Benin government deplore the numerous losses of human life and material damage to local population caused by foreign transhumant pastors ever year. Owing to this, the Council of Ministers prohibited cross-border transhumance. The Head of State of Niger sent an envoy to Benin to plead the case of Nigerien pastors. The President’s envoy held a working on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Beninese Ministers in charge of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; Interior and Public Security; Decentralization and Local Governance and the Living Environment and Sustainable Development.
Niger’s envoy, Albadé ABOUBA, Minister of State, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, was partially successful in his mission. The Beninese government has granted Niger an exceptional two-month moratorium. Between March 1 and April 30, 2020, Nigerien pastors are allowed to enter Beninese territory with their herds under certain conditions. The communiqué from the working session between the two States requires Niger “the transmission to the Beninese authorities of the official list of candidate pastors for transhumance as well as the numbers of their respective herds; the issuance of international transhumance certificates to candidate transhumants expected in Benin; sensitization of pastors for holding valid identity documents; herding by herdsmen of at least eighteen years old; the supervision of animals by a sufficient number of shepherds (1 shepherd for 50 to 100 head of cattle); crossing and grazing by day and prohibiting pastoralists from holding and using weapons of war and any narcotic. »
Once Niger accedes to Benin’s requirements, Benin authorities promise to set up a reception system for transhumants at the entry points. Benin will garantee (i) free passage of the herds on its territory; (iii) make livestock feed available at entry points and on transhumant routes; (iii) quarantine and vaccinate at the charge of the transhumant pastor, any herd not holding the international transhumance certificate. However, Benin reserves the right to repress any herd that has not used the defined entry points. Both parties agree on more involvement of farmers’ organizations in the management of transhumance.