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The role of cross-border transhumance in influencing resident herders’ cattle husbandry practices and use of genetic resources

The cross-border mobility has been shown to play an important role in ensuring the productivity of the transhumant herds through adequate late dry season access to pastoral resources. Yet, its effects on the traditional agro-pastoral production systems that are encountered along the routes in Benin have never been explicitly investigated. Therefore, we collected socio-economic household data, herd characteristics and management data from 104 resident herders and 38 transhumant herders in 2 vegetation zones of Benin. To determine whether or not the proximity to transhumance corridors affects sedentary production systems, characteristics of cattle herds and farmers' management practices were compared between villages close to (within a 25 km buffer) and far from (outside a 25 km buffer) transhumance corridors within and between vegetation zones using non-parametric statistical tests. Existing relationships between resident and transhumant herders were also identified and characterized. Subsequently, herd characteristics and management practices were compared between resident herders having relationships with transhumant herders and those without. Herd sizes of resident herders living close to transhumance corridors were larger (P < 0.01) than those of their counterparts living far away. Also, proximity to transhumance corridors had positive effects on herd management practices. The relationships between resident and transhumant herders were governed by a variety of interests including encampment/manuring contracts, exploitation of grazing lands and watering points, trading and bartering of cattle. This exchange of cattle is an important driver of change in the breed composition of local herds and represents an opportunity for resident herders to enhance their herds' productivity through crossbreeding. However, the mere replacement or indiscriminate crossbreeding of local cattle breeds with those kept by transhumant herders threatens the sustainability of the traditional resident herding systems by increasing the risk of genetic erosion and loss of valuable adaptive traits in indigenous animal genetic resources.

Uploaded by: Sandrine Houessou
Author: Houessou, Sandrine | ORCID:
Co-author: Assogba, C. A
Co-author: Diogo, R. V. C.
Co-author: Vanvanhossou, S. F. U. | ORCID:
Co-author: Dossa, Luc Hippolyte | ORCID:
Co-author: Schlecht, Eva | ORCID:
Institution: Université d'Abomey-Calavi | Centre: Promoting Academic Capacities for Sustainable Agricultural Resources Use in West Africa (Pro-RUWA)
Type: Journal article | English | Peer Reviewed
Subjects: Agriculture

Published: Animal: the international journal of animal biosciences, ISSN 1751-7311, EISSN 1751-732X | Volume 14, Issue 11 | Previous publisher: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Animal Consortium June 2020; Current publisher: Amsterdam: Elsevier BV
Date: 19 June 2020 | Pages: Pages 2378-2386
Copyright: ©The Author(s),2020 | License: Open Access - CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 DEED