Pastoral situation markedly improved since August 2020 in the Sahel and West Africa

Despite the context of the COVID-19 health crisis, the pastoral situation has improved further since August 2020, which announces the end of the pastoral lean season with the availability of generally satisfactory biomass, a good filling of dots. ‘surface water, etc. However, restrictions on the movement of pastoralists in connection with the health crisis have delayed some returns of transhumant herds to Sahel countries. Herds are thus stranded in the north of Togo and cannot go up to Sahelian pastures (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger).

Regarding the availability of biomass, it is considered satisfactory in most countries of the region. It remains limited to very limited in Cape Verde, Sierra Leone and in certain areas of The Gambia, Senegal (Saint Louis) and Nigeria (Kaduna, Yobe and Sokoto East in particular). This generally satisfactory situation is linked to the onset of the rainy season. If the apparent availability is satisfactory, the biomass anomaly map in the Sahel as of September 1, 2020 shows significant biomass deficits in Brakna and west of Hodh el Chargui in Mauritania as well as several deficit pockets in Niger in the regions. de Tillabéry, Maradi and Zinder. A few pockets of biomass deficits are also present in the Center and South of Burkina Faso and in the North of Chad, particularly in the regions of Ennedi-Est and Ennedi-Ouest. On the other hand, biomass production in northern Mali is particularly abundant.

The onset of the rainy season and the apparent availability of fodder should not mask the still marked impact of the difficult 2019 pastoral campaign with a slow recovery of the overweight state of the animals. The way in which the rainy season will continue will be decisive in the availability of biomass stocks for the dry season.

Access to pasture improved significantly during the month of August 2020, in connection with the good availability of biomass. Due to civil insecurity, animals’ access to pastoral ranges remains difficult in pastoral areas in Mali, Niger, Nigeria and in many regions of Burkina Faso. In agricultural areas, movement is made difficult with intense agricultural activities which remain risk factors for conflicts with herd movements. The available data indicate situations which remain “difficult” in certain areas of Niger and Burkina Faso, with difficulties in accessing pastures due to civil insecurity (and consequently high concentrations of animals in the areas of folds).

Regarding the situation of cross-border transhumance, it is prohibited throughout the territory of Benin. It is also prohibited in Niger in the areas of Bosso, Diffa, Diffa commune, Goudoumaria, Maïne Soroa, N’Gourti and N’Guimi. In the rest of the region, cross-border transhumance remains difficult mainly because of civil insecurity in the central Sahel (Mali / Niger, Niger / Burkina Faso and Burkina Faso / Mali), the agricultural campaign and the risks associated with the passage. in agricultural areas at this time of year.

Overall, the rainy season since August 2020 has resulted in a marked improvement in the pastoral situation in terms of availability of biomass, and filling and access to surface water points. However, it remains necessary to create the conditions for facilitating pastoral mobility both within countries and at the cross-border level.