Livestock Research for Rural Development 14 (5) 2002

Citation of this paper

Farmers perception of intensive feed gardens:
A case study of the Central and Lower River Divisions in The Gambia

Christopher Ugochukwu Nwafor

International Trypanotolerance Centre,
PMB14, Banjul, The Gambia.
manchrizzo@hotmail.com 


Abstract 

Small ruminant production in the tropics is constrained by inadequate and poor seasonal feed supply. Production methods are traditionally extensive and supplementary feeding is limited resulting in overall low productivity. Intensified methods of fodder production to provide high value feed, especially for targeted livestock, have been introduced in various countries as a means of increasing individual animal productivity. Intensive Feed Gardens (IFG’s) have been introduced in The Gambia and farmers' willingness to adopt this concept is appraised within the context of a participatory framework and structured survey. 

Key words: Productivity, intensive feed gardens, participatory, small ruminants    


Introduction 

The Gambia is a small country in West Africa completely surrounded by Senegal except for a coastal stretch of 30 km.  It is situated in the Sudano-Sahelian agro-ecological zone and varies from semi-arid inland, to sub-humid nearer the coast (Osaer and Goossens 1999). The Gambia is predominantly an agricultural country with more than 80% of the population deriving their livelihood from agricultural activities. Agriculture accounts for at least 30% of the GDP (Sowe and Reed 1990). Livestock constituted approximately 24% of the agricultural GDP in 1997 with an annual growth rate of 3.3% (FAO 1997). This growth rate is linked to an increasing integration of livestock into agriculture.  

Livestock production however is traditional and extensive, with numbers of animals being more important than individual productivity (Osaer and Goossens 1999). Feed supply represents one of the critical areas of small ruminant production, irrespective of the production system adopted (Ademosun 1992). Supplementary feeding of livestock is limited, resulting in overall low productivity. Inadequate and poor seasonal nutritional management, have been identified as major constraints limiting small ruminant production in the Gambia (Osaer and Goossens 1999).

The Intensive Feed Garden (IFG) concept was initiated by the International Trypanotolerance Centre (ITC), The Gambia; and is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) through the Gambian Rural Finance and Community Initiative Project (RFCIP).

The Intensive Feed Gardens (IFG) were established to test a sustainable feeding system using intensified all-year-round fodder production in a mixed farming system. The intensified fodder production aims to provide a high quality feed supplement especially to small ruminant livestock for enhancing productivity.Two fodder plants (Leucaena leucocephala and Cajanus cajan) are planted in the gardens; there is also an area used  by the villagers to grow vegetables.  

Intensified fodder production systems have met with varying degrees of adoption in different countries where they have been introduced and tested. In West Africa, various constraints to the adoption of this concept have been identified.  They include among others; 

The main objective of this study was to appraise the perceptions of farmers to the Intensive Feed Garden (IFG) concept. In order to meet this general objective however, the following specific objectives were formulated:


Methodology 

This study was carried out by means of a structured questionnaire survey, and a participatory rural appraisal (PRA). 

Survey

The questionnaire survey was carried out in 7 villages in the Central and Lower River Divisions of The Gambia where IFG’s are located. The villages include Korup, Missira, Touba, Kununku and Tamba (North Bank) all in the Central River Division; and Felleng Koto and Madina Sancha in the Lower River Division. 

By means of a structured questionnaire, a total of 100 respondents were randomly interviewed to obtain information related to farmers / villagers views of the IFG concept. Target respondents included owners of livestock, expected to benefit from increased fodder production for livestock; and also respondents with no livestock whose participation or non-participation in IFG activity might be explained in terms of horticultural activities or no expected benefits from increased fodder production. Aspects covered included respondents background information, household composition, numbers and types of livestock owned, feed sources including purchased fodder and participation in the IFG activities. Data collected were analysed using mean, percentages, frequencies and chart values computed with SPSS Version 10.0 statistical analysis.  

Participatory rural appraisal  

It was conducted in four villages in the Central River Division (CRD). They included Touba, Missira and Kununku in the Niamina East District; and Korup in the Upper Fulladu District. During the appraisal in the various villages, the sessions were divided in two. The first consisted of entire villagers present, and the second session limited to committee members of the IFG as a focus group. In the village sessions, maps highlighting important features in the community and identifying communal resources were drawn and used as a discussion starter. Fodder types available in the area, and a seasonal availability calendar were also used to identify animal feed sources. A labour calendar was used to discuss activities engaged in by the villagers throughout the year and to identify periods when labour use is intensive, and its effects on the activities in the IFG. 

