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Tree Crop Plantations and Production

In the wetter areas of West Africa tree crop plantations are important (Table 14). There are estimated to be 3 500 000 ha of cocoa, 2 800 000 ha of oil palm, 457 000 ha of rubber and 121 000 ha of coconuts. There is an unknown acreage of citrus, coffee and kola.

The plantations vary in age from 1 to 60 years, and vary in size from smallholdings to large estates. There are small areas of cashew and kapok.

There are some 335 500 ha of established forest trees, mostly hardwoods in the West African subregion and it is planned to plant an additional 201 500 ha by the end of 1985. Forest trees are planted close together and later thinned. Forest reserves provide important understorey grazing and in Nigeria form the basis of that country's grazing reserves.

To meet increasing demands for raw materials both export and local industries it is the policy to increase oil palm production in Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast and rubber production has already been increased in Ivory Coast, Liberia and Cameroon. Ghana, Cameroon and Ivory Coast plan to increase their rubber production by 50, 60 and 66 percent respectively between 1985 and 2000 (Smit, 1981). Mango, cashew and kapok are being planted in the semi-arid areas of Togo, Upper Volta and Mali. These plans will substantially increase the land area devoted to tree crop plantations.

The most important use for wood is fuel. It is the exclusive household fuel of most inhabitants, and is estimated to provide 95 percent of energy needs in rural areas and 50–60 percent in urban areas (FAO, 1981b). Apart from cooking, it is also used for cottage industries and semiindustrial needs like the processing of agricultural products; it has been estimated that each individual uses between 0.5 – 1.4 m3/year. In parts of Senegal, Gambia, Upper Volta, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon fuel wood is already in short supply and the rapid population increase will soon create the same problem in southern Mali, northern Benin, Togo, Ghana, south eastern Niger and eastern Upper Volta (FAO, 1981b). In the sub-Saharan countries the southward spread of the Sahara, estimated at 7 km per annum (Bair et al. 1981), poses serious problems. Faced with this situation the countries in the region are establishing fast-growing forests in areas where land pressure is not acute to reduce evaporation.



GUINEA15 00015 00024 0002-
SIERRA LEONE50 00011 700225 0002-
LIBERIA35 00013 000320 0003180 0001
IVORY COAST1 000 000155 0003170 000336 0001
GHANA1 200 000121 000240 000213 0001
TOGO36 00014 000320 0003-
BENIN-9 000228 1772-
NIGERIA700 000120 00032 500 0001200 0003 4
CAMEROON454 15012 000231 120127 7182
TOTAL3 490 150120 7002 838 297456 718

Source: FAO Statistics Division.
1 1982 figures
2 1979 figures
3 1980 figures
4 Abstracted from Rubber Statistics Vol. 36 (1981).

Some plantations include economic crops like Cashew (Anacardium occidentale), Mango (Mangiferia indica) and Kapok (Ceiba pentandra) while others are formed of industrial hardwoods. There are thus within the subregion projects, either in execution or planned, to establish over 200 000 ha of forest, which, properly coordinated, could be used for cattle grazing.

Impediments to Integration

Successful integration of livestock into plantation cropping depends on its technical, economic and social feasibility:

Technical Feasibility

The factors included are soil and climate, the size of the plantation, the number of animals it can carry, the availability of fodder, its quantity and quality and whether these can meet the nutritional requirements of the stock for economic growth and performance, the effect of livestock on the performance of the plantation crop, nutrient (especially minerals) deprivation due to forage growth and consumption by the livestock, and direct damage to the crop by livestock.

The acquisition of land for the establishment of plantations and the right to use the land during the economic life of the plantation, which could be as long as 40–50 years for oil palms and 60 for coconuts, may be difficult to negotiate. Plantations established in grazing land can evoke tenurial problems.

Rainfall and its distribution, temperature and soil type dictate the kind of plantation crop that can be grown. In the savannahs, where most of the livestock are raised, plantations of mango, kapok and teak may be established, but the long, hot dry-season will limit grazing to about three months of the year. Under these conditions the carrying capacity may be limited to one sheep or goat to five to ten hectares.

