A report to the Small Ruminant Production Enhancement Project (SRPEP) by the International Livestock Research Institute in support of The Gambia’s livestock master plan
Karl M. Rich, Sirak Bahta, Abdrahmane Wane, Francis Wanyoike and Isabelle Baltenweck
The Gambia is the smallest country in West Africa, spanning just 11,300 square kilometres, with a high population density (176 people per square kilometre). It shares a single 749-kilometre overland border with Senegal. About 57% of its population is reported to live in urban areas. The total population in The Gambia is expected to gradually rise in the next three decades to approximately 4.3 million people, requiring anticipative policies concerning both infrastructure development and food supply improvement (Nyoni et al. 2019).
The Gambia’s economy relies heavily on the tourism and agriculture sectors. The gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6% in 2019 against a 6.5% growth in 2018, predominantly with an increase of 10% of services supported by wholesale and retail trade while the agriculture sector contracted by 10% (World Bank 2020). The agriculture sector remains too dependent on weather conditions, predominantly traditional and is characterized by low input extensive system of husbandry. Moreover, the Gambian agricultural sector struggles to overcome its key long-term development challenges related to the country’s undiversified economy, small internal market, limited access to resources, lack of skills necessary to build effective institutions, high population growth, lack of private-sector job creation and high rate of outmigration. More specifically, the agricultural sector suffers from a structural inability to produce more and better, respond to increasing demand for livestock products and sustain a better life from livestock. Agricultural productivity in The Gambia remains quite low and, in turn, has significant adverse implications for the economy.
Findings from a participatory evaluation exercise within the climate-smart villages of Ghana
Samuel Tetteh Partey, Franklin Avornyo, Mathieu Ouédraogo, Robert Zougmoré
Livestock production employs over 60% of rural households in the three northern regions of Ghana, making investment in this industry critical for alleviating poverty and enhancing food security. Among other factors, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture reports access to sustainable feed supply as one of the livestock industry’s key constraints. As most livestock are kept on a free-range system, forage of fair nutritive value is normally scarce in the dry season due to recurrent droughts, continuous over-grazing and lack of range improvement interventions. Often, palatable and productive perennial grasses, legumes and herbs become replaced with unpalatable, low quality annual species, with a concomitant loss of soil fertility. The nutritive value of available pasture species is therefore often poor with low levels of crude protein. The predominant small scale, subsistence livestock producers are also challenged with the financial resources to afford a continuous supplementation of concentrate feeds to their animals. Recent research has been directed to using tree leaves as fodder for livestock due to many advantages such as supply of good quality green fodder even in the dry season as well as high crude protein and minerals contents.
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Gender transformative approaches
The current widespread recognition of the importance of integrating gender into development is reflected in the growing prominence of gender strategies for research and development organizations, the emergence of compelling approaches for gender integration, and the development of indicators for tracking performance.
The agricultural research, development and donor community is building on this momentum to pursue increasingly more substantive approaches to gender integration as reflected in USAID’s Feed the Future program and in many of the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs). Despite this, there is growing concern that these recent achievements need to go further if they are to integrate gender into development in ways that achieve lasting impacts on poverty and hunger. Unless development research and practice address the underlying causes of gender disparities in access to and control over agriculture and other valued resources, sustainable change is unlikely to be achieved.
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