Institutional and Economic Framework conditions for Livestock Development in Developing Countries and their Interrelationships [Frameworks]

The Framework conditions

Livestock production in SSA and Asia is influenced by ecological, technical, institutional, economic (macro and micro) and political framework conditions. These conditions are interrelated and seldom have distinct boundaries which would allow analysis within the context of a well-defined and unconfounded matrix. Therefore, treatment of the subject exhaustively could lead to complications and would require time and scope beyond those envisaged for the purpose of the conference. The issues highlighted are related to domestic ruminants and pigs in the semi-arid and the sub-humid zones of Africa and Asia.

The ecological framework conditions

a) The semi-arid tropics of SSA and Asia

Traditionally, livestock graze the low-rainfall areas(500- 750 mm) of the semi-arid zones, while cropping dominates the high-rainfall areas(750-1 000 mm). However, with increasing population pressure, crop cultivation has encroached into the low-rainfall areas, and, with improved veterinary services, livestock have moved into the wetter areas (Winrock International, 1992). At present, the semi-arid zones are mostly integrated crop-livestock systems. The main constraints are low soil nutrients, a long dry season (six to nine months), inadequate and poor feed during dry periods, scarce water resources, a lack of marketing and product-processing infrastructure, the absence of livestock development policies, uneven and in some areas a lack of veterinary support services, a poor administrative and institutional framework, remoteness, inefficient transport facilities and an overall lack of appropriate technologies responsive to the changing socio-cultural environment. The income of most of the inhabitants of the semi-arid tropics is classified as low (World Bank, 1991).

b) The sub-humid tropics of SSA and Asia

The sub-humid tropics are characterized by longer growing seasons (from six to nine months), heavy rainfall (1 000-1 500 mm) and fragile and poor quality soils. In densely populated areas of south and south east Asia, the predominant peasant farming systems are integrated crop-livestock systems. In SSA this zone is in a state of transition from traditional slash-and-burn and transhumant or migratory grazing systems to mixed crop-livestock systems (Winrock International, 1992). In Asia the main constraints are lack of the capital and the technology needed to intensify and improve productivity and the competition among livestock, crops and the human population over the limited land resources. In SSA the constraints are manifold, including seasonally poor-quality forage and insufficient animal feed, the poor genetic potential of the local breeds, a wide range of animal diseases and poor veterinary services. Trypanosomiasis and other diseases prohibit the expansion of livestock in large areas and impose restrictions on the expansion of crop agriculture due to the shortage of draught-animal power and manure. Generally, most of the tropical sub-humid areas are constrained by inadequate transport and road facilities, poor access to markets and lack of storage and processing capabilities. The lack of agricultural support services, capital and appropriate technologies limits substantially the potential for improved productivity. Overall, while the problems in SSA revolve more around a complete absence of basic infrastructures, the problems in Asia revolve around how best to increase efficiency (e.g. advanced feeding techniques) and the competition for the scarce physical resources.

c) Strategic options for livestock development

In the short term, the livestock in semi-arid and sub-humid tropical SSA and Asia should be improved through the intensification of production in integrated crop-livestock systems. This is pragmatic in a poverty-alleviation context considering the time required for the development of stable policy reforms and the socio-economic growth needed for large-scale commercial animal agriculture systems similar to those in the industrial nations. Although the fact that the peasant farming systems of Asia integrate cropping and livestock production in a successful fashion has been recognized for some time, the systems in SSA have always been described as monosectoral (McIntire, Bourzat and Pingali, 1992). In fact, except in the arid and the drier semi-arid regions (predominantly livestock) and limited cropping areas in the humid forest zone, African farmers have always integrated the two activities, and the benefits from manure and draught-animal power have been known for a very long time. What has been happening in the traditional systems is a form of slow and gradual exploitation of the mostly abandoned and inaccessible lands for grazing or for traditional slash-and-burn cropping systems. Even so, users have integrated livestock into the cropping system and have burned to feed the animals on the young regrowth first before ploughing the land for cultivation.

The discussion of the technical constraints and technology-development options is beyond the scope of this paper and is planned for presentation by other speakers. However, it is important here to establish the contention that the main issue is the importance of gearing reforms and macroeconomic policies — particularly those influencing peasant systems — to the social, cultural and bio-physical resource capabilities.

In Africa, the strategy for developing animal agriculture should be concentrated in semi-arid and sub-humid areas (Winrock International, 1992). The difficult issue of resolving the long-standing and growing conflict between graziers and cultivators over land-use rights should be addressed. Means to improve soil fertility through local resources (e.g. ash, phosphate deposits) or by even distribution of livestock (e.g. the integration of livestock in the large agricultural schemes in the Sudan and the movement of livestock herders towards cotton farming areas in southern Burkina Faso) should be considered. Although population growth and infrastructural advances have encouraged some form of permanent residence among Zebu cattle in tsetse-infested areas (e.g. central Nigeria), any rapid expansion of livestock and crop production in the sub-humid areas will depend on the speed with which trypano-tolerant breeds are developed and multiply. Sustainable measures to insure adequate year-round animal feed should be developed and should include intensive on-farm forage development, the improved utilization of crop residues and industrial by-products, agro-forestry, range improvement, and effective user rights for both cultivators and graziers.

