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The Mobile Data for Moving Herd Management (MODHEM+) project aims to strengthen the resilience of men and women agro-pastoralists in Burkina Faso, as well as improve their food security by supporting them to adapt to climate change and market conditions through the use of the GARBAL integrated digital service. Funded by the Netherlands Space Office (NSO) through the G4AW facility, the project underwent a pilot phase between 2016 and 2019. The scale up is currently supported by the Embassy of Netherlands in Ouagadougou and the Swiss Cooperation Office in Burkina Faso, with an additional objective to improving access to pastoral resources and infrastructure for pastoralists and agro-pastoralists.
In Burkina Faso, 86% of the working population work in agriculture and livestock and contribute around 30% to the Gross Domestic Product. However, due to insecurity in the region and the variability and scarcity of natural resources – often as a result of climate variability and climate change – the mobility of pastoralists is impacted; where patterns of seasonal migratory movements (transhumance) have become uncertain, costly, and risky. Agricultural activities are also affected by climate variability, fluctuating market prices, and limited technical support networks.
The GARBAL digital service, which was developed during the first phase of the project, is a decision-support service for pastoralists and farmers, providing them with more predictability and reliability in their movements. GARBAL offers instant access to a combination of geo-satellite data and information collected in the field using a number of variables: biomass availability, water availability, agro-meteorological information and forecasts, transhumance corridors, and prices of livestock and agricultural products in different markets. GARBAL's teleconsultants also provide advice by answering users' requests in local languages. The service is available through a simple phone call to 777 for a modest fee of 30 FCFA per min (around 0.4€).
MODHEM+ was designed by SNV, who coordinates the project and ensures that it best meets the needs and expectations of agro-pastoralists. The project is based on a public-private partnership with ORANGE Burkina which commercially operates the GARBAL service since 2019 and also leads the marketing and promotion scheme, the Ministry of Animal and Fisheries Resources through the General Department of Pastoral Spaces and Developments (DGEAP) which certifies the disseminated information and supports in the proximity mobilisation of users, and the Hoefsloot Spatial Solutions which collects satellite data, processes them and makes them available to GARBAL users.
The current scaling-up phase foresees the geographical extension of the project in the Centre-North region of Burkina, in addition to the seven regions initially covered. Orange Burkina will also undertake marketing initiatives to progressively cover the South-West, Centre-South, and Centre-East regions. This phase also aims at strengthening the viability of the GARBAL service business model. In this perspective, the expansion of its offer is underway to integrate new digital solutions. Thus, GARBAL YAAR was launched in November 2021, which increases access to agricultural and livestock inputs and the connection between operators. The expansion of GARBAL's service also includes a digital inclusive finance solution.
To increase the impact of the GARBAL service for pastoral mobility, the Swiss Cooperation Office in Burkina Faso has been providing additional funding to the MODHEM+ project since 2021 for the construction of pastoral infrastructure and development of pastoral areas, support to pastoral value chain actors, particularly women and youth, the creation of an institutional, regulatory and policy framework favourable to pastoralism, and capacity building services. This initiative expands and completes the scope of the MODHEM+ project in 20 communes in the Centre-Sud, Cascades, Centre-West and South-West regions.