BookPDF Available

Atlas of Trends in pastoral systems in the Sahel 1970-2012. SIPSA. FAO-CIRAD, 32 pages (



Over the last 30 years, Sahelian pastoral livestock farming has undergone major institutional, socioeconomic, climatic and agroecological changes, which have had a profound impact on the lifestyle of increasingly vulnerable rural people. For this atlas, SIPSA and partners collected and analysed information products which confirmed these trends, but also revealed the scarcity of historical data and specific indicators required to refine the analyses and characterize, foresee and manage pastoral crises. An analysis of the 1972-2012 period highlighted the overall trends. Legislatively, pastoral livestock farming was recognized as being a production system by several Sahelian countries, but the regulatory frameworks differ between countries. The harmonization and application of laws controlling transborder transhumance and marketing of livestock are highly supported by umbrella livestock farmers’ organizations and have become a subregional institutional and economic policy priority. Climatically, following the interannual variations that took place over the last two decades, and despite the large-scale droughts (1968-1974, 1983-1984, 2002-2003, 2005, 2009), the current trend in the Sahelian pastoral area indicates a northward shift in the isohyets. Few bushfires were recorded from October to November. However, high bushfire densities were noted in the southern part of the pastoral area and in the vicinity of wetlands (Senegal River Delta, Inner Niger River Delta and Lake Chad). Pastoral mobility (transhumance) has adapted to changes under the combined effects of greater herd sizes, increased drought frequency and the expansion of cropping areas, sometimes even extending across transhumance corridors. In addition to these factors, there are very many transborder livestock markets, which is forcing herders to create longer and dispersed alternative southward transhumance routes. Notwithstanding the number and diversity of existing equipment infrastructures that have emerged over the last 50 years, pastoral development is still hampered by the fact that development policies are poorly coordinated between stakeholders, and market access is complicated. From a socioeconomic standpoint, pastoral farmers’ households have diversified their activities while also developing endogenous nonmonetary mutual aid mechanisms to reduce the impacts of climatic, economic and sanitary shocks. An analysis of household incomes in the Senegalese pastoral area highlighted the average income inequality within and between pastoral sites, associated with their geographical location (markets, basic social infrastructures, etc.), and especially with the availability of water supply facilities (pastoral drilled or dug wells). Over the last decade, the trend towards increased use of new information and telecommunication technologies and motor vehicles has considerably enhanced herding management and mobility strategies in pastoral areas in Sahelian countries. Information and early warning systems in the Sahel are generally hindered by the lack or absence of raw data and relevant historical data summaries, but also of specific indicators designed to characterize crises and trends affecting Sahelian pastoral systems—the lack of organization of the different stakeholders and beneficiaries (rural communities, farmers’ organizations, etc.) in a consistent network; and the insufficient involvement/participation of local and national livestock farmers’ structures in public policy negotiations. For instance, few countries have statistical databases on exact herd numbers or on the monitoring of livestock markets located in pastoral areas. Differences noted between annual growth rates and the results of the 2007 general agriculture and herd census carried out in Niger confirmed the lack of accuracy of the data used in most countries. The latest pastoral crises in Mali, Niger and Chad revealed the malfunctioning of the policymaking and decisionmaking system, the shortage of specific pastoralism data and information and the fact that the impacts of the substitution of imported products by local products on trade indicators currently used in early warning systems are not taken into account. In order to be able to make effective use of all available data and specific indicators, it is necessary to support a reliable information system so as to reduce information asymmetry in decisonmaking processes and enhance the security of pastoral production systems integrated with other agricultural production systems. Such a field-tested information system should be based on an integrated approach to pastoral socioecological systems. It should also be relevant and sustainable via its information updating and processing, while also being tailored to the situation facing public administrations that have to cope with resource depletion and dispersed expertise. With the resurgence of climatic, food and nutritional crises in the Sahel, institutions responsible for managing early warning systems should take advantage of SIPSA to put in question their achievements and discuss the use of information generated by these systems for decision-support purposes. They also have access to elements for analysing sustainable development policies concerning pastoral societies in the Sahel, as well as research orientations and responsibilities. Keywords: Desertification, Natural resource management, Information systems, Pastoralism, Livestock farming policies.
Pastoralism and regulatory zoning p.6
Historical rainfall patterns p.8
Monitoring biomass production p.10
Monitoring bushfires in the Sahel p.12
Transhumance patterns p.14
An information system on pastoralism in the Sahel, what are the challenges? p.2
Organization and specific decision-support tools for Sahelian p.4
pastoral livestock farming
Atlas - regional scale
Atlas - national scale
Mali, characterizing transhumances p.16
Mali, trade terms in 2010 p.18
Niger, livestock markets p.20
Niger, the 2007 census p.22
Senegal, forage resources in Ferlo p.24
Senegal, pastoral income p.26
Chad, herd watering facility projects p.28
Chad, essential transhumance management p.30
Bibliography p.32
Marché à bétail de Dahra Djoloff - Sénégal © JD Cesaro (2009)
Pastoralism is the main activity in Sahelian countries that
involvessustainable use of irregular and fragile natural
vegetation. This type of livestock farming can adapt
to major seasonal and interannual variations in plant
biomass and water resources flexibly and quickly. In these
countries, livestock farming accounts for around 40% of
the agricultural GDP (ECOWAS 2008), and pastoral
systems generate 50% of all meat and 70% of all milk
produced (De Haan et al. 1999).
Rapid environmental changes are currently affecting these
production systems. Major socioeconomic, agroecological
and institutional changes, such as population growth,
climate change, market globalization, changes in animal
products, decentralization and divestiture of States, are
having a profound impact on the setting in which pastoral
societies function. Changes in these systems should be
supervised so as to be able to effectively deal with them,
and specific policies should be drawn up to prevent future
crises and conflicts.
Social and environmental problems that prevail in the
Sahel and some West African countries were aggravated
by the onset of droughts in 1974, 1984 and 1990.
Complex ecological, climatic and anthropogenic factors
underlie these problems. Increases in herds and cropland
extension have modified the relationship between
agropastoral and pastoral systems. Conflicts concerning
natural resources and herd mobility have increased
in number and severity. A decline in cropland fertility
and pastoral resource degradation have been noted
throughout the Sahel. These trends are detrimental to the
resilience of rangeland ecosystems and the societies that
depend on them.
Many studies have focused on this major issue over the
last two decades (De Haan et al. 1999, Steinfeld et al.
2006). Studies carried out by the Livestock, Environment
and Development (LEAD) initiative led to the development
of a toolbox that can be used to identify and structure
technical, institutional and political aspects of livestock
farming/environment interactions, thus facilitating their
consideration when drawing up, implementing and
assessing agricultural policies
Moreover, the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought
Control in the Sahel (CILSS), through the AGHRYMET
Regional Centre, has developed early warning tools
(SIAP, PRVS, Modèle Biomasse et expérience APELZP)
that have enhanced rangeland monitoring through the
use of satellite imaging and taking herd management
patterns into account in vulnerability analyses. However,
despite the scientific references compiled and the tools
developed, information and early warning systems are
still lacking relevant historical data and specific indicators
necessary to analyse long-term trends and prevent crises
that affect Sahelian pastoral systems.
In this setting, a prototype of an information system for
pastoralism in the Sahel (SIPSA) was proposed (Ickowicz
et al. 2005). This initiative is funded by the French Ministry
of Foreign Affairs (MAE) and FAO and coordinated by
the Pôle Pastoralisme et Zones Sèches (PPZS) (consisting
The overall aim of SIPSA is to develop a system for the
collection, validation and analysis of data required for
long-term monitoring and early warning. SIPSA aims to
provide a decision-support tool to predict, manage and
monitor pastoralism trends and environmental interactions
in the Sahelian region, especially in six CILSS countries
(Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal
and Chad). SIPSA was developed through an action
research approach in collaboration with the concerned
stakeholders. It generates indicators and information
tailored to pastoral systems and can contribute to public
policy planning processes and to the development
of strategies designed to meet the specific needs of
stakeholders in the private sector.
SIPSA has the following specific objectives:
1. to supply relevant and updated information on the
status and trends of Sahelian pastoral systems;
2. to develop information products to fulfil the needs
of different stakeholders and partners at different
decisionmaking levels;
3. to facilitate the circulation and dissemination of the
final products, and;
4. to promote decisionmaking for the different
stakeholders in terms of pastoral policy formulation and
An information system on pastoralism in the Sahel,
what are the challenges?
P. Gerber, I. Touré, A. Ickowicz, I. Garba, B. Toutain
Location of countries concerned by the Information system for pastoralism in the Sahel (SIPSA)
© I. Touré (2008)
Opening session of the Regional SIPSA Workshop in Niamey (June 2008)
The SIPSA geographical area covers pastoral systems in the Sahelian region, including Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania,
Niger, Senegal and Chad, corresponding to the limits of the atlas of the pastoral potential in the Sahel (CTA-CIRAD-
IEMVT 1985-1991).
