ECOWAS Commission has urged herdsmen in the region to obtain the community's International Transhumance Certificate (ITC) before embarking on grazing movements.

This measure, according to ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, Tchambakou Ayassor, has become necessary to allow for easy identification by officials, of animals moving from one country to the other including their grazing route and destinations.

This, he said, would help prevent clashes that often occur between herdsmen, trans-border authorities and even farmers.

The commissioner also enjoined farmers and stakeholders in the transhumance sub-sector to restrain from violence but use the available judiciary machinery in dealing with conflicts that could arise from the practice of their trade.

President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel de Souza, had earlier expressed concern over the growing number of incidents linked to transhumance in several Member States including Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria.

Speaking at the First Ordinary Session of the 4th Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament, de Souza said these incidents have led to the death of thousands and may constitute a new threat to regional security, given the increased number of clashes between farmers and nomadic cattle breeders.

Transhumance in the ECOWAS region is an essential activity for safeguarding and increasing agricultural production and livelihoods as an integral part of the region's agriculture, food security, and poverty reduction policy.

It has the potential of sustaining Sahelian herds, contributing to regional integration, as well as the rich supply of livestock products to the ever growing urban centres and the coastal areas.

However, despite these benefits, the transhumance livestock production system has challenges of trans-boundary animal diseases, socio-political upheavals, and in some instances environmental degradation where there is a lack of appropriate regulation.

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