Sambieni S Kevin*, Badou Djigbo Félicien, Yegbemey N. Rosaine, Sintondji O Luc
Adaptation to climate change in general and particularly to climate variability in pastoralism is receiving increasing attention. This study assessed the impacts of climate variability on livestock watering and the subsequent adaptation strategies developed by breeders in the agro-pastoral area of Gogounou, Benin. Monthly climate data (rainfall and temperature) from 1985 to 2015 were analyzed using Mann Kendall and Pettitt tests. In addition, primary data on local perceptions of climate variability, its impacts and adaptation strategies in relation to livestock watering were collected through focus group discussions. Our results indicate an increasing trend of 7 mm/year in rainfall and 0.029˚C/year in temperature as well as a break in 1997 and 2002 in the rainfall and temperature series respectively. Consistent with these trends, respondents reported higher temperatures, longer dry spells, and an increase in rainfall intensity over short periods as the common perceptions of climate variability. Water stored in reservoirs for livestock watering during the dry season still meets water demand but is depleting as a result of higher evaporation. Livestock is exposed to heatwaves and water stress while journeying to reservoirs far from lodging places. Good-quality fodders are reported to be less abundant due to recurrent dry spells, excessive heat and extensive agriculture. To cope with these threats, water resources management strategies including the construction of small water ponds nearby lodging places by and only for autochthons pastoralists are developed. Migration towards wetter regions (southern and central Benin) and investment in the regeneration of grassland are other strategies. Efforts should be made in constructing water reservoirs nearby livestock areas and to better maintain existing ones for improving livestock watering.