Organization and specic decision-support tools
for Sahelian pastoral livestock farming
A. Ickowicz, A. Wane, I. Touré, I. Garba
From a methodological standpoint, SIPSA propose a
conceptual model to simulate pastoral lifestyles (Ic-
kowicz et al., 2005, Ancey et al., 2009). This model
was first developed with information on the pastoral
setting at Ferlo and available Senegalese data, and
subsequently tested with partners in the Sahelian su-
bregion. It is based on a review of existing information
and early warning systems and also on the results of
socioeconomic surveys carried out in pastoral areas
based on the rural-oriented concepts developed by
Sen A. (1981) and further supplemented by Swift J.
(1989). SIPSA model indicators are classified accor-
ding to 14 livestock farming system themes. From an
organizational standpoint, the SIPSA network consists
of a regional technical committee (CTR) and six natio-
nal coordination committees (CNC) in each member
The single and composite thematic indicators proposed
by SIPSA on national and regional scales fulfil two cri-
sis detection and long-term monitoring functions. The
by-products provide information on the state of pasto-
ral areas and trends, with the aim of facilitating inter-
pretation, decisionmaking and enhancing intervention
The main function of SIPSA enables operators to cha-
racterize a crisis in a given pastoral system and specify
its location from a combination of indicators of rainfall,
forage biomass and livestock and cereal trade terms
on different time scales. These crisis situation status and
location indicators are calculated on the basis of the
following data:
rainfall: real-time monitoring of 10-day cumulative •
rainfall relative to a mean curve plotted over 30
trade terms: cereal/livestock price ratio patterns;•
biomass deficit indicators: by rangeland area, or •
by the TLU ratio of a sedentary herd, or by a re-
levant territorial unit, expressed in kg DM/ha of
SIPSA alert bulletins
Tests of SIPSA indicators on different scales
List of SIPSA indicators
This atlas only deals with the long-term monitoring function
since the early warning function is covered through other
media (bulletins, radio, etc.), and combines a regional ana-
lysis and specific natural studies derived from CNC sum-
maries. The regional part presents different environmental
monitoring data obtained via satellite imaging estimates
and field measurements. These indicators can be used to
analyse major trends over the last four decades. The consi-
deration of pastoralism and livestock farming in national re-
gulations is also studied, along with transhumance patterns
in the subregion. The national part involves analyses of the-
mes specific to the four countries representative of national
Sahelian settings, i.e. Mali, Niger, Senegal and Chad.
Training session with livestock farmers from Thiel in 2003
© I. Touré (2003)
The second SIPSA long-term monitoring function serves
to query and analyse historical data in order to gain
insight into pastoral system dynamics so as to be able
to draw up development policies tailored to extensive
livestock farming:
priority zones for the development of hydraulic, •
sanitary and livestock market infrastructures: prio-
rity development index dependent on the potential
(biomass, herds);
priority zones for degraded rangeland rehabilita-•
tion: Rangeland trend index, Rangeland producti-
vity index;
priority zones for bushfire control: Bushfire occur-•
rence or risk index.
Since the first SIPSA indicators were developed and
tested in Senegal, other indicators have been tested
and adapted by network member countries and inclu-
ded in the SIPSA bulletins published by CNC in Niger
and Chad.
On a regional scale, a certain number of biophysi-
cal short- and long-term indicators associated with
rangeland production (DMP, NDVI), the vegetation
status (FDV), surface water bodies (SWB) or bushfire
sites, have been developed by the regional technical
coordination team from SPOT Vegetation and MODIS
satellite images. These indicators were tested and vali-
dated by AGRHYMET and are currently being used in
regional programmes such as AMESD.
Educational training modules have been developed
for pastoralism stakeholders on the basis of lessons
learnt from the implementation of SIPSA. These modu-
les contextualize the challenges involved in livestock
farming systems and analyse the methodological tools
developed. They also present technical and scientific
knowledge that could explain the functioning of pas-
toral systems for discussion, while jointly building a
shared foresight vision of the livestock farming sector.
The training modules are designed for different target
groups such as livestock farmer and interprofessional
livestock farming organization representatives, NGO
and development project coordinators, livestock far-
ming senior staff and technicians, specialized ministe-
rial service leaders, researchers and students.
Examples of a French SIPSA training module
and regulatory zoning
A.T. Diop, N.A. Diop, I. Niang, I. Atté, B. Toutain, M. Hamadoum
Land-use has increased over the last 50 years in the
Sahelian region. The human population increased 3.6-
fold from 1960 to 2010, leading to the emergence of
urban centres and to a rise in the sale of meat, milk,
leather and hides, but hampering the access of cattle
herds to rangelands, watering places, etc. Various
mining resources are also being tapped in previously
grazed areas to meet urban and industrial needs. In
SIPSA countries, cropland has increased by 2.5-fold
to fulfil the needs of growing populations and due to
the development of export crops, to the detriment of
protected areas, which have decreased by 13%. In
parallel, livestock farming activities are thriving, with a
2.5-fold increase in herd numbers (expressed in TLU)
between 1961 and 2009—this growth involves all li-
vestock farming systems (pastoral and agropastoral).
Cattle concentration relative to the human rural population
A transhumance corridor, Arly National Park, Burkina Faso
Production systems have also changed. Some livestock
farmers thus drive their herds to different areas for part
of the year to avoid conflicts, whereas others have star-
ted growing crops, while also maintaining their cattle
herds. In response to these changes, land-use compe-
tition has increased, leading to land disputes or even
violent and sometimes deadly conflicts. This social and
spatial restructuring, combined with increased popula-
tion pressure, has resulted in a decline in wildlife bio-
topes and the loss of certain species since the early
20th century in the Sahel. Protected areas have been
delineated to ensure their preservation and stall wildlife
and plant resource degradation.
Trends from 1961 to 2009 in all SIPSA countries
© B. Toutain (2010)
Pastoral area and protected areas
Pastoralism regulations
They cover a 166 668 km² area, or 13.5% of the ove-
rall pastoral area (1 230 410 km²). Depending on their
status, the presence of livestock is relatively tolerated in
a still poorly managed cohabitation. In silvopastoral or
wildlife reserves, wild animal development has gene-
rally stopped, leading to the decline and even disap-
pearance of some endemic species. Wilderness areas
and national parks still have substantial animal and
plant diversity. However, due to climate change, these
areas—prohibited for livestock herds—are being visited
to an increasing extent by herds in search of better fee-
ding conditions. To limit the impact of these visits and
reduce conflicts in local areas, different regulatory and
legislative initiatives have been taken on national and
subregional scales. Regulations and pastoral codes
were recently adopted (2000) and applied with limited
success, e.g. the pastoralism orientation law in Burkina
Faso, the pastoral charter in Mali, the pastoral code in
Mauritania and the pastoral code in Niger. Zoosanitary
agreements and conventions on cattle marketing and
transborder transhumance committing Member States
of subregional and regional institutions (ALG, CILSS,
WAEMU and ECOWAS) have been ratified, but major
efforts remain in the effective application of these initia-
For further information:
Historical rainfall patterns
I. Garba, I. Touré, A. Ickowicz, JD. Cesaro
Rainfall normals (mm) 1961 -1990 and isohyets 1991-2009 (measured data)
The Sahel is located in the climatic transition area
between the Saharan zone in the north and the Su-
danian zone in the south. It extends from the Atlantic
Ocean to the Red Sea. The average annual rainfall in
this biogeographical region ranges from 150 to 600
mm (Hiernauxvet al., 2006). It is subdivided into three
subzones: northern Sahelian, typical Sahelian and
southern Sahelian.
Over the last four decades, the Sahel has undergone se-
veral deficit rainfall periods, resulting in major droughts
(1968-1974, 1983-1984, 2002-2003, 2005, 2009),
which have had a serious impact on human and animal
populations. The spatiotemporal distribution of rainfall
and its redistribution on the soil surface via runoff are
key factors that determine the diversity of the plant co-
ver and its interannual production. The rainfall datasets
used in our analyses were compiled with measured
data (AGRHYMET databases), but some were estima-
ted from satellite data (NOAA, NCDC, GPCC).
Annual rainfall variations in the Sahelian region between
1900 and 2010 showed a sawtooth pattern, with an al-
ternation of humid and dry periods. The 1900-1950 pe-
riod was marked by an alternation of 3-4 humid years
followed by a dry year. From 1951 to 1969, a steady
series of humid years occurred.
