With the Niger River flowing through it, the Tillabery region is home to crop farmers, fishermen, pastoral livestock farmers, nomads, non-nomads, and nearly a quarter of Niger’s cattle population. Efforts to modernize the country, structural-adjustment policies, and a lack of support for livestock farming (in particular the disengagement of the public authorities with regard to animal-health issues) have all led to a considerable deterioration in the livestock-farming environment over the past few years. There is a chronic lack of services available to the pastoral population (schools, health centers), many transhumance corridors have been cut off, the principal water points have been colonized by farmers, etc.
Within a context of growing conflicts between crop and livestock farmers, AVSF teamed up with the Association for the Revigoration of Livestock Farming in Niger (AREN) to help encourage the different actors within the pastoral zone to work together in terms of managing their natural resources. AREN is made up of 1,000 groups of livestock farmers and has nearly 40,000 members, 40% of whom are women. AVSF provides a considerable level of both technological and methodological support to help defend the issues concerning livestock farming before the local communities of Filingué, Sanam, and Abala.
AVSF and AREN are working together to ensure that natural and pastoral resources are properly managed through concerted multi-actor efforts and clear land-management plans. This activity has helped drive the emergence of a stronger civil society (represented by AREN) that is capable of standing up to the established authority to defend the interests of the extremely important livestock-farming sector, which is Niger’s biggest export sector – after mining.
This project is supported by the Union Européenne [European Union].