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Integration of Pastoral and Arable Farming

Oxby (1982) and others pointed out that the settlement of arable farmers and pastoralists are spatially, economically and socially related. Although West African arable farmers are disinclined to herd cattle, even if they own them, they appreciate cattle food products and the manure, draught and transport benefits which cattle provide; pastoralists also appreciate the benefits of convenient markets for livestock products and access to crop residues. Many pastoralists are becoming agropastoralists by including subsistence crops in their farming systems (Oxby 1982). Thus, apart from seeking the same social amenities like schools and health facilities as the arable farmers, many now have the same ecological and market needs which result in their settlement within, or on the periphery of, arable farming communities (Oxby, 1982; Okali and Milligan, 1981). Pastoral women sell sour milk and butter along with prepared millet or sorghum which is mixed with the sour milk at the time of sale. This can bring about a partnership between the pastoral and the arable communities to trade their different products to the same consumers.

In the arid zones crop/livestock integration is limited by climate. As average annual rainfall rises above 400mm, crop production becomes more important and is increasing in area in response to growth in human population; in the southern pastoral zone of Niger the influx of farmers into areas that were dry-season grazing reserves for semi-nomadic pastoralists started in 1948; Eddy (1977) reported that this expansion was not interrupted by the drought of 1968 during which Hausa merchants continued to plant grain but depended on trade profits for the purchase of food. The provision of permanent water has permitted the establishment of large resident cattle populations. The combination of permanent farmers, resident cattle and dry years has so damaged land resources that migrating Tuareg farmers are being forced to settle. This sequence is common in many of the drier areas in West Africa.

The proximity of farming and pastoral communities is indicative of historical interdependence between the two groups; Van Raay (1974) cited deferred grazing of the pastoralists' own crop residues and the corralling of cattle on their fields as instances of deliberate integration of the two production systems. Van Raay also analysed the advantages of settlement and concluded that settled pastoralists having crop residues were more likely to be able to supply their herds' nutritional requirements than nomads.

Pastoral Settlement and the Adoption of Agropastoralism

Pastoralists are generally classified according to their mobility: nomadic, semi-nomadic, semi-settled, settled (Van Raay, 1974). In terms of crop/livestock integration however, it is more meaningful to classify them according to their enterprise system (Fricke, 1978) and their degree of contact with cultivators, recognizing that individual pastoral units are variable and modify their production strategies according to perceived risks and advantages. It is sufficient to distinguish between:

  1. Full-time livestock keepers: ranging from those with no consistent association with a particular farming/land-use system (nomads), to those who have more or less regular contact with cropping systems at their grazing sites. This group can be referred to as ‘pure pastoralists’.

  2. Livestock keepers who practise some cropping: have consistent association with a particular farming land-use system, and could exploit improved opportunities for integrated crop/ livestock production. These ‘agropastoralists’ can be subdivided into those who crop at one site but move all or most of their livestock to other grazing areas during the non-cropping season - transhumant agropastoralists, and those who keep livestock throughout the year near their cropping activities - sedentary agropastoralists.

Van Raay (1975) estimated that over half of the Fulani in northern Nigeria were settled or semi-settled. It can be assumed that virtually all of these will be agropastoralists. Apart from better access to crop residues there are other reasons why pastoralists wish to settle and integrate their livestock with crop production:

  1. The inability to survive on livestock products and revenues because of drought or disease.

  2. Traditional cattle husbandry systems will become more difficult to sustain due to encroachment on grazing land by crop producers.

  3. Cattle movement will be impeded by ribbon development along highways and water-courses that cut across trek routes.

  4. Sanctions against cattle movement such as veterinary, quarantines or tolls.

  5. The need to settle to obtain access to veterinary, livestock feed and social amenities such as education, health and welfare facilities.

  6. Acquiring cattle as payment for herding cattle owned by local farmers.

These factors will vary in priority but all will depend on the availability of grazing land which will be determined by:

  1. Competition for available land by cultivators.

  2. The relationship between the pastoralists and their prospective neighbours.

  3. The land tenure status and the degree of government intervention in the provision of land for pastoralists.

The acceptance of a sedentary life style is a major revolution in the socio-economic life of pastoralists. It affects their individual and collective self-confidence, especially when settlement is imposed.

All extensive grazing systems subject to drought must retain the ability to move livestock. Renting grazing and agistment are common features of ranching in the Americas and Australia. Unlike commercial ranchers the pastoralist has misgivings about adopting sedentary systems of production.

Agropastoral Livestock Production

The sedentary agropastoral Fulani form a group between the truly nomadic and the town Fulani with respect to their life styles and ambitions. The nomads spend much time in markets. This tradition is still strong amongst sedentary agropastoralists and affects the quantity of labour and supervision that the heads of households can devote to their agropastoral business; likewise their animal husbandry practices have not changed very much. It is not surprising, therefore, that the production parameters (Table 2) obtained from settled herds studied by The International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) in the subhumid zone of Nigeria differ little from figures quoted in the literature for traditional pastoralists throughout West Africa (Pullan, 1979; Synge, 1981; Van Raay, 1975).