The forage that grows under the tree crops should be available for most of the year and be of good quality. Grasses and legumes must be able to withstand grazing, moderate drought, shade, trampling and diseases and readily adapt to variations in soils and climate.

If not correctly managed forage may compete with the plantation trees for nutrients and make the harvest of the crops difficult, e.g. creeping grasses and legumes like Giant Star Grass (Cynodon plectostachyus) and Centrosema growing up young trees or crowding out other useful grasses and legumes; on the other hand the grazing may be killed by shade if the canopy closes (Guzman and Allo, 1975).

Lack of forage due to failure of rains or closed canopies will severely affect the carrying capacity under tree crops.

Damage to tree crops can be a limiting factor to crop/livestock integration. Apart from young trees being trampled and broken, livestock debark the trunks and expose roots of citrus, cashew, rubber, cocoa and mahogany (Pottier, 1982, and Personal Observation). Cattle damage leaf tips of palm and eat ripe fruit bunches of oil palms when the trees are small and young (Samuel, 1974); sheep pick and eat young cocoa pods and on heavy soils livestock can cause compaction. In high rainfall areas grazing and confinement at night cause puddling of the soil and adversely affect the root system of oil palms (Rombaut, 1973; Hartley, 1977).

Technical advice on animal production and health and establishment of plantations and pastures and their management may not be available. Coordination and collection among technical assistance agencies is required. To minimize danger and ensure adequate grazing herdsmen may have to be employed. If the number of stock is small this additional cost may not be justified.

Diseases of plants and animals require careful control. Coccidiosis and tapeworm infestations proved a serious problem in the raising of sheep under tree crops in Ghana (personal observation), while dermatophilosis, brucellosis, mange, footrot, liver fluke infestation, parasitic gastroenteritis, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and trypanosomiasis can also occur. (Oppong, 1971, 1973; ILCA, 1980; Oppong and Yebuah, 1981).

Economic Viability (Table 15)

Inputs like fertilizer for crops and forage, drugs for animals, transportation for movement of staff, produce and livestock need to be available.

Operations like land clearing, plantation and cover crop establishment, purchase of livestock, drugs and fertilizer will require credit. Most small plantations are established by an individual helped by relatives (Okali, 1973), usually without the help of outside labour.

There are a large variety of food and cash crops such as cowpeas, cassava, plantains, maize, sunflower, peanuts, banana, etc., that are interplanted with tree crops to provide income while the major crop is becoming established. Decision has to be made on whether to interplant crops or to undersow plantations with forage for livestock.

Due to the remoteness of some plantations, regular cattle markets may not be available and stock owners may be forced to sell animals for low prices. This factor should be taken into account when assessing the economic alternatives of interplanting crops or integrating livestock.



1.Capital investment US$
 Cost of 4 milk cows
Cost of cattle shed
Cost of irrigation installations
Cost of utensils, equipment, etc.

1 560
1 300
1 560
1 498
2.Economic analysis  
 A. Receipts
Sale of milk
Sale of coconuts
Value of subsidiary crops

B. Operating expenses
Cost of cultivation of fodders
Labour charges
Cost of cattle feed
Cost of cultivation of coconuts

Depreciation (Cattle and pumpsets)

Total operating expenses

C. Receipts less operating expenses

D. Interest on capital investment

*E. Net return to farmer



2 088
2 995

1 382


 16 023 




+ Area under coconuts in the projects: 1 ha IRs = .13 US$

* Labour charges of Rs 2 600 to be added to the net income when the labour input is by the farmer and his family.

Social Feasibility

Attempts at settling pastoralists in the wetter areas of Nigeria and Ivory oast have run into problems because of the inability of pastoralists to obtain land to cultivate food crops (Oxby, 1982). It is possible, however, that pastoralists would like to establish plantations which could provide forage for their livestock, or that they could graze their animals under plantations for a fee.