The purpose of the focus group discussion with the IFG committee members was to critically evaluate the activities in the Feed Garden, background to the establishment of the IFG, formation of the committee and operation of the IFG activities. Problems and constraints of the Feed Garden were also identified, and a problem tree analysis was used to identify cause(s) and possible solution(s). 


Results and Discussion 

Survey results 
Respondents Characteristics (Table 1) 

Sixty eight percent of questionnaire respondents were male and 32% female. Farmers constituted 77% of respondents, others also had other income sources inclusive of farming. More than half of the respondents had a non-formal education (Koranic), forty one percent had no education and only 7% had a formal education. The main ethnic composition of respondents was 39% Fula, 32% Mandinka and 27% Wollof.  Sixty five percent of the questionnaire respondents were aged between 36 and 65 years, 23% were less than 36 years and 11% were more than 65 years. Only 8% of respondents had no livestock in the household or as joined flock kept outside.

Table 1. General characteristics of respondents (frequency)

Village

Number  of
respondents

Sex

Average age

Ethnicity

Average
HH  comp

Education

Occupation

Livestock
ownership

Korup

8

M (8)
F  (0)

43 yrs
__

Fula     (8)

M (8)
F  (7)

N        (2)
N/f      (5)
Formal(1)

Farmer  (6)
Teacher(1)
Other  (1)

Yes   (7)
No    (1)

Missira

12

M(10
F  (2)

40.7 yrs
45 yrs

Fula      (3)
Mandika(9)

M (6)
F  (8)

N        (3)
N/f      (8)
Formal(1)

Farmer (7)
Trader (1)
Artisan (2)
Teacher(1)
H/wife (1)

Yes  (12)
No    (0)

Felleng Koto

15

M(14)
F  (1)

52 yrs
30 yrs

Fula    (15)

M (6)
F  (6)

N      (11)
N/f     (3)
Formal(1)

Farmer(11)
Trader  (1)
H/wife  (1)
Other    (2)

Yes  (14)
No    (1)

Kununku

16

M(11)
F  (5)

50.3 yrs
47.6 yrs

Mandika(11)
Fula       (4)
Serahuli (1)

M (5)
F (6)

N      (11)
N/f     (4)
Formal(1)

Farmer(14)
Artisan (2)

Yes  (15)
No    (1)

Touba

19

M (7)
F (12)

56.4 yrs
40 yrs

Mandika(12)
Fula       (6)
Other     (1)

M (4)
F  (4)

N        (7)
N/f    (10)
Formal(2)

Farmer(13)
H/wife (3)
Artisan (1)
Others  (2)

Yes  (15)
No    (4 )

Madina Sancha

23

M(16)
F  (7)

63 yrs
44 yrs

Wollof  (22)
Fula  (1)

M  (9)
F   (9)

N        (3)
N/f    (19)
Formal(1)

Farmer(21)
Artisan (1)
Teacher(1)

Yes (22)
No  (1)

Tamba

7

M (2)
F  (5)

62.5 yrs
44 yrs

Wollof (5)
Fula  (2)

M (13)
F   (10)

N        (4)
N/f      (3)
Formal(0)

Farmer (5)
Trader (1)
Teacher(1)

Yes (7)
No  (0)

Code: M=male, F=female, N=none, N/f=non-formal, H/wife=housewife, HH comp=household composition

Generally, the average household size of respondents was 14 persons, 45 respondents had less than 10 persons in the household, 41 respondents had 11 to 20 persons, 10 respondents had 21 to 30 persons in the household while 4 respondents had more than 31 persons in the household (a result of Koranic teachers living with all their students in the household).  The survey shows a sizeable number of active persons in each household. This indicates an available pool of labour required for the mainly agricultural activities engaged in by most respondents. 

Livestock and Feed sources 

Ninety two percent of the questionnaire respondents had livestock kept in the household or as joined flock kept outside. A breakdown of livestock ownership among respondents shows that there are more owners of small ruminant animals (sheep and goats) than other livestock types. Seventy-five percent of livestock owners had goats and fifty two percent had sheep; while 40% had cattle, 37% and 36% had horses and donkeys, respectively. While more respondents in Korup and Madina Sancha own cattle (62.5% and 56.5% respectively), the distribution of small ruminant ownership appears even. Madina Sancha has the highest number of respondents owning horses (91.3%); all respondents in Missira own donkeys. 