There is ample evidence to show that low productivity is not wholly genetic and that local cattle breeds are capable of much higher performance given better nutrition (Foster, 1960; Armour et al. 1961; Wheat and Broadhurst, 1968; Knudsen and Sohael, 1970; Wheat et al. 1972). Nevertheless, owing to the poor quality of the natural rangeland (ILCA, 1979a) and short daily grazing time (Bayer and Otchere, 1982) cattle production cannot be increased without feed supplementation. Johnson et al. (1971) determined, by simulation modelling, that improved nutrition was the most important factor affecting performance; when high quality feeds are scarce the best returns come from supplementing breeding females (Synge, 1981; Kaufmann and Otchere, 1982). Given the shortages of agroindustrial by-products and other feeds, however, this supplementation will normally come from improved crop residue utilization and forage production on fallow lands (Oram, 1973: Tiver, 1978).



Reproductive Performance  No. of Animals In Sample
Age at first calving (yrs)5.0  
Calving percentage49.4  
Calving interval (days)671.0  
Average birth weight (kg)18.9 175
Weaning age (days)417.1 22
Weaning weight (kg)122.5 22
Average pre-weaning weight gain (g/day)248.3 22
Mean weight at 18 months (kg)113.8 82
Milk off-takeMeanMax.Min.
June - July 1979/80 (ml/cow/day)7431274357
June - July 1980/81 (ml/cow/day)6561227330
Source: Otchere et al. 1982   

Agropastoral Crop Production

Although pastoralists usually settle to take up subsistence cropping they do not dispose of their herds indicating that production of subsistence food may be a means of preventing the depletion of herds that are too small to provide total household food and cash requirements. Fortunately pastoralists can usually obtain some crop land because most communities in West Africa traditionally acknowledge the right to land for subsistence cropping. This will, however, become increasingly difficult as land becomes more scarce.

Pastoralists typically adopt the farming habits of the local arable farming community. The Fulani at Abet near Kaduna, northern Nigeria, have adopted the local farmers' techniques of planting millet in nurseries for transplanting into their fields; they also fertilize the nurseries with goat manure and wood ash, use similar crop rotations to control pests and diseases and purchase similar inputs like seed dressing and chemical fertilizer. A sample survey (Powell and Taylor-Powell, 1983) of 15 agropastoralists in the Nigerian subhumid zone identified 12 crop/crop mixtures involving eight different crops. The pastoralists ranked sorghum, maize, millet and rice as the most important crops (Table 3).

The pastoralists' willingness to adopt appropriate crop techniques indicates their capacity for change, but their basic view of arable farming as a means to produce subsistence food and their preference for investing in cattle production, influences their willingness to accept innovations.



Crop or Crop mixtureTotal area grown ha% of planted areaNo. of plotsNo. of farmers
Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor)/    
maize (Zea mays)3.35381311
Millet (Pennisetum typhoides)1.411698
Rice (Oriza sativa)8710267
Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas)293109
Maize/Cocoyam (Xanthosoma sagittifolium)18233
Acha (Digitaria exilis)101103

* Others include sorghum/sweet potato; maize/sweet potato; yam (Dioscorea rotundata); sorghum/cocoyam.

Source: Powell and Taylor-Powell, 1983

The pastoralists have less land under cultivation per family than do arable farmers. In the above survey arable households cultivated between 1.5 to 3.0 ha each, whereas the pastoralists cultivated only .03 to 1.19 ha; Delgado (1978) made similar estimates for Fulani and arable farmers in Upper Volta. This smaller farm size may be partly due to shortage of family labour but, when hired labour is available, it is more likely to reflect the difficulty of obtaining additional land in excess of that allocated for their subsistence needs; most Fulani in Abet profess that they would cultivate more land if it was available. The more desirable the land, the more difficult it is to acquire and retain for long periods.

The availability of artificial fertilizer as opposed to animal manure, especially when it is subsidized, may also impede the acceptance of crop/livestock systems. Some farmers claim that trampling by cattle makes the soil harder to work and that manure carries weed seeds, but most farmers acknowledge its effect on soil fertility (Delgado, 1978; Van Raay, 1974); if animal manure is in short supply pastoralists can earn about US$1 per head per week for tethering cattle on farmers' fields (Powell pers. comm.). When manure is readily available pastoralists may have to pay to graze the crop residues in cash and/or overnight manuring (Van Raay, 1974; Toulmin, 1983).

Apart from the few who can live on grazing reserves or ranches, pastoralists need to associate with arable farmers to supplement the feed supply of their herds. While there may be good reason for localized specialization in livestock or crop production (Delgado, 1978) the two systems will always be interdependent because they share the same land and rely on a mutually beneficial exchange of products (Gallais, 1972).

Reduction in Trypanosomiasis Risk

By 1980 tsetse fly had been eradicated from over 214 000 km2 of Nigeria, effectively doubling the national land area available for livestock development (Fed. Min. of Ag., 1981; Putt et al., 1980). Most of this activity has been in the semi-arid zone, but now the programme is moving into the subhumid zone (Figure 3), which will permit the implementation of the Government policy to help move a major portion of the national herd from the overstocked arid zones to the subhumid zone (David-West, 1980).