Related Research Findings

The exploitation of pastures under established tree crop plantations has been receiving increasing international attention in recent years. Pastures established under coconut and cattle-pasture-coconut integration have been studied by Ohler (1969), Plucknett (1972 and 1979). Guzman and Allo (1975), Thomas (1978) and Reynolds (1978 and 1980). Cattle are introduced to keep grass and weeds short to prevent excessive nutrient and moisture competition with coconut palms, to ensure easy collection of fallen nuts (Reynolds, 1978) and to provide manure for coconuts (Plucknett, 1979). Cattle and sheep are grazed under oil palm in Colombia (Hove, 1966), Ivory Coast (Rombaut, 1973) and in Ghana. Sheep are raised under cashew, kola, mango and citrus (Asiedu et al. 1978) and oil palm in Ghana and under rubber in Malaysia (Wan Mohamed, 1982). (Plate 6)

Plate 6

Plate 6 - Sheep grazing under oil palms in the Humid Zone, Ghana

Advantages of Livestock/Plantation Integration

The inclusion of livestock in tree crop plantations has a number of advantages which enhance productivity (Payne and Smith, 1975). Wan Mohamed (1978) listed these as:

The lower temperature under plantation trees results in increased feed intake, better growth and improved productivity of livestock (Wan Mohamed, 1982).

Advantages from combining livestock with coconut production are listed as follows by Reynolds (1980):

In Ivory Coast Rombaut (1973) observed that the manpower requirement for managing oil palms could be reduced by 50 percent if cattle were grazed in the plantation.

Forage Production under Tree Crops

Moisture is the single most important factor in determining oil palm, coconut and rubber yield. The plants grow best in areas receiving 1250 to about 2500 mm of well-distributed, preferably bimodal, rainfall (Hartley, 1977; Plucknett, 1979). Moisture is equally important for forage production so areas with adequate rainfall need to be selected for plantation/ livestock integration.

Plantation crops are spaced at planting to allow for optimal growth, yields and efficient management; spacing varies from 6 × 6 to 13 × 13 m. Spacing and pattern of planting of trees greatly affect the potential for pasture production under them (Whitehead and Smith, 1968). Wider spacing involves fewer trees per ha and thus a longer time for the canopy to close. Maximum yields of pasture under plantations are obtained only under adequate conditions of solar radiation (Guzman and Allo, 1975). The amount of light reaching the undergrowth depends on the spacing and pattern of planting, the age of the plantation, soil fertility, time of day, time of year, season and amount of cloud cover (Guzman and Allo, 1975). The amount of light reaching the undergrowth decreases with increasing age of the plantation. Pastures grow well when oil palm trees are less than 5 years old, but from 8 to 25 years the canopy is dense and fodder production is greatly reduced (Rombaut, 1973; Hartley, 1977; Nair, 1979); after 20 years the canopy thins and pasture growth improves (Figure 14). Hartley (1977) observed that Napier grass grew luxuriantly under oil palm in Nigeria till the plantation was 8 to 10 years old, after which it was shaded out. In Ivory Coast, Rombaut (1973) found oil palm plantations less than 8 years old and over 15 years of age to have more undercover than those between 8 and 15 years old; he failed to establish Brachiaria mutica under 10 year old oil palms.

A wide variety of natural plants grows under tree plantations; up to 70 percent of these are palatable (Wan Mohamed, 1978) and readily grazed by livestock (Rombaut, 1973; Asiedu et al. 1978). Rombaut (1973) estimated 65 to 100 tons per hectare per year of green natural forage under oil palm plantations more than 8 years old in Ivory Coast, of which Axonopus compressus alone accounted for 55 tons; Axonopus compressus and Paspalum conjugatum withstand heavy grazing pressure and are shade tolerant. (Plucknett and Erickson, 1979; Reynolds, 1981; Watson and Whiteman, 1981).

