Dr. Salissou Issa, Government of Niger – INRAN
Livestock represents an essential component of the livelihoods of millions of people in Niger and Burkina Faso and is a key livelihood strategy in a region increasingly subject to the uncertainties of droughts, global climate change and consequent loss of livestock productivity that is impacting rural households. Agro-pastoral and pastoral populations in Niger and Burkina Faso have limited livestock herds per household, and most have limited resources to purchase inputs for increased productivity and little market power to ensure fair prices. This lack of available sustenance, particularly during the hot season, has a deleterious effect on livestock nutrition and health. Additionally, when animals are fed, they often do not utilize the feed efficiently due to the prevalence of parasites—for which one single anti-parasite treatment is used in the best cases, or more often none at all. This is due mainly to the limited capacity of community animal health workers, as well as the lack of knowledge of the types of parasites and their importance to the health of the animals. The issues are very similar in Burkina Faso. Over 80% of Burkinabé and 87% of Nigerians are involved with livestock in differing degrees, and livestock and its by-products represent an important source of revenues, and source of exports, second after cotton.2 Constraints to livestock production include shortage of water in the dry season, insufficient quantity and quality of feed throughout the year and high cost of veterinary drugs and services. Other identified constraints are the low technical knowledge of fodder production and conservation.
Mercy Corps is a recipient of a grant under the University of Florida (UF) Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems (LSIL) in partnership with Texas A&M University, and the Governments of Niger (INRAN) and Burkina Faso (INERA). The ENHANCE partners seek to expand this collaboration in West Africa to strengthen existing efforts in livestock rearing in Niger, which were started with Mercy Corps through FFP-funded programs such as the Development Food Assistance program in Niger from 2012-2018 “Sawki” and with other USAID-funded programs under the RISE umbrella, such as REGIS-AG in Niger and Burkina Faso.
The project objective is to enhance the productivity of small ruminants through improved and cost effective feeding in Burkina Faso and Niger by:
By the end of 2020, ENHANCE will: improve the development of appropriate production and post-harvest technologies in forage and feed value chains, animal feeds and feeding practices; strengthen capacity of small ruminant value chain actors to adopt technologies and innovations; disseminate best practices for parasites control and improve and disseminate policy recommendations related to the animal feed and fodder industry.
Photo credit: ILRI
Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems
This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.