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Increasing commercialization of stall-feeding

9. Cattle stall-feeding has a strong basis in traditional social practice. Producers often slaughter finished bulls at the annual post-harvest festival (November-December) or in celebration of the Marai (January-February), the festival of the bull, which is held once every two to three years in villages of the dominant ethnic group, the Mafa. Beef from slaughtered cattle is customarily distributed to the extended family or to friends. This practice helps to cement social and political relations within the village and between neighbouring villages.

10. Before the 1970s few stall-fed cattle were sold, and most finished animals were slaughtered by producers in their villages so that beef could be distributed in accordance with customary social practice. By the early 1980s many farmers had begun to raise cattle for commercial sale, selling their bulls to local cattle traders or rural butchers.2/ Cattle price inflation in West and central West Africa during the 1970s and early 1980s induced many producers to sell stall-fed cattle on the hoof or at least some beef from slaughtered stock in order to acquire cash for reinvestment in cattle.3/ Producers also use revenues from cattle and beef sales to pay taxes, buy clothing and other consumer goods, and make discretionary purchases.

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