Cover crops, mostly leguminous creeping plants, are grown under plantation crops for soil conservation and improvement in fertility (Plucknett, 1979); Centrosema pubescens, Pueraria phaseoloides and Calapogonium mucunoides are the most important species commonly used under oil palm, rubber and coconuts in West Africa (Sheldrick, 1969; Rombaut, 1973; Jordan and Opoku, 1966). Napier grass is used under oil palm in Nigeria (Hartley, 1977). Most of these cover crops are nutritious and readily acceptable to livestock.

Fig. 14 Apparent shading of ground by coconuts of different ages. (After Nelliat 1974)

Fig. 14

Successful integration of livestock with tree crop production requires year long availability of forage. The forage species should be nutritious, high yielding, able to withstand short periods of drought and water logging and withstand trampling, grazing and shade (Reynolds, 1981). Cover crops must also be easy and cheap to establish and should compete successfully with weeds but not with trees for their nutrition. They must be able to respond to fertilizer, withstand low management levels and allow for ease of harvesting of tree crops (Reynolds, 1978).

To ensure a regular supply of forage under plantations, it is necessary to establish the correct mix of grasses and legumes, adopt rotational or zero grazing and, if necessary, reserve dry season grazing. A grass legume mixture of Pennisetum purpureum (Napier grass) or Panicum maximum (Guinea grass) with Leucaena leucocephala or Brachiaria mutica (Paragrass) and forage sorghum have been found satisfactory (Plucknett, 1979).

Guinea grass has been suggested for rotational grazing in coconuts (Paltridge, 1957), while Napier grass, Pallisade grass (Brachiaria brizantha), Guinea grass, Leucaena sp. and Gliricidia maculata have been recommended as dry season fodder under coconuts in Sri Lanka (Ellewela, 1956).

In Ghana, Asiedu et al. (1978) found the association of Centrosema pubescens and Assystasia gigantica a better combination for sheep than Pueraria phaseoloides alone.

Depending on the amount of light, the vegetation type and the season, substnatial quantities of forage can be produced under tree crops. Tchoume quoted by Rombaut (1973) estimated 65 to 100 tons of green fodder per hectare per year under oil palms less than 8 years old in the Ivory Coast; for plantations over 8 years he estimated 43 to 97 tons per hectare. Good natural Guinea grass/Centrosema pastures under coconuts in Western Samoa yielded 5.0 to 5.8 tons of dry matter per hectare (Reynolds, 1977). Guatemala grass, Napier grass and Guinea grass yielded 50–60 tons green fodder and Stylosanthes guianensis 30 tons under coconut shade in India (Nair, 1979). Nair further observee that, feeding 30–35 kg green fodder/ cow/day, one hectare of coconut land could support 4 cows. With correct levels of stocking and grazing, yields of 65 tons of green fodder/ha/yr are obtained in Sri Lanka from Pennisetum purpureum and Panicum maximum on a cut and carry system (Lane, 1981).

Animal Management

Animals may be continuously grazed, rotationally grazed, tethered or zerograzed. Continuous grazing is practised on small holdings (Plucknett, 1979), but this can lead to soil degradation, deterioration of pasture quality and production (Goonasekera, 1953) and damage to plantation crops (Pottier, 1982). Rotational grazing requires fencing, provision of water and good management but it is the preferred method of grazing animals under plantation crops (Eden, 1953; Ellewela, 1956; Rombaut, 1973). Where plantation crops are young (under 6 years) it is advantageous to zero graze cattle although sheep can be used for continuous grazing.

Water intake of livestock under tree crops is low due to absence of heat stress and the high moisture content (over 70 percent) of the forage (Asiedu, 1978). Ndama and Baoule cattle under oil palm in Ivory Coast drank on average 5 litres of water a day (Rombaut, 1973). Asiedu (1978) recorded a mean daily water intake of 296 ml for sheep during the dry season under kola and oil palm plantations in Ghana.