Annual variations in the Sahel rainfall index between 1900 and 2010
Average rainfall (mm) from 2000 to 2010 (estimated data)
For further information:
Rangeland pond at Barkédji
© I. Touré (2005)
A series of dry years occurred from 1970 to 1993. Howe-
ver, the 1994 to 2011 period was marked by an alterna-
tion of one humid year followed by 3 to 4 dry years.
A comparison of rainfall normals for the 1961-1990 pe-
riod (WMO) relative to the mean for the 1991-2009 pe-
riod highlights a return of rainfall in the northern zones, as
confirmed by a northward shift in the 150, 300 and 450
mm isohyets. This trend was more marked in the northern
regions of Niger and Chad. Conversely, the 600 mm iso-
hyet remained stable from Senegal to Niger, whereas it
shifted southward in Chad. An analysis of the estimated
average rainfall for the 2000-2010 period showed the
following zonal distribution:
The Sahel-Saharan transition zone, with under •
150 mm annual rainfall, is suitable for the growth
of short-cycle plants and sparse perennial gras-
ses that are grazed by herds (mainly camels and
goats) managed by nomadic herders during their
movements between available watering places.
The northern Sahelian subzone (150-300 mm) has •
barely 2% woody plant cover, with biomass pro-
duction of up to 400 kg DM/ha (Boudet, 1977).
This zone is currently utilized by nomadic herders
and transhumant livestock farmers.
The typical Sahelian subzone (300-450 mm) is •
characterized by a broad range of diverse vege-
tation growing in the different main geomorpholo-
gical units. On sandy soil, there is barely 5% woo-
dy plant cover. Average annual grassy biomass
production ranges from 500 to 2000 kg DM/ha
over a north-south gradient.
The southern Sahelian subzone has more rainfall •
(450-600 mm), with woody plant cover ranging
from 5 to 30% over a north-south gradient.
Monitoring biomass production
Fodder availability, in quantitative and qualitative
terms, is a crucial factor with respect to pastoralism in
the Sahel. Rainfall intensity during the rainy season and
its spatial distribution determine the potential quantity
of fodder available during the subsequent long dry
season. Depending on the situation, livestock farmers
may advance or delay their transhumance movements.
Host pastoral areas risk a high inflow of animals, thus
increasing the risk of epizootic disease onset, conflicts
with local crop farmers, overgrazing and environmen-
tal degradation.
On a regional level, the biomass production assessment
system must be enhanced, while boosting awareness
and locating places with fodder deficits within Sahelian
pastoral areas. Considering the geographical scope of
the concerned pastoral area, SPOTVEGETATION deri-
vatives (Smets B. et al., 2010) are suitable for estimating
biomass production since they are designed to assess
the biomass production potential and then compare it
with a reference average calculated on the basis of a
1998-2010 time series. The annual dry matter quantity
is calculated from the cumulated 10-day data for the
rainy season (May-October). The result obtained repre-
sents the fodder biomass production available during
the agropastoral season.
Estimated average biomass production over the 1998-2010 period
Rangeland around Mbeulekhé in July (Senegal)
Measuring biomass at Ferlo
I. Garba, A. Ickowicz, I. Touré, B. Toutain, JD. Cesaro
© I. Touré (2008)
© A. Ickowicz (2001)
Despite some regional differences, the estimated bio-
mass production for 1998, 2000 and 2006 were
lower than average, whereas that of 1999, 2007 and
2010 were higher. 2010 was a very good year for
biomass production throughout the Sahelian belt, ex-
cept in the northern part of Ouallam department in Ni-
ger. By comparison, production in 2009 was lower in
the pastoral area of Niger and Chad, whereas it was
very high in Burkina Faso, Senegal and Mauritania.
Rainfall is a key factor with respect to vegetation
growth in the Sahelian region (Penning de Vries,
1982). The precipitation efficiency index (PEI) can be
used to differentiate zones with high and low biomass
production potential under the same rainfall condi-
tions. Production variations are very closely correla-
ted with the soil capability and grazing intensity. An
analysis of this index, calculated on the basis of the
10-year mean, revealed a PEI of between 0 and 1
throughout most of the pastoral area, but the value
was over 1 at the eastern tip of the pastoral area of
Chad (Ouaddaï, Wadi Fira and Sila regions) and in
the Senegalese silvopastoral area (Louga and Matam
Average annual biomass production per mm rainfall over the 1998-2010 period
For further information:
After the grass cover has disappeared at Niassanté (Senegal)
in March
Estimated biomass production in 2010
relative to the mean for the 1998-2009 period
Estimated biomass production in 2009
relative to the mean for the 1998-2008 period
© JD. Cesaro (2009)
Monitoring bushres in the Sahel
LThe intensity and frequency of bushfires has a marked
impact on Sahelian agrosystem dynamics. Depending
on the agroecological area and season, these fires
are considered as a scourge, or as an agricultural
management tool (agricultural land clearing, stubble
burning, elimination of crop pests by harvest residue
burning), or as a natural resource management strategy
(stimulation of grass regeneration, house protection,
or even as a cropping practice). Fires may also ignite
due to negligence under favourable climatic conditions
or as a result of arson. Despite the above-mentioned
advantages, bushfires have negative impacts on natu-
ral resources: a decline in biodiversity, loss of organic
matter and nitrogen, depletion of fodder reserves,
soil degradation, a decrease in crop and rangeland
productivity. In order to better assess and prevent these
different impacts on Sahelian pastoral production sys-
tems, satellite imaging data validated by the technical
services can be used to develop indicators on the
basis of spatiotemporal analyses, for the purpose of
generating early warning information and determining
the long-term trends. These data supplied by MODIS
have been scientifically validated by AGRHYMET, in
collaboration with CSE in Dakar. They should, however,
be compared with statistical data recorded in the field
by water and forestry services in order to gain greater
insight into the interannual variability patterns.
Mean bushre density over the 2001-2010 period
Example of a bushre in Mali
Cumulated number of bushres detected over the 2001-2010 period
I. Garba, I. Touré, A. Ickowicz, JD. Cesaro, B. Toutain
© FAO (2010)
even though around 8000 fire outbreaks were de-
tected yearly. A seasonal variation was noted in the
cumulated monthly number of bushfires detected per
country in the pastoral area, with a peak between
October and November. Most fires detected occurred
in Mali, Senegal and Chad, and to a lesser extent
in Mauritania. With respect to the agrosilvopastoral
calendar, bushfires detected during the first two 10-day
periods of October in the Sahel could be considered
as early and therefore less detrimental than the others.
This analysis did not, however, reveal cases of arson,
but fires detected during the dry season (March-April)
in the pastoral area were in the vicinity of humid areas
(Inner Niger Delta, Lake Chad), often associated with
agricultural practices.
The results of this study of bushfire frequencies asso-
ciated with standing biomass, their location and the
identification of two favourable periods, could be used
to improve forecasting of risk areas. This information
could also be used to develop infrastructures and faci-
lities (firebreaks, available watering places) to ensure
the protection of pastoral resources.
For further information:
The Fire Information for Resource Management System
(FIRMS) http://rerms/
Creation of a rebreak in Senegal
Active bushfires detected in the Sahel and West Africa
over the last 10 years are generally distributed over a
north-south gradient. The highest densities are noted in
Senegal, Mali and Chad, in the vicinity of humid areas
(Senegal River Delta, Inner Niger River Delta and Lake
Chad), and in savanna areas, where bushfires serve as
a pastoral management tool. The northern Burkina Faso
silvopastoral reserve and the Niger pastoral area are
less affected due to the lower biomass production.
An analysis of these data revealed a marked increase,
within Sahelian and West African countries, of bushfi-
res detected between 2001 and 2005, and a slight
decrease between 2005 and 2010. However, the
pastoral area per-se was less impacted by bushfires,
Cumulated monthly number of bushres per country in the pastoral area over the 2001-2010 period
© PAPF (2004)
Transhumance patterns
Transhumance is the seasonal movement of livestock
herds supervised by herders. In Sahelian countries,
transhumance is an adaptation strategy geared towards
optimizing livestock access to water and grazings of
sufficient quality to ensure the herds’ annual production.
This practice concerns 70-90% of Sahelian cattle herds.
At the end of the rainy season, livestock farmers leave
their home area and drive their herds towards areas
that are more likely to fulfil their herds’ nutritional needs.
One family may split up to follow several different
transhumance trails, depending on the family’s assets,
size and composition, and the use (or not) of salaried
The distance covered during these movements may
change from one season to the next depending on the
climatic conditions and the pastoral resource availa-
bility and distribution in the host areas. Over the last
three decades, these movements have become longer
and more dispersed, especially southward. This trend
could be explained by herd increases, environmental
aridification, the expansion of agricultural areas in
transhumance corridors and the diversity of transborder
cattle markets, thus forcing herders to find alternative
transhumance routes. It is also essential to take the spe-
cific features of each country into account, along with
the question of shared management of the area and the
incurred conflicts.
