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The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has this month (April 2013) published guidelines for facilitation, monitoring and evaluation of innovation platfoms in the West Africa-based project on Sustainable management of globally significant endemic ruminant livestock (French acronym, PROGEBE).

Available in both English and French, these guidelines are targeted at project staff at site, national and regional levels.

The guidelines were written by ILRI scientists Pamela Pali and Kees Swaans with contributions from Jemimah Njuki, Ranjitha Puskur, Abdou Fall, Nancy Johnson, Ndèye Djigal and Alassane Diallo.

The objective of PROGEBE is to develop, test and implement models for community-based conservation and sustainable management of three priority endemic ruminant livestock species: N’Dama cattle, Djallonke sheep and the West African Dwarf goat.

These species have unique genetic traits that are important to the livelihoods of smallholder livestock keepers. However, these traits are under increasing threat of dilution from crossbreeding.

The purebred N’Dama cattle, for instance, is favoured by smallholder farmers because of its tolerance to trypanosomosis, a genetic trait that has been greatly diluted in the crossbred N’Dama.

Based on lessons learned in the pilot sites through action research and the models for in situ conservation of endemic livestock established during the project, PROGEBE intends to develop and implement a sub-regional system for cooperation, coordination and information exchange relevant to endemic livestock.

The national coordination units of each country are currently running various forums at site, national and regional levels that contribute to information exchange. The regional coordination unit  has also taken steps to foster regional forums dealing with management of animal genetic resources and transhumance linked with West African regional bodies.

To add value to the initiatives already launched by national and regional teams for information exchange, ILRI has proposed the establishment of innovation platforms at the site and sub-national levels to enhance communication, co-ordination and knowledge sharing among key actors in the project.

Although the guidelines were developed specifically for facilitation, monitoring and evaluation of innovation platform processes and outcomes in PROGEBE, they have been designed so that they can be adapted to other projects that have a similar structure.


Niamana livestock market in Mali

At the Niamana Livestock Market, in Bamako, the largest in Mali, animals for sale and slaughter including trypanosomosis-resistant humpless Ndama cattle and humped Zebu (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

A new study published in the April 2013 issue of the journal Environmental Economics has identified the key cattle attributes considered most important by smallholders in the Malian humid and sub-humid zones, and the implications on production, marketing and animal genetic resource management.

The study found that the body condition, agroecological origin and category of the transacted animal were the most important attributes of cattle sold in selected markets in the Malian humid and sub-humid zones.

These findings will enable producers and traders of trypanotolerant Ndama cattle to make more informed production and marketing decisions because they would be better informed about how the attributes of cattle they put on the market are rewarded or penalized.

Access the abstract and full-text article

Fadiga ML. 2013. Valuation of cattle attributes in the Malian humid and sub-humid zones and implications for sustainable management of endemic ruminant livestock. Environmental Economics 4(1): 39-50.

Cattle in West Africa

Cattle in West Africa (photo credit: ILRI).

An article in The Daily Observer (Banjul) (22 May 2012) highlights the recent hand-over of livestock projects to villages in the Lower River Region and Central River Region of the Gambia. Below is the article by Sheriff Barry.

The Regional Project on Sustainable Management of Endemic Ruminant Livestock in West Africa (PROGEBE-Gambia) recently handed over livestock projects to Jataba Village, Kiang West, in the Lower River Region; Jareng Village, in Niani East and Nyanga Bantang in Nianija Districts of the Central River Region (CRR) at a ceremony held at their respective project sites.

The livestock projects which were handed over to their respective beneficiaries include 11 livestock markets and processing facilities, slaughter slabs, wells and drinking troves, loading ramps and rehabilitation slaughter houses. The project aims at preserving and enhancing the productivity of endemic ruminant livestock in the country.

Speaking at the event, Sanna Dahaba, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, stated that the peaceful and conducive environment enable them to achieve such development projects in the country, pointing out that there are several developed countries who today are unfortunate to have such a peaceful environment.