With the increase in the intensity of farming and hunting, Bourn (1983), concluded that there has been an overall reduction in natural tsetse habitats and hosts which has led to a decline in tsetse abundance; this occurred within areas prior to tsetse eradication and in regions outside the eradication zone.

Nevertheless, riverine tsetse species are capable of persisting where suitable habitats remain, even within areas of high land use intensity, but in the absence of wildlife they have become increasingly dependent on cattle and/or man for their survival. Under these circumstances, the trypanosomiasis challenge will be diminished because of the restricted distribution and reduction of tsetse populations. In addition, pastoralist herd management practices minimize the period of direct contact between the tsetse fly and their cattle.

Where trypanosomiasis incidence has fallen because the wildlife reservoir for the disease has disappeared, Bourn (1983) suggests that a fundamental change in the balance of vector-host-disease relationship takes place, which favours the development of immune responses to trypanosome infections in cattle and results in the selection of less pathogenic trypanosomes and thus less virulent forms of the disease. Such reduction in the virulence and incidence of trypanosomiasis might be encouraged by the more sedentary life-style of the pastoralists, which has reduced the range of strains of trypanosome to which their cattle are exposed. In addition, the decline in long-distance migration has reduced the periods of stress resulting from trekking which render cattle more susceptible to infection.

Cattle Distribution within the Subhumid Zone

The three-dimensional drawings (Figures 5 and 6) represent wet and dry season cattle distribution within the subhumid zone. During the dry season cattle are fairly evenly distributed. In the wet season, although there is significant migration to the north, the resident cattle population remains large. Milligan's (1983) estimate, from a 1982 survey, of 3.5 million cattle compared with the figure of 2.28 million based on earlier statistics quoted by Jahnke (1982), indicates that there has been a significant increase in cattle numbers in this zone of Nigeria; it is likely that this trend is the same throughout West Africa (Oxby, 1982).

In addition to the pastoral communities, arable farming groups have been spreading into the subhumid zone from the north and south and from settlements within the zone. Figure 7 shows a north-south transect of land under cultivation in the Nigerian subhumid zone in 1982. This indicates the occurrence of some farming activity at all latitudes with only a narrow band of reduced activity in the ‘central’ areas. (Milligan, 1983).

Whilst there is evidence of overstocking in the semi-arid zone, which is being aggravated by the conversion of grazing land to crops, Figure 8 demonstrates that at the present time cultivation in the subhumid zone seldom exceeds 25 percent of the total available land. Since cattle densities in the zone increase with increasing cultivation until 40 percent or more of the land is cultivated (Figure 8) there should be room for expansion of both arable and livestock production provided sufficient arable land is present.


Kd - Kaduna
Mi - Minna
Mk - Makurdi
Il - Ilorin

Fig. 5


Fig. 6

(Source: Bourne and Milligan, 1983)

Fig. 7 Geographical gradients of land under cultivation in the Nigerian Subhumid zone. (Source: Milligan, 1983)

Fig. 7

Fig. 8 The seasonal relationship between cattle distribution and cultivated land in the Nigerian Subhumid zone. (Source: Milligan, 1983)

Fig. 8

Table 4 shows the estimated intensity of land cultivation in the subhumid zone of Nigeria related to the cattle population it is presently supporting; Table 4 also shows projections of how many cattle the zone could support if any particular intensity of cultivation becomes typical. The projections peak when about 40 percent of the land is under cultivation, but even at 70 percent, if this intensity could be achieved, this zone in Nigeria could still support the 3.5 million head of cattle it is reported to be supporting at present (Milligan, 1983). On a regional basis the projection suggests that, with 40 percent of the land under cultivation, the West African subhumid zone could support about 14 million head of cattle compared with current estimates of about 4 million (Jahnke, 1982). These projections are based on current cropping and livestock husbandry practices.



Land Cultivated
Land AreaPresent Cattle Nos.Projected Cattle Nos.
sq km
0 – 91363895554622581426
10 – 19762185795539934456
20 – 29381147861145465704
30 – 3926729036040284991
40 – 4926740641156335704
50 – 5920631123855974278
60 – 6917526515455263209
70 – 7917518015837433298
Totals356 37423433  

Source: Milligan, 1983.

Relevant National Policies

As livestock development policy tends to be the responsibility of specialized agencies there are few national policies directed specifically towards the integration of crop and livestock systems.

Development plans for pastoralists have tended to concentrate on infrastructure to encourage settlement rather than increasing agropastoral production; plans to assist milk producers have concentrated on the building of milk collection centres rather than promoting production per se. Forage production technology has not been adapted to pastoral circumstances.

Some integration measures like animal traction and cattle fattening on smallholdings which were developed for mixed farmers are suitable for agropastoralists. Many pastoral development schemes in grazing reserves have, however, discouraged cultivation by herd owners, and service centres and credit are presently not suited to the needs of agropastoralists.