Most respondents keep livestock for a number of reasons. Primarily cattle are kept for sale, meat, milk and draft (34, 22, 33 and 33 respondents respectively). Sheep and goats are kept for sale by 49 and 73 respondents respectively, while 44 and 62 respondents keep them for meat (home consumption). An increasing number of respondents are also keeping goats for milk production and consumption as earlier reported (Boogaard and Schuppers 2001). Horses and donkeys are kept for draft (37 and 36 respondents) and transport (28 and 30 respondents). While oxen are also kept for draft and transport by 34 and 12 respondents, they are also kept for fattening (sale) by 13 respondents. 

There is a tendency among respondents owning livestock, especially cattle and small ruminants to keep female animals. Thirty two respondents own 120 bulls (an average of 4 per respondent), while 33 respondents own a total of 398 cows (average of 12 cows per respondent). Only 18 respondents own rams and 22 respondents own bucks, at an average of 2 animals per owner respondent. On the contrary, 46 and 70 respondents have ewes and does with an average of 4 animals per respondent.  

Table 2. Sex of livestock owned by respondents

Livestock type

Male

Female

Number of
Respondents

Total number of animals

Average
number
of animals

Number of
respondents

Total number
of  animals

Average
number of animals

Cattle

32

120

4

33

398

12

Sheep

18

28

2

46

163

4

Goats

22

43

2

70

305

4

Horses

32

46

1

24

40

2

Donkeys

20

22

1

24

32

1

Oxen

32

76

2

11

19

1

Most of the questionnaire respondents who own livestock think their animals have enough feed all year round from unrestricted grazing and crop residues. This has been attributed (Ademosun 1992) to the low input extensive system of livestock production, wherein animals depend on the use of bush grazing and road-side herbage around the village. The months between the wet and dry seasons (April – June), were identified as the critical period of feed shortage by 87.7% of respondents who think there is not enough feed for livestock. Also 23.3% of these respondents, think the period of feed shortages is from September to March (dry season). All respondents however agreed the feed shortages are worsened by the incidence of constant bush fires. 

In order to ensure that livestock are not seriously affected by feed shortage, respondents have a number of coping strategies (Table 3). These include the purchase of feed (especially groundnut hay), cut and carry, herding animals farther in search of grazing material, household (kitchen) waste and use of IFG fodder.   

Table 3. Respondents coping strategies

Strategy  

Number of respondents

Cut and Carry

26

Cut and carry / Buy Feed

18

Others (distant grazing, crop residues) / cut and carry

11

Buy feed

9

Others (Distant grazing, crop residues)

7

Cut and carry / Household waste

4

IFG fodder

1

Twenty three of the respondents combine all these strategies, and 11 respondents do not have any response to this feed shortage situation. It can be concluded that cut and carry is the most important coping strategy, followed by purchase of feed and herding of livestock farther away from the villages. 

Crop residues, apart from grazing (free or herded), are the most important source of feed for cattle, horses and donkeys (Table 4). It is provided as a supplement especially in the dry season when cattle are allowed to graze freely. During the rainy season when crops are standing in the fields, cattle are restricted or herded. In Kununku, Tamba and Madina Sancha, there is zero or very minimal grazing for cattle during this period. Cut and carry and household wastes also constitute other sources of feed. Household (kitchen) wastes apart from grazing, however, was the most significant source of feed for sheep and goats all year. Crop residues and IFG fodder were other important sources of feed.  Small ruminant livestock are mainly tethered during the wet season and allowed to browse freely during the dry season. In Touba, however, the animals are allowed to graze freely during the wet season . This is attributable to the fact that a section of the village is used for cropping and the other allowed to lie fallow for grazing ( Touba PRA) .  

The IFG in both seasons is an important source of feed supplement for sheep and goats, while cut and carry in the dry season is another supplementary source of feed. Crop residues in the dry season complement grazing and household waste, while the IFG ranks third as a feed source for small ruminants. Crop residues are the most significant feed source for horses and donkeys. In all of the villages, horses are not allowed to graze freely during the wet season. In the dry season, female horses are allowed to graze freely in Tamba while the males are restricted and fed. There is also no grazing in Missira, Felleng Koto and Touba during this season. Cut and carry in the wet season, and household waste in both seasons, complement the feed source for horses. 