The strategic options for Asia should be based on achieving an enhanced method for improving the smallholder integrated crop-livestock systems, since the pressure on land and the competition are quite alarming. Specific options should consider increased production efficiency, as well as the development of small-ruminant and feed-resource improvement technologies (Brandenburg, 1992).

The institutional framework conditions

For the purpose of this discussion, two institutions catering to the livestock subsector are distinguished. The formal (line) institutions are mainly the livestock departments, local administrations and research, extension, training, marketing and credit institutions. The grass-roots institutions are grouped into two types: the informal institutions, which include the cooperatives and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and another group which has been given many names, such as indigenous, community, or traditional institutions or associations. Community institutions could be traditional and historically based on the tribal chiefdom or organized by the communities themselves,1 the local government2 or (lately) through donor-supported projects. In any case, the community associations could be useful and successful if they evolve on demand, if they are formed by consensus and if they can facilitate access to credit and production inputs, stimulate self-help, assist in land allocations and settle claims over grazing and drinking rights.

Formal institutions

The constraints related to formal institutions vary between the two regions and even within countries in each of the agro-ecological zones of the two continents. The socio-economic, as well as the political, influences dictate the magnitude of stability of the formal institutions and in most cases have a direct effect on the validity and sustainability of efforts intended to alleviate technical constraints. It is therefore difficult to generalize. However, the following general statements and issues are proposed based on an extensive review of several sectoral and country documents in the two regions.

a) Technical and service institutions

Historically, institutional support to livestock development usually starts with animal health. Most pre-independence institutions in SSA and Asia were limited to fairly well-organized veterinary departments that focused on the diagnosis, treatment and control of notifiable diseases. The emphasis on other areas of veterinary concerns such as dips, drug supply, slaughtering and other hygiene and public-health concerns, and quarantine and export-import regulations varied according to the importance of the subsector and the magnitude of political support it received from the government. This approach has prevailed until the present time. For example, in the Central African Republic, where significant ruminant livestock production is fairly recent and the target is to improve productivity in order to reduce national dependence on cattle imports and to increase exports, the main activities which have attracted the support of four cofinanciers are focused on provisions to strengthen animal health and drug distribution programmes. However, in SSA in particular, most government-operated veterinary services are not able to provide services to all of the subsector in spite of an unnecessary buildup of staff. In Asia, the role of auxiliaries (animal health auxiliaries) in drug distribution and artificial insemination is considerable, but the system is not financially sustainable and suffers from a lack of proper training and transport facilities (e.g. Viet Nam).

Conversely, animal husbandry receives a lower priority in most countries and is ineffective in many cases. Livestock extension is often limited to drug distribution and national vaccination campaigns only. Also, recent attempts at improvement (e.g. via the World Bank-supported unified training-and-visit extension systems) have generally been unsuccessful due to the lack of effective animal health and management structures.3 Range-management and feed-improvement activities usually receive the least attention and support and are poorly funded and staffed in terms of service and research programmes.

16. Agricultural research institutions are generally weak and underfunded and lack effective links with extension and other formal and informal institutions. Many research institutions are not capable of conducting applied or adaptive research and tend to waste their meagre resources in ad hoc programmes without systematic means of prioritizing the problems or the approaches. For example, several research institutes in China pay superficial attention to feed improvement and pasture-development research programmes in spite of the fact that year-round feed balance is the main constraint to livestock development in many provinces. In many SSA countries (e.g. Nigeria), national agricultural research systems lack the resources for the development, field-testing and extension of the limited on-station research results at the farm level. The problems are further complicated by the dichotomy between the institutions responsible for animal health and animal production that is reflected in the absence of a priority on animal research in national programmes. Also, most of these research institutions are constrained by a lack of financial resources and do not have an established system of priority-setting. As the need for adaptive research increases, the devising of cost-effective modalities for the execution of trials with farmers becomes necessary. For example, line research institutions or local governments should consider contracting specialized NGOs to do the task within the overall framework of approved development policies.

Effective training programmes are responsive to the demands and the characteristics of local environments. It is therefore important to institutionalize livestock training in a manner whereby limited financial, human and physical resources are harnessed to respond directly to solving identified priority constraints. This should be an important consideration in the training of professionals at the graduate and post-graduate levels. In-country and on-the-job training is equally important and could be established through the training of trainers, the training of extension volunteers and auxiliaries, farmer-supported livestock on-farm/in-range trials and adaptive research programmes (IDRC, 1985), and study tours, as well as interregional producer-networking systems. The tendency to accept the farmer as the "client" and the focal point for research and extension programmes has led to the call for increased investment in the vocational training of farmers and herders in SSA (Kesseba, 1992). The curricula should be objective and simple, particularly at the grass-roots and herder levels. For example, multidisciplinary training programmes (e.g. Viet Nam) for animal health auxiliaries (with proven skills in drug distribution and the delivery of artificial insemination services) would overburden and confuse the auxiliaries. At the same time, it would lead to a monopolization of resources and limit the initiative for voluntary help to a few individuals, rather than exploiting the local talent and interests of other community members.

