Nguni cattle breeding programmes for small holder farmers

Fri, 2016-04-22 06:46 -- hansie

merida@scientificroets.com's picture
merida@scientificroets.com's picture
Submitted by merida@scientif... on Thu, 2016-04-14 14:49

Thanks for the blog initiative! I thought I'd get the ball rolling with perhaps starting a discussion on government led programmes providing breeding stock to small holder farmers. We all understand the good intentions...obviously, but I question the validity of the assumptions regarding a positive outcome to this process? It is assumed that the constraints to increased productivity of small holder farmers (generally - and in generalisation lies a huge problem) lies in the genetic material that they possess. Yes, the low input system they are practising, with its many facets, is also mentioned. However, should we not be more aware of the purpose for which these cattle are kept? Surely, if you are an "animal keeper" - where you merely keep the cattle as a complementary, ready cash source - then any inputs will be seen as a constraint (even getting a better breed or an improved example of your breed). This is as opposed to a "farmer" where increased productivity and production is the goal for increased profit - thus, it is recognised that to get outputs, inputs are nomal. I would be interested to hear the rationale behind these types of programmes, how the beneficiaries are selected, and what the impacts of them have been (financially speaking - if this type of assessment has been done?) Kind regards, Dr Merida Roets (Pr.Sci.Nat.)