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Ghana – Livestock

Integrated Crop and Livestock Production in Northern Ghana



Agricultural Institute of Canada
Canadian Society of Animal Science
Ghana Society of Animal Production


Canada Coordinators – Dr. John Baah, Dr. Shannon Scott and Dr. Samuel Asiedu, Canadian Society of Animal Science
Ghana Coordinators – Dr. Kwame Oppong Anane, Dr. Naaminong Karbo, Eddie Sottie, and Patricia Aboe, Ghana Society of Animal Production


  • A new stage of a continuing project that will strengthen the institutional capacity of GSAP to make it more effective at influencing policies affecting the shea nut and animal industries at the community and national levels.
  • GSAP will be better placed to implement community level activities that build strong community-based organizations and advocate and promote the welfare of women and children.
  • In partnership with government and other non-governmental agencies, the project will encourage viable women’s groups for shea nut picking, processing and marketing, and livestock rearing for increased income.
  • Through the introduction of forage legumes and inclusion of shea nut cake in ruminant diets, farmer-based technology to improve the nutritive quality of grazed natural pastures will be advanced.
  • Knowledge and skills of CSAS members in tropical agricultural production systems will be enhanced through this partnership.

The majority of the people of the Northern Region of Ghana (over 90%) are engaged in agriculture and its related activities. The agricultural environment is restrictive and dependent on sporadic and limited rainfall and soils degraded by continuous cropping, deforestation and erosion. Most households in the region experience 4 to 5 months of food shortage almost every year, due largely to unpredictable rainfall, the long period of drought, and the devastating environmental effects of bush fires. The people have various coping strategies, of which shea nut picking and processing by women are by far the most important activities. Income from these activities, which come at a critical time when household food reserves are lowest and just prior to harvest time, is used to buy food for the household, pay school fees, and offset other household expenditures. Any excess income from shea nut picking is invested in livestock such as fowl, pigs, goats and sheep. Most rural households in Northern Ghana keep livestock, thus conferring a mixed crop-livestock system in all communities. Approximately 90% of farm households rely on the sale of the various livestock species or products to bridge the shortfalls of the household food budget. The interrelatedness of shea and livestock industries in the Northern Region can not be ignored or underplayed in any development effort aimed at improving the livelihood of the people in rural communities, particularly that of women and children.

During the first phase of this partnership project, the profile of GSAP and the reputation of is members were raised within government and among local development partners. A number of GSAP members were invited to serve on various agricultural development committees and advisory boards of government and NGOs. In the final year of the project, the Minister of Agriculture tasked GSAP to develop a strategy for the development of commercial beef feedlots in Ghana . Quarterly newsletters were published and circulated to about 1,000 scientists and students countrywide, and active membership increased from 80 to 155. The partnership facilitated the training of about 1,000 women in small ruminant feeding, housing and basic health care. Snake bites and scorpion stings, the bane of shea nut picking were eliminated amongst women participating in the project as a result of the project?s interventions, including the provision of protective clothing and anti-snake bite serum. Cash recovery from group members supplied with protective clothing was 100% in most communities. The number of women?s groups increased from 11 to 31 in the three districts. The dynamic and organized nature of the women?s groups also served as a beacon and an opportunity for other NGOs to enter the communities to work with them.

The partnership promoted the cultivation of forage legumes as supplementary and alternative feed sources for livestock. The legume stands and improved pastures are treated as farms by the communities, and efforts are made by the entire community to protect these farms from wildfires thereby preserving the biodiversity in the rangelands. Vaccinations of small ruminants and local chickens, coupled with the improved feed resources resulted in an increase in productivity and survival. Livestock numbers of participating women in some communities doubled and revenues realized from the sale of these animals has been a major source of income for the women.

The extension of this project will continue to further strengthen the institutional capacity of GSAP to make it more effective at influencing policies affecting the shea nut and animal industries from the community to national levels. Linkages initiated between the women?s groups and local/foreign entities and NGOs will be supported to enhance sustainability, and to ensure that the women benefit and are not exploited. Farmer based technology to improve the nutritive quality of grazed natural pastures through the introduction of forage legumes will be continued, and inclusion of shea nut cake in ruminant diets will be promoted. The women?s groups will continue to be supplied with anti-snake serum and protective clothing to reduce the risks during shea nut picking. Provision of clothing will be at a cost recovery agreeable to the groups and the project. As in the first phase, fifty percent of the women joining the group for the first time will receive Wellington boots and gloves in the first year on a cost recovery basis. The money recouped from payment will be used to procure additional protective gear for the remaining women. Insecticide treated mosquito nets will also be supplied at cost recovery.

Through its project coordinating committee, CSAS will share expertise and forge alliances and partnerships with scientists, technical experts and educators in Ghana , and thus accelerate the internationalization of its members. It is anticipated that knowledge and skills of CSAS members in tropical agricultural production systems will be enhanced through this partnership.

Complete project results are presented in the Final Report for the AIC International Twinning Partnership Program, pages 33 to 40.

AIC’s International Twinning Partnership Program (ITPP) provides opportunities for Canadian Member Organizations to work cooperatively and share expertise with developing country partner organizations through long-term partnerships. The ITPP promotes technological and scientific innovations in agricultural practices that are environmentally viable and sustainable, and develops increased awareness and understanding of international development among AIC Member Organizations. This Program is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).