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Kubkomawa et al

Dynamics Journal of Animal Science and Technology

Available online at

Vol.1(1), pp.1-17, October 2015

Article ID: DJAST/15/013

Copyright © 2015


Review Paper

Current pastoral cattle production situation in West Africa: A review

I.H. Kubkomawa1*, L.J.  Krumah2, E.B. Etuk1 and I.C. Okoli1

1Department of Animal Science and Technology, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.

2Department of Animal Health and Production, Adamawa State College of Agriculture, Ganye, Nigeria.

*Corresponding Author. E-mail: Telephone: +2347066996221.

Received 10 August, 2015; Accepted 17 September, 2015.


Recently, tensions between Nigeria’s pastoralist Fulani and settled indigenous farmers have intensified, with dwindling natural resources and land availability greatly contributing to the ongoing, escalating conflict in the northern part of the country. The objective of this paper is to review the current pastoral cattle production situation in West Africa. Currently, cattle production in Nigeria lends itself to small, medium and large (industrial) production. Families employ various but largely extensive management systems to take advantage of common village resources to produce cattle. Nigeria’s Fulani pastoralists are thought to number around 12 million, accounting for a quarter of sub-Saharan Africa’s 50 million pastoralist people. The pastoralism, despite its dominance in the northern region, the traditional pattern of transhumance has been affected in recent years by a number of factors such as the drought in the Sahel and the increased arable farming in the semi-arid and sub-humid zones. These factors are responsible for continued displacement of pastorals out of their traditional territories in the drier northern areas to the sub-humid and humid zones where they now exploit pasture, water and crop residues. The cattle industry provides a means of livelihood for a significant proportion of pastoral households and participates in the cattle value chain in the sub-humid and semi-arid ecological zones of Nigeria. Cattle singly contribute about 12.7% of the agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria. Although, there are many sources of animal protein in Nigeria, several studies have shown that, cattle and their products are the predominant and the most commonly consumed animal protein sources. Thus, cattle are highly valued livestock in Nigeria and are kept for beef, hide, milk or for traction. Among pastoralists however, cattle are kept as a status symbol and cultural medium, while in other cultures it also, plays major role in marriages, weddings, sacrifices, and funerals. From the foregoing, it is obvious why cattle production and marketing are notable employment and income-generating livelihood activities for many Nigerians. Over time, seasonal transhumance is gradually disappearing giving way to the process of sedentarization. The urgent requirement to engage with, rather than isolate, Nigeria’s pastoralists from various socioeconomic and environmental management strategies is, therefore, fundamental to peace and agricultural productivity in the West Africa.

Key words: Current, Pastoral, Cattle, Production, Situation, West Africa.