Pastoralism in Mali is carried out mainly in areas with low land pressure and in areas where climatic variability makes agricultural activity very uncertain. There is a distinction in this country between pastoral (nomadic and transhumant) and agro-pastoral livestock farming.

Nomadic pastoral livestock farming, which involves regular movements motivated by the availability of resources, can be found mainly in the north, in the country’s Saharan zone and in the Sahelian zone, which includes the Gourma and the Dogon Plateau. The main products are milk, meat and wool, which are almost entirely self-consumed.

Transhumant pastoral livestock farming is still characterised by continuous back and forth movements between pastoral areas from the south to the north where pastoralists seek pasture that they will exploit until the rains and pasture return in the north before they go back to their regions of origin.

   The number of transhumant herd is larger than nomadic herd, but productivity levels for both herding systems remain similarly low. Livestock trade remains very dynamic with a potential for marketable surpluses.

Alongside this pastoral system, there is an agro-pastoral system in which livestock farming is generally used to complement agriculture in order to alternately valorise the residues from each of these activities (crop residues for the animals and animal waste used as manure in agriculture).

In this agro-pastoral system, animals generally play a patrimonial function as reserves of value or savings instruments. Given the availability of food resources, livestock movements, if necessary, are carried out in smaller amplitudes. Animal productivity remains low in spite of attempts to improve it.



Livestock is Mali’s third largest export product after gold and cotton and brings in between 55 and 60 billion CFA francs per year. To make up for their deficit in meat products, neighbouring countries such as Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal are importing animals mainly from Mali. The levying of taxes and VAT (value added tax) on local products such as livestock is prohibited by Community texts (ECOWAS, UEMOA).

However, wild and illegal taxes levied by security agents (police, customs, gendarmerie) reduce producers’ income by about 15%. In addition, the loss of time at the numerous checkpoints results in losses (livestock deaths and weight loss). The State and civil society organisations are working to improve the agro-pastoral sector in Mali.


 Status of planned infrastructures and facilities

Types of infrastructures Indicators Quantity Location
Component 3-Infrastructures
1 Securing livestock tracks Track length 200 km In the process of identification: Sikasso Region


2 Development of resting/grazing areas Number of resting/grazing areas 4 * Zaniéna
* In the process of identification 
3 Provision of water points Number of water points (ponds, boreholes, wells, dams,…) 2 * In the process of identification 


4 Setting up livestock feeds Feed quantities 220
5 Construction of warehouses Number of warehouses 1 * Farakala


Status of projected soft activities

Types of activities Indicators Quantity
Component 3-Infrastructures
1 Organisation of debates Number of debates 5
2 Map production Number of maps produced 2
3 Infrastructure and facility management committee training Number of Management Committee trainings 3
4 Organisation of exchange visits Number of exchange visits 1
5 Organisation of technical and budgetary review workshops Technical and budgetary review workshops of local communities 3
6 Wide dissemination of the technical and budgetary review workshop results Number of Radio announcements 3
Component 2-Dialogue
7 Organisation of cross-border consultation meetings to prevent and manage conflicts in areas where there is no consultation framework Number of meetings involving RPOs at cross-border, national and regional levels 10
8 Organisation of the 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 55
9 Advocacy for transhumance and nutrition issues to be taken into account in countries’ strategies, investment plans and budget allocations, and in MDPs or municipal development plans. Number of municipal, regional or national plans integrating development proposals for a peaceful transhumance (in connection with the achievements of Component 3) 1
10 Training and information of farmers and pastoralists on transhumance regulations. Number of leaders of farmers, pastoralists and transhumance stakeholders who have received training on transhumance regulations


11 Development of a cross-border dialogue facilitation module, based on the analysis of gaps between law and practice. Number of facilitators trained to facilitate cross-border dialogue within the RPOs (10/RPO) 2
12 Experimentation of a legal assistance system Number of pastoralists and farmers who have received legal assistance (as needed) 40



Many local, municipal and national texts have been drawn up and promulgated to facilitate the practice of pastoralism and Transhumance. We can cite the Pastoral Charter, which defines the fundamental principles and general rules governing pastoral activities in the Republic of Mali.

This law establishes and specifies the fundamental rights of pastoralists, particularly with regard to animal mobility and access to pastoral resources. It also defines the main obligations incumbent upon them in the exercise of pastoral activities, particularly with regard to the preservation of the environment and respect for others’ property.

This law applies mainly to the pastoral breeding of cattle, sheep, goats, camels, horses and donkeys. Aspects related to animal health, livestock exploitation and marketing are excluded from the scope of this law.

Downloadable legal texts


  • Sahel Regional Pastoralism Support Project (PRAPS), in progress;
  • Programme for the development of sustainable pastoralism in the Sahel (PDPDS), in progress
  • Support Programme for Livestock Marketing in West Africa (Programme d’appui à la commercialisation du bétail en Afrique de l’Ouest), Phase I (PACBAO), in progress;
  • Regional Education/Training Programme for Pastoralist Populations in Cross-Border Areas (PREPP), in progress;
  • Pastoral Mobility and Security in the Sahel (MOPSS), in progress;
  • Integrated and Secure Livestock and Pastoralism Project (PEPISAO)


Mr Kalifa DEMBELE is the transhumance focal point for PREDIP and represents the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries of Mali. He is the National Director of Animal Production and Industries within this Ministry.