The carrying capacity of forage under plantation crops has been estimated at two to three sheep per hectare under rubber in Malaysia (Wan Mohamed, 1982), seven to ten sheep and goats under rubber (Mahyuddin, et al. 1979) and 14 to 18 sheep per hectare under a mango/cashew plantation in Ghana. Reynolds (1981) suggested 0.25, 1.5, 2.0 – 2.5 and 2.5 – 3.5 steers (225 - 350 kg/liveweight) per hectare on poor local pasture, good local pasture, B. brizantha and other grasses and P. maximum respectively under coconuts in Western Samoa.

Animal Production Performance

Weight gain of animals grazing under plantation crops depends on pasture quality, season, type of animal, and stocking rate.

At a stocking rate of 1.7 steer per ha under coconuts in Western Samoa Reynolds (1981) observed that even in dry years liveweight gains of approximately 39 kg, 80 kg and 124 kg per hectare could be obtained from unfertilized local pasture without drinking water, unfertilized local pasture with drinking water and unfertilized Guinea grass/Centrosema pastures respectively. Rika et al. (1981) observed that improved pasture under coconuts could provide long term yearly production of about 550 kg liveweight gain per hectare. Rombaut (1973) obtained daily weight gains of 350 – 400g per day in grazing trials with Ndama and Boaulé cattle on natural pasture under oil palms in the Ivory Coast. Nitis et al. (1976) obtained an average daily liveweight gain of 0.43 kg per head and a production of 302 and 611 kg liveweight per hectare/p.a., at stocking rates of 2.7 and 6.3 cattle per hectare under coconuts in Indonesia. Dorset Horn crosses and local sheep respectively gained 78.5g and 38.5g daily under rubber in Malaysia (Wan Mohamed, 1982). Rombaut (1973) observed that at carrying capacities above 180 kg liveweight per hectare cattle herded by day under oil palms and confined in enclosures at night lost weight. In intensive grazing trials under oil palms in Surinam, while calves gained weight, the cows lost weight (Tjong and Hung, 1974). Halfbred zebu heifers grazing B. milliformis and Pueraria phaseoloides under a Eucalyptus deglutpa plantation in the Solomon Islands gained 0.25 kg per day each over a period of 6 months.

By Products from Tree Crops

In addition to the forage found under plantations, the trees themselves, (oil palm, coconut, rubber, cashew, coffee, citrus, kapok, mango) and their by products can be used to increase feed supply for livestock (Hutagalung, 1981). Table 16 shows optimum levels of these in animal feeds. In West Africa by products of oil palm and coconuts are fed to livestock while those from cocoa, rubber and citrus have been found experimentally to be acceptable (Babatunde et al., 1974; Oppong, personal observation in Ghana). The oil palm provides palm oil, palm kernel cake, oil palm sludge and palm press fibre, all of which can be used as feed. Palm oil has replaced imported animal feeds as an energy and vitamin source in Malaysia and is included at a rate of 3 percent in pig and poultry diets (Hutagalung, 1981); higher levels of 2–10 percent have been offered to pigs in Nigeria ((Fetuga et al., 1975) and up to 30 percent in Malaysia (Devendra and Hew, 1977) with no apparent effect on carcass weight. At 2–8 percent supplementation palm oil has been reported to increase milk yield and milk fat content, but above 8 percent depressed the digestibility of dry matter and crude protein in sheep (Devendra, 1978). Palm kernel cake is gritty, high in fibre content and low in lysine, methionine and tryptophan making it less suitable for poultry although it has been fed (up to 30 percent) to broilers without adverse effect on their performance (Hutagalung, 1981); it has been shown to contain sufficient methionine and cystine to meet the requirements of pigs as a sole protein source in Nigeria (Fetuga et al., 1977). Zebu-Holstein dairy bulls fed palm kernel cake added to grass/ molasses based diets have been found to show appreciable daily liveweight gains (Camoens, 1978).



