West Africa: CILSS Trains Regional Journalists On Transhumance Conflict

Conflict associated with Transhumance and livestock trade is intensifying in the Sahel and West Africa; as such, the Coordinator representing the Executive Secretary of CILSS Mrs Maty BA-DIAO, PRAPS is calling on regional journalists to create necessary awareness aimed at alleviating the tension.Transhumance is a seasonal movement of livestock between mountain and lowland areas either under the care of herders or in company of owners.

Hundreds of people have died as a result of misinformation about transhumance and livestock trade in recent years. Panellists say the Accra training is part of a wider regional effort to unite local communities by resolving the issues that threaten peaceful co-existence.

The weeklong training on the side-lines of the 6th edition of the high-level regional meeting for a transboundary transhumance between the Sahel and the coastal countries is bringing together 16 journalists from 13 countries, including Liberia, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cote D' Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Chad and Togo.

She said the intent is to bring together media actors (written press, web media, radio and TV) of the Sahel and the coastal countries to explain the mobile operating systems and the involved stakeholders, in order to avoid conflict associated with transhumance and livestock trade in the region.

Also in attendance are experts from implementing and supporting partners, including CILSS, PEPISAO, PREDIP and PEPISAO, among others.Speaking during the start of the sensitization and training workshop for journalists on transhumance and livestock trade in West Africa, Madam BA-DIAO said if the region is to be peaceful, journalists should take the lead in creating awareness among the populace.

She indicated that eliminating the stereotype associated with cattle raising and having ordinary people understand the positive benefits associated with it, remains cardinal for peaceful coexistence. In most areas according to her, the negative perception of pastoralism is partly fuelled by some media thereby leading to resistance by ordinary citizens.

Meanwhile, the panellists are seeking legal framework to addressing the negative impacts of moving livestock from one country to another (transhumance), as well as create an enabling environment.When allowed to freely go on, the practice of Transhumance and livestock trade can contribute to revenue generation and economic boom, according to them.

For instance, they indicated that pastoralists moving in the region with livestock will have to pay taxes to countries they are going, creates a parallel economy by the supply of high protein foods (milk, meat), manure(for soil fertilisation) and energy (transport, water extraction, animal traction).The practice also reduces cost associated with the importation of frozen goods which has got some level of effect on human consumption, among others.

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