In Senegal, cattle movements are often limited to the
silvopastoral area in the north, whereas small ruminant
herds are being driven further and further southward.
In Mali, despite successive droughts, livestock farmers
are still moving their herds while also creating settled
camps for their families. In Niger, where large-scale
transhumance is practiced, sedentary livestock farmers
develop localized strategies to move their herds between
pastoral enclaves, whereas transhumant herders are
driving their herds longer distances over the years. In
Chad, the southern limit of camel herd movements has
descended from the 13th parallel to the 9th parallel in
20 years. Some transhumant cattle herds are now being
driven as far south as the Central African Republic.
A. T. Diop, JD. Cesaro, I. Touré, A. Ickowicz , B. Toutain
Summary of recent national and transborder herd movements and commercial cattle trade channels
© I. Touré (2008)
Seeking trade channels in Niger
© IIED (2010)
International transhumance certicate (ECOWAS)
For further information:
Mali, caractériser les transhumances p.16
Tchad, suivre les transhumances p.30
Transhumant livestock farmers generally prefer to
follow routes that will enable them to reach the host
area as quickly as possible and which offer suitable
conditions for feeding their livestock on the way.
Transhumance movements thus involve a series of steps
that are carefully selected on the basis of information
collected from informers and based on their personal
herding experience. In choosing transhumance routes,
livestock farmers seek information on the presence
and quality of grazings, on herd watering places
and harvest residue in cropping areas, on trade terms
practiced in livestock markets and on the presence
of defence and security forces. Improvements in
telephone and radio networks in pastoral areas
has also considerably modified livestock farmers’
practices over the last 10 years, enabling them to
determine distances from available resources in host
areas, trade terms and transborder passage points.
These decisions are also dictated by information
corresponding to the security and livestock health
situation conveyed by the livestock farmers’ network.
The routes selected may change according to updated
information during transhumance movements.
A transhumance boundary marker
in the northern Tahoua region (Niger)
© I. Touré (2008)
Caravan wandering along a sesame eld at Salamat (Chad)
© Projet Almy Bahaïm (2008)
A transhumant herder’s camp near Bouteyni (Senegal)
© JD. Cesaro (2009)
Protected areas are being visited to an increasing extent
by transhumant herds, despite regulations in force in
the concerned countries. Niokolo Koba National Park
(Senegal), transborder W National Park (Benin, Burkina
Faso, Niger), Zakouma National Park (Chad), and
others, are periodically crossed by livestock herds. Many
livestock farmers also drive their herds outside of their
home countries. Transborder flows are increasing, for
instance, from Mauritania towards Senegal and Mali, or
between Niger and Benin, Nigeria and Togo. In 1998, the
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
adopted decision A/DEC.5/10/98 to provide a
framework and facilitate transborder transhumance,
which was locally reinforced by agreements between
countries (Mauritania-Senegal-Mali, Niger-Burkina
Faso). Fifteen years later, these regulations are still hard
to apply in the field and livestock farmers continue to
encounter problems when crossing borders.
Characterizing transhumances
F. Ham, N.A Sow, T. Métais
Conventional transhumance movement patterns and livestock farming systems
In Mali, transhumant and nomadic herding concerns
around 70-80% of the national livestock herds (15% of
livestock farmers). These cyclical seasonal movements
occur in conventional rangelands according to five
periods: rainy season, end of the cereal crop season,
cold dry season, hot dry season and the lean season.
Movements vary from year to year depending on the
availability of pastoral resources (water, grazings and
saltlands). Due to this variability, it is essential that the
technical services determine the ‘conventional’ move-
ment patterns, which give rise to the formation of prefe-
rential season-dependent herd concentration areas. The
cartographic analyses conducted by Action Against
Hunger and partners in Mali, Niger and Mauritania
are geared towards locating the most vulnerable areas.
Two map correction and validation workshops were
held in Bamako and Niamey involving experts, NGOs,
associations and government representatives. Spatio-
temporal complementarity is a key feature of pastoral
livestock farming and for understanding conventional
herd movements, and adaptation strategies are essen-
tial for efficient management of these areas.
Transhumance workshop in Bamako in 2010
© ACF (2010)
Sedentary and nomadic herders in Mali
Seasonal pastoral herding areas
The above map indicates that conventional transhu-
mant herd movements in Mali are mainly in a north-
south direction. Some transhumances move towards
specific sites, such as the Inner Niger Delta, or the
Adrar des Ifoghas mountain range. The seasonal pas-
toral herding areas shown on this map are the result of
these movements in the early 2000s and dependent on
three main seasons (rainy season, cold dry season, hot
dry season). This cartography provides a basis for further
studies that could be subsequently undertaken on a finer
scale. The map could thus be streamlined on a national
scale, while avoiding excessive information and detail.
Based on this map, seasonal herd movements at any
given time throughout the year can be characterized in
exceptional detail. This makes it possible to predict a po-
tential vulnerability of transhumant herds, depending on
the season, and to determine if a pastoral crisis is about
to occur on a local scale. A pastoral vulnerability map
drawn up in this way highlights herd concentration areas
and areas that have been abandoned depending on the
availability of pastoral resources. This makes it possible to
foresee areas requiring assistance according to the herd
For further information:
Ham F., Metais T., Hoorelbeke P., Fillol E, Crahay P.
2011 – ACF. One horn of the cow: an innovative GIS-
based surveillance and early warning system pastoral
areas of Sahel.
Transhumant herd concentration around Gao
© Hamadou Mapa (2010)
Pastoral households in the Sahel are subjected to clima-
tic, economic, sanitary, social and political disturban-
ces, all of which have an impact on their production
potential and consumption patterns.
In 2010, a food and nutrition crisis severely affected Sa-
helian pastoral communities. This problem was mainly
associated with a shortage of rainfall during the 2009
rainy season and with their impacts in terms of biomass
production and insufficient filling of temporary and
permanent streams. Pastoral communities in northern
Mali were also affected by this multidimensional crisis.
From a commercial standpoint, trade commodity pri-
ces tended to rise. This price ratio changed for various
reasons in the livestock farming sector as a function of
the geographical areas and the specific consumption
habits of livestock farming populations. They were gra-
dually dependent on relative values between livestock
and cereals, especially between cattle and cereals (Du-
pire, 1962; Baier, 1980; Bonfiglioli, 1988), and finally
between goats and millet, particularly in Mali (Wane,
Nowadays, in addition to the effects of climatic events,
speculations, the transmission of higher commodity pri-
ces, price volatility, and the impact of the substitution of
local products by imported products have undermined
the stability of trade terms (David- Benz et al., 2010).
Trade terms in 2010
A. Wane, JD. Cesaro, I. Touré, N. A. Sow
Location of markets surveyed in 2010
© Coolgarey (2008)
Gao market, a trade centre
Near Niger, Ansongo market
In northern Mali, in 2010, goat-millet trade terms shed
light on the potential degradation of peoples liveli-
hoods. Relative prices were first evaluated, and then
assessments by experts (econometric forecasts) and
stakeholders (assessment of the ‘good’ or ‘poorqua-
lity of a farm year) were combined to characterize the
2010 farm year relative to situations noted over the
previous decade. The aim was to produce an operatio-
nal tool that could be used by national and multilateral
agencies responsible for administering and managing
international aid.
Relative goat-millet values on four reference markets in
northern Mali served as pastoral livelihood deteriora-
tion indicators. Millet price instability is associated with
market dynamics, irrespective of the product trends and
seasonality. Market instability and unpredictable stake-
holder behaviour (speculation, stock retention, spatial
margins, temporal arbitration of holders, etc.) could
structurally explain the observed price differences. The
relative price instability concerning goats is still depen-
dent on the marketing effort, which is mainly associated
with herders’ decisions.
Comparatively, goat-millet trade terms for the July 2009-
June 2010 consumption year in the reference markets
were markedly below those of a good year, i.e. favou-
rable for pastoral communities. The situations at Central
Gao and Ménaka markets were similar to those of the
poorest year of the last decade—even thought there was
a slight improvement after the harvests, this was followed
by degradation as early as February 2010 for Ménaka
and March 2010 for Central Gao. The situation was
less problematic at Ansongo and Bourem, but there was
still some concern.
For futher information:
Wane A. (2010), Evaluation de la situation alimentaire
et nutritionnelle des ménages pastoraux du Burkina
Faso et du Mali, Rapport d’étude PAM/CIRAD, 83 p.
