Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso/Rome -- A project that supplied chickens, turkeys, sheep and pigs to smallscale farmers, most of them women, has proven that with training, veterinary support and a nearby market, livestock are an excellent way to lift people out of poverty.
The three-year Italian-funded project, implemented by the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries with FAO technical support, helped 200 farm families near the towns of Bobo-Dioulasso and Nouna in western Burkina Faso get started in the livestock business.
Besides providing animals, the project helped farmers to build inexpensive shelters, provided veterinary inputs such as vaccines and food supplements and trained farmers in livestock care.
Project beneficiaries used some of the animals as high-protein food, and sold the rest at market for additional income. The average income gained in one year per family was about $600 for pigs, $270 for chickens and $216 for turkeys.
'This is a fine example of the government taking the lead, backed up by FAO and our donor Italy, in a pilot project that took a simple, well-targeted idea and made it into a success that can be replicated elsewhere,' said François Rasolo, FAO Representative in Burkina Faso.
Ministry to expand concept
The success of the project has led the ministry to draw up a masterplan to introduce small livestock keeping to target groups in all 45 provinces of the country.
Of the 200 farms benefiting from the project, around 130 were managed by women, a fact that was lauded by former Minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries Jérémie Ouédraogo after a visit to project farms near Nouna.
'It is very satisfying to see how women have picked up the skills necessary to raise small livestock,' he said. 'With techniques learned only recently, they find themselves today with operations that have already generated income for some of them of 200 000 CFA francs ($400).'
'I have just seen the reality that small livestock keeping generates wealth with minimum training and a bit of individual and collective investment,' he added.
The project, worth $550 000, fits into a larger national policy on investment in the livestock sector.
National policy goals include poverty reduction and food security enhancement as well as the slowing of rural migration to the city, encouraging youth to stay on the land, and helping women and youth to participate in the development of their communities.