FROM THE FIELD
Developing Animal Assets
The future of animal resource development in Sudan’s rural areas was the focus of a workshop this month by FAO’s Sudan Productive Capacity Recovery Programme-Capacity Building (SPCRP-CB). The programme is funded by the European Commission and is closing in December after five years. One of SPCRP-CB’s achievements has been a network of Community Animal Resource Development Associates or CARDAs who are community members trained to improve production of cattle, sheep and other livestock. The CARDA model is a development-oriented system that builds on the Community Animal Health Worker (CAHW) model by providing extended livestock development services beyond primary animal health care. CARDAs primarily operate in remote pastoralist communities and are increasingly offering their skills on a pay-per-service basis.
The main objective of the workshop was to present the results and lessons learned from the CARDA activities and to plan the way forward after SPCRP-CB’s closure. One of the major topics discussed was a revolving veterinary drug fund that would sustain the CARDA pay-per-service approach. Talks are underway for the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rangeland to establish and operate the fund at the state level in collaboration with the communities.
Mohamed Ismail is a CARDA from El Roseires locality in Blue Nile who attended the Khartoum workshop. He says he will be able to continue providing services to animal owners only if a wide range of drugs are available to purchase under the revolving fund. He says if only one or two types of drugs are available there won’t be enough work for him to keep operating. “I want to do better for my family,” he says.
Forty-eight year old Mohamed looks after his wife, mother and six children and began his CARDA training two years ago. He owns Kenana cattle and sheep and says the methods of animal care he has learnt are better for his herd than traditional techniques. For example, he used to apply a glowing ember to an animal’s inflamed mouth ulcer to kill off the affected area and seal it but now he knows which veterinary drugs to use to treat the source of the problem.
Part of Mohamed’s work as a CARDA is to share his new knowledge with other members of his community. He has about 30 people who regularly attend sessions to learn about better ways to feed, water and treat animals. The community members have also been trained to recognize early signs of animal disease so they can be detected and stopped more quickly.
Mohamed says it’s too early to tell whether there has been an overall increase in animal production since he started the CARDA training. But he has noticed changes in behavior in his community, such as farmers collecting crop residue after harvesting so it can be dried and stored for times when pastures are scarce.
Almost 180 people drawn from SPCRP-CB’s four target states of South Kordofan, Blue Nile, River Nile and Red Sea were trained in the CARDA model. Approximately 10,000 pastoralists and agro-pastoralists have been reached by the CARDAs or their extension messaging.