Unlike the nomads the agropastoralists are exposed to commerce and other external influences although, apart from veterinary services, the impact of government development and advisory services has not been great. This is largely because, until recently, government officials grouped pastoralists with nomads, who were considered unreachable apart from their inclusion in mass animal health control measures. Most development projects were designed to induce settlement rather than to promote the welfare of those agropastoralists already settled, and contained large infrastructural components like roads, firebreaks, dams and milk collection in new areas set aside for settlement.

There are few explicit national policies for integrating crop and livestock production orientated to the specific needs of the pastoralists; integrated crop/livestock production involves more than draught power and smallholder fattening schemes. Further, because arable farmers form the majority of producers agricultural development projects have tended to ignore pastoralists. In view of the rapidly growing human population and the need to increase food crop production it can be assumed that all potential arable land will eventually be used for crop production. As a result there is a tendency to lower the priority, or even deny the need, to include livestock in the development of arable areas.

Whilst it is true that in a food deficit situation all suitable land should be devoted to crop production, this does not imply that ruminant livestock should be excluded from these areas because:

  1. there will always be a demand and good dictary reasons for animal protein;

  2. with a single crop growing season, ruminant livestock provide the only land use opportunities for the rest of the year;

  3. there will always be residual rangeland;

  4. the poor carbon and nitrogen content of the soils could be improved by the incorporation of forage legumes into cropping and fallow systems;

  5. over 50 percent of the dry matter produced by grain crops can be utilized only by ruminants;

  6. dairying and intensive fattening systems provide income and cash flow benefits that can assist in the timely purchase of agricultural inputs.

To counteract the neglect of livestock producers most governments have set up specialized livestock agencies like the Federal Livestock Department (FLD) of Nigeria, Office Malien du Bétail et de la Viande (OMBEVI) of Mali and the Office National de l'Exploitation des Ressources Animales (ONERA) of Upper Volta. These specialized agencies, even if they support integrated crop/livestock development, are not adequately staffed or trained to work with arable farmers. This dichotomy is also evidenced by the separation of agricultural or food sector reviews from livestock sector reviews.

All governments have detailed policies and plans for comprehensive, but usually separate, crop and livestock extension services. The spread of new varieties and increase of fertilizer use are evidence of an extension impact on crop production. These inputs have quick and visible results and are, relatively easy to sell to the farmers; further, arable farmers are usually concentrated in small areas. Livestock extension staff, on the other hand, tend to be poorly motivated because they have insufficient contact with cattle owners (Perrier and Craig, 1983) and, as a result, spend much of their time on infrastructural development.

Although it is recognized that there is sufficient genetic variability in the indigenous breeds on which to base selective breeding for improved productivity, this would take a very long time to make any significant impact on national herd productivity for milk. For a rapid improvement in milk production it will be necessary to use imported dairy genes provided an adequate proportion of indigenous blood is retained in the cross to maintain natural adaptation to the environment. Introduction of crossbreeding in pastoralists' herds however should await the solution of health, nutritional and management problems.

Forage production is now receiving priority and governments and research institutions are becoming more conscious of the need to undertake adaptive or systems research. The identification of appropriate species and cultivation techniques has made rapid progress because West Africa can adopt technology directly from countries which have similar ecological conditions like Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica and the U.S.A. The results of past research have been disappointing in terms of uptake by agropastoralists although it has created a good technical base for future work.

The reliance on Stylosanthes species is threatened by the possibility of severe anthracnose attack especially in the wetter areas, but Stylosanthes has been grown successfully for sufficient years to warrant continued adaptive research while more resistant strains and varieties are selected and multiplied.

A well-tried and successful method to integrate crop and livestock production is the introduction to the arable farm of animal traction. It should be noted, however, that when pastoralists take up arable farming they do not normally exploit their cattle experience by utilizing draught animals. If the local agricultural community does not use draught animals then neither will the pastoralists who settle within it (Okali and Sule, 1980). There is a need for extension and training in the use of draught animals where these can be employed efficiently.

The easiest innovation to offer to both farmers and agropastoralists is the stall fattening of a few cattle. It has the advantage, in a relatively short time, of increasing saleable beef production, producing better finished carcasses, stimulating off-take of surplus males at a younger age, utilizing crop by-products and introducing the agropastoralists to commerce and credit.

Grazing reserves and group ranches have been the focus of development plans because of the lack of alternatives, and because their proposers knew that, with the spread of arable agriculture, there was only limited time to allocate land on a large scale to livestock producers; to date, however, the number of ranches demarcated is less than the number planned.

In Bauchi State of Nigeria the government is intending to issue 50-year leases to family groups for units of about 200 hectares within a grazing reserve to be developed for milk production and cropping. It is hoped that these leases will encourage the construction of water and stock-handling facilities as well as forage production, and provide security for the loans necessary to finance developments.

Pastoral development plans often include projects for parastatal and/or private ranching. These should be viable as commercial production units or designed to handle special functions such as the importation of foundation trypanotolerant stock. These ranches are often expected to provide services for the traditional sector: a sale venue for immature stock, a source of improved breeding animals and a demonstration of the advantages of modern management. The impact of this secondary role has been disappointing; in particular they have not demonstrated crop/livestoc' interactions.