Trade terms in 2010 on all four markets relative to a good and poor year
© Coolgarey (2008)
Livestock markets
I. Atté, M. Saley , S. Yahaya, S. Djibo, I. Touré
Most common markets per department
Livestock density per market
Tahoua market in Niger
In Niger, pastoral livestock farming is based on hi-
ghly vulnerable production systems. The droughts of
the 1970s, 80s and 90s, and the food and pastoral
crises of 2005, 2010 and 2011 had a serious impact
on herd growth patterns. Moreover, the insufficiency
of the pastoral crisis prevention mechanism, which was
supposed to support and supplement traditional sys-
tems, exposed livestock farmers in Niger to even grea-
ter recurrent food insecurity.
Following the 1984 drought, the Ministry of Livestock
Farming set up an information system on livestock mar-
kets (SIMb) whereby the livestock price was conside-
red to be a good indicator of livestock farmers’ pur-
chasing power and could be compared to those of
the main cereal crops. Since 1998, SIMb has been an
integral part of the national food crisis prevention and
management system, which generally aims to contri-
bute to the sustainable improvement of food security in
Niger and to enhancing the efficiency of national food
security policies through greater market transparency
and fuller insight into agropastoral product trade pat-
© I. Touré (2008)
Markets monitored by SIM-Bétail since 2006
Since 1999, Nigeria has been the top destination of
livestock herds from Niger. Nigerien livestock farmers
markedly destock their livestock due to the highly incen-
tive prices and the fact that the export situation conti-
nued to improve until 2011. An analysis of a chronolo-
gical series of livestock statements over the 2010-2011
season highlighted the importance of consolidation
and export markets, accounting for 46% and 28% of
the total cattle supply volume.
The SIMb results show that the livestock supply (all spe-
cies combined) is much more pronounced at the borders
with Mali and Chad in the departments of Tchintaba-
raden, Abalak, N’guigmi, Tchirozérine and Ouallam,
and with 6% of all markets surveyed in Niger.
Foreign export traders, which are confined to conso-
lidation and export markets, are currently present on
collection markets. The Côte d’Ivoire crisis has added
to the substantial market of livestock from Mali.
Out of the 635 livestock markets documented in Niger,
77 are monitored by SIMb with functions and locations
that could be differentiated into four market types:
Collection markets located in the pastoral area •
where herders are very present;
Consolidation markets located mainly in the agricul-•
tural area, with a marked presence of intermediate
traders (purchases and sales throughout Niger);
Export markets located near borders where Nige-•
rien exporters and foreign importers are present;
Consumer markets (or terminals) located in large •
urban centres in Niger or abroad.
The Recensement Général de l’Agriculture et du Chep-
tel (RGAC; agriculture and livestock census) classified
them in seven categories, three of which are distinct
(collection, consolidation, terminal, accounting for
56.53%) and four have a double or triple function
(collection and consolidation, collection and terminal,
consolidation and terminal, collection and consolida-
tion and terminal, respectively representing 34.80%
and 8.66%).
For futher information:
SIM bétail, Ministère des Ressources Animales, B.P.
12091 Niamey NIGER Tél : (+227) 73 72 96
E-mail :
Bororo cattle on the edge of a pond near Tagayen, Niger
Livestock farming is considered as a lever that could
boost the economy of Niger, with a recognized role
in the rural development strategy (RDS) adopted by
the Nigerien government on 14 November 2003.
Since 2001, the Ministry of Livestock Farming, with the
support of the European Union and FAO, has been
involved in a large-scale agriculture and livestock cen-
sus programme (RGAC) with the aim of compiling a
reliable and updated statistical system. Four regions
account for 77% of the total livestock population; Zin-
der (25%), Tahoua (20.6%), Maradi (16.41%) and
Tillabéry (15%). Note that there is a predominance of
sheep and goats (65.82% of the national herd) relative
to other livestock species, especially cattle. Sedentary
herds prevail, i.e. 66% of the national population, with
a higher proportion of goats (42%). Sheep, cattle and
camels represent 28%, 23% and 5%, respectively, of
the national population. The proportion of breeding
females ranges from 46% to 56% depending on the
species. Nomadic herds represent 18% of the total
population, mainly consisting of sheep (35%), goats
(32%), camels (20%) and cattle (19%). This livestock
farming system is mainly practiced in three regions: Ta-
houa (35%), Zinder (29%) and Agadez (21%).
The 2007 census
I. Atté, M. Saley , S. Yahaya, S. Djibo, I. Touré
Surveyed cattle herd numbers in 2007 relative to the growth rate used prior to the RGAC
Cattle number relative to the agricultural population
© I. Touré (2008)
were used in a dynamic projection model to obtain a
more consistent annual growth rate.
There were more transhumance movements within the
country, i.e. 56% of the total transhumant livestock
herd, than transborder transhumance movements.
Herds that were herded into other countries mainly
crossed into Nigeria (79%), followed by Burkina Faso
(7.5%), Benin (4.5%), Chad (3.8%) and Mali (3.6%).
The RGAC revealed that vaccination practices were
less common than herd deworming campaigns. Ove-
rall, in sedentary farming areas, 52% of cattle farmers,
32% of sheep farmers and 23% of goat farmers vacci-
nated their animals. However, the proportion of noma-
dic herders practicing vaccinations was only 11%, as
compared to 48% for transhumant herders. These low
rates were due to the poor distribution, low numbers or
nonexistence of herd vaccination stations and corridors
in some areas.
The RGAC survey also generated data on three lives-
tock farming systems: sedentary, nomadic and transhu-
mant. Although the herd size declined as compared to
the estimations, the number of herd owners increased.
A southward shift in the hub of the livestock farming
are was also noted, with 60% of the cattle herds being
hosted in the agropastoral area. This new distribution
was perceived after the 1984 drought and confirmed
in 2008.
The RGAC dataset represented a change from the for-
mer dataset which was very imprecise. However, infor-
mation on annual herd production in terms of the num-
ber of animals used or potentially used by herders were
still insufficient. This complex and hard to solve problem
concerns all Sahelian countries. The livestock farming
technical service figures estimated on the basis of
constant annual growth rates overlook external events
that may have a marked impact on herd dynamics and
production (droughts, epizootic diseases, etc.).
The results of these surveys concerning the herd pro-
ductivity in comparison with the 2005 survey data
were used to build a uniform dataset for the 1970-
2011 period. The demographic parameters obtained
For further information:
Recensement général de l’agriculture et du cheptel
(RGAC) Niger 2008, 9 volumes
Percentage of nomadic livestock herds per department
Percentage of transhumant herds per department
Vaccination stations Transhumant livestock vaccination practices
Scene around the Niassanté well
Drilled well distributions in the Ferlo region in 2001
Fodder resources in Ferlo
Ferlo is a traditional pastoral area that extends over an
area of around 70 000 km² in northern Senegal. In
this geographical area with a high natural fodder po-
tential and visited half the year by Peul herders, trans-
humance takes place between the Senegal River Val-
ley (Waalo) in the dry season and floodlands (Jeeri)
in the rainy season (Barral et al., 1983; Touré. et al.,
1996). A pastoral hydraulic policy was put in force by
the colonial administration in the 1950s (Touré, 2010)
to enhance fodder resource use in the area, while sett-
ling mobile herders that were hard to administratively
control. This development programme led to a major
restructuring of the area and the pastoral practices of
herders, who gradually settled close to rangelands
that had become ‘opened’ throughout the year in the
vicinity of permanent wells.
Trends in the number of drilled wells in the Ferlo region
between 1980 and 2001
I. Touré, AT. Diop, A. Wane, JD. Cesaro, I. Niang
© JD Cesaro (2009)
The Senegalese government continued to apply this
policy after the two large-scale droughts in the 1970s
and 1980s. The number of motorized wells more than
doubled between 1990 and 2000 throughout the Ferlo
region. New wells were built mainly along the Senegal
River in Jeeri. The others are located in the southwestern
Ferlo region, in the vicinity of the groundnut cropping
belt. Few wells were built in the central southern Ferlo re-
gion. This ‘diagonal void’ could be explained by the aim
to limit new development initiatives in order to protect the
northern and southern Ferlo wildlife reserves and preser-
ve pastoral resources required for the many transhumant
herds that graze there during the dry season.
Drilled well density in 2001
Drilled well density in 1996
For further information:
Ancey V., Wane A., Müller A., André D., Leclerc G.,
2008. Payer l’eau au Ferlo. Stratégies pastorales de
gestion communautaire de l’eau. Revue Autrepart, IRD.
p. 51-67
Drilled well density maps in 2001 showed high hete-
rogeneity between rural communities. The eastern and
southwestern regions benefited from more intensive
hydraulic facility development. There was greater pres-
sure on facilities in the northwestern region and in a
few communities in the centre. This analysis also highli-
ghted transhumance ‘emitter and ‘receptor’ types of
rural communities. Drilled wells are operational year
round but tapped to a greater extent from the onset of
the dry season to the end of the lean period.
