Exploring the current state of ruminant value chains in northern Ghana, and the role of grain legume residues as a livestock feed resource

Submitted by charlotte.schilt on

This study explored the current state of ruminant value chains in two regions of northern Ghana (Northern region (NR); Upper East region (UER)) and studied the role of grain legume residues (GLRs) as a livestock feed among livestock value chain actors. Semi-structured questionnaires were designed to conduct interviews with three different stakeholders: 99 smallholder farmers in two districts (Savelugu-Nanton (NR) and Binduri (UER)); and 108 livestock fatteners and traders in Tamale (NR) and Bawku (UER). Data was analysed by applying value chain mapping and using SPSS Statistics. Results showed that smallholder livestock production mainly contributed to sustaining livelihoods and household food security, based on the importance of non-market roles of livestock keeping (e.g. small ruminants) and overall low market participation (incl. livestock and GLRs). Livestock fattening and trading in the NR focused on a combination of cattle and sheep, as opposed to predominantly cattle in the UER. Two ruminant value chains were identified in each region: local ruminant market chains, mainly for the distribution of small ruminants, and cross-regional market chains, mainly used by UER chain actors for the distribution of cattle. Unlike livestock trading, livestock fattening showed to be characterized by seasonality. Increasing livestock production through fattening schemes may offer a way to improve incomes, increase the value of the overall livestock trade, and to improve the supply of livestock produce. GLRs were among the main feeds used by fatteners and traders, and were especially important during the dry season. Opportunities for increasing urban livestock production and trade strongly depend on the availability and accessibility of feed resources, such as the supply of GLRs by farmers. Based on heterogeneity among smallholder farmers (within and between regions), possibilities to increase market participation and value chain integration through increased livestock production, need to be considered in the context of their current livelihood strategies and changing market demands. In addition, potential trade-offs related to the allocation of GLRs (on-farm/off-farm) should be carefully considered in order to assess the opportunities for the commercialization of farming practices.


MSc and Bcs thesis, internship reports

Suzanne Roelen