He commended the president, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yaya AJJ Jammeh for his tireless efforts in ensuring that peace and tranquillity prevail in this country and also for supporting the development of agriculture in the country.

Dahaba urged the livestock dealers and butchers to have authentic and valid documents with them at all times during their business activities, particularly during ‘Lumos’ (weekly markets) for identification purposes.

He also informed them that it came to their notice that there are some business elements who have the habit of playing dubious activities by using one single original Livestock Movement Permit and its duplicate to two different dealers, which he decried as unacceptable.

He therefore warned them to desist from such malpractice and that anybody found guilty will face the full force of the law. “The sustainability and maintenance of the facilities lie in the hands of you the beneficiaries and make best use of the facilities,” Dahaba said.

For his part, Dr. Abdelkader Bensada, PROGEBE regional project coordinator, spoke on the objectives of the project, which he said, is to provide food security through better management, capacity building and putting a better operation services for agro farmers and to conserve and preserve the habitats of livestock in The Gambia.

He hailed PROGEBE-Gambia for their astonishing achievement; citing the fact that they were recently awarded the best among their partner countries for their dedication and hard work.

According o him, the donors will not only provide the infrastructure but will evaluate and see whether the facilities have been better managed, insisting that the project is for the community and they should ensure its sustainability.

Speaking earlier, Dr. Famara Bully Sanyang, PROGEBE-Gambia national project coordinator dilated on the significance of the facilities and some of the roles of PROGEBE-Gambia. He outlined that PROGEBE is being implemented in four West African countries.

He also went on to emphasise that the facilities are purposely meant for preserving livestock; that livestock can supplement and generate income for the farmers, especially in a situation of crop failure.

Dr Sanyang disclosed that they have been embarking on capacity building and skill training of farmers in different areas, including livestock production matters, livestock techniques that can improve livestock performance.

According to him, they have been doing this for the pass two years in partnership with other agencies. “We have realised that there is some improvement in the productivity of the animals. The next stage is for the farmers to reap some benefit out of that productivity gains,” he said.

According to him, this was the reason why PROGEBE-Gambia constructed livestock markets for the farmers, where they can sell their animal and get income. Dr Sanyang thanked the donors for their tireless contribution and all those who contributed in one way or the other to make sure their objectives are realised.

Other speakers included, Abdou Njie, the deputy governor of LRR, deputising for Omar Gibba, the chief of Kiang West; Kebba Touray, the chief of Niamina East; Perr Bah, the chief of Niani District; Marafang Bayo, the consultant; Ebrima Cham, the technical director for The Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA), deputising for his boss.

All of them commended PROGEBE-Gambia for their immense contribution to the promotion of livestock and urged the beneficiaries to make best use of the facilities.

A delegation, including the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, PROGEBE project regional director, PROGEBE-Gambia project director, some PROGEBE-Gambia staff, the project consultant and representatives from different organisations, representatives of the regions, governors, Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA), chiefs, Alkalolu and a cross section of the respective communities attended the ceremony.

Goats in a West African village

On 19 January 2012, the PROGEBE-Gambia team received an award for the best performing National Coordinating Unit for the year 2011 among the four implementing countries. The other implementing countries are Guinea, Mali and Senegal.

The event was featured in an article in The Point newspaper (13 February 2012) by Abdoulie Nyockeh.

The regional Project for Sustainable Management of Endemic Ruminant Livestock in West Africa (PROGEBE) is being implemented in The Gambia, Guinea, Mali and Senegal.

The sub-regional project, which is being funded by the African Development Bank, the Global Environment Facility and the governments of the participating countries, aims at preserving and enhancing the productivity of the endemic ruminant livestock in these countries.

The PROGEBE-Gambia National Coordinating Unit has been identified as the best performing National Coordinating Unit for the year 2011 among the four implementing countries.

This accolade was bestowed on PROGEBE-Gambia through the award of a certificate and a befitting plaque at the regional steering committee meeting held in Dakar, Senegal, on 19 January 2012.

