Adapting Selection Schemes for Indigenous Cattle Improvement in Sub-Saharan Africa-A Review

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  •   Godfrey L. Chasama

  •   Jestina V. Katandukila

  •   Aloyce Hepelwa

Abstract

Livestock keeping is an important livelihood option in the tropics and cattle play the major role. For sub-Saharan Africa, most of the cattle kept are of indigenous type exhibiting low to medium production coefficients. After realizing low impact with crossbreeding in improving their productivity during the first three quarters of the 20th century, many sub-Saharan Africa countries turned to adoption of selection schemes during the last quarter of the century. However, many countries still haven’t realized active operation of selection schemes for indigenous breeds improvement. Major constraints are unsustainable financing, weak coordination, inadequate policy support and weak technical foundation for animal breeding. Existing infrastructure networks are not supporting extensive operation of selective breeding. Systematized pedigree and performance data recording is lacking in many countries. Important guidelines for streamlining implementation of breeding operations among actors are not in place. Strategies for adapting selection schemes in sub-Saharan Africa should target exploitation of unique potentials of indigenous breeds and focus to the improvement of their productivity while also maintaining their adaptability. From the prevailing conditions, considering immediate transformation to farmer-operated central nuclei is not recommended in structuring the scheme. What is recommended is to start with dispersed village-based group pre-nuclei which are backed by institutional central nuclei. Important strategies in enabling effective operation with such structured schemes include evolving guidelines for implementing selection in terms of defining breeding objectives, increasing involvement of farmers, strengthening coordination of animal breeding, promoting inter-institutional collaboration, and considering some more government financial support.


Keywords: breeding challenges, breeding strategies, selective breeding, shorthorn zebu.

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How to Cite
Chasama, G. L., Katandukila, J. V., & Hepelwa, A. (2023). Adapting Selection Schemes for Indigenous Cattle Improvement in Sub-Saharan Africa-A Review. European Journal of Agriculture and Food Sciences, 5(1), 14–20. https://doi.org/10.24018/ejfood.2023.5.1.622