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© 2017 Ghana Developing Communities Association, Ghana


Cattle routes for nomadic people  

The nomadic people, the Fulanis, move in the broad Sahel-belt of southern Saharan. Their livelihood depends on breeding and trading cattle. But the increasing urbanization has made it more difficult for nomadic people to move cattle across borders and regions to places where they can feed and trade their cattle without coming into conflict with local farmers and landowners.


In collaboration with the French NGO Acting for Life and our Danish partner Ghana Friends, GDCA and CLIP work to improve conditions for cattle breeding and movement across borders and regions in West Africa, thereby also increasing the local meat trade and access to markets.

GDCA/CLIP is collaborating with CIKOD as the Ghanain CSO on the programme. PARSAO is being funded by UKAID, Acting for Life, Air France and Danida. The first phase of the project covers the period July 2015 to September 2018.

Read our partner Acting for Life's description of the PARSAO program.


PARSAO: Programme  d’Appui  à  la  Résilience  des Systèmes  Agropastoraux  en  Afrique  de  l’Ouest (PARSAO)

Long term Project development objective


Improving the well-being of agro-pastoral communities in West Africa and promoting sustainable economic development of the livestock sector throughout the ECOWAS region.


Throughout the West African Region, livestock production has become the keystone of livelihood systems for a growing number of rural communities, including in southern areas of the Sahel or in northern regions of the coastal countries. An estimate of 60 millions of cattle heads and 160 millions of small ruminants contribute to 65% of meat demand. Pastoral and agro-pastoral systems provide also key inputs for agricultural production (such as manure, animal traction), food security, savings, risk management, employment and income for 80 million people.

Livestock systems have been affected by economic and institutional changes. Despite ECOWAS regional integration policies on free trans-border movements, harassment and restrictions are still imposed on transhumance. Tax policies by local governments are often detrimental to mobile herders. Livestock corridors are commonly obstructed by cultivation, ill equipped (wells, transit campsites) and underserviced (fodder supplement, veterinary products). Volatile markets, shrinking access to grazing resources and unsupportive pastoral legislations have also contributed to erode drought coping strategies.

Reciprocal arrangements between herders living in the north and farmers in the southern regions were common practice until the end of the 1960s. But for the past quarter century, the bipolar spatial arrangement has been giving way to new merged agro-pastoral systems. On the one hand, farming communities have tried to diversify into livestock ownership, to minimise their exposure to agronomic risks, resulting in rapid agricultural expansion. On the other hand, pastoral societies, responding to drought and to the historic spread of the agricultural frontier, also began to engage in farming, in many different forms.

A conversion to mixed agro-pastoral economies where agriculture played an increasing role has meant some convergence of agro-pastoral systems, causing increasing competition for agricultural land and for pastures. Yet pastoralists need to roam across the southern (wetter) Sahelian regions and have long established livestock corridors there. Local and international markets for animals remain an essential component of the pastoral viability, linking pastoralists to coastal countries such as Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria, where demand for Sahelian meat is usually high.

Local governments now are responsible for delivering key social and economic services (such as health, water, market facilities), for conducting agricultural, pastoral and forest land-use planning and for raising local taxes. In some countries (i.e. Burkina, Mali), regional councils are developing their own in-house technical resources and expertise. However, inter-cooperation between municipalities for securing livestock corridors is often fragmented. Trans-border dialogue between local governments remains limited. Livestock markets, water points and transhumants are usually an easy target for raising taxes (official and non official). In spite of ongoing land reforms, local land use planning usually proves detrimental to pastoral resources, favouring agricultural land clearing.

Nature of intervention/implementation

The project in the first phase is using capacity building, advocacy, community sensitization and environmental management and land protection as a means to achieving the objectives set. The second phase of the project will include provision of services such as helping District Assemblies to establish water points, campsites, marketing centres (construction of livestock market), creation of livestock movement corridors, fodder supplements and veterinary services to herders.


Till date, GDCA/CLIP has worked to bring relevat stakeholders involved, including community leaders, District Assemblies, MoFA, livestock traders associations, leaders of herder groups and chiefs. Data collection systems have been established in livestock markect centres at Pusiga, Bawku, Karaga, Tamale and Buipe. Twenty community animators have also been selected and trained to facilitate informed dabates among stakeholders in the livestock value chain.


1: Appropriate lobbying tools are developed and disseminated, allowing agro-pastoral communities, along with their organisations and key players to debate on strategic issues related to livestock development, value chains and trans-border livestock mobility, and to design intervention plans to secure and equip livestock corridors and to provide services adapted to the needs of mobile herders in their areas.

2: Based on informed debates and investment choices made, concerted interventions between key actors are implemented to secure and equip strategic trans-border corridors, relying on new forms of partnership between producer organisations, civil society and decentralised local governments.

3: Basic services are provided for production and marketing, and innovations in delivery of services tailored to mobile herders are tested (action research).