Pastoral adaptation to climate change: Ethiopians learn in Mali
Ethiopians from five partner organisations in the Drylands Coordination Group (DCG) visited Mali in 2011 to learn about good practices in pastoral adaptation to the effects of climate change. The hosts were DCG Mali and the Malian Arid Lands Development Organisation (MALDO). In Nioro du Sahel and Nara in northern Mali, they learned how the Sahelian communities are adjusting to uncertain rainfall and growing pressure on natural resources leading to tensions between cultivators and herders. They found that Mali has established a good infrastructure for cross-border trade with Senegalese buyers. They saw small regional livestock markets that are well equipped and collectively managed by local cooperatives. Similar groups manage the rangelands: corridors used for transhumance (also by Mauritanian herders) and dry-season grazing reserves. Other initiatives to protect pastoral livelihoods involve regeneration of different grass species, promotion of milk production, establishment of slaughterhouses and literacy classes. Collaborative mechanisms between herders and cultivators, including the use of crop residues as feed, are supported to reduce conflict. The Ethiopians found that the harmonised cross-border trade could serve as an example for increasing trade between Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Sudan. They saw that the Malian policy of decentralisation strengthened the position of pastoralist associations and enabled them to collaborate in managing grazing land, livestock markets and purchase of feedstuffs. They also noted that the Malian Government does not promote a shift to agro-pastoralism.