Fishermen and Sahelian goats by the Niger River, in Segou, Mali (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).
‘The Sahel region, a vast arid stretch of land linking six countries in West Africa—Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal—is home to some of the most productive pastoralist communities in the world. And yet, assailed by a host of climatic, political and development challenges, their pastoralist way of life is under threat.
‘Here, over centuries, some 16 million pastoralists have perfected the art of survival in the Sahel, raising sheep and livestock in some of the most harsh and unforgiving environments anywhere on the planet. Meat yields from the Sahel rival those from some of the best ranches in Australia and the United States. Currently, half of the meat and two-thirds of the milk produced and consumed in the countries of West Africa originates in the Sahel.
‘However pastoralism is facing multiple threats…
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