Parastatals are types of autonomous or semi-autonomous line institutions which have generally been found to be bureaucratic, subject to political interference, inefficient and, in some countries, vehicles for enriching government officials and friends or absorbing the criticisms of political opponents. Parastatals provide all or most of the processing capacity for dairy products in many SSA countries (Walshe et al, 1991), and most are loss-making operations. Overall, parastatals have done more harm than good in the livestock subsector. For example, parastatal meat-marketing companies, drug-distribution enterprises (e.g. West Africa), ranches (East Africa), sheep-fattening operations (Sudan), slaughterhouses and meat-processing plants have monopolized markets, discouraged private investment and, because of the poor managerial skills of their members, confused the local trade and discouraged offtake from the traditional systems.

b) Credit

Credit institutions generally receive assistance in meeting the demands of urban and, to some extent, rural commercial investors. In the few cases where credit has targeted the rural poor, the credit institutions have been bitterly criticized for the high running costs and the unsustainable delivery structures. The ability of these institutions to follow proper banking procedures has been questioned, and in many cases the concerns unnecessarily exaggerated.Generally, however, credit schemes have proved effective and successful in reaching a wide spectrum of IFAD target groups in China, Viet Nam, India, Ethiopia, Sudan, Mali, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. For example, in countries such as China, with centuries of integrated farming knowledge and experience, governments are more receptive towards obtaining credit from local and external banks and financial institutions. Also the lending/on-lending process is quite acceptable to both the provincial governments and the farmers and has contributed to a reduction in the demand for some forms of highly exploitative informal lending.

Effective organization, the active participation of project beneficiaries and good national policy-support could make even high-risk, innovative ideas based on many untested assumptions work in a sustainable manner. This has been the case with the cattle repayment-in-kind credit system (repayment of two offspring within five years) devised for the IFAD-supported Smallholder Cattle Development Projects (first and second phases) in Indonesia. In this effort, the project was successfully terminated after the completion of a massive transport of cattle (more than 100 000 head) to smallholder farmers in Sumatra,4 as well as the establishment of the necessary animal-health and husbandry extension services. The demand for the technology (the introduction of draught animals in the cropping system) and active community participation were the keys to the success and sustainability of this form of credit service (IFAD, 1992).

Following the successful experience of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, IFAD's President stated in 1992 that "even among the poorest and the landless, loan repayment reached almost 100%" (IFAD, 1992). The Grameen Bank was a product of academic thinking; the process of initiation was experimental and gradual, and the demand of the target groups and their effective participation in putting the idea into practice were the driving forces behind each progressive step. Some of the characteristics of the bank are the vigorous selection of borrowers, the powerful peer pressure, and the intensive discipline, supervision, and servicing features of the operations carried out by the "bicycle bankers", who work under bank branches with considerable delegated authority. Another achievement of the bank was its group-savings, which in 1991 reached about USD 23 million, of which USD 19 million had been saved by women. It has become impossible for critics to ignore the fact that at the end of 1992 the Grameen Bank was able to disburse, through its 1 009 branches, USD 537 million in very modest loans (less than USD 165) to some of the poorest people on earth (Shams, 1993). Of the Grameen borrowers, 93% are women, a severely disadvantaged group in Bangladesh (Biggs, Snodgrass and Srivastave, 1991). Approximately 50% of the loans have been invested in livestock development (International Telecomputer Conference on Livestock Development, 1992-93). The success of the Grameen Bank in recovering 98% of its loans to the poor within only two years from disbursement (Shams, 1992) is an indication that the problem is not in the inability of the poor to handle credit, but rather in the reluctance or inability of existing institutions to provide it (Jazairy, 1992).

The absence of a blueprint for proper banking systems for the rural poor should be recognized by donors and international development agencies, which should avoid the temptation of providing unsustainable grants or of reverting to strict academic interpretations of banking rules and standards. Rather, more effort should be placed on exploring effective linkages between formal and informal credit systems and in devising sustainable mechanisms for strengthening and replicating experiences which have already shown success and vitality (e.g. the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Badan Kredit Kecamatan in Indonesia and the many successful, but small-scale experiences elsewhere). The effort should be site specific and should provide flexible room for the exchange of external and indigenous experiences (for example, self-help groups) in order to foster the development of acceptable modalities which are both cost effective and sustainable.

