Animal husbandry and grazing potential in the Sahel: An atlas of Niger
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CTA. 1987. Animal husbandry and grazing potential in the Sahel: An atlas of Niger. Spore 8. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44601
One of the chief objectives of CTA is to compile scientific and technical information and prepare state-of-theart studies based on available, though very often scattered, data. The preparation of an atlas of the Sahel region is becoming a necessity...
One of the chief objectives of CTA is to compile scientific and technical information and prepare state-of-theart studies based on available, though very often scattered, data. The preparation of an atlas of the Sahel region is becoming a necessity as new development strategies are prepared to enable people to survive and to face droughts and problems of desertification. This initiative will provide planners with a reliable information input and agricultural authorities with an important tool for monitoring natural resources. Furthermore, this work will detect information gaps that need to be explored. The specific areas being studied lie between the 150 and 800 isohyets. Grazing potential is being mapped on a scale of 1 :500,000. Along the same lines, more elaborate maps cover related topics such as plant species, mineral deficiencies of plants, distribution of tsetse flies, ticks and helminthiasis, migratory movements, groundwater resources and veterinary infrastructure. These studies give more accurate picture of the position of pastures within the rural breeding context. National authorities in charge of animal husbandry collaborated closely with staff who prepared the maps. Niger is primarily composed of very dry areas typical of the Sahara and the Sahel. The hydrographical structure has nearly completely dried up except for the Niger and Kamadougou rivers, the only two permanent water courses in the country; hence the importance of comparing the various parameters related to grazing water resources with those related to keeping livestock. All available data on wells and well-drilling activities, and particularly data on watering capacity have been included in a section on agro-pastural cartoaraphy. This work was carried out by the hydrogeologists of the Bureau for Geology and Mineral Research (BRGM, France) and the veterinarians and experts in the field of the pasture management of the Institute for Tropical Livestock and Veterinary Medicine (IEMVT), France. The pasture maps are mainly based on an index of species identified in Niger and published by IEMVT. This source of information also provided data for the mapping of natural grazing lands. Recent satellite images and field surveys have allowed the standardization of data resulting from previous cartography studies. The analysis of the mineral composition of the grazing lands are the results of samples taken at the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the dry season. They reveal deficiencies in phosphorous, copper and zinc. Grazing lands are classified into grades for each season of the year: humid, cool, dry and hot for four types of ruminants: cattle, sheep, goats and camels. Raising livestock is an indispensable element in the national economy of Niger, regardless of unpredictable rainfall hazards, as the gross domestic product has severely decreased in recent years. This explains the large number of recent studies on this topic. The threat of sleeping sickness made it necessary to study tsetse fly distribution. Contamination risks remain high due to seasonal migration of cattle. Ticks appear to play a major role as vectors of piroplasmosis and baberiasis. Research on helminthiasis, especially as far as young animals are concerned, has been presented in tabular form. The atlas includes a bibliography of 200 references to reports, surveys and research publications. There is no doubt that the interdisciplinary approach adopted earlier will be reinforced as the development process itself reflects the sum of efforts in all disciplines. The following publications are available: Atlas of Niger; Atlas of Chad.