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PhD seminar: Camille Laville

Published on June 11, 2021 Updated on June 11, 2021
Le 15 June 2021 De 17:30 à 18:30

Keep Off the Grass: Grassland Scarcity and the Security Implications of Cross-Border Transhumance Between Niger and Nigeria

Discussants : Pauline Castaing et Jean-Louis Combes


In 2018, 1,300 people were killed and 300,000 displaced as a result of herder-farmer conflicts in Nigeria. These tensions threaten the already weakened security, economic development and food security inWestern Africa. Indeed, cross-border transhumance of herders during the dry season is an important economic activity recognized by the Economic Community ofWest African States (ECOWAS). This practice is also an important adaptation strategy to climate change for the Sahelian States who developed a comparative advantage in producing and exporting of livestock with their neighbors. However, the establishment of a harmonized legal framework surrounding this practice is hampered by coordination failures between Coastal States (primary receivers of livestock flows) and the Sahelian States (primary providers of livestock flows). The growth of the Nigerian agricultural sector through the expansion of agricultural land threatens the last open pastures and transhumance corridors. Indeed, Nigeria faces a scarcity of arable land for a growing rural population. Is competition for the remaining Nigerian grassland a factor of violence between nomadic herders from Niger and Nigerian farmers? Recent empirical evidence suggests that climate-induced migration of herders in nearby agricultural areas (short transhumance) is associated with a higher risk of herder-farmer conflict for the remaining pastoral resources. However, no analysis has been made on the case of lengthy and costly transhumance. This article analyses the security implications of cross-border transhumance between Niger and Nigeria at the scale of 0.5x0.5 degree cells between 2006 and 2016. Using spatial panel techniques and satellite data on land cover, it questions the importance of grassland grabbing strategies as a cause of the recent herder-farmer conflicts in Nigeria.

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