Lending to the poor, who often lack collateral, is unattractive both to formal lending agencies and to the potential borrowers. The poor are generally fearful of getting into debt, but the unavailability of funds and lack of awareness (for instance, in marginal areas of Tanzania) are equally important considerations. In such cases, initial seed capital for administering loans, as well as "subsidies" from governments and donors (e.g. in the form of reliable flows of financing, while time and energy are expended on upgrading the professional capabilities of the institutions), might be needed and should be accepted with minimal prejudice. Training, upgrading professional skills and addressing general issues (for instance, by providing assistance to cooperating loan institutions in the recruitment of female loan disbursement officers) are some examples of the assistance donors and governments should provide in order to assure the sustainability of the on-lending process.

c) Marketing

Marketing is complicated by the nature of the livestock-production systems in the developing countries. Mobility, cultural factors, land titles and security considerations influence the marketing of transhumant and pastoral stocks. Modern or traditional stratification systems of production (e.g. fattening on zero grazing or supplemental feeding) are influenced by climatic variation and by microeconomic and macroeconomic policies (for instance, methods of setting prices). As with credit, marketing receives assistance to meet urban and commercial demand.

The poor marketing infrastructure in most of rural areas is one of the major reasons why many livestock producers lack the incentive to adopt livestock-improvement technologies. Furthermore, the processing and distribution of products are often non-existent or unhygienic. Where there is some form of stability in demand and supply, rural traders devise innovative, practical and sustainable methods (the use of motorcycles for milk distribution around Kaduna in Nigeria), which in turn can be reflected in increased productivity. Access to markets often influences the decision of farmers regarding the mix of livestock species to produce. For example, the lack of roads was found to be a handicap for improved pig production in remote areas (for instance, in Viet Nam) where many farmers either do not raise livestock, or tend to invest in less productive cattle breeds simply because they can walk the product to market.

Grass-roots institutions

The exclusion of the informal sector from the development process and the complete reliance and dominance of ineffective line institutions have proved to be major causes for repeated failure and for confusion in livestock development initiatives. This experience and the stringent financial situation have led donors and governments to consider ways and means to reach out effectively to grass-roots entities and attempt a bottom-up approach. For the purpose of passing the message with minimum confusion, these structures will be discussed under two headings: informal institutions (which broadly include the cooperatives and the NGOs) and community-based institutions.

a) The informal institutions

The cooperatives usually serve for pooling the economic resources of members. These structures are usually established for credit and marketing purposes and provide input supply and distribution services to members. Some cooperatives are more aptly called "interest groups" because they form over a specific issue and disband when the issue is resolved. Others are seasonal. Cooperatives can be successful vehicles for delivering the inputs needed for livestock-development interventions (e.g. in western India), but care must be exerted because many are either dormant, or heavily indebted (for example, in Nigeria). In countries where cooperative membership is mandatory (for instance, the centrally planned economies), the top-to-bottom decision-making power imposed upon the cooperative makes them more like line institutions rather than grass-roots organizations. Such cooperatives have proved less effective as tools for implementing community participatory objectives (e.g. Viet Nam). Other cooperatives (for instance, smallholder producer organizations in Pakistan) are widespread and assist with the collection, grading and marketing of livestock and dairy products.

In Asia, the examples of effective cooperatives are many, but the success of the Anand Pattern in Gujarat in western India is phenomenal. The institution is now one of the most well known, self-sustained NGO-cooperative movements and is fully managed and controlled by more than 895 village milk-producer cooperatives. This highly successful initiative is now fully commercialized, financially viable and capital intensive and is supplying a number of dairy products to the entire Indian market (Operation Flood). However, attempts to replicate the model in other Asian countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have not achieved the expected success.

One of the practical problems in dealing with cooperatives (and all other grass-roots institutions) in the development process is their affiliation to separate line institutions. This adds to the complication and the cost of development programmes. Although the complications arising from the need to work with many counterpart line institutions could be reduced through the establishment of an effective project management unit during the life of the project, the issue of sustainability should be clarified if the cooperatives are to be utilized in the development process.

Non-governmental organizations have proved useful in delivering services, assisting self-help groups, conducting adaptive research programmes and baseline and benchmark studies, and delivering inputs and veterinary drugs. In SSA, NGOs have been particularly useful in the establishment of self-sustaining participatory institutions capable of promoting the required interaction between technologies and beneficiaries (Kesseba, 1992). However, they vary substantially in quality and purpose and can be indigenous or external. According to de Haan and Bekure (1991) neither the World Bank, nor governments are well equipped to handle non-professional animal-health-care activities in SSA. The authors have proposed contracting NGOs to carry out tasks similar to those carried out in the Cameroon through the World Bank/IFAD-funded support to pastoral associations. Furthermore, national NGOs could play an effective role in delivering livestock services to rural communities (through affiliation or as an integral component of community organizations) if the governments agree to proceed with the structural adjustment programmes and privatization processes recommended by most donors. However, much would have to be said and done before the confidence of donors in national NGOs is forthcoming (for instance, the Livestock Donors Conference in Paris in 1992).

b) Community institutions

The simplistic and one-sided top-down approach to development which dominated the post-World War, post-colonial eras was wasteful and costly. But the lessons learned were many and useful. These lessons have been summarized by Chambers and Ghildyal (1985).