Donkeys apart from crop residues, also have grazing especially in the dry season as a feed source. In Touba village, some donkey owners allow them to graze in the wet season while other respondents also graze donkeys in the wet season. Missira village has the highest number of donkeys and owner respondents (22 and 12 respectively); and crop residues in both seasons are the main source of feed . Oxen basically have the same feed source as other cattle, but are fed more crop residues and household (kitchen) waste. Also more respondents feed their oxen with IFG fodder especially in the dry season, and cut and carry in the wet season. Sheep and goats have household wastes as the most important feed source, followed by crop residues and the IFG which as a source of animal feed ranked highest for small ruminant livestock. 

Table 4. Sources of Animal Feed: Summary Ranking

Animals

Grazing

Household Waste

Crop Residue

Cut and Carry

IFG

Cattle

2

3

1

4

5

Sheep

4

1

2

5

3

Goats

4

1

2

5

3

Horse

4

2

1

3

5

Donkey

3

2

1

4

4

Oxen

3

2

1

3

4

Totals

20

11

8

24

24

Figure 1: Purchase of animal feed and participation in IFG activities by respondents

Most respondents who own livestock, provide veterinary care for them and 96% intend to increase the existing sizes of their flock. Forty percent of respondents with livestock hire labour to assist with grazing the animals, and 46% purchase feed for livestock (Figure 1). The purchased feed is basically groundnut hay, at an average cost of D15 (dalasis) per 25kg bag. This cost depends on availability, location and time of year and ranges from D10 to  D35 per 25kg bag. Transport and draft animals (horses, donkeys and oxen) are main beneficiaries of the purchased fodder. 

Housing for livestock is provided by some respondents, and may be either an enclosed pen, or a full sheltered house. Horses followed by goats and sheep, are mostly housed by respondents. 

Participation in IFG activities.

Eighty eight percent of the questionnaire respondents participate in the activities of the feed garden (Figure 1). Their reasons for participating include fodder production for livestock, vegetable production (horticulture) and communal project.

Participation by some respondents in villages such as Korup, Touba and Missira; is to avoid the payment of fines levied on members of the community for failure to contribute labour towards the community project (PRA result). Respondents participate in the activities of the feed garden for a reason or combination of reasons including fodder production, horticultural activities, communal project and others. Twelve percent of respondents do not participate in the IFG activities. The reasons given for non participation include, small size of the IFG, time constraint, no expected benefits. Other reasons include non-awareness, division of labour in the family, and new settlers in the community.

Fifty two percent of respondents do not harvest fodder from the IFG, and 90% of those who harvest do not get enough fodder for their livestock. Harvesting is infrequent depending on availability, and ranges from twice a month during the rains to twice a year for some respondents. 

Fodder harvested from the IFG is expected to be fed to targeted small ruminants (to include sick, pregnant and lactating animals). However, a greater percentage of respondents (70%) who harvest fodder from the IFG provide the harvest to all small ruminants.  About 30% of respondents who harvest fodder from the IFG provide the harvest to targeted animals. 

The present size of the IFG has been identified as one of the limiting factors to participation by some respondents.  Sixty eight percent of the questionnaire respondents want the IFG to be expanded, and 19% want to establish their own private fodder garden. Ten percent of respondents want both. The establishment of private fodder gardens by respondents is constrained by a number of factors. These constraints include the non-availability of fencing materials, water source, seeds and shortage of labour especially during the wet season.

Most of the respondents when asked to comment on the IFG,  requested for assistance to keep the project going and expansion of the present IFG.  Others commented on the importance of the IFG for fodder production and horticultural activities. 

Participatory rural appraisal results 

Touba 

A village map drawn by men and women provided a starting point for the exercise.  The maps showed features as roads, compounds, the mosque, water sources, and the food store.  Also farmland (cultivation of groundnuts, maize, millet, water melon), rice fields, the forest, grazing areas and the river Gambia were identified.  

In a discussion on the village resources, there was a general agreement that the animal population had decreased as compared to about ten years ago.  The women were of the opinion that grazing lands for livestock had increased, while men concluded that both farming land and grazing areas had increased.  Interestingly there was a general consensus that though grazing area had increased and number of animals had decreased, there was not enough grazing material to be found.  During the rainy season there is enough pasture, and the animals are only allowed to graze on one side of the village.  In the dry season both sides are being grazed when feed is not enough. The reasons for that are recurrent bush fires and the seasonal transhumance of cattle.

