Gender, smallholder livestock production, improvement and conservation in Africa
Keywords:Gender Smallholder Livestock production Genetic improvement Animal genetic resource conservation Africa
Policy makers, developmental agents and researchers are now aware of the need to incorporate gender issues in smallholder livestock production planning and development in order to improve livestock productivity in Africa. This discussion attempt to explore the role of gender in smallholder livestock production,genetic improvement and conservation.Strategies to improve livestock production and conservation within the smallholder livestock sector will not be successful unless gender related issues are taken into account.Ownership of different livestock species by men and women in smallholder livestock production sector has been documented, often cattle and larger animals are owned by men, while goat keeping and backyard poultry production are largely women's domains. Therefore, it is assumed that taking cognizance of gender differentials in smallholder livestock production intervention programs will result in effectively implementation of livestockdevelopment programs ensuring more optimal outcomes. The rationale for gender integration in livestock improvement and conservation is driven by the fact that different household members typically hold different livestock responsibilities; they also may have different livestock priorities and livestock production constraints. Gender sensitive livestock policy initiatives such as training women in livestock improvement and conservation in smallholder livestock production sector should be adopted in order to address specific concerns and priorities of women as major stakeholders in livestock production.Gendered asymmetries in access to livestock and services not only do a great disservice to women and men livestock smallholder farmers, but they also stifle the potential for more sustainable and effective actions along a given livestock improvement program. In most cases , where livestock improvement and conservation programs are being carried out, the lack of gender consideration constrains the development of holistic approaches to achieve desirable goals.
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