Financial management of these wells is complicated
by the many transhumant herd departures and arrivals.
Transhumant herders pay more than local sedentary
livestock farmers (on the grounds that they should par-
ticipate in well management and maintenance). The
emergence of drilled wells in Ferlo region gave a mo-
netary value to water. Paying for water is still not fully
accepted and gives rise to many conflicts (Diop et al.,
Since the 1990s, Senegal delegated well manage-
ment to well users’ associations (ASUFOR) and their
control has become a challenge within communities.
Once yearly, the number of heads of cattle and carts
of each well user is ‘counted’, or at least declared.
These units, multiplied by the per-head price (e.g. FC-
FA100/month/cow, FCFA30/month/small ruminant,
and FCFA600/100 l inner tube water volume) gives
the monthly fixed fee due per user. Surveys of livestock
farmers mention an overall herd watering price at the
well (FCFA2 000 to 24 000), often based on a lives-
tock census. There is a fixed price for water consump-
tion per family (90% of livestock farmers pay between
FCFA200 and 5 000 per month, with a median value
of FCFA1 000). Based on experience, the project to
support livestock farming in silvopastoral areas recom-
mends charging for extracted water volumes calculated
via installed water counters. In light of the deficiencies
noted in community management of these drilled wells,
the political option is to hereafter assign the well main-
tenance task to private operators. The operator would
have a well maintenance monopoly while also being
obliged to assist ASUFOR.
Inner tube and cistern used for transporting water
© I. Touré (2002) © PAPF (2010)
Pastoral income
A. Wane, I. Niang , I. Touré, JD. Cesaro
In addition to being a livelihood, Sahelian pastoralism is
an activity involving production, consumption and mar-
keting of goods and services in a global change setting
(climatic, economic, sociopolitical). Between 2005 and
2006, PPZS conducted household surveys starting from
a statistically representative sample of the ecological and
economic diversity in the Ferlo region. This study quanti-
fied income derived from this activity at weekly markets.
This was representative of pastoral revenues overall deri-
ved from sales of livestock (97.9%; cattle, sheep, goats),
dairy products (0.5%; fresh milk, clotted milk and butter),
donkeys and horses (0.8%) and other commodities
(0.8%, millet, gum arabic, gathered products).
These results gave a preliminary indication of the mean
income disparity within and between pastoral sites. The
Gini index was thus calculated to determine inequality
levels between 0 (extreme case of completely egalitarian
societies) and 1 (extreme case of completely inegalita-
rian societies). The overall Gini index for five sites repre-
sentative of the ecological and economic diversity within
the Ferlo region was estimated at 0.528 (Senegal has an
index of 0.413) but there were sharp differences between
the different studied sites associated with their isolation.
Pastoral sites in the northern part of the area, which is
more arid (200 mm rainfall), had a higher index of 0.50,
so it was relatively inegalitarian, whereas the two located
in the south (550 mm) were under this threshold, so they
were more egalitarian. This inequality between sites was
fourfold greater than in the communities.
Location of PPZS study sites
Owning several carts is a sign of wealth
Milk, consumed or sold, a pastoral livelihood support
© C. Corniaux (2009)
© JD. Cesaro (2009)
Spatialization of the results per camp revealed high
heterogeneity in revenues at sites with drilled wells
(Tatki, Thiel, Rewane and Boulal) with a certain degree
of homogeneity noted at the site with a pastoral well
(Mbame) due to the income diversification potential.
The very high annual sales (FCFA4.2-18.5 million) were
concentrated at Mbame (39%) and Tatki (23%), while
low incomes (under FCFA2 million) were mainly noted
around pastoral drilled wells at Rewane (76%), Boulal
(63%) and Thiel (61%). Livestock marketing accounted
for over 96% of the overall sales per site. Donkey and
horse sales were greater at Mbame where, due to the
scattered nature of the population and the absence of
basic infrastructures, these animals are used to carry
herdersto markets and watering places. However, the
sales data did not provide sufficient information on the
marketing potential of Ferlo herders, who have a unique
relationship with the market. Indeed, they are active
in these markets, but this does not influence their pro-
duction decisionmaking, except during specific periods
when there is a very high market demand (e.g. during
Aid-El- Kébir or Tabaski festivities).
Inuential local people at a weekly market in Ferlo
© JD. Cesaro (2009)
Income of households around Boulal, Tatki, Thiel and Mbame sites
For further information:
Wane A., Touré I., Ancey V., 2009. Pastoralisme et
Recours aux marchés - Cas du Sahel sénégalais (Ferlo),
Cahiers de l’Agriculture, Volume 19, Numéro 1, 14-20,
janvier-février 2010, Étude originale
Herd watering facility projects
Y. Kamis, O.M. Saleh, , JD. Cesaro, A. Ickowicz
Water is an essential resource for livestock survival and
production. In Chad, livestock farming is mainly pasto-
ral, which is a key factor in the preservation of transhu-
mant herd movements.
Heavy livestock losses occurred during large-scale drou-
ghts, whereas herdersmobility and adaptation strate-
gies enabled them to limit the losses (10-20% mortality)
as compared to sedentary livestock farmers (50-100%).
Hence, to preserve and stimulate the development of
pastoral herding, in the 1980s the Chadian government
initiated a major programme for the development of
herd watering facilities. From 1983 to 2010, around 30
pastoral hydraulic projects were set up in different Cha-
dian regions. Two-thirds of them were combined with
the development of transhumance routes. French deve-
lopment assistance accounted for around 60% of the
investments, whereas Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti funds
accounted for 20%. The remaining funding was obtai-
ned from different international organizations. Projects
funded by the Agence Française de Développement
(AFD) and implemented by one or several research
agency consortiums (ANTEA, IRAM, AVSF, CIRAD, etc.)
aimed to preserve herd mobility to ensure sustainable
pastoral resource use (water and grazings). They deve-
loped an approach based on pastoral mobility, which
was designed on the basis of previous lessons and ex-
perience, highlighting the social and environmental risks
that could hamper management of watering facilities
and pastoralism.
Zoning of herd watering facility projects of the Agence Française de Développement A pastoral well in northern Batha
Construction of a pond in Ouaddai region
© Projet Almy Bahaïm (2008) © Projet Almy Bahaïm (2008)
© Projet Almy Bahaïm (2008)
These projects were implemented in original ways, i.e.
accounting for the management of pastoral and agro-
pastoral areas, defining a strategy tailored to each spe-
cific area, analysing and preserving mobile systems,
strengthening existing capacities with respect to social
management of herd watering facilities and conflict me-
diation. The following herd watering facilities were built
over a 28 year period:
1 350 wells for pastoral and mixed (village commu-•
nity and pastoral) uses;
1 222 drilled wells, half of which are located in •
Saharan and Sahelian areas;
Around 300 specially adapted ponds; around 20 •
In addition, over 1 000 km of transhumance trails and
herd resting areas—sources of conflict—were marked in
order to clearly outline pastoral rangelands threatened
by other activities or development projects.
These markers were made of masonry, reinforced
concrete, galvanized tubing and temporary materials
(wooden stakes, or painted markings on trees). These
newly constructed watering facilities enabled access to
certain grazing areas that were previously not grazed
due to a lack of water, the enhancement of other areas,
while reducing pressure on areas that were previously
overgrazed. The early southward movement of transhu-
mant herds during some years was slowed down and,
in turn, conflicts associated with crop damage were mi-
tigated. Trail markers clearly reduced conflicts associa-
ted with transhumant movements. Overall, the approach
based on herd mobility and monitoring of these pro-
jects involved setting up infrastructures along transhu-
mance routes: watering points, markers along corridors
and herd resting areas, strengthening of cooperation
between users and conflict prevention.
Recent assessments highlighted the advantages of
constructing and managing these herd watering faci-
lities, but through a more integrated and multisectoral
pastoral development approach.
Construction and rehabilitation of herd watering facilities per region between 1983 and 2008
For further information: Ickowicz A., Aminou B.K., An-
cey V., Azoulay G., Benamour A., 2010. Note de synthè-
se. Interventions nancées par l’AFD dans le secteur de
l’hydraulique pastorale au Tchad sur la période 1994-
2004. Rapport AFD-CIRAD, Montpellier. 19 p.
Trends in the main transhumance routes from 1970 to nowadays
Essential transhumance
Y. Kamis, O.M. Saleh , A. Ickowicz, I. Touré, JD. Cesaro, B. Toutain
Transhumance is both a livelihood and a production
system. In Chad, transhumance takes place according
to an almost invariable cyclical scheme, dictated by an-
nual ecological and climatic conditions in an area within
which several sectors are successively grazed during
the year. These annual herd movements take place in
succession as long as the rainfall, social and economic
conditions remain relatively stable. The extent of herd
movements is highly variable, generally running in a
north-south direction at the onset of the dry season, and
a south-north direction at the onset of the rainy season.
