The National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to harmonize and enhance the implementation of transhumance regulation between member states.
This is in a bid to integrate the traditional stock routes used by different pastoralist clans, customary transhumance corridors and grazing areas.
The call was contained in a presentation delivered by Ambassador Usman Sarki, directing Staff of NIPSS, on the Nigerian legislation on Transhumance and management of disputes between herdsmen and farmers at the ‘Parliamentary Seminar on Transhumance and Intercommunity Conflicts’,
organised by the ECOWAS parliament in Monrovia.
Amb. Usman said that there is a need for ECOWAS to develop a twenty-year plan for transhumance risk mitigation and reduction, with a view to creating the enabling environment for peaceful co-existence between herders and farmers.
He said that the plan should take into consideration long-term measures such as demographic stabilization, climate change impact assessment, hydrological survey, establishment of regional grazing reserves, and development of grazing corridors between and among ECOWAS member states.
Discussing the background of transhumance in West Africa, Usman said that the region’s traditional migratory linkages and exchanges of people, goods and services predicated on the historic and age-old long-distance trade in commodities like cattle, fish and other essentials, have lately been disturbed by factors like conflicts.
“Receding surface waters in many areas of West Africa, occasioned by drought and climate change, as well as reduced grazing areas have also impacted heavily on the lifestyle of pastoral famers and adversely affected the scope of their economic activities.
“A very important characteristic of both sedentary and pastoral farmers in the ECOWAS region and indeed in most of Africa, is that they are both relegated to the subsistence and informal levels,” Usman stated.
He further said that pastoral farmers have been left to their own devices in almost all African countries, with little or no support from governments or attention towards their modernisation.