The feedlots such as Tienfala in Mali, Mokwa in Nigeria and Banfora in Upper Volta, aimed at stratifying the cattle industry, have also suffered from lack of realism in design and management. (Ariza-Nino et al., 1980; Delgado and Staatz, 1980). Some included forage production in their design and were meant to buy cattle from pastoralists but their impact has been small.

Many countries are developing service centres where advice and inputs are made available to farmers and where extension staff can make contact with producers. They are relatively common in Nigeria where they form an integral part of the larger agricultural or integrated rural development projects (Poate, 1982). Unfortunately they do not cater for the needs of livestock producers, but to achieve a combined service would involve important administrative changes at State and Federal Government levels.

Any serious attempt to integrate crops and livestock will require coordination at both political and field level. Equipping agricultural service centres to supply the needs of the livestock producers would be a major step to achieve this coordination.

Government policy towards credit for livestock development has centred around the provision of supervised loans to producers. Because the specialized agricultural credit agencies do not have adequate branch offices with supervisory staff, loan supervision has become the responsibility of extension staff. This indirect supervision has not encouraged adventurous development of loan portfolios in either quantity of funds or range of activities. At the same time project planners continue to apply pressure on reluctant credit institutions to accept loan programmes to finance the cost-recoverable portions of their projects.

Livestock production is constrained over vast areas by the presence of the trypanosomiasis-carrying tsetse fly and a great deal of investment has, and is continuing to be, made in tsetse eradication. Although tsetse clearance is not a prerequisite for settlement in the subhumid zone it does speed up direct settlement but, if clearance is done haphazardly without adequate post-eradication land use planning, much of its value will be lost. Nevertheless, there are few guidelines on how land should be used once it is free of tsetse. These policies and guidelines should be directed towards integrated crop/livestock systems or pastoralists will be excluded from large areas of the subhumid zone.

Impediments to Integration


The major constraint to animal production is malnutrition. In the arid zones this is due to overstocking; in the humid zones the poor quality of the available forage is responsible.

Crop production systems that require long periods of fallow are under pressure due to shortage of land and labour. Land tenure is complex and uncertain because the agropastoralists are usually minority, non-landowning communities. Grazing reserves and group ranches are not fully effective because they tend to be designed in isolation from overall land use systems and even internally do little to promote integrated crop/ livestock production.

The lack of routine, developmental inputs and inappropriate credit mechanisms are major impediments to the development of integrated crop/ livestock systems.

Lack of Understanding and Inadequate Research

Although the majority of pastoralists have identified their own time and place to settle (Van Raay, 1975) conferences and planners persist in trying to develop ideas and hypotheses on how to encourage them to settle. Much less attention has been given to assisting those that have already settled.

This lack of understanding of the pastoralists is in part due to the fact that most socio-anthropological work has been done amongst nomads who principally seek water and grazing (Stenning, 1969; Hopen, 1958). The needs of these new settlers are becoming better understood as is evidenced by the provision of ‘up to 5 acres’ for farming contained in the Nigerian Guidelines for the Preparation of Grazing Reserves Management Plans prepared in 1978, whereas article 18 of the Grazing Reserve Law of 1965 specifically prohibited the clearing of new farms.

Reliance on reshaping old remedies will continue until the research stations can collect applicable field information on farming systems. There needs to be active cooperation between research station and field scientists and between scientists of all disciplines. This can be slow to develop. Farming systems research in West Africa was pioneered a decade ago at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) at Ahmadu Bello University and in 1978 the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI), which is an offshoot of IAR, became involved in livestock systems research with the cooperation of ILCA. In 1983 it formed its own systems research team.

There is still no adequate livestock systems research being carried out in any West African research institute, although there is almost universal support for the concept. There is need to define who should carry out the work, what resources should be committed to it, how the teams should select topics and how feed-back mechanisms should function between systems teams, the research stations and development agencies. There is a tendency for research staff to be overly critical and for extension staff to be defensive concerning the promotion of new techniques (Kaufmann, 1983).

Lack of systems research information about arable farming has meant that multiple-cropping has only now become accepted as a recommendable practice after many years of promoting sole cropping, usually against the experience and wishes of the beneficiaries. Even now planners and advisers know little about the efficiency of the multiple cropping systems which form the existing production base. The projects thus tend to concentrate on infrastructural and input supply systems, while the farmers' ability to utilize the improved opportunities is constrained by their traditional practices.

Animal Diseases

Although major epidemic diseases such as rinderpest and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia still constitute a serious threat to cattle in West Africa, this situation is due to failure to maintain adequate vaccine production and application rather than to lack of efficient vaccines or of knowledge of the epidemiology of these diseases. Streptothricosis may cause losses particularly among exotic breeds and their crosses but experience suggests that efficient tick control measures go a long way toward controlling the incidence of this disease. The adoption of more intensive management systems could result in some shift in the herd disease spectrum with better control of epidemic disease becoming facilitated as herds become more static and therefore more accessible. Greater contact frequency between animals could bring higher incidence of bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis and gastro-intestinal parasitism. However, malnutrition is now the main limiting factor in herd productivity (Pullan, 1980), and is likely to remain so until such time as supplementation of natural range and better utilization of agricultural by-products have become successfully established.