Transhumant herd movements have so far involved ef-
fective use of pastoral resources to ensure sufficient herd
production, while giving fresh impetus to and boosting
the dynamism of different local markets.
Health and schooling coverage for transhumant camps
is very poor. Despite efforts by the government and par-
tners to provide an education for herders’ children and
facilitate access to health care, this segment of the popu-
lation remains undereducated and vulnerable. In colo-
nial times, there were attempts to set up mobile schools
to educate herders’ children. Since 1994, the Chadian
government, with the help of UNICEF, the Swiss Coope-
ration and AFD, launched several programmes geared
towards educating nomadic herders’ children. Currently
over 200 primary schools are located in villages in
the vicinity of pastoral rangelands and home areas of
transhumant herders. A primary school teacher training
school was created. All of these efforts have, however,
met with limited success.
Cattle herd near Salamat
© A. Ickowicz (2008)
© Projet Almy Bahaïm (2008)
Camel caravan in central Chad
Muhral (transhumance routes) and facilities in the Almy Bahaïm projectTranshumance corridor
Mongo community radio
© Projet Almy Bahaïm (2008) © Projet Almy Bahaïm (2008)
The development of mobile schools associated with lar-
ge herdersgroups, with specifically tailored program-
mes and schooling periods is essential. There is very litt-
le supervision of pastoral products. Apart from pastoral
herd watering facilities, very few State and NGO inter-
ventions are focused on transhumant livestock farming.
The sanitary coverage rate is under 20% and there is
no industrial supervision of dairy and meat products in
these production systems.
Since the 1980s, under the impact of droughts and in-
creased human and animal populations, transhumance
movements are increasingly in a southward direction
and, since some farmers are beginning to plant crops
in pastoral rangelands, there is an increased risk of inci-
dents taking place on transhumance rangelands, inclu-
ding devastation of crops, violation of protected areas,
livestock stealing, etc.
This situation has markedly boosted the transhumance
challenges: social, legal preservation and land de-
velopment issues. Several initiatives have attempted
to ease conflicts between natural resource users. The
Almy Bahaïm project focused on placing markers along
many transhumance corridors around large towns such
as Abéché and Am Dam. The creation of local parity
committees designed to prevent and manage conflicts
concerning watering points, community radio stations to
enhance information access and awareness, the mana-
gement of conflictual pastoral trails and areas, discus-
sions on pastoralism in forums and conferences have
all set the stage for drawing up a preliminary draft of
a pastoral code in Chad, which is currently being fina-
For further information:
Duteurtre G., Kamil H., Le Masson A., 2002. Étude sur
les sociétés pastorales au Tchad, rapport de synthèse,
Cirad-EMVT/VSF/LRVZ, 84 p.
Ancey V., Ickowicz A., Touré I., Wane
A., Diop A.T., 2009. «La vulnérabilité
pastorale au Sahel : portée et limite
des systèmes d’alerte basés sur des
indicateurs» In : L’élevage, richesse
des pauvres : Stratégies d’éleveurs et
organisations sociales face aux risques
dans les pays du Sud, Versailles : Ed.
Quae, pp. 117-132
Baier S., 1980. An Economic History of
Central Niger, Oxford: Clarendon Press
Bastide J., Fillol E., Metais T., 2008.
Evaluation des risques liés aux variations
spatiotemporelles de la pluviométrie
au Sahel. XIVth IWRA World Water
Congress, Montpellier September 2008.
Bonfiglioli, A.M.,1988. Dudal: histoire
de famille et histoire de troupeau chez
un groupe de WoDaaBe du Niger,
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
293 p.
Boutrais J., 2007. «Crises écologiques et
mobilités pastorales au Sahel : les Peils
du Dallol Bosso», In Sécheresse vol. 18,
n°1, 2007, pp. 5-12
Cedea, Csao/Ocde, 2008. Elevage
et marché régional au Sahel et en
Afrique de l’Ouest. Potentialités et défis,
Editions Club du Sahel et de l’Afrique de
l’Ouest/OCDE, 162 p.
Cesaro JD., Magrin G., Ninot O., 2011.
Atlas de l’élevage au Sénégal, 32 p.
Elevage et potentialités pastorales
sahéliennes. Synthèses cartographiques:
Tchad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali,
Sénégal, Mauritanie, Wageningen,
CTA/Maisons-Alfort, CIRAD-EMVT, atlas
cartographique format 66/80, cartes,
schémas et graphiques en couleur.
David-Benz, H., Diallo, A., Lançon, F.,
Meuriot, V., Rasolofo, P., Temple, L.,
Wane A. 2009. Une analyse actualisée
de la transmission de la hausse des prix
internationaux des produits agricoles
dans les pays africains, Rapport pour
la Fondation FARM, novembre 2009,
78 p.
De Cao G., Ickowicz A., Touré I.,
Gerber P., 2008. «An information and
early warning system designed for
sahelian pastoral systems: the example
of SIPSA implementation in Senegal»,
Journal of Agriculture and Environment
for International Development, 102
(1/2): pp.141-159
De Haan C., Steinfeld H., Blackburn H.,
1999. Elevage et Environnement. A la
recherche d’un équilibre. FAO, 115 p.
Deygout P. et Treboux M., 2012.
Systèmes de production durables en
zones sèches : quels enjeux pour la
coopération au développement ?
Document de synthèse 24 p., «http://
nes_seches_cle84f69b.pdf» www.
Dupire M,1996. Peuls nomades. Etude
descriptive des WoDaabe du sahel
nigérien, Paris : Karthala, 336 p.
Ickowicz A., Ancey V., Leclaerc G.,
Touré I., Damman G., Darly S., 2005.
Rapport final du Programme, LEAD-
PESAH, 108 p.
Ickowicz A., Guérin H., 2001.
Programme d’hydraulique pastorale
dans le Kanem (PHPK). Choix des sites
de réhabilitation des puits, suivi d’impact
et appuis aux éleveurs, Mission d’appui
au volet élevage (28 novembre au
13 décembre 2000), Montpellier,
Cirad-EMVT, 48 p.
Julien F., 2011. «Les projets
d’hydraulique pastorale finances par
l’AFD au Tchad (leçons d’une longue
expérience», In Actes du colloque
Politique sectorielle du pastoralisme au
Tchad : Quelles orientations,NDjaména
les 1,2 ,3 mars 2011, pp.65-70
Justice C.O. Hiernaux P., 1986.
Monitoring the grasslands of the Sahel
using NOAA AVHRR data : Niger 1983,
IJRS, Vol.7/11., pp. 1475-1498.
République du Niger, 2008. Recen-
sement général de l’agriculture et du
cheptel (RGAC), 9 volumes
Sen A.,1981. Poverty and Famines. An
essay on entitlement and deprivation,
Oxford, Clarendon Press, 272 p.
Smets B., Eerens H., Jacobs T., Royer A.
2010. BioPar Product User Manuel, Dry
Matter Productivity (DMP), geoland2,
FP7-SPACE-2007-1, 26 p. ; http://
Steinfeld, H., Gerber P., Wassenaar
T., Castel C., Rosales M., Haan de
C., 2006. Livestock’s long shadow :
environmental issues and options, FAO,
390 p.
Swift J.J., 1989. «Why are Rural People
Vulnerable to Famine?», IDS Bulletins
20.2, pp. 8-15
Touré I., Ickowicz A. Ancey V., Akpo
E.L., Ba A., Bah A., Coenu C., Diop A.T.,
Gaye I.D., Garba I., Leclerc G., Ndiaye
P., Niang I., Saley M., Soumaré M.A.,
Toutain B., Wane, A., 2009. Système
d’Information sur le Pastoralisme au
Sahel, Programme LEAD. Rapport final
deuxième phase, Octobre 2009, 52 p.
Touré O., 2010. Etudes de cas sur
la vulnérabilité et l’adaptabilité des
éleveurs face aux événements dans la
commune de Tessékré au Sénégal, Projet
ANR ECLIS. IRAM, Montpellier. 105 p.
Toutain B., Marty A., Bourgeot A.,
Ickowicz A., Lhoste P., Ancey V., Begni
G., Bellefontaine R., Bied-Charreton M.,
Bonnet B., Chassany J.P., Cornet A.,
Dutilly-Diane C., Malagnoux M., Wane
A. 2012. «Pastoralisme en zone sèche.
Le cas de l’Afrique subsaharienne»,
Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD,
N°9. Février 2012. CSFD/Agropolis
International, Montpellier, France. 60 p.
Wane A., Ancey V., Touré I., 2009.
