Implementation of community-based cattle breeding programs in Burkina Faso

Community-based breeding programs (CBBP), are being implemented in the South-West of Burkina Faso. CBBP are participatory programs that involve all local stakeholders in all steps, from designing and planning of the breeding program, all the way to the selection of the breeding stock. They aim to improve local cattle breeds. The breeding program has been implemented in three sites. Cattle types included in the program are the pure Lobi (Baoulé) cattle in one site and Lobi x Zebu crossbreds in the other two. The program pursues the main interest of farmers to have bigger animals which are tolerant to trypanosomosis. In the he first round of selection, young bulls, aged three to five years, were recorded twice, at an interval of 6 months. The project team grouped bulls into three groups (top, medium, inferior) based on an index combining current body weight and growth. Selection committees consisting of male and female cattle owners made their choice of best young bulls based on this information and their own criteria. The three best bulls selected by the committees were only partly from the top groups based on preliminary grouping of the project team. Decision was taken by the farmers which bulls to keep for breeding and which ones to castrate or sell out, to avoid undesired mating. Joint use of bulls and bull exchange are still being negotiated by farmers, as it is not a customary practice in the region. Farmers were open and appreciated the concept very much. They understood that CBBP are long term and committed their efforts and participation.