Non-adoption: changes in explanation and prescription

Stage of explanation


Period when dominant

Explanation of non-adoption


(1) Transfer of Technology (TOT)



Ignorance of farmer

Agricultural extension to transfer the technology

(2) Farmer first-and-last approach (FFL)



Farm-level constraints

Ease constraints to enable farmers to adopt the technology

(3) Resource-poor farmer (RPF)


Latter 1980s for RPFs?3

The technology does not fit RPF conditions

FFL to generate technology which does fit RPF conditions

and so on.

So, the target groups must be "partners in development and in research" (University of California-Davis, 1984). The potentials, as well as the results, are becoming increasingly understood and incorporated in all bilateral and multilateral-donor policies (Nell and de Jong, 1992).

"Process" and bottom-up approaches require a thorough understanding of the circumstances, traditional knowledge,5 motivation and the aspiration of the rural poor. Community-based associations and institutions have proved a viable vehicle for this process. In Pakistan, several donor-supported village livestock associations provide varied levels of community services. However, the need always arises for upgrading technical skills (e.g. in marketing or product processing) and for providing the necessary incentives and commitment which can only be assured through a high level of participation in planning and operation and through the availability of viable marketing outlets prior to the formation of such specialized associations.

Furthermore, the success of community associations is more likely when they build on local traditions, values and ethics. Attempts to exclude elders, chiefs and wisemen and to define knowledge of written languages (e.g. French in western Africa) as literacy have led to frustrated and failed efforts in many SSA countries. Although bookkeeping is important in the running of the financial affairs of local associations, giving merit and advantage to youngsters who could read and write the official language rather than to their elders was, indirectly, to disregard the technical knowledge of traditional livestock producers and led to disruptions in the chain of the knowledge-transfer process. It must be mentioned here that recent analysis of typical traditional resource-management systems and common-property regimes has pointed up inaccuracies in the thesis of the "tragedy of the commons" and other, related early post-colonial misconceptions (McCabe, 1990). The results of research by ecologists and anthropologists suggest that traditional pastoral livestock-management systems "do not degrade the environment, that livestock numbers do not exceed the carrying capacity of the land and that social institutions successfully function to cope with the environmental problems."

The World Bank, IFAD and several other donors have already benefited by incorporating community-based (e.g. pastoralists, herders, breeders, traders) associations in programmes aiming at judicious and sustainable natural resource management in the arid, semi-arid and sub-humid zones of SSA (Sihm, 1990, de Haan, 1991). Pastoral associations in SSA have become crucial in the transfer of livestock and rangeland-improvement technologies, services and input supplies. Senegal, Congo, Mauritania, Cameroon, Mali and the Central African Republic offer some examples of recent promising attempts. The policies towards privatization of veterinary and animal health services are proving feasible and sustainable if they are supported by herder communities. The experience in the Central African Republic has demonstrated the potential of the establishment of successful grass-roots organizations, even in a very remote country and among a mobile population of herders, by addressing what the target groups consider their most important problem(s).6

The attempt to build community associations is not universal and depends on the cultural, economic and political background of the developing country. In contrast to the SSA experience, the attempts to conserve about 1 million ha of grasslands in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of Northern China failed as a consequence of the government policy of moving towards privatization as a replacement to the top-down, centrally directed and communally managed grazing system. The cost of supporting the individualistic household responsibility system was unaffordable. Also, there was inadequate knowledge or at least a lack of community recognition of the initiative.

The socio-economic framework conditions

The economic framework conditions are discussed from policy and socio-cultural perspectives. This approach is essential because it is the only appropriate way of understanding the factors which influence the daily decisions and choices of rural communities. For most SSA pastoralists, raising cattle and camels is a form of traditional art and knowledge because the enterprise represents wealth, prosperity and community strength. That is why very early colonial endeavors to integrate local technical knowledge into modern technology (e.g. the traditional selection programmes for Kinana and Butana dairy cattle breeds in Sudan) were effective and successful. On the other hand, small ruminants are usually raised by women and children and seldom attract the attention of the adult men or receive any specific care (Government of Nigeria, 1992).

The evolution and orientation of policy-planning towards the consideration of complex mixed crop-livestock production systems have generated many problems which remain without an immediate prescription or solution (de Haan, 1992). By their nature, the constraints on poor smallholders (sedentary mixed farmers or transhumants) are multifaceted. Target groups are stressed by the low return to farm labor, and efforts to compensate through enhanced off-farm earnings are constrained by demographic, as well as economic, factors. The technical interventions developed in research stations are in most cases irrelevant and are not, on their own, sufficient to influence the decision of farmers to commercialize on-farm products. The low-input, low-output traditional technologies which were suitable when there was little competition for resources (e.g. the pastoral systems of SSA or northern China) are no longer viable under the present political and economic realities and are economically ineffective in the absence of securities and legally empowered land-tenure systems.

