Feed Supplements Preserve Pastoralists’ Investments

Aug 14, 2014


A USAID/OFDA-funded early recovery effort in Mali provided emergency support to the livestock sector, benefiting pastoralists like Samba Allaye Dicko (pictured above) who were drastically affected by the takeover of northern Mali by armed rebel groups in early 2012. Supplemental feeding activities for livestock, the rehabilitation of 5 pastoral water points, and the restoration of 100 hectares of pasture have provided emergency support benefiting more than 100,000 animals and 5,600 people (more than 40 percent women).

Samba Allaye Dicko–a 46-year-old father of 8 from N’Gouma, Mali–depends upon the annual rains to stock pastures with the grasses he needs to feed his herd.

In better years, Samba and other pastoralists would travel north in search of verdant pastures and divide rangeland to avoid overgrazing. When political crisis struck Mali in 2012, insecurity on the roads taken by Samba meant he had to graze his 190 cattle on the outer limits of his village. Weak rains meant that there was little feed to share.

“There were too many of us grazing our cattle in one area, so we quickly ran out of food,” Samba said. “In the first months of the crisis, I lost nearly half my herd and, with it, half my wealth.”

To make matters worse, security considerations forced shopkeepers to raise the price of animal feed supplements and other goods to cover increased transportation costs and lapses in supply.

With support from the United States Agency for International Development/Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the Near East Foundation began implementing the Restoring Economic Capacity of Populations Affected by the Crisis in Northern Mali (RECAPE) project. The project addressed the immediate recovery needs of people in northern Mali to restore livelihoods and food security—including those of pastoralists.

The project intervened to mitigate the livestock food shortage, distributing feed supplements to hard-pressed pastoralists who could not afford to pay inflated prices at the local shops.

“We never imagined that we would ever receive the level of support the RECAPE project provided at a time when so many of us were struggling,” Samba said. “Their assistance carried my herd and my colleagues’ herds through the lean season. Without it, more than half of my investments would have been wiped out.”

NEF also rehabilitated 5 watering points that had fallen into disrepair at the height of the crisis.

“I know I speak for others in my community when I say that RECAPE helped us to stay afloat at a difficult time,” Samba said. “Our livelihoods and our families are more secure, and we could not be more thankful.”

The project has helped more than 5,600 people who depend on pastoral activities to recover, by ensuring improved food security and livelihoods.

The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.


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