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Promotion of stall-feeding

11. Expansion of smallholder stall-feeding of cattle has been promoted through a pilot credit scheme funded under a World Bank assisted project. This project extends loans to producers for the purchase of bull calves and supplemental feedstuffs, such as rice bran and cottonseed cake. The project introduced the technology of supplemental feeding to reduce cattle weight losses during the long dry season. Producers in the Mandara Mountains typically store grasses and agricultural by-products, such as peanut leaves, sweet potato and cowpea vines, and sorghum stalks and leaves, for dry season feeding. Before the project, however, they had no experience in feeding concentrates such as rice bran and cottonseed cake.

12. The stall-feeding scheme has been implemented through a Cameroonian parastatal, Fonds National de Development Rural (FONADER). FONADER intended to extend 2,000 loans for two-year feeding by the fifth year (1983) of the project, but it fell short, extending only 1,330 loans. The credit scheme aimed eventually to extend 1,000 loans per year so that 2,000 loans would be outstanding at any one point.

13. The credit program was initially implemented with an incomplete understanding of broader livestock subsector and policy issues. The potentially negative consequences of cattle export restrictions and retail price controls on beef sales were not fully appreciated. Export restrictions increase the risks of cattle trade with Nigeria, as there are potentially high costs of being caught and paying fines. This has the effect of increasing returns to cattle smuggling. Prices for well-fleshed trade cattle are also higher across the border in Nigeria than in northern Cameroon. Nigerian border markets such as Mubi are well attended by cattle traders who assemble well-fleshed cattle for shipment by truck to the heavily populated urban markets of southern Nigeria. Given the strong demand across the border which has diverted supplies to unintended (foreign) markets, Cameroonian traders are able to offer producers premium prices for stall-fed cattle. Retail price controls have also constrained urban slaughter of locally-produced stall-fed cattle whose higher quality beef is more costly than range-fed animals trekked in from an adjacent region, the Diamare Plains. As will be demonstrated in the following sections, urban butchers cannot profitably slaughter stall-fed animals as long as price controls are enforced.

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