Sustainable livestock development in Africa: How do we help Africa to feed itself?

Author: E.F. Donkin
Year: 2005
Issue: 1
Volume: 6
Page: 56 - 67

Livestock, especially small stock, are important for communal and small-scale farmers in developing areas in Africa. Efficiency of production from these herds could be improved, thereby enhancing the nutrition and income of these resource-poor farmers. Development programmes should assist the farmers to manage their livestock more effectively. Techniques have been developed to assess livestock production and evaluate the priorities where intervention can make a difference. The most common problems relate to nutrition (availability and quality of feed), and to diseases. Involvement of the farmers at all stages of the programme is essential. An understanding of the unique constraints that may apply will assist in evaluating proposed programmes. These include factors such as the demography of the populations of people and animals; land tenure systems; and perceptions of economic factors and the use of time. [Changes must take into account the context of the farming activities, and the need to ensure sustainability. Farm Systems Research and Extension is an approach that has proved successful, but more so with crop farming than with livestock. Some interventions discussed that highlight particular problems include: breed improvement; minimizing losses; increasing production; adding value. The system practised by Heifer Project International is used as an illustration of a successful method of introducing goats to developing communities.

[1] [1] Proceedings of the Annual Symposium, Developing Animal Agriculture Interest Group, South African Society for Animal Science, 30th September to 4th October 2002, held at Jan Kempdorp, South Africa. Editor: E.F. Donkin. pp27-38.

Read article