The Coordinator representing the Executive Secretary of CILSS, Maty BA-DIAO is calling on regional journalists to create the necessary awareness aimed at alleviating the tension associated with Trans-humance and livestock trade intensifying in the Sahel and West Africa.
Trans-humance is a seasonal movement of livestock between mountain and lowland areas either under the care of a herders or in company with the owners.
Hundreds of people have died as a result of misinformation about trans-humance and livestock trade in recent years as such panellists say the Accra training is part of a wider regional effort to unite local communities by resolving the issues that threaten peaceful co-existence.
The week-long training on the sidelines of the 6th edition of the high-level regional meeting for a trans boundary trans-humance between the Sahel and the coastal countries brings together 16 journalists from 13 countries including Liberia, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cote D’ Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Chad and Togo.
The intent according to her is to bring together media actors of the Sahel and the coastal countries in order to explain the mobile operating systems and the involved stakeholders in order to avoid conflict associated with trans-humance and livestock trade in the region.
Also in attendance are experts from implementing and supporting partners to include CILSS, PEPISAO and PREDIP among others.
Speaking during the start of the sensitization and training workshop for journalists on trans-humance and livestock trade in West Africa, Madam BA-DIAO said if the region is to be peaceful, there is a need for journalists to take the lead in creating awareness among the populace.
She indicated that eliminating the stereotype associated with cattle raising and having ordinary people understand the positive benefits associated with it remains cardinal for peaceful coexistence in the region.
In most areas according to her, the negative perception of pastoralism is partly fuelled by some media there by leading to resistance by ordinary citizens.
Meanwhile, the panellists are seeking the formulation of legal framework to address the negative impacts of moving livestock from one country to another (transhumance), as well as create an enabling environment for addressing the situation in the region.
They say if the region can only enjoy peace all countries in the region should embark on the process of adopting various decisions and regulations to addressing periodic movement of livestock in the region.
When allowed to freely go on, the practice of Trans-humance and livestock trade can contribute to revenue generation and economic boom in the region according to them.
Take for instance, they indicated that pastoralist moving in the region with their livestock will have to pay taxes and those taxes to countries they are going to as such pastoralism creates a parallel economy by the supply of high protein foods (milk, meat), manure (for soil fertilisation) and energy (transport, water extraction, animal traction).
They therefore supply an entire economy and provide a considerable amount of employment in the production chain and the practice also reduces the costs associated with the importation of frozen goods which has got some level of effect on human consumption among others.