In Senegal, the mobility of livestock farmers and their herds throughout the year has long been the subject of much talk and extensive commentary on the part of other segments of society, which has resulted in the stigmatisation of this form of resource use as a phenomenon that inevitably leads to environmental degradation. Consequently, this livestock farming approach, which is based on the search for natural resources, has also never been considered by the authorities as a form of land development.
However, nowadays, as climate change is assuming ever more worrying proportions and significantly reducing the quantity of surface water and biomass accessible to cattle, decision-makers have been forced to admit that, in this context, pastoral mobility is nothing less than the most effective and efficient way of using resources.
The substantial 29.1% contribution of livestock farming to primary sector GDP in Senegal has not gone unnoticed by the public authorities, which are now actively supporting pastoralism by taking the following decisive action:
- voting for the agro-sylvo-pastoral law in 2017, whereby pastoralism is now considered beneficial to the land;
- imposing tougher sentences for cattle rustlers;
- submitting a bill on the pastoral code to legislators;
- asking the World Bank in 2015 to fund a support project for pastoralism aimed at reassessing the ecology of rangelands and providing livestock farmers with production resources and access to the market.
In addition to the resources described above, the Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project in Senegal is making improvements in the area of animal health. Since its second year of existence, it has been increasing the intervention level of livestock field workers by providing training and equipment for vaccine conservation. The project is preparing to provide the national livestock laboratory with a high-capacity freeze-dryer for manufacturing vaccines in order to respond to national and sub-regional demand.
Given these developments, all that is needed now is the willingness of livestock farmers to start vaccinating against peste des petits ruminants. This would be enough to give us reason to hope that we will win the war against this disease, which continues to keep our country dependent on others to meet its needs in terms of small ruminants.
Website of PRAPS–Senegal