Increased fallow was identified as the reason why grazing areas have increased and is the result of a shift from the traditional cultivation of groundnuts in large areas towards crops such as pumpkin, watermelon and maize, which they cultivate in smaller areas close to the compounds.  The reason for that shift is that groundnut cultivation is labour intensive and no longer profitable. The reduction in groundnut cultivation has also resulted in less groundnut hay available as animal feed. 

Cut and carry is the most important coping strategy when feed resources for livestock are short, but is not the most important fodder source for sheep and goats. Because of the reduction of the area cultivated with groundnut, overall groundnut production of the village is reduced, but the yield (per ha production) is increasing every year, at least if rains are regular, because of manure from increasing cattle transhumance.  In contrast, rice production has decreased because of pests, birds and wild animals, according to the women, or because of soil salinity according to the men. 

Animals browse on some local plant species available in the area, especially during the dry season when they are left to graze freely.  In a second exercise, men and women identified some of these plant types and parts providing browse materials for animals. In a second step, the villagers selected the four most important species and women and men separately ranked them according to criteria determined by the villagers. These include availability (total, dry season and wet season) and animal preference. Men and women agreed that Ziziphus mauritania ranked highest for total and dry season availability, but that Sudollo (an annual grass) had the highest wet season availability, followed by Ziziphus mauritania.  Women and men differed regarding the animal preference criteria.  According to the men, sudullo is mostly preferred by animals while the women thought Ziziphus Mauritania is prefered.   The overall ranking was the same for men and women, with Ziziphus mauritania ranked at the top. 

Table 5. Fodder ranking in Touba.

Fodder Type

Availability

Dry season
availability

Wet season
availability

Animal
Preference

Score

W

M

T

W

M

T

W

M

T

W

M

T

W

M

T

Ziziphus mauritania

10

9

19

10

10

20

5

6

11

15

5

20

40

30

70

Pterocarpus erinaceus

3

2

5

3

3

6

4

1

5

1

1

2

11

7

18

Ficus sp

5

6

11

7

7

14

1

4

5

3

4

7

16

21

37

Sudollo (grass)

2

3

5

0

0

0

10

9

19

1

10

11

13

22

35

Totals

20

20

40

20

20

40

20

20

40

20

20

40

80

80

160

(W = women; M = men; T = Total)

The villagers were in agreement that these plants could not be used as substitute plant species in the garden as Ziziphus is a thorny plant while sudollo cannot survive during the dry season. The villagers present then produced a labour calendar, which indicates in what activities men and women are involved during the year and what the labour intensity ranking of the season is (Table 6). The rainy season (sama) has been identified as the most labour intensive for both sexes, when men are engaged in seeding and weeding of the crop fields, while women are occupied at the rice fields.  During the late rains and early dry season (sanjango), harvesting and marketing of farm produce takes precedence. In the dry season (tilikando) men are involved in the clearing of farmlands, repairs to houses and fences, and women are preparing the rice fields for irrigation.  Activities concerning the IFG are not specifically mentioned. 

Table 6. Seasonal Labour calendar and intensity ranking for Touba

Season

Sanjango
(early dry season)

Tilikando
(late dry season

Sama
(wet season)

Months

O

N

D

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

Men

Harvest of:
- maize
- coos
- groundnuts
- melon / pumpkin
Marketing of melon /pumpkin

Clear farm land. Repairs to houses and fences.
Tidal irrigation of rice fields

Seeding / weeding for  upland crops

Women

Rice Harvest

Tidal irrigation rice. Harvest and sale of African dates.

Rice fields:
-Clearing 

-Nursery beds
-Hoeing
-Transplanting

-Weeding

Intensity ranking

2

3

1

At the end of the general discussions, the next activity was a meeting with members of the village IFG committee as a focus group. The purpose of this focus group discussion was to evaluate the activities in the feed garden. Activities in the garden include land preparation, weeding, application of manure, fencing, nursery preparation and transplanting and harvesting. Labour conflicts do however occur between October and December (early dry season, second in intensity ranking) between the IFG horticultural activities and work in the rice fields, when both have to be carried out in the morning. 