The macroeconomic framework conditions

i) Government pricing policy

Government policies, particularly towards the subsector, influence the marketing and pricing of livestock products in several ways. Trade agreements with other countries, tariffs and currency exchange influence domestic prices and consumer purchasing ability. Competition with imported products, particularly at prices favouring the urban poor, has a negative effect on rural markets, which are restricted by produce quality and access constraints. In countries with large volumes in the internal marketing of livestock products (e.g. Sudan, Pakistan), government policies are sometimes vague and in most cases non-interventionist. For example, in Pakistan, government legislation provides district authorities with the power to control retail beef and mutton prices, but the method of price-setting makes no allowance for age, or breed, or the different cuts (FAO, 1987b). Although such legislation is rarely enforced, it has a depressing effect on price levels, particularly for better quality meat.

ii) Sector management

The impact of macroeconomic policies on livestock development is generally negative, and the policies are usually less sensitive to the priorities of subsectors in most developing countries. This creates unfavourable environments and imposes obstacles in the path of systematic planning. One other concern is related to whether the donor community is capable of or willing to continue the process of development in the absence of or under unfavourable policy environments. For example, as mentioned earlier in the case of livestock development in Tanzania, in spite of heavy investment in infrastructure and in the reorganization and unification of extension programmes countrywide (training-and-visit models supported by the International Development Association), the benefits did not follow from the investment because of bad maintenance of the infrastructure, which resulted from the absence of viable or clearly defined livestock-development policy in the country.

Another example of the lack of a clear livestock-development policy is offered by Kenya, where IFAD has been supporting a major effort to rehabilitate the Animal Health Service. As in Sudan and other SSA countries, Kenya is still in the process of organizing and reorganizing the Ministry of Agriculture, and the infrastructure is bouncing back and forth between a unified livestock and crop production institution and two subdivided ministries. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development was split into two, leading to major organizational problems and budgetary difficulties.

iii) Cheap imports

Government policies regarding the public sector and the recent advances towards privatization are always rendered ineffective by other policies which favour the importation of cheap dairy7 and livestock products from the European Union and the Australian and New Zealand markets. According to a recent study by Winrock International (1992), artificially high local currency values have been a major negative force in livestock development in SSA. Milk and meat imports have been rising in many countries in the CFA franc zone. For example, meat imports by Côte d'Ivoire increased from 17 600 t in 1985 to 41 450 t in 1988, a threefold increase, while domestic meat-production remained comparatively stable (rising from 14 000 t to 16 000 t between 1985 and 1989).

Privatization as conducive to an environment for reform and as an incentive to improve productivity has received considerable attention from livestock donors (for instance, the Livestock Donors Conference in Paris in 1992). The success of privatization is conditioned on the securing of a profitable environment for producers. This will not be achieved unless the internal and external regulation of trade, import-export policies, price policies, customs and taxation is geared to benefit the producer in the developing8 countries. It should be the responsibility of governments in both the developing and the developed countries to assist the producer in the developing world, not by helping poor urban-dwellers access cheap imported or donated food, but by helping the rural poor produce enough for themselves and for the urban poor at affordable prices.

iv) Land-tenure policies

Enforcing land-tenure rules is more problematic in SSA countries (Riddell, 1982) than it is in most Asian countries, because the legal system itself is an evolutionary process closely linked with sedentary livelihood patterns. Developments in land use and land tenure began in the Sudan as early as 1898 when survey and land registration activities were undertaken. However, the impact of this regulation did not account for more than 1% or 2% of the total land area, whereas the majority of the land remained communal or governmental. The problem is expected to remain complicated for a longer time in the extensive arid and semi-arid areas. However, because of the process of forced sedentarization as a result of population pressure, most of the wetter semi-arid and sub-humid tropics will eventually shift from the common land-use systems to systems more sensitive to individual rights (Gilles, 1991). For now, the countries in transition will have to cope with the conflicts, and, although no definitive proposals are possible, the enhanced development of rural areas in a sustainable manner is the only guarantee of equitable settlement, preserving the rights of both the traditional and the new settlers.9 In many countries, clear governmental policies on land-use rights are therefore crucial in enhancing the process of livestock development.

The microeconomic framework conditions

These conditions are generally dependent on the need to commercialize products (the sale of male offspring, stratification and fattening programmes, the sale of milk and dairy products, selling or trading manure with crop-residue grazing, the rental of draught animals, etc.). Market forces, as well as demographic changes (sedentarization, mixed crop-animal agriculture), play a major role in determining the level of production and the risk which the smallholder is willing to take. Effective land-tenure systems (Riddell, 1982) offer farmers and livestock owners the incentives and the collateral needed to undertake the risk of adopting new technological interventions. On the other hand, a stable or increasing monetary value for livestock (compared to fluctuating and devaluated local currencies) encourages herders to keep their animals unsold until the animals reach a very advanced age. The effect of unfavourable policies on the competitiveness and the stability of farmgate prices is equally important. Although the direct influence of national pricing policies on farmgate prices may vary depending on local demand, the capital limitations might represent an advantage for the traders and middlemen.

