Pastoralism emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s in Ghana, more particularly in the north of the country, when prolonged droughts and bush fires drove pastoralists from the Sahelian countries to the southern humid Sudanian and Guinean savannahs of West Africa in search of pasture (Bassett & Turner, 2007).

Amanor (1995), for his part, rather indicates that the colonization of the sub-humid zone of West Africa by pastoralists resulted from the destruction of natural vegetation by farmers, the elimination of the tsetse fly and trypanosomiasis, and the selection of trypanosomiasis-resistant Bos taurus cattle by cattle owners.

De Bruijn & Van Dijk (2003) also reported on outbreaks of pastoral activities in West Africa in response to the Sahelian droughts of the 1970s and 1980s that led many pastoralists to sell their livestock to wealthy farmers, traders and government officials in exchange for grain.

Pastoral movements in the northern region of Ghana in the late 1970s and early 1980s were short-lived as protracted conflicts between farmers and pastoralists led to the expulsion of pastoralists by the military (Tonah, 2006). While some pastoralists chose to leave with their livestock, others sold them and remained to work as salaried herdsmen.

As has happened elsewhere in the West Africa sub-region, livestock farming in the NSM was eventually adopted by other investors in northern Ghana and the rest of the country, who saw livestock ownership as insurance against the risk of crop failure.


Currently, pastoralism in Ghana is reserved for investors who employ pastoralists, mainly Fulanis, as herdsmen for their livestock.

Clashes between pastoralists and farmers over land resources go back to the origins of humankind; but, these clashes have taken on worrying proportions in recent times. Nomads are accused of having little regard for land rights. Moreover, their practices are considered environmentally harmful, primitive and damaging to national economies by farmers, policy-makers and ecologists (Nori et al., 2008; Sayre et al., 2013).

Ghana pastoralism is in this predicament while land administration reforms, coupled with population growth, and changing inheritance and family systems, are generating “universality, exclusivity, transferability and applicability” systems in land use (Lengoiboni et al., 2010).



Status of planned infrastructure/facilities

Types of infrastructure Indicators Quantity Location
Component 3-Infrastructures
1 Securing the livestock tracks Track length 287 km In the process of identification: Upper Western Region / Upper Eastern Region (North)
2 Development of resting /grazing areas Number of resting/grazing areas 10 * In the process of identification
3 Creation of water points Number of water points (ponds, boreholes, wells, dams…) 8 *Karaga
*Bawku West
* In the process of identification
4 Construction of livestock markets Number of livestock markets 4 Upper Western region / Upper Eastern region (north): *Buipé
*Gushiégu *Wa *Banda-Kounta
5 Construction of loading docks Number of loading docks 2 * Upper Eastern Region / Bawku Municipal District / Pusiga


Status of planned soft activities

Types of activities Indicators Quantity
Component 3-Infrastructures
1 Facilitator Training Number of facilitators to be trained 20
2 Organisation of debates Number of debates 7
3 Organisation of accompanied debates Number of accompanied debates 4
4 Map production Number of maps produced 2
5 Infrastructure and facility management committee training Number of Management Committee trainings 6
6 Organisation of exchange visits Number of exchange visits 1
7 Organisation of technical and budgetary review workshops Technical and budgetary review workshops of local communities 6
8 Wide dissemination of the technical and budgetary review workshop results Number of Radio announcements 6
Component 2-Dialogue
9 Setting up multi-stakeholder innovation platforms in the host areas Number of innovation platforms set up 1
10 Organisation of cross-border consultation meetings to prevent and manage conflicts in areas lacking consultation frameworks Number of meetings involving RPOs at cross-border, national and regional levels 8
11 Organisation of annual high-level meetings on peaceful transhumance by the RPO consultation framework Number of participants in cross-border meetings, framework/committee meetings and national committees and gender composition 120
12 Advocacy to ensure that transhumance and nutrition issues are taken into account in country strategies, investment plans and budget allocations, and in MDPs or municipal development plans. Number of municipal, regional or national plans including development proposals for a peaceful transhumance (in connection with the achievements of Component 3)


13 Training and information of farmers and stockbreeders on the texts regulating transhumance. Number of leaders of farmers, stockbreeders and transhumance stakeholders who have received training on transhumance regulations


14 Development of a cross-border dialogue facilitation module, based on the analysis of gaps between law and practice. Number of facilitators trained in cross-border dialogue facilitation within the RPOs (10/RPO) 5
15 Experimentation of a legal assistance system Number of herders and farmers who have received legal assistance (as needed) 20



In the aftermath of global controversies, it is important to develop policies and strategies that will enhance coexistence and the common use of resources in a non-confrontational manner. In Ghana, the Government has developed a set of local, national and municipal texts to regulate the practice of pastoralism at cross-border and internal levels.


  • Regional investment programme for the development of animal husbandry and pastoralism in coastal countries, currently being finalized.
  • Support Programme for Livestock Marketing in West Africa, Phase I (PACBAO), in progress
  • Integrated and Secure Livestock and Pastoralism Project (PEPISAO), in progress


Mr Edwin BEKOE is the transhumance focal point for PREDIP and represents the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Ghana. He is the National Director of Animal Production within this Ministry.