 Inclusion rate in diet (%)
Banana meal20–405–10--
Castor seed meal20–4020–40--
Citrus pulp5–103–510–3010–30
Citrus molasses5–105–1010–2010–20
Cocoa pod husks10–245–1520–4020–40
Cocoa bean residue5–102–7--
Cocoa shells10–205–15--
Coconut meal/cake10–205–1520–40-
Coffee pulp (dried)8–24-10–2010–20
Coffee grounds10–203–510–205–10
Kapok seed cake5–205–10--
Leucaena (lamtoro) meal2–52–5--
Palm kernel meal15–2510–20--
Palm oil2–102–8--
Oil palm sludge (dried)20–3010–3010–3020–40
Oil palm sludge (ferm.)20–4020–40--
Palm press fibre--10–3020–40
Rubber seed meal10–3010–3010–30-

Source: Hutagalung (1981).

Rubber seed meal contains 25–30 percent protein and can be fed to pigs and poultry up to 25 percent of the diet. (Buvanendran and Siriwardena, 1970; Ong and Yeong, 1978; Rajaguru and Wettimung, 1973; Adegbola, 1977). The use of rubber seed meal in livestock diets is limited primarily by the cost of collection, seasonal availability of seeds and the lack of basic information on the identity and concentration of their cyanogenic glucocides and other compounds (Hutagalung, 1981).

The effluent from rubber processing can be used to irrigate the plantation as a source of water and nutrients to increase yield. Grass so irrigated can be fed to cattle (Tan et al., 1975).

Coconut meal contains about 18 percent crude protein, 8 percent fat and 12 percent crude fibre, (Oluyemi et al., 1976; Hutagalung, 1978). Creswell and Brooks (1971) found dietary levels of up to 20 percent of coconut meal to be optimum for pig performance. Coconut meal is acceptable and a very useful protein supplement for ruminants.

Kapok seed cake contains 25 percent protein of low quality, and has a high fibre content, low palatability and contains cyclo-propenoid acids. Supplementation of up to 40 percent kapok seed meal to cattle produced satisfactory results; higher levels caused toxicity (Sahai and Kehar, 1968).

Mango seed kernel can replace maize up to 20 percent in poultry rations (Reddy, 1975).

Citrus has been fed as fresh fruit, 40 kg per day, and wet citrus pulp, dried citrus pulp or citrus meal as 40–45 percent maize replacement to sheep and pigs. Because of its low levels of protein, calcium and phosphorus, fresh citrus has to be fed ad lib with protein and mineral supplementation (Chapman et al. 1972).

Cocoa has been fed as pod husk, bean shells and bean residues to cattle, sheep and pigs. Cocoa shells can be fed to cattle and sheep up to 30–40 percent of the ration, but the high fibre and theobromine content limits it to 10–15 percent of poultry feed (Devendra, 1978). Supplementation at 30–40 percent in molasses-based diets to sheep improved dry matter and crude protein digestibility and nitrogen retention (Devendra, 1978). In Ghana cocoa shells have been recommended at 0.9 kg per day for small ruminants (Owusu-Domheh, 1972). These shells were found to contain 22 percent protein, 13 percent fibre, 6 percent fat and vitamin D (281 u/g) and 1.3 percent of theobromine. Cocoa pod husks and cocoa bean residue contain 6.4 percent and 6.9 percent protein and 27 and 31 percent fibre respectively, which makes them more suitable roughages for ruminants than for monogastric animals (Hutagalung, 1978).

Coffee processing by products at farm level include coffee pulp, coffee hulls and coffee molasses. The pulp forms about 43 percent of the fruit when dried. It is rich nutritionally but contains 1.2 percent caffeine, 3.4 percent tannin and 1.8 percent potassium. The caffeine, tannin and potassium appear to make coffee pulp unattractive as animal feed (Hutagalung, 1981). Wet coffee pulp may be substituted for 25 percent of the maize in cattle rations (Gohl, 1981) but more than 20 percent of the dry and 30 to 40 percent of ensiled pulp depresses weight gains and feed efficiency (Cabezas et al., 1976). Other coffee by products, except coffee molasses, are unsuitable for sheep and pigs according to Balogun and Koch (1975).

