Hypotheses on inland valley development for smallholder dairy production in three West African countries Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Nigeria
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Livestock Research for Rural Development;19 (10): 8-13
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/33270
Internet URL: http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd19/10/agye19154.htm
A set of pre-formulated hypotheses about the potentials of inland valleys to agricultural production in general, and livestock (dairy) - based enterprises in particular, were tested with data collected from five regions comprising 71 villages/towns and 630 households in three countries (Nigeria, Mali and Côte d'Ivoire). The study was undertaken to test hypothesis concerning the potentials of the inland valleys systems to agricultural production, and those pertaining to the intensification of livestock production in the valleys systems and their relationships with demand for livestock (dairy) products. Results from the analysis showed that many of the previously held views about inland valley and their potential were supported by the data from the three countries. Most of the hypotheses relating directly with inland valley potentials were accepted in the majority of locations. However, there were few hypotheses which were not supported by data from all countries and study sites. The overall assessment from the surveys is that the potentials of the inland valleys towards dairy production are currently good in all the countries and could be better if the resources available in the inland valley environments (for example crop residues) are better managed and utilized. Intensive use of inland valleys was related more to population density than access to market. Similarly consumption levels of domestic dairy products were influenced by population concentration. Instead access to market influenced positively farmers' practices towards specialization and intensification of dairy production. Increase demand for milk and dairy products is met by intensification and not by increase in herd size. Efforts to ensure continued milking through feeding was not related to herd size. As revenues (sales and home consumption) increased, more lands were left to fallow. These results confirm the assertion that the presence of inland valley systems for cropping and livestock rearing promotes diversification of agriculture, and presumably reduces farmers' production risks.