The humid zones still have potential for development because they are stocked below their carrying capacities and, as Table 5 shows, they are much more productive in terms of dry matter yield than the drier zones.



Northern Sahel1082 kg/ha
Southern Sahel1742 kg/ha
Sudan2324 kg/ha
Northern Guinea3097 kg/ha
Southern Guinea3889 kg/ha

Source: Kowal and Kassam, 1978

The low nutritive value of natural forage is the major constraint to livestock productivity in the humid zones of West Africa (ILCA, 1979a); protein has the most important influence on animal production. In general the Crude Protein (CP) content of forage rarely exceeds 6 percent for more than six months of the year and some form of supplementation is necessary if calving rates, milk yields and growth rates are to be raised (Milligan and Kaufmann, 1980). These supplements are in short supply owing to increasing demand from agricultural and industrial users.

Shortage of Labour and of Access to Arable Land

The greatest impediments to increased crop production by agropastoral households are shortage of labour and access to additional arable land. The latter may be overcome through the more intensive use of smaller plots but this will lead to other problems as the present agricultural systems are not designed to produce long-term returns from the same piece of land (Kowal and Kassam, 1978). The agropastoralists have access to animal manure but in most instances, outside grazing reserves and group ranches, they provide this manure to the cultivators with whom they associate.

Lack of Security of Tenure

Land reform and some form of land title (Oxby, 1982) can offer advantages through physically, and formally, linking particular persons to certain pieces of land; this has great appeal to farm planners and bankers and has been carried out in Kenya with some success. It is unlikely, however, that any West African government would be prepared to undertake any large land reform programme with the result that there is some doubt that any satisfactory solution can be found to underwrite long-term land improvements. Lack of land title has not prevented progress in crop husbandry with its annual cycles and traditional rights of occupancy and land use, but it has delayed progress in rangeland improvement and forage production.

The semi-arid zone has been increasingly occupied over several centuries. As the population has grown, pressure on land has intensified with the result that the typical unit is a smallholding. Little change can be expected. The humid zones present a different picture because they can still accommodate planned development. Nearly all the land, however, even in unoccupied tsetse-infested areas, is claimed by one ethnic group or another, who wish to protect their land rights for the time when their population exceeds the human support capacity of their present holdings. They are also anxious to protect their traditional procedures for allocating land and settling land disputes (Famoriyo, 1979). Abuse of these procedures can quickly arouse hostile reactions and create an atmosphere in which progress is impossible.

A tangible constraint to the adoption of integrated crop/livestock systems by pastoralists is that they do not usually acknowledge individual land rights. Further, in most parts of West Africa pastoralists are members of minority communities and are considered to be temporary residents without permanent land rights. In these circumstances it is not easy for scientists and extension workers, who are accustomed to thinking in terms of farms, to justify pasture improvement (Abaelu, 1973; Oyenuga, 1973).

Flaws in Grazing Reserves and Group Ranches

Despite the inclusion of grazing reserves and group ranches in official plans, demarcating large pieces of land for the exclusive use of pastoralists is fraught by competing land claims. The case for the establishment of grazing reserves has not been helped by the failure to plan them in the context of total land use systems. Grazing reserve and group ranch plans typically envisage self-contained, year-round grazing systems and result in the allocation of large areas of land to few people.

Shortage of Inputs and Credit

Apart from land recently cleared of tsetse those areas which have been avoided by cultivators are unlikely to be attractive to agropastoral settlers. Although the agropastoralists' first needs are for veterinary services and food for their cattle, and seeds and fertilizer for their crops, the extension staff they usually encounter are the veterinary auxiliaries who know how to inject vaccines and dose with anthelmintics but cannot diagnose nor prescribe, and junior range management specialists who cannot advise on cropping or forage production. This situation leads to mutual frustration and minimal contact between extension staff and producers.

This frustration is exacerbated by shortage of inputs and credits. Even if inputs like salt, feedstuffs, drugs, fencing materials, seeds and fertilizers are available, supplies are sporadic and expensive. Rural retailers are disinclined to stock such goods because of the high transportation and storage costs and the slow turnover resulting from the seasonality of demand; neither do they have the necessary cash nor incentive to finance such inventories. Although the pastoralists may be aware of the benefits of employing these inputs they do not have the means to finance their purchase; the daily milk revenue belongs to their wives and is used to purchase grain and household requirements. A prime need of farmers for supplier-credit, but the credit available to them is usually in the form of complex development loans with onerous conditions and supervision.

