Cattle pastoralists’ strategies to cope with water scarcity in climate change context in northern Benin: Cattle pastoralists’ strategies to cope with water scarcity in climate change context in northern Benin, West Africa
This paper deals with the strategies cattle pastoralists use to cope with the shortage of water resources along their grazing routes. A computational approach is combined with socio-anthropological methods. This enables us to learn more from the local actors’ thinking and acting process in the context of vulnerability. During three months, 30 cattle herds were partially followed along an international animal route in the north of Benin, in order to understand the mechanisms through which they accessed water during the inimical season. Individual interviews and focus group discussions were utilised to elicit information on pastoral activities. Our results reveal a pastoral dynamics based on the programmed distance to the best resources, the duration of resourcegathering stays, the livestock market position along the route and the possibility of overdigging wells. These are
the strategies pastoralists use to adapt to climate change. The findings suggest that an actor-oriented policy and local resource use planning could be useful in managing the movement of herbivorous livestock in open
range. This could also enhance adaptation to climate change within the context of the West African indigenous livestock system.
Keywords: Climate Change, Water resources, Pastoralist, Animal route, Adaptation Strategy, Benin