Most of the livestock development programmes were not successful because the attempts neglected these and other basic socio-cultural relationships. In many countries, pastoral livestock owners were marginalized, and their interest was excluded when national policies were devised and when the mostly unsuccessful large-scale projects were being executed (ranches in East Africa). This has led to a situation in which most traditional livestock producers became merely observers. However, as both human and livestock populations grew rapidly, land resources became limited, leading to the development of complicated and interdependent rural production systems that were vulnerable to the whims of national policy.

Without giving up their claim that mega-projects are the most efficient systems, donors and planners have been forced to think about their options for addressing the constraints of the smallholder mixed crop-livestock producers (de Haan, 1992). The nature of the competitiveness and the tradeoffs between the two transitional systems — the livestock-dominated cropping systems and the crop-dominated livestock-production systems — must be addressed. Donors and development institutions should realize that there is a chronic lack of technical and economic packages ready to be used in their portfolios and that such packages can only be developed through effective and highly responsive national research and extension institutions.

What should be done to address the above concerns is, typically, site specific, but does contain some common features. In Asia, where land-tenure systems are more developed and the ability to handle credit more advanced, the challenges predominantly reside in finding adaptable technologies to improve productivity. For example, by financing fresh milk production and marketing infrastructure, the dry milk and butter oil aid programme in western India offered significant financial returns to members of the village cooperatives participating in the nationwide Anand Pattern milk-distribution programme. Yet, there are market, capital and infrastructural (e.g. access to markets) constraints. On the other hand, the dumping of milk in SSA provided considerable benefit to poor urban consumers, but adversely affected the village producers who succumbed readily to the competitive quality and cheap price (especially under situations of exaggerated exchange rates) of imported milk.

In most of SSA, the absence of technical interventions to improve livestock production is not the number one constraint. For example, in central Nigeria resident smallholders lack capital, whereas gradually settling herders lack the security of legally demarcated and documented land-use rights. Both the capital and the rights are primary prerequisites for improving and commercializing livestock production (smallholder dairy and fattening schemes) and should be addressed properly in order to assist in promoting the competitive qualities of the rural product relative to urban or imported products. On the other hand, for farmers in the remote areas of Viet Nam, the main problem is the physical access to markets. Viet Nam and other Asian countries have proved to be good recipients and users of credit, and their knowledge of pig-improvement technology is supported by nationwide community help through village auxiliaries.

The major donors are adopting new priorities that focus on support for the smallholder livestock producer (Nell and de Jong, 1992). Because of its mandate, IFAD has been a pioneer in this field and, in the expansion of its cofinancing policy, should benefit from this new direction taken by other donors. Although attention is being given to the smallholder, the donors still have much to say on the modalities and the priorities. The World bank is paying more attention to the peri-urban producers (e.g. smallholder dairy, beef fattening) who are directly affected by the market forces and who in turn depend on readily available feed resources and other production inputs, thus indirectly establishing the ground for continued dependency on grain and other feed imports. The rural small farmer, on the other hand, is bound to produce feed resources and, if given attention, should be able to secure the feed resources needed by both the urban and the rural producers. However, restricting development policies to less favoured areas without seeking the assistance of the commercial and more well off producers, traders and contractors imposes limitations on the opportunities for technology transfer (e.g. the experience of the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research), whereas some form of symbiotic relationship between commercial producers and smallholders could be effective in transferring production technologies (De Boer, 1992).

Document authored by Ahmed E. Sidahmed (IFAD).

Plenary paper published in the proceedings of International Conference on "Livestock Development in Developing Countries: Development Issues and Research Needs", Weilheim, Germany, 17-20 May 1993, organized and sponsored by the German Foundation for International Development and the Council for Tropical and Sub-Tropical Agricultural Research.


1/ In the northern communal areas of Namibia, there is some form of coexistence between traditional tribal leaderships and those chosen by villagers' consensus. Usually, the village or group headmen are elected freely, and any member of the village community, including the traditional headmen or the messengers of the tribal chief, can be nominated, elected, or defeated without causing any problems. At the same time, the villagers seek the consensus of the tribal chief (who continues to maintain hierarchical and hereditary rights). The tribal chiefs serve an important role in issues such as the confirmation of land-use rights and the settling of grazing and drinking domain claims.

2/ Several village and herder development organizations in SSA have been formed by governments, but usually the chiefs are appointed ex-officio. These community organizations play various roles, such as the collection of grazing fees (Lesotho) and the distribution of drugs (the Central African Republic).