The focus group agreed that there are benefits to the community from the IFG, especially in the area of provision of supplementary fodder for animals. Until the IFG is properly established the community is not considering to expand the size of the garden. The cost of fencing wire is considered to be the most important expenditure for the IFG and if funding of the project is stopped, the community would use local materials, such as a dead fence reinforced with thorny Ziziphus branches. Also live fencing is considered as an option. The committee identified seedling survival in the nursery, as the main constraint or problem for the IFG project; and this was attributed to the poor soil and pests such as insects and domestic birds

Kununku

The exercise started with the drawing of a village map by the villagers. The features on the village map indicate areas occupied by households, farmlands, forest and rice fields.  The total number of compounds was twenty three, with only two of the households not having any livestock.  During the general discussion (PRA), there was no agreement on the issue of increases in livestock population over the past ten years.  The women were of the opinion that livestock population had increased while the men commented that there had been a decrease in population of livestock.  All agreed although that there was enough grazing land in the village, but the ravages of constant bush fires was a cause for concern as grazing is the primary source of animal feed. The encroachment of forest parks in the area has not brought any benefits for the community since they are not allowed to take their animals for grazing there. For the establishment of these forest parks, large areas of formerly cultivated land have been turned into reserved areas; and it was agreed by all that this had caused a reduction in the overall size of farming area and subsequent reduction in agricultural production. 

Livestock, and in most cases small ruminants, are allowed to graze freely on fodder material available in the area. During the fodder ranking exercise, in a first step the various plants which the animals browse were identified by the villagers. The most important ones were selected by the villagers; women and men then ranked them by such criteria as availability, nutritive value and animal preference (Table 7). Interestingly the IFG fodder plant Leucaena, was ranked higher by both women and men, than the other browses for all criteria. Kuntang Jawo (Sclerocarya birrea) was considered second best, followed by Tomborong (Ziziphus mauritania) and Barasang. 

Table 7. Fodder ranking in Kununku

Fodder type

Animal preference

Nutritional value

Availability

Score

W

M

T

W

M

T

W

M

T

W

M

T

Barasang

4

3

7

4

3

7

4

4

8

12

10

22

Tomborong

2

6

8

1

4

5

6

4

10

9

14

23

Kuntangjawo

6

3

9

3

3

6

5

4

9

14

10

24

Leucaena leucocephala

8

8

16

12

10

22

5

8

13

25

26

51

Totals

20

20

40

20

20

40

20

20

40

60

60

120

(W = women; M = men; T = Total)

The seasonal labour calendar for men and women showed a general consensus that the labour intensive period was during the early dry season (Sanjango).  During this period the men are engaged in the harvesting and marketing of farm produce and the women harvest rice, do cooking and pounding and scare birds away.  This period was considered more labour intensive than the wet season when men are mostly involved in cropping of groundnuts, maize, melon, pumpkin, coos and millet, whilst women are engaged in the rice fields. 

Table 8. Seasonal Labour calendar for Kununku. 

Season

Sanjango
(early dry season)

Tilikando
(late dry season

Sama
(wet season)

Months

O

N

D

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

Men

Harvesting and marketing of crops

Repairs to fences and houses
Rice irrigation scheme
Clearing farmland

Start of wet season cropping of groundnuts, maize, coos, melon, pumpkin and millet

Women

Rice Harvest
Cooking
Pounding
Bird scaring

IFG horticulture
Rice irrigation scheme
Cooking and household

Activities in rice fields as work in nursery beds, hand hoeing and transplantation

Intensity ranking

1

3

2

Korup 

The appraisal and discussion with the villagers in Korup started with a sketch of the village on the ground.  Features in the village including the location of the various compounds, hand pump, seed store, orchard and IFG were highlighted.  This was later transferred on to paper and used to start a discussion. Korup consists of a total of nine compounds and out of this only one compound has no livestock. Farmlands and forest surround the village and crops grown include groundnut, rice, maize, millet, koos and cotton.  According to the villagers there have been considerable changes in their village over the last ten years. They agreed that there has been an increase in livestock population but grazing areas are considered sufficient and bush fires have not affected them since a long time.  In the dry season animals graze in the rice fields, whilst during the rains they are restricted in non-farming areas.  

Output of crop production had decreased significantly according to the villagers, and this was attributed to low amounts of rainfall over the years, lack of mechanisation and seeds, fertility decline, weed (striga) infestation, pests and labour shortages. There has also been a marked reduction in area of farmlands caused by the establishment of Forest Parks in the area. Coupled with this has been an increase in the number of people involved in land use for agricultural purposes. 