Banana rejects or was'es and the pseudostem (trunks) and leaves are nutritious and acceptable to livestock. Fresh ripe bananas can be offered to pigs of all ages except lactating sows. Green dried banana (banana meal) has been fed up to 75 percent for growing/finishing pigs, up to 50 percent for weaned pigs and up to 40 percent for gestating sows with satisfactory results (Clavijo and Maner, 1975; Dividich and Canope, 1974). Chopped and ensiled banana trunks or pseudostems and leaves have been fed to cattle and pigs. Rowe and Preston (1978) obtained weight gains of between 0.5 and 0.7 kg/day from zebu steers fed adlibitum chopped banana stems with molasses/urea. Up to 40 percent banana leaf meal caused an increase in weight gains and feed efficiency of zebu cattle and sheep (Garcia et al., 1973).

Cashew nut provides many valuable industrial oils and the by product, cashew cake, contains 42 percent crude protein, 46 percent lysine, 1.6 percent methionine and 1.3 percent tryptophan. It also has a higher content of sulphur-containing amino acids than soybean and groundnut meals (Piva et al., 1971) thus making it a very rich source of feed for livestock and poultry.

Gaps in Present Programmes

Studies have been carried out in Asia, the Far East, Europe and the Americas on the integration of livestock into plantations; little has been done in Africa as a whole and in West Africa in particular, and more needs to be known to enable extension workers to encourage integration of livestock production and plantation cropping.

Outstanding questions relate to the effect of the system on plantation crops, the soil, the animals, farmers' income and socio-economic factors.

At a seminar of the South Pacific Commission on pastures and cattle under coconuts, research priorities were identified under 5 main headings (Plucknett, 1979).

A. Intercropping Effects on Coconuts

  1. Soil compaction by cattle.

  2. Tillage and cultivation; frequency, depth and time of cultivation.

  3. Intercrop or pasture competition.

  4. Fertilization practice - time, rates, frequency, requirements for plams of different age.

  5. Spacing of newly-planted palms for intercropping.

B. Natural Pastures

  1. Need to survey and understand composition and yield of natural pastures.

  2. Weed control from uncontrolled understorey to managed natural pastures.

  3. Natural pasture performance under different management regimes and levels of utilization.

  4. Carrying capacity and animal productivity.

  5. Seasonal forage yields.

  6. Forage value of natural plants.

C. Improved Pastures

  1. Establishment methods.

  2. Fertilizer requirements for pasture grasses and legumes as well as coconut.

  3. Weed control.

  4. Finding suitable grass/legume mixtures which are shade tolerant and productive but which do not depress coconut yields.

  5. Carrying capacity and animal production.

D. Animal Management

  1. Suitability of small versus large ruminants.

  2. Cattle breeds and productivity.

  3. Breeding systems.

  4. Animal health and disease control.

  5. Value of copra as an animal feed.

E. Economics and Marketing

  1. Planning for improved and diversified land use under coconuts.

  2. Farm size and income.

  3. Marketing methods.

  4. Technical advice and assistance for farmers.

To carry out the recommended research, the steps to be followed include:

  1. Record and circularize a list of present work being done.

  2. Register needs in order of priority.

  3. Plan for dissemination and organization of information.

  4. Recommend regional research projects and consider countries to handle each of these.

  5. Regular meetings to discuss results and the utilization of findings.

The above recommendations were made to combine cattle with coconuts. Similar priorities could be set for cattle, sheep, goats and pigs under tree crops in West Africa, but further information required is:

  1. An inventory of resources; what plantations are available, their age structure, ownership, size, and system of exploitation.

  2. The socio-economic constraints on ownership and expansion of the plantations.

  3. Land tenure.

  4. The establishment of plantations other than those traditionally grown.

  5. The possibility of plantation owners allowing herders to graze their plantations.

  6. The possibility of growing forage for sale.

  7. Studies into animal ingestive behaviour and utilization of manpower under tree crop plantations.

  8. Integration of food crops, livestock and tree crop plantations.

  9. Studies into the incorporation of some of the intermediate and final by products of the tree crops into livestock feeds.

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