Related Research

General Topics

The technicians do not find it easy to recommend crop/livestock integration packages in which pastoralists and cultivators keep to their specialities but share common land resources (Delgado, 1978). The major points of interaction such as manuring of fields and crop residue grazing are known but their values and opportunities for improvement are not well understood. ILCA finds it difficult to predict the long-term effects of chemical fertilizer use on the farmers' perception of animal manure. It is also difficult to explain the high level of response obtained from grazing crop residues when related to their quantity and quality; the nutritive value of immature seed heads and weeds left in fields after harvest deserves further investigation.

There are a range of more complex issues that need evaluation. What are the agronomic advantages of crop/livestock interactions? How can the farmer receive tangible benefit from increased crop residue or forage production? How can land be made available and secured for forage production within the different land tenure systems? How can forage be produced without exacerbating critical labour shortages? Although it is recognized that pastoralists and/or farmers need to produce forage, there are as yet no proven fodder production packages adapted to West African circumstances. There is, therefore, very little information that the extension service can offer traditional agropastoralists who are adopting integrated crop/livestock systems.

ILCA's Subhumid Livestock Systems Research Programme

The ILCA Subhumid Programme, based in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, is probably the only research programme in West Africa wholly committed to the transition from pastoralism to integrated crop/livestock systems. Its first major activity was a ‘State-of-Knowledge’ symposium which reviewed all the major topics concerning pastoral production in the subhumid zone (ILCA, 1979a). ILCA has since made a reappraisal of old (Nord, 1983) and new (Milligan, 1983) resources data by utilizing mapping and remote sensing information and aerial survey techniques. This provided references for assessing the representativeness of present and future case study areas. It will also help to determine the extent of the areas over which particular innovations might be recommended.

The development of reliable and repeatable resource inventory techniques was a second objective and these are now available for use elsewhere. These techniques provide a rapid and cost-effective means of collecting information on livestock numbers and distribution by season, the extent of arable, fallow and rangeland, canopy cover, topography, surface water and human habitation.

The ILCA Subhumid Programme has been developed on fairly typical farming systems research lines adapted to suit livestock systems. The conclusion of the State-of-Knowledge symposium agreed with the analysis made by Johnson et al. (1971) that malnutrition, in particular lack of protein, is the most important constraint to improved cattle production. Since cattle are, in both biomass and economic terms, the dominant livestock in the zone the research programme focussed on cattle nutrition.

Systems research is policy orientated (Dillon, 1973). The programme cooperates closely with the Federal Livestock Department (FLD) to keep its work consistent with national objectives and close links were made with the FLD's main development agency, the Livestock Project Unit (LPU). This will ensure that there is a well-informed customer for proven recommendations and, more immediately, that its research team would carry out the final phase of the programme, the monitoring of uptake at field level. Fortunately, much applicable research had already been carried out by the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) and the results were made available to the ILCA team; NAPRI staff have assisted in ILCA's research and training activities.

ILCA chose two case study areas, Kurmin Biri and Abet, with contrasting levels of agricultural activity, pastoralist settlement and government assistance for settlement. Kurmin Biri has few farmers, few pastoralists and a grazing reserve (Kachia) in which the government is encouraging settlement; Abet had many farmers, many settled pastoralists and little government activity (Plate 1). Kurmin Biri provides an opportunity for experimentation and innovation testing, free of social and land pressures; Abet represents the typical subhumid zone where agropastoralists share land resources with cultivators.


PLATE 1 - Settled pastoralists in the Subhumid Zone, Nigeria

ILCA began by testing supplementary feeding with the most easily obtainable agro-industrial by product, cottonseed cake. The yield responses recorded by Synge (1981) in Table 6 were obtained by supplementing cows with feed containing 41 percent crude protein fed at the rate of 1 kg/head/ day for ive months (December to April) during the dry season. The mean calving rate in supplemented herds rose from 33 percent to 77 percent while that in control herds was never more than 40 percent. Feeding all the animals 1 kg/head/day gave a return of 132 kg milk/1000 kg cottonseed cake; if only the breeding females were fed the return was 455 kg milk/1000 kg cottonseed cake. ILCA's preliminary figures correspond closely with Synge's results with the additional observation that the break-even curve for cottonseed cake to milk offtake is very steep. Thus a small increase in feed prices requires a large increase in milk prices to retain profitability, but this does not take into account the value of the extra calves.



Mean Milk Yield (kg/day)  
 Control herdsSupplemented herds
Dry season0.5050.802
Whole year0.7080.869
Mean Milk Yield per Cow over a 3-year period (kg/day)*
Dry season0.1830.413
Whole year0.2450.432

* All breeding females, not just those in milk

Source: Synge, 1981.

ILCA's trials demonstrated the willingness of pastoralists to feed supplements to their cattle. These trials followed the classic route from research-managed trials, where feed was provided to farmers who complied with ILCA's recommendations, to farmer-managed, farmer-executed trials.

The sociological studies on land tenure and the relationship between farmers and pastoralists identified goodwill between the communities; they also showed that pastoralists could obtain the right to use fallow land for fodder production. The household economic studies, on the other hand, indicated that if pastoralists had spare labour it would be used for subsistence crops not forages. This made it necessary to grow forages with a minimum of labour. Ultimately a procedure was developed where, by judicious herding, the cattle graze off the residues and break the ground ready for Stylosanthes seed and fertilizer to be broadcast by hand. The cattle also control weeds by grazing the faster growing plants until the Stylosanthes becomes dominant.

