domestic demands such as drugs, utensils, clothing, etc.

It is true rational to keep animals, first to provide sufficient food for the family but also for security provision against drought and diseases.

Livestock is a means of acquiring prestige and status in terms of the number and type of animals.

The same livestock act as ceremonial funds and gifts on occasion of rituals, marriage and circumcisions. Therefore from the above, livestock for the Maasai serve as a basis for the economic subsistence and social relations.