West Africa has high population growth. It is estimated that the region’s population (45% of whom are under 15 years old) will reach a half-billion by 2040. But countries in the region are struggling to reduce poverty and inequality, and to sustainably manage resources. There are major disparities in the region: Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal alone account for roughly 80% of the region’s imports and 94% of exports. Conflicts, political crises and terrorist threats in several West African countries are all destabilising factors. Those countries also face extreme climate phenomena, which are becoming more and more frequent and severe, and which are further weakening the primary sector.
Over the past thirty years, family farms in the Sahel have based their economies on balancing their resources and labour between animal and crop production. Livestock mobility is central to all of those systems, even the most sedentary ones. By securing routes and facilitating mobility, this project will benefit a wide range of family farms, regardless of how their farming systems are balanced.
Since early January 2015, Acting for Life has been coordinating the project to help 1,196,000 pastoralists and agropastoralists become more resilient by securing and promoting the cross-border mobility of livestock and providing services in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. This transnational programme aims to help pastoralists and agropastoralists become more resilient to climate phenomena through on-the-ground work and through regional and international policies. The project focuses on two transnational areas linking Mauritania, Mali and Senegal on the one hand, and Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso on the other. Those areas see the large-scale seasonal movement of transhumant pastoralists and agropastoralists who have access to pastures and markets, and to backup areas in the event of drought.
position transhumance and the movement of livestock for sale as factors for economic development;
set up favourable conditions for decentralisation;
promote strategic and prospective thinking supported by the distribution of advocacy tools supporting the social, environmental and economic importance of cross-border livestock mobility in West Africa as an essential strategy for adapting to climate phenomena and mitigating crises.
Key figures and results
Routes for the transhumance and sale of livestock have been mapped, secured, improved (watering places, rest areas and pastures) and managed jointly, inclusively and fairly by the users and institutional actors in question (decentralised authorities, state services). The most strategic routes act as a circulatory system allowing livestock farmers to circulate with their herds. They are also commercial routes for transporting livestock by foot.
Development of services for livestock farmers through the provision of inputs for livestock (livestock food and local animal health, including the infrastructure linked to them), and development of research and actions on new services adapted to mobile livestock farmers (supporting the strategic use of reserves in periods of crisis, information system for transhumance and feasibility of insuring livestock against risks, in the Sahelian context).
Creation and distribution of advocacy tools showing the economic, social and environmental benefits of livestock mobility.
Increase in the income of livestock-farming families.
The number of conflicts, particularly between crop and livestock farmers, has decreased in the areas covered by the project, and access to livestock markets has been facilitated (reduced travel time).