L’Association pour la Redynamisation de L’Elevage au Niger (The Association for the Revitalisation of Livestock in Niger, AREN) works to improve the lives of farmers across Niger. It is known as the voice of pastoralists in relation to land, conflict management and development.
AREN’s vision is of a world where pastoralists are respected like all other citizens, their contribution to the national economy is recognised and supported, and their business is secure.
The organisation's mission is to be a tool for Nigerien farmers to ensure their representation and defend their rights in local, national and international debates, and to enable their involvement in political and development activities.
AREN's approach to conflict prevention
AREN believes that land is fundamental in the lives of its members, and it is also a common good shared between farmers. This coexistence creates conflicts between the farmers who are protecting their crops and pastoralists who are concerned with feeding their cattle. On top of this, farmers are also dealing with the urbanisation of cities and the demand for land so that industries can develop.
In order to avoid land conflicts that these factors contribute toward, AREN has developed a five-year plan in which it wants to teach members to use the law in the resolution of conflict, instead of settling disputes with violence. Additionally, AREN raises awareness about the rural code that has long suffered from noncompliance. For AREN, knowledge and control of the rural code is very valuable in avoiding tension between farmers.
AREN regularly organises common forums on issues such as access to water points and grazing areas. It is active in popularising laws and regulations in local communities, with an emphasis on laws on pastoralism. AREN's creation of a space for cooperation and collaboration between farmers has yielded several positive outcomes. They have come together and made agreements on such topics as:
- The creation of corridors of passage that are reserved for animals in camp or on the move.
- The establishment of land specifically reserved for grazing.
- A mutual agreement to have rural owners release fields at least three months after harvest in order to allow cattle to take advantage of crop residues.
- The creation of an observatory that relays all information from top to bottom and vice versa to alert in the case of violations or attempted threats to grazing areas or passage corridors.
The conflict in Mali
Nigerien farmers have in particular been affected by the armed conflict in neighbouring Mali. Banditry and raids have affected farmers in the border region of Tillabery. They have been victims of attack and cattle raids by armed groups. AREN has deplored the situation, in which many Nigeriens have been killed.