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Production Objectives And Breeding Practices Of Urban Goat And Sheep Keepers In West Africa: Regional Analysis And Implications For The Development Of Supportive Breeding Programs

Luc Hippolyte Dossa, Mamadou Sangaré, Andreas Buerkert, Eva Schlecht
Published 2015 · Medicine
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To better understand the relative importance of the multi-purpose functions of small ruminants for their urban owners and related breeding practices including selection criteria, we undertook a comparative analysis across the West African cities of Kano (Nigeria), Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso) and Sikasso (Mali). Semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect the required information from 301 sheep farmers (100, 102 and 99 in Kano, Bobo Dioulasso and Sikasso) and 306 goat farmers (100, 99 and 107 in Kano, Bobo Dioulasso and Sikasso). Sheep and goats were kept for a variety of reasons including income generation, insurance (sale for cash to meet unexpected expenditures) and economic security (sale for cash to support foreseeable expenses), social/religious functions and prestige in ownership. The relative importance given by respondents to the different functions varied significantly (p < 0.001) across cities and between species within a city. However, irrespective of city, both species were primarily kept for their financial functions whereby sheep were perceived as having higher economic value. Although breeding practices were very similar in many respects (low practice of castration, culling and replacement strategies, uncontrolled mating, no record keeping and selection criteria), the emphasis put on each selection criteria varied across cities and between species. Irrespective of city, most of the goats were of the indigenous type while keeping crossbred animals and/or maintaining more than one genotype in the same flock was more commonly practiced by sheep keepers. This points to a higher motivation for strategic breeding among sheep than goat keepers and indicates that the former might be interested in joining carefully designed participatory flock improvement programs.
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