«Assets of the Market, Assets of the
Rural World», in Journal of income
distribution, 18 (3-4), pp. 232-248
Acronyms and Abbreviations
AGH: Action Against Hunger
AFD: Agence française de
AGHRYMET : Agro-Hydro-
Meteorological Regional Centre
ALG: Authority of Liptako-Gourma
AMESD: African Monitoring of the
Environment for Sustainable Development
APEL-ZP: Animation pour la promotion de
l’entraide aux initiatives locales en zone
ASUFOR: Wellusers’ associations
AVSF: Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans
ECOWAS: Economic Community of West
African States
CEMAC: Central African Economic and
Monitary Community
CILSS: Permanent Inter-State Committee
for Drought Control in the Sahel
CIRAD: Centre for International
Cooperation in Agricultural Research for
CNC: Comité National de Coordination
CSE: Centre de Suivi Ecologique
DMP: Dry matter productivity
ESEA: Ecole Supérieure d’Economie
Appliquée (ex. ENEA)
FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations
FCFA: African Financial Community Franc
VF: Vegetation front
FEWS: Famine Early Warning System
GPCC: Global Precipitation Climatology
PEI: Precipitation efficiency index
INSAH: Institut du Sahel (Bamako,
IRAM: Institut de recherches et
d’applications des méthodes de
ISRA: Institut Sénégalais de Recherches
LEAD: Livestock, Environment and
MAE: French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
MODIS : Moderate Resolution Imaging
DM: Dry matter
NCDC: National Climatic Data
NDVI: Normalized difference vegetation
NOAA: National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
OECD: Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development
WMO: World Meteorological
NGO: Non-governmental organization
FO: Farmers’ organization
P&E: Pastoralism & Environment
PESah: Pastoralism and Environment in
the Sahel
UNDP: United Nations Development
PPZS: Pôle Pastoralisme et Zones Sèches
PRVS: Procédure de Représentation de la
Vulnérabilité Structurelle
RGAC: Recensement général de
l’agriculture et du cheptel.
EWS: Early warning system
RDS: Rural development strategy
IAP: Information and early warning
SIMb: Information system on livestock
SIPSA: Information system for pastoralism
in the Sahel
SISA: Information systems on food
SIVE: Information and environmental
monitoring system
SVN : Natural vegetation monitoring
SWB: Small water bodies
TLU: Tropical livestock unit
UCAD: Université Cheikh Anta Diop de
WAEMU: West African Economic and
Monitary Union
... Annual and seasonal differences are thus observed in the sheep trade flows. The country, and the whole Sahel, was hit by severe droughts in the 1960's, 70's and 80's, and more limited droughts later on till 2017 [15]. The drought of 1970 was the main climatic event for the area. ...
Full-text available
Animal movements are typically driven by areas of supply and demand for animal products and by the seasonality of production and demand. As animals can potentially spread infectious diseases, disease prevention can benefit from a better understanding of the factors influencing movements patterns in space and time. In Mauritania, an important cultural event, called the Tabaski (Aïd el Kebir) strongly affects timing and structure of movements, and due to the arid and semi-arid climatic conditions, the season can also influence movement patterns. In order to better characterize the animal movements patterns, a survey was carried out in 2014, and those data were analysed here using social network analysis (SNA) metrics and used to train predictive gravity models. More specifically, we aimed to contrast the movements structure by ruminant species, season (Tabaski vs. Non-Tabaski) and mode of transport (truck vs. foot). The networks differed according to the species, and to the season, with a changed proportion of truck vs. foot movements. The gravity models were able to predict the probability of a movement link between two locations with moderate to good accuracy (AUC ranging from 0.76 to 0.97), according to species, seasons, and mode of transport, but we failed to predict the traded volume of those trade links. The significant predictor variables of a movement link were the human and sheep population at the source and origin, and the distance separating the locations. Though some improvements would be needed to predict traded volumes and better account for the barriers to mobility, the results provide useful predictions to inform epidemiological models in space and time, and, upon external validation, could be useful to predict movements at a larger regional scale.
Full-text available
Normalized difference vegetation index data derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer on board the NOAA-7 satellite for the 1983 growing season for the Sahelian Zone of Niger are compared with biomass estimates derived from an empirical grassland productivity model. The model used daily rainfall data to estimate the potential biomass production for fourteen meteorological stations through the growing season. A good general correspondence (r = 0·75) was seen between the productivity model and the satellite-derived integrated NDV1, although specific differences were apparent between actual and potential biomass. The study shows the utility of high-temporal-resolution satellite data for monitoring grassland conditions at a local and regional scale and emphasizes the importance of a maximum value compositing approach to the analysis. The study also shows the potential of the satellite data for quantifying phenological characteristics of vegetation
Based on primary data obtained through investigations in Ferlo (Senegalese Sahel) during a whole year, from the rainy season of 2005 to the rainy season of 2006, this article presents a thorough analysis of the market income distribution of several pastoral communities and sees it in its political perspectives. The global Gini index of this pastoral region, 52.8%, is explained particularly by between-sites inequality at 79%, although within-site inequality represents only 21%. Paradoxically, there is no bigger equality in areas well served by basic infrastructures. The efficiency of national livestock policies and area planning should be questioned. At the economic analysis level, these results show the need to maintain and secure herders' movements and thus complete the current research with an ecological point of view.
A. Ickowicz Zootechnicien pastoralist, CIRAD, Département PERSYST, Dir Adji UMR 84 ERRC (Elevage des Ruminants en Régions Chaudes), Campus Montpellier SupAgro-INRA (Bat 22; Bur. 59), place P. Livestock Policy Officer, Livestock, environment and development initiative (LEAD). Livestock information, sector analysis and policy branch (AGAL) FAO, Room C 537, 00100 Rome, Abstract: Pastoral systems play a predominant part in the economy of Sahelean countries by contributing to the food security of rural as well as urban households. But this breeding system based on managing natural routes cannot yet successfully adapt itself to the current context characterised since the 1970's by great agricultural -ecological and institutional changes. The endogenous evolution of these systems needs to be supported to better meet these changes and the implementation of adapted policies is needed to avoid crises and conflicts. Some research work has been carried out by various organisms on this major 142 An information and early warning system designed for sahelian pastoral systems.... in Senegal economics. The one led by LEAD (Livestock, Environment And Development Initiative) has contributed to the understanding of the biological phenomena involved in breeding -environment interactions. The renewed understanding of breeding -environment interactions, the dynamics of current initiatives and new pastoralism diagnosis and evaluation tools laid the foundations of SIPSA (Information System on Pastoralism in the Sahel) that was launched in 2002 to promote the taking into account of pastoralism-environment interactions in extensive livestock breeding policies and practices in Sahelean arid zone. This information and early warning system is today displayed in six Sahelean countries and has, in the future, to put an end to the lack of indicators and information specific to pastoral systems to make it possible for breeders and political makers to better manage spaces, resources and societies. This paper describes the implementation of this decision making help system in Senegal by a national coordination committee (CNC), hard data to indicators and information products co-built with different actors.
Vulnerability to famine has been generally explained by reference to failures of production and to failures of exchange, but neither is adequate to explain key aspects of the vulnerability of rural people to famine. Some of these problems are resolved by an analysis of the status and trends in household assets - investments and stocks of food and of value, and claims households and communities can exert on others, including the state. Taken together with production and exchange issues, the analysis points to better policies to reduce vulnerability. -Author
Evaluation des risques liés aux variations spatiotemporelles de la pluviométrie au Sahel
  • J Bastide
  • E Fillol
  • T Metais
Bastide J., Fillol E., Metais T., 2008. Evaluation des risques liés aux variations spatiotemporelles de la pluviométrie au Sahel. XIVth IWRA World Water Congress, Montpellier September 2008.
Atlas de l'élevage au Sénégal
  • J D Cesaro
  • G Magrin
  • O Ninot
Cesaro JD., Magrin G., Ninot O., 2011. Atlas de l'élevage au Sénégal, 32 p.
Une analyse actualisée de la transmission de la hausse des prix internationaux des produits agricoles dans les pays africains, Rapport pour la Fondation FARM
  • H David-Benz
  • A Diallo
  • F Lançon
  • V Meuriot
  • P Rasolofo
  • L Temple
  • A Wane
David-Benz, H., Diallo, A., Lançon, F., Meuriot, V., Rasolofo, P., Temple, L., Wane A. 2009. Une analyse actualisée de la transmission de la hausse des prix internationaux des produits agricoles dans les pays africains, Rapport pour la Fondation FARM, novembre 2009, 78 p.
Elevage et Environnement. A la recherche d'un équilibre. FAO
  • C De Haan
  • H Steinfeld
  • H Blackburn
De Haan C., Steinfeld H., Blackburn H., 1999. Elevage et Environnement. A la recherche d'un équilibre. FAO, 115 p.