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Livestock markets in the Sahel: market integration and the role of climate and conflict in price formation

Research reports

Written by Catherine Simonet

Hero image description: Cattle cool down in a reservoir, often the last water point during the hottest and driest months of the year, in Zorro village, Burkina Faso Image credit:Ollivier Girard/CIFOR Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

West Africa is receiving renewed attention from the international community. At the heart of climatic, migratory and security issues with international consequences, the region is the source of many resilience, humanitarian aid and security programmes as well as development projects. Focusing on Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, this report – published in English and French – aims to inform governments, regional institutions and technical and financial partners about current livestock market dynamics in the Sahelian zone. Despite certain limitations, mainly due to the inconsistency of national collection systems and the irregularity of collections for certain markets, this analysis makes it possible to highlight the current dynamics of the livestock markets in the region.

Of the three countries studied, the results of the statistical analyses allowed us to conclude that there is good market integration at national and regional level. Transhumance movements promoting the circulation of goods, people and information support this integration. Finally, climatic conditions and conflicts play a key role in the formation of livestock prices. In particular, rainfall and terrorist conflicts have a significant and negative impact on livestock prices.

The report also confirms current trends aimed at a better understanding of pastoral crises. To achieve this, the integration of indicators based on market price information into a monitoring and early warning system (EWS) is critical. This information is valuable, and its collection represents a real cost for national and regional institutes with limited staff and financial capacities. This study therefore makes four recommendations:

  • Better consideration of pastoral specificities in existing crisis monitoring and management systems.
  • Support for ongoing initiatives to harmonise data collection and market monitoring systems at a regional level.
  • Structural, stable and consistent support for institutes in charge of collecting information.
  • Support for the application of transhumance regulations, a source of stability and sustainable development.

It also calls for a series of next steps:

  • The extension of analysis to other countries in the Sahelian region.
  • Mobilisation of other data collected by market information systems on livestock markets.
  • A more accurate analysis of price behaviour in the face of conflict and climate risks.
  • Creation of relevant warning indicators that could be integrated into a pastoral warning system.

 Cattle cool down in a reservoir, often the last water point during the hottest and driest months of the year, in Zorro village, Burkina Faso
Image credit:Ollivier Girard/CIFOR ~ Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Catherine Simonet, Martial Sy, Stéphanie Brunelin and Lucie Royer