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Characterisation and Community-based Management of Farm Animal Genetic Resources in the Mixed Crop-livestock Farming System in Benin. By Hippolyte Dossa. PhD Project Proposal. Background. Total area: 112,620 km2 Arable land: 15% Human population: 7,0 m (Census 2002).

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Characterisation and Community-based Management of Farm Animal Genetic Resources in the Mixed Crop-livestock Farming System in Benin

By Hippolyte Dossa

PhD Project Proposal


Total area: 112,620 km2

Arable land: 15%

Human population: 7,0 m (Census 2002)

Narrow coastal strip that rises to a swampy, forested plateau and then to highlands in the north.
  • Hot and humid climate blankets the entire country


Akker van der (2000)

Mainstay: rainfed subsistence agriculture

- 60% human population and 40% GDP

- Major crops: cassava, maize, beans, yams, palm oil

and cotton

  • Average cultivated land per household : 0.4 to 12.7 ha (more than 90% of farms in the south and 80% in the north have land size < 3 ha)
  • Limited off-farm + credit + access to external inputs
  • Land degradation + low agricultural productivity
  • About 40% of rural people below poverty threshold

(CORCEDO, 2001)

Tsetse flies constraint development production of large animals
  • Steady increases in livestock populations over last ten years
  • Data on poultry?

Data from FAO (2003)


Ownership and value of livestock among small farmers in Benin

Poverty threshold in rural area = 56, 600 FCFA /adult/p.a.

(IFPRI / LARES, 2001)

threats to livestock diversity
Threats to livestock diversity
  • Livestock important in livelihood strategies of the poor (savings, insurance, security, accumulation & diversification of assets, social & cultural functions)
  • Performance, adaptation & disease resistance of local genetic resources not fully recorded
  • Replacement or indiscriminate crossbreeding>>> genetic erosion (loss of genetic diversity; reduction of adaptive value)
threats to livestock diversity 2
Threats to livestock diversity (2)
  • Opportunities for efficient utilisation of livestock genetic resources for improvement of livelihood are being missed
  • Has the need been recognized to develop appropriate strategies and actions of conservation and utilisation of FAnGR by all stakeholders in Benin?

Conservation strategies

  • Ex-situ (Cryoconservation, live genebanks)
  • In-situ (on farm)
  • Criteria:

- Uniqueness of breeds, traits

- Economic importance

- Cultural and historical values

- Contribution to agrobiodiversity

  • „The knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities should be used for sustainable use of biological diversity“ (CBD, 1992) Art. 8-10 & 15
  • Characterisation & community-based management AnGR

Small ruminants are non-pooled household resources

60% of owners are female

Quick source of cash, security and insurance against hardship

Offtakes mainly sold

Religious and social & cultural


Management system
  • Farm buildings not designed for livestock
Harsh environmental conditions
      • High temperatures and relative humidities
      • Disease outbreaks
      • Presence of parasites

Peste des Petits Ruminants


Sarcoptic Mange


Monitoring of animal health: Limited control and

treatment of diseases

  • Price of chemicals drugs
  • Reliance on traditional medicine
existing breeds
Existing breeds



Photo: Inrab

Adapted from Maud (1980) & Meyer (2002)

threats to local breeds
Threats to local breeds
  • No systematic characterisation
  • Indiscriminate crossbreeding
threats to local breeds cont
Threats to local breeds (cont.)
  • Ongoing livestock improvement projects

eg. substitution local goat by French alpin goat in South Benin (Heifer Project October 2003)

market situation

Threats to local breeds (cont.)

Market situation

(Dossa, 2002)

objectives of the study
Objectives of the study
  • Identify & understand smallholder objectives and breeding strategies in livestock production
  • Identify, evaluate and assess traditional knowledge & local practices
  • Develop community –based management strategies & actions using small ruminant as a pilot species

Conceptual framework

Biophysical data

Climate, Vegetation,

Soil, Geography

Socio-economic data

Population density, Policies,

Infrastructure, Services

Cultural data

Ethnicity, Religion

Crop-livestock interactions

Small ruminant production system

Management practices

(Feeding, health, breeding, marketing)

Animal Genetic Variability

(Phenotypic and genetic variation

within & between populations)


(Biological efficiency)

Livelihood Contribution

(Direct & indirect uses, economic efficiency)

Community-based Management Strategies & Actions

research questions and hypotheses
Research questions and hypotheses
  • Question 1: How do small ruminants contribute to the livelihoods of smallholders and to the sustainability of mixed farming systems?
  • Hypothesis 1: Roles and overall productivity of small ruminants vary according to agro-ecological zones and existing communities, due to differences in local knowledge and management practices
research questions and hypotheses cont
Research questions and hypotheses (cont.)
  • Question 2: Under what conditions are farmers most likely to initiate a community-based management of small ruminants genetic resource such as it is able to begin functionning and move into a short-term and sustainable long-term phases?
  • Hypothesis 2: Farmers will develop a shared understanding and networks for reciprocal exchange that permit a sustainable, collective management of small ruminants genetic resources when provided with the necessary learning environments that enable them to share their experiences and viewpoints
study area
Study area
  • Coverage of three AEZ out of eight (north-south)
  • One location per AEZ could be selected on basis of:
    • Predominance of sheep and goats (MAEP-DE, 2002)
    • Accessability
    • Support of INRAB through R&D centres
    • Support of livestock development institutions (PDE)
  • Two villages per location could be selected based on:
    • Farmers organisations
    • Effective village authority system
preliminary study phase
Preliminary study phase
  • Agreement with the INRAB staff on the locations to be
  • surveyed
  • Explorative field visits & meetings with local authorities,
  • community leaders, politicians
  • Collection secondary data through
  • - Interpretation & analysis maps and satellites images
  • - Analysis of census data
  • - Key informants interviews
  • - Review available literature
community action research
Community action research

(Adapted from Sultana andThompson, 2003; Fitzgerald, 2003)


Community identification


Participatory action planning


Implementation community plan


Participatory evaluation

community action research 1 community identification
Community action research: 1 Community identification

Participatory resource mapping

Key informants discussion

Oral history with elders

Direct observation

Questionnaire interviews with random sample

Flock characteristics & management practices

Progeny history

Ranking and scoring exercices

Morphological measurement

Key informants

Focus group

Wealth ranking

community action research 3 implementation
Community action research:3 Implementation
  • Farmer Field School:
  • Participants divided in small groups
  • Each group visit a flock of a group member
  • Observations guided by checklist
  • Discussions in each group
  • Plenary
  • Special topics using „expert farmer“ approach
  • Group dynamic exercises
  • Monthly visit to selected flocks by enumerators
community action research 4 evaluation
Community action research:4 Evaluation
  • Random sample participants and non participants
  • Questionnaire survey and flock census
  • (before-after participatory action planning)
  • Assessment changes in:
  • Management practices: flock size, feeding, watering,

disease control, mating control, breeding strategies

  • Actual effective population size (Ne)
  • Social capital: trust, harmony, cooperation, empathy,

unity, empowerment

data analysis
Data analysis
  • Information gathered through PRA analysed
  • Immediate feedback to farmers
  • Biophysical and socio-economic data integrated into GIS program using Arc view GIS software
  • Statistical analysis (e.g., ANOVA and logistic regression models, multivariate, PCA and cluster analyses;SPSS version 11.5)
time schedule
Time schedule

Could we start field work before October?)