Agricultural production activities are carried out throughout the year. The villagers identified the harvest season (Sanjano- early dry season) as the period when they are busiest, followed by Sama (wet season).  Herding of animals especially cattle was noted as an all year activity, as Korup is a predominantly Fula village.  

Table 9. Seasonal Labour calendar and intensity ranking for Korup

Season

Sanjango
(early dry season)

Tilikando
(late dry season

Sama
(wet season)

Months

O

N

D

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

Men

- Harvest of crops -
- Transport from rice fields
- Herding

- Repairs to fences and houses
- Rice irrigation
- Herding

- Cropping of groundnuts,  millet, maize, cotton
- Herding

Women

- Rice harvest
- Groundnut harvest

- Vegetable gardens
- Rice irrigation
- Firewood collection

- Rice production
- Groundnut production

Intensity ranking

1

3

2

Various fodder plants which animals feed on were identified and availability throughout the season was listed; from this, four species were selected by the community and were ranked by the men and women according to criteria as animal preference and availability.  Ziziphus mauritania, Leucaena leucocephala, Fatakulay (a local tree) and Brusillo (grass) were selected in that order.  Leucaena leucocephala is first choice in animal preference, followed by Ziziphus. Because it is only found in the IFG, Leucaena leucocephala was considered as the least available and Ziziphus as the most available.  They would like to increase availability of Leucaena leucocephala by increasing the size of the IFG or backyard production  

Table 10. Fodder ranking in Korup

Fodder Type

Animal preference

Availability

Score

Ziziphus mauritania

5

8

13

Leucaena leucocephala

8

3

11

Fatakulay

3

4

7

Brusillo

4

5

9

Totals

20

20

40

The villagers have benefited from the IFG in terms of fodder for animals and vegetables. Though there have been no problems with the fodder seedlings, the vegetable seedlings are constantly destroyed by pests.  When the IFG funding stops, local fencing materials as well as live fencing with sisal will be used. Ziziphus mauritania as a live fence would also be considered.  Nursery beds could also be established without potting bags. During the problem tree analysis the IFG committee identified the absence of a well in the garden and lack of watering cans as the major constraints. 


Conclusions 

         Most respondents in the survey area have livestock, especially small ruminants; and use household labour for livestock production.

         Livestock are allowed to browse and graze freely (herded, tethered, etc) from available pastures, while kitchen wastes with fodder from IFG, and crop residues are used as supplement for small ruminants and draft / transport animals respectively.

         There is a seemingly high level of willingness by farmers to participate in the activities of the IFG; most respondents take part and want an increase in the present size of the feed garden.

         A source of water (well) is required especially in the IFG’s where they are not available; this is to encourage horticultural activities by most respondents that participate for this reason.

         There is need for adequate sensitization and / or information regarding animals to be fed with IFG fodder (target animals). A greater number of respondents who harvest from the IFG do not use it as a feed supplement for target animals. 


References 

Ademosun A A 1992 The scope for improved small ruminant production in the humid zone of West and Central Africa: The approach of the west african dwarf goat project. In: Ayeni and Bosman (editors): Goat production systems in the humid tropics. Proceeding of an international workshop, Ile-Ife., Nigeria, July, 1992.

 

Boogaard B and Schuppers M 2001 Goat milk consumption and marketing in The Gambia. Wageningen University Minor Thesis.

 

Elbasha E, Thornton P K and Tarawali G 1999 An Ex Post economic impact assessment of planted forages in West Africa. ILRI Impact Assessment Series 2. ILRI, Nairobi, Kenya. Pp 35-37.

 

FAO 1997 The national agricultural research system of The Gambia: analysis and strategy for the long term. Final report. Field Document TCP/GAM/6611/FAO, 193 pp.

 

Sowe J M and Reed J D 1990 The extent of draught cow use in the North Bank Division of The Gambia. In: Research for development of animal traction in West Africa. Proceedings of Fourth workshop of The West African animal traction network, held in Kano, Nigeria, July 1990. ILCA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia pp 273-275.

 

Osaer S and Goossens B 1999 Non-Disease factors influencing sheep and goat production: Forage legumes in Intensive Feeding Gardens and management of feeding strategies. In: Trypanotolerance in Djallonke Sheep and West African Dwarf Goats in The Gambia. Pp 241-243.

 

Otsyina R M, Von Kaufmann R, Mahamed-Saleem M A and Suleimann H 1987 Manual on fodder bank establishment and management. ILCA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

 

Received 15 August 2002

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