Table 7 shows the yields that were produced by these methods in the 1981/82 season. The total dry matter yields were relatively low but as can be seen from Figure 9 the crude protein levels were higher than on native pasture.



ObservationFodder Banks
PlaceKurmin BiriAbetKurmin Biri
Total DM (kg/ha)682449004191
% wt of stylo566368
Stylo CP % October13.812.613.0
" " " December10.611.310.4
" " " February9.28.99.8
" " " April5.87.27.9

Source: Mohammed-Saleem and Kaufmann, 1982

Fig. 9 Annual Crude Protein (CP) profiles for native pasture and Stylosanthes grown in fodder banks.

Fig. 9

Evaluation of the mineral and trace element status of the local soils should provide data for further increases in dry matter production. At yields of around 5 metric tons/ha, however, 4 ha fodder banks will adequately supplement the nutrition of the 20 or so milking cows found in typical sedentary agropastoral herds. Indications are that fodder banks should be worthwhile investments provided that farmers do not reclaim them for farming in less than five years.

Research work continues to identify optimum feeding regimes, legume varieties more resistant to the disease anthracnose, soil regeneration and the adoption and persistence of recommended technologies in the field.

Cropping within fodder banks is becoming an important issue because it is necessary to permit the accumulation of nitrogen and structure in the soil which requires some years. It is also essential, however, that the farmers who own the land benefit from permitting the use of their fallow land for forage production. This is probably the key issue in promoting integrated crop/livestock systems where the livestock and land are owned by different people. Since the fodder banks average about 4 hectares and crop plots are usually less than a hectare it should be possible to rotate the crops within the fodder banks every 4 to 5 years.

An alternative approach used the local practice of transplanting sorghum and millet into the fields. If rows are cleared through Stylo which has been grazed and planted to sorghum or millet it should be possible to produce a reasonable yield of grain and Stylo. ILCA has determined that this technique requires one third of the labour of traditional ridge making. Yields up to 80 percent of those obtained under normal farming conditions were achieved in the 1981 crop season.

If either of these techniques is successful the next step is to involve the farmer in growing the crops so that he shares in the advantage not only of the improved soil fertility but also of the fencing to protect his crops. It has not yet been proven to what extent Stylosanthes improves the soil but preliminary data are presented in Table 8.

The production of quality fodder would permit the introduction of more productive crossbred animals into pastoral herds, but this must await the solution of disease and husbandry problems.



 Applied Treatment Soil Analysis
Origin of Soil Samplekg/haN%Organic Carbon %
Uncleared Bush*00.0710.58
Stylo. guianensis cv. Cook00.0610.87
Stylo. guianensis cv. Schofield00.0690.76

* pH 5.2, P2052 3.9 ppm.

Source: Mohammed-Saleem, unpublished data

On the crop lands field research has concentrated on defining present cropping systems in terms of sole crop and crop mixtures, inputs and management, and determining the yields under traditional practices and with recommenced practices. Trials conducted by ILCA on farmers' fields using recommended varieties, plant populations and fertilizer rates gave encouraging results (Table 9) particularly with sorghum, maize and soybean.

Research on crops is now concentrating on crop/livestock interactions i.e. crop residue utilization and storage, and the application and exchange benefits of animal manure.



 Traditional varieties and managementTraditional varieties and improved managementImproved varieties and management

* drought at planting

Source: Powell, 1982 unpublished data

Undersowing and intersowing always reduce the yield of the primary crop. Whilst an intercropped legume competes for space, water and nutrients, the nitrogen it provides to the cereal only replaces the cheapest and most easily obtained chemical fertilizer, urea; sowing dates are critical to both cereal and legume yields. Table 10 shows the results of ILCA experiments in undersowing sorghum with Stylosanthes.

Research has also been carried out on land preparation methods, from single rows of crops planted on ridges, through double rows, to wide beds with multiple rows to find out if labour and land requirements for subsistence cropping can be reduced to permit forage production. There are some promising results but the area presently planted to crops per farmer is so small that pastoralists would have to make arrangements to utilize the improved crop residue/forage production from a number of farms. Recent experiments involving sorghum-soya-Stylo intercropping have suggested possibilities for making these crops compatible by simple adjustment of crop spacing and row arrangements. Results indicate that grain yields can be maintained in the presence of legumes and although legumes do not raise total dry matter production they do raise the feed value of the dry matter.



Time of sowing Stylo after sorghum plantingGrain yield
Residue yield
Stylo yield
Sole crop21928796 (2.9)*-
Same day4802367 (2.4)4334 (12.9)*
After 3 weeks15503524 (2.4)3215 (13.6)
After 6 weeks19185385 (2.6)2464 (13.8)
After 9 weeks19807463 (2.5)456 (14.5)

* Percent crude protein of Stylo at time of grain harvest

Source: Mohammed-Saleem, 1983.

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