Monitoring West-African cattle herdersAction Contre la Faim (ACF) is an international humanitarian aid organization with operations in 50 countries with a focus on Food Security, Nutrition, Water/Sanitation and Advocacy. Since 2007, the organisation has been monitoring the resources of cattle herders (pastoralists) in West Africa. The food security of this population is highly dependent on livelihood shocks and the loss of their herds. With natural biomass as the only source of forage for their cattle, these pastoralists are particularly vulnerable to drought.
These herders represent 30% of the population in Sahelian Countries, contribute up to 40% of agricultural GDP and handle between 70 and 90% of the Sahelian livestock. These herds are a critical source of income and protein for local populations. When droughts hit, the pastoralists are often the first to be affected, but the impact is quickly spread to the rest of the population
From EO data to humanitarian response ACF uses PROBA-V based products, provided by the Copernicus Global Land Service, such as NDVI, Dry Matter Productivity (DMP) and Small Water Bodies (SWB). These images serve as input for added value products generated by data integration software developed by ACF. The “BioGenerator” uses PROBA-V’s DMP and NDVI to create annual biomass data. Surface water datasets on the other hand are created with another tool called, “HydroGenerator”.
Thanks to the annual biomass data we can isolate areas of drought after the Sahelian rainy season (July-September). This means that we have 6 months to prepare for the places that will be the most affected by drought. Between the period of October-March, natural resources produced by the rainy season (pasture and water) will dry up and cattle herds will move to find these resources. If we know ahead of time which areas are going to be the worst hit, we can prepare humanitarian response and assist the herders for various purposes such as:
- veterinary care
- distributions of cash or animal feed
- destocking and restocking of herds
- water provision