The Future of Livestock in West Africa



With over 60 million head of cattle, 160 million small ruminants, and 400 million poultry, West Africa is an exceptional livestock region. However, this animal production potential is still rarely optimised and the region continues to import great quantities of animal products to meet the needs of the population. Building on the joint ECOWAS/SWAC initiative on "The Future of Livestock: Potentials and Challenges to Strengthen the Regional Market”, ECOWAS Ministers adopted guiding principles  for the development of livestock in the ECOWAS zone. After consultation with its partners, the Secretariat has decided not to move forward on this issue, in order to be able to dedicate its resources to the implementation of the 2011-2012 work programme.

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Livestock Forum  | Policy notes | Documents | Contact




“Livestock & Food security”

This was the key focus of the 26th RPCA annual meeting, held in Accra (Ghana) from 14 to 16 December 2010. A large number of papers were presented to illustrate the livestock sector's contribution to food security.

> read on…

Interview with Aliou Ibrahima, APESS Secretary-General

February 2009

"The deep-seated changes of traditional pastoral systems require the ability to significantly adapt: demographic growth contributes to intensifying demand and exerts pressure on production capacities; unfair competition from imported meat (dumping) hinders local production’s competitiveness. Indeed, livestock breeders cannot meet these challenges individually; which is why APESS’ mission is so important. The livestock professionals’ strength will depend on their capacity to become mobilised within one powerful livestock movement." > read on…




Livestock and the regional market in the Sahel and West Africa

This ECOWAS/SWAC study, conducted in collaboration with the CILSS, UEMOA and ROPPA within the framework of the Initiative “Potentials and Challenges for Strengthening the Regional Market”, is part of a strategic thinking process aiming to identify ways and means of enabling the livestock sector to play its role effectively as an engine of economic development in the individual countries and take part in the process of regional economic integration.

>> download the full report

Policy notes

Drawing on outcomes of this study, a series of policy notes on the future of livestock has been produced to facilitate decision-making.



Valorising Regional Livestock Complementarities: A lever to better meet growing demand for animal products in the Sahel and West Africa

With a growth rate of animal products in the Sahel and West Africa estimated at 4% per year, demand is expected to increase by more than 250% by 2025. The importance of imports varies according to different zones and raises the following issues: Can regional demand be met at reasonable prices by increasing local production? If so, why the potential demand is not yet satisfied by regional production? Are current livestock policies in line with food security goals and with potential production?

> download the policy note nº1 (1,3 Mb) 

Implementing Trade Policies to Strengthen the Regional Animal Products Market

To ensure the stability and development of the livestock sector, it is very important to regulate competing imports, including by-products, and to harmonise cross-border trade policies. West Africa must define agricultural and trade policies that enable it to better integrate into the global market while optimising its potential production. Livestock is a very competitive product but the sub-sector is still largely unorganised and its transaction costs remain high (transporting live cattle very long distances and a lot of administrative hassle).

> download the policy note nº2 (1,4 Mb) 

Promoting and Supporting Change in Transhumant Pastoralism in the Sahel and West Africa

Transhumant pastoralism is important in the Sahel and West Africa's livestock sector and involves 70-90% of the Sahel’s cattle and 30-40% of its sheep and goats. Despite its importance, it still faces serious obstacles that threaten its potential production. The dramatic shrinkage in pastures as a result of expanding crop cultivation and the takeover by agriculture of key pastoral areas and the neglect of livestock in major dam projects on the Senegal and Niger rivers restricts the access of cattle to the Sahel’s resources.

> download the policy note nº3 (1,9 Mb) 

Strengthening the Role of Actors and Livestock Professionals: A Necessity to Stimulate Regional Trade

With the reduction or even the dismantling of checkpoints along trade routes and the abolition of customs duties on cattle exports to other UEMOA countries, professionals recognise that significant progress has been made in the free movement of people and goods. However, some actors stress the continuing bureaucratic “obstacles” involving illegal taxes imposed along international roads. Trade is slowed down as a result and the consumer ends up paying more than he should for animal products. How can actors contribute to stimulating animal production sectors in the Sahel and West Africa? What steps could strengthen the actors’ capacity?

> download the policy note nº4 (1,4 Mb) 

Science and Technology: Responding to Future Challenges in the Livestock Sector

Strengthening capacities and human resources in research are vital to the future of the livestock sector, yet little attention is paid to research policy. The lack of resources allocated to scientific research hinders development of technology to meet the needs of the range of livestock farming systems and the breeders themselves. What policies need to be adopted in order to strengthen the contribution of science and technology the promotion of animal sectors in the Sahel and West Africa?
> download the policy note nº5 (1,4 Mb) 

Processing of Agro-food animal products in the Sahel and West Africa: essential for strengthening intra and extra-regional trade

The fact that urban West African consumers are increasingly geared towards processed foods has often been neglected in the analysis of the evolution of the African food system. Policy Note No. 6, produced within the framework of the SWAC initiative on “Potentials and Challenges for Strengthening the Regional Market” focuses on the analysis of this phenomenon and its impact on intra and extra-regional trade. There is a gap that needs to be bridged between food consumption patterns and animal product marketing systems.
> download the policy note nº6 (0,8 Mb) 


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