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ECOWAS Parliament seeks collaborative actions in solving transhumance herdsmen crisis

Parliament of the Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS) has called for a collaborative effort of all stakeholders in solving the problem of transhumance and conflict of herdsmen and farmers across the sub-region.  

At the conclusion of a three days seminar on transhumance and inter community conflicts in the ECOWAS region held in Monrovia Liberia.
The stakeholders included national governments, regional organisations like the ECOWAS Commission, Regional and National Legislative Assemblies, farmers and livestock organisations, the private sector and civil society organisations were urged to join hands in solving the menace that has engulf the sub-region. 

After the three days seminar it came to light that transhumance and conflict between herdsmen and farmers are very complex and intricate issues. 

They added that, the effect has been compounded by the penetration of bandits, criminals, kidnappers and terrorist who have access to small arms and light weapons, which they use to carry out deadly criminal activities, resulting to deaths and property destruction.

ECOWAS Parliament agreed that transhumance conflict and conflict between herdsmen and farmers is more of socio-economic issues than acts of terrorism.

And again there is no political agenda between the protagonists in the conflict, and terrorist activities are invariable underpinned with political motives, terrorist acts being perpetrated under the guise of transhumance are basically security issues compounded by failure of the state and its relevant organs responsible for the maintenance of peace law and order. 

The sub-regional legislative body called on national governments to formulate and implement policies to modernize agriculture production and productivity to include both livestock and crops.

Also recommendation was made for herdsmen to be encouraged to be trained and support to raise their livestock using modern scientific method and improved animal husbandry practices, supported with provisions of necessary inputs, life feeds for their animals and secured pasture areas, with adequate water supply and accessible veterinary services and access to markets with proper price for their products.

While noting that there is the need for adequate infrastructure to be put in place, national governments should build and provide necessary infrastructures like good roads, learning institutions, hospitals and other health facilities.

And related industries for processing of farm produce, adding value to them to ensure they are competitive in the market. 

Similarly, ECOWAS Parliament ask that the Commission as well as National Parliaments implement regional regulations and frameworks that govern the movement of livestock across borders of various countries in the sub-region.
Also the establishment of strategic surveillance centers to monitor conflicts of herdsmen and farmers, and other community disagreements, flashpoints that can escalate into deadly conflicts was over emphasised.

Rt. Honorable Moustapha Cisse Lo, Speaker of the Community Parliament in an interview with journalists said there is the need for collaboration to provide lasting solutions to the inter-community conflicts as well as various conflicts associated with transhumance.

“We need harmonization of ECOWAS member countries when it comes to the laws regulating transhumances as well as the commission reviewing the laws for member states in our region to implement”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/   

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