3/ In Tanzania, while the unification of crop and livestock extension has been completed under the National Agricultural and Livestock Extension Project supported by the International Development Association, the problems identified by village extension workers cannot be diagnosed because of the total collapse or the poor status of divisional and regional veterinary and livestock investigation centres.

4/ Due to the activities of the first phase of the project (1980-88), it was possible to deliver 69 000 cattle to farmers by October 1991. Also, about 51 000 offspring have been received as repayment for the distributed cattle. Of these,27 200 have been redistributed for breeding purposes. Credit repayment had reached 51% by the end of June 1991, the low repayment rate being due to the low calving rates relative to the appraisal estimates. Although the project was considered a crop project (the main purpose being oxenization in order to increase the area of cultivation), the incentives from the cropping activities led to the successful introduction and adoption of improved animal-production systems. For example, almost 180 t of forage seeds had been produced by July 1991. In addition, two breakthroughs were made during the project: the identification of the casual agent of Bali Cattle Jembrana disease and of varieties of tree-legume fodder plants resistant to aphids.

5/ The knowledge of plants is perhaps the most refined aspect of local knowledge among SSA pastoralists. The Zaghawa of Sudan and Chad have vegetation classification systems very similar to the botanical one. They distinguish many different range types depending on the forage value (course, tender, salty, poisonous, etc.) and effect on livestock (nutritious, constipating, etc.). They consider certain plant species (e.g. acacia albida) indicators of good groundwater for permanent wells. The Fulani vaccinate their cattle against rinderpest and bovine pneumonia by injecting the juice from the lungs of the infected into an incision in the noses of healthy animals. African pastoralists are "range managers". They are not simple users of natural resources. They have developed specific criteria for movement from one pasture to another. They know range-improvement techniques (e.g. deliberate fires by the Fulani, the use of goats by the Maasai to overbrowse and control less desirable shrub species, the traditional prohibition among the Tuareg of Mali against cutting trees). The management of wells and natural ponds, as well as water-harvesting techniques, is maintained at high levels by most African pastoralists (Niamir-Fuller, 1990).

6/ The evolution in efforts in institution-building through community-based organizations and the private sector has also been a learning experience in multi-donor (IFAD, World Bank, African Development Bank, up to 1984, French Fund for Aid and Cooperation, the European Union and the Government of the Central African Republic) collaboration in the execution of multiphase livestock-development programmes. According to a recent unpublished review (Kozub, Domike and Thieme, 1992), the failure of the first phase, which was launched in 1980, was due to the lack of participation at all levels (the line, as well as the community, institutions). The handicap was gradually addressed in the subsequent phases, leading to a progressive build-up of effective line and community institutions. The National Herders Federation of the Central African Republic now covers 95% of the herders on a fully self-financing basis and is functioning well in supporting basic animal health-care services. At present, about 2 500 nomadic herders have been trained in basic diagnosis and treatment. The same group of donors are in the process of launching further development in the institution-building process by supporting the establishment of other community-based associations (e.g. traders, butchers) and by the institutionalization of herders' rights to secure use of demarcated community pilot-grazing areas.

7/ The IFAD-funded Small Livestock Development Project (1982-88) in the Philippines failed in the attempt to introduce modern technologies to diversify livestock production to a target population of 34 000 smallholders because of design, institutional and macroeconomic factors. The project involved multiple sources of technical, financial and marketing services. It is a good example of the external influences at the international level and the overall influence of a complexity of framework conditions. International price fluctuations and inflation pressure were a product of many factors, including the second worldwide oil price shock. During the period, it seemed easier for the Government to import food and other agricultural commodities than to adopt policies which could explicitly favour domestic production. In this particular situation, the Government supported the importation of powdered milk for reconstitution by national dairy plants rather than relying on smallholder fresh-milk producers. In addition, the institutions participating in the project were extremely unstable, as indicated by the change (over seven years) of four agriculture ministers and five presidents of the main project collaborating agency, the Philippine Dairy Corporation (Kozub, Domike and Thieme, 1992).

8/ The dumping of dairy products from European Union markets has had a drastic, negative effect on Malaysia's livestock farmers, but in a different way. Most European Union countries provide their farmers with incentives to produce surplus milk at cheaper prices. To achieve this the Union imports large quantities of animal feed from the developing world at prices affordable to European producers. For example, 85% of Malaysia's oil-palm kernel is exported to European Union dairy producers, thereby depriving the mostly small-scale livestock farmers in that country of one of their major dietary components (Birner, 1993).

9/ Many of the pastoralists who settled the high rainfall areas of central Nigeria practise some form of transhumance, but earnestly seek means to acquire legal settlement status. For now, these groups are landless crop-livestock producers (e.g. in Plateau State) who see the importance of participation in registered organizations (e.g. farmers' organizations) as an official recognition indicating loosely that they have been resident farmers in that state (FAO, 1992b).