It is against this development that the PROGEBE-Gambia National Coordinating Unit together with the Ministry of Agriculture last Friday organised a one-day forum for the celebration of this great achievement.

This was achieved as a result of hard work, commitment and teamwork by the management of PROGEBE-Gambia in the implementation of the project in The Gambia.

The celebration, attended by various project coordinators, veterinary officials, senior agriculture officials, and other stakeholders, was held at PROGEBE-Gambia’s office in Abuko.

In his welcome remarks, the National Coordinator of PROGEBE-Gambia, Dr Famara Sanyang, expressed delight at being able to celebrate “this very important joyous occasion” in the history of the project.

“This success came as a result of the combined efforts of the project staff and all their implementing partners,” he said. “This award was as a result of physical implementation of the project activities in the regions, which has been carried out as expected.”

Dr Sanyang added that the event was a joyous occasion, which came through hard work and dedication leading to his project gaining such a great compliment and winning an award of plaque and certificate, out of the four countries benefitting from the project.

Dr Sanyang also said his staff would continue the good work to always raise the flag of The Gambia high.

He also thanked the donor partners and assured them that the project management “will continue to be carried as expected”.

For his part, Lamin Camara from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs thanked the management of PROGEBE-Gambia for their hard work in ensuring the country achieves success.

He described the management of PROGEBE-Gambia as “very committed and hardworking”, adding: “This project is one of the best projects in giving accurate report as far as the Ministry of Finance is concerned.”

Mr Camara then challenged the management of PROGEBE-Gambia to continue their hard work for the good of the country.

In his speech on the occasion, the deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Sherifo Bojang, expressed satisfaction with the performance of PROGEBE-Gambia for their effort in ensuring The Gambia came out the best performing national coordinating unit.

Goats in a West African village

Welcome to the blog of the Regional project for sustainable management of globally significant endemic ruminant livestock, often simply referred to by its acronym in French, PROGEBE (Projet régional de gestion durable du bétail ruminant endémique en Afrique de l’Ouest).

Due to demographic pressure, drought and human activity such as deforestation and agriculture, several species of endemic ruminant livestock breeds are threatened with extinction or dilution of their specific genetic traits. Their natural habitats are also increasingly being invaded by exotic livestock and converted into agricultural land with widespread deforestation due to strong demand for wood energy.

Therefore, PROGEBE aims at preserving and sustainably strengthening the genetic characteristics of endemic livestock, increasing their productivity, and marketing them in an enabling physical and institutional environment.

The overall goal of the project is to ensure sustainable populations of targeted endemic ruminant livestock breeds in four West African countries – the Gambia, Guinea, Mali and Senegal – in order to improve rural economies and to ensure the conservation of these breeds and their globally unique genetic traits.

Specific objectives

  • Establishment of effective models for community based management of endemic ruminant livestock and their habitat at project pilot sites
  • Enhanced productivity of purebred species through selective breeding and production improvements
  • Implementation of incentive schemes to foster optimal valorization of endemic livestock, improved marketing and distribution channels for dairy products and crafts, and increased offtake and exports of endemic purebreds to neighboring countries
  • Harmonized sub-regional policies for livestock management, including transhumance (herd movements)
  • A system of regional information sharing, cooperation and exchanges relevant to endemic ruminant livestock

Expected outcomes

  • Production and productivity of endemic ruminant livestock are sustainably improved
  • Commercialization and marketing systems of endemic ruminant livestock and livestock products are strengthened
  • Natural resources in project pilot sites are conserved and sustainably managed for the benefit of endemic ruminant livestock, ecosystem services and human livelihoods
  • Legal, policy and institutional frameworks are established at the local, national and sub-regional levels for in situ conservation of endemic ruminant livestock
  • A sub-regional system is established for cooperation, information exchange and coordinated support for the conservation of endemic livestock

This blog serves as a platform for the project partners to share updates and information about the project, including working papers, reports, presentations and videos, as well as to document milestones and lessons learned.

For more information about PROGEBE, please visit the project website.