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"HEART OF AFRICA"
Burundi Goat Rehabilitation Project

Alliance Burundaise pour la Coopération et le Développement &
Austrian Help Program

burundigoats@yahoo.com
http://burundigoats.tripod.com

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Our Mission

PROJECT PURPOSE

 

To help rebuild the livestock sector in Burundi that was devastated following the 1993 civil war and ensuing unrest, and to assist livestock producers, projects, professionals, policy makers and others in this effort.

 

PROJECT GOALS

 

Herd upgrading, crossbreeding and restocking

  • Training livestock owners in nutrition, healthcare, etc and skills upgrading of livestock professionals
  • Addressing serious fodder constraints through agroforestry interventions
  • Developing markets and marketing structures for livestock and livestock products
  • Strengthening livestock infrastructure
  • Improving access to information and training materials
  • Increasing an understanding of post-crisis livestock conditions in the country
  • Assisting ex-combatants, returning refugees and their communities in the reintegration process

 

THE PROBLEMS

 

1.  Loss of Livestock.  .  Burundi's brutal civil war in 1993, followed by a decade of ongoing raids, have devastated the livestock sector: up to 98% of all livestock throughout the country have been stolen, killed, or died due to disease, malnutrition, and other problems.  Remaining livestock suffer from a number of problems, including: inbreeding, disease, excessive parasite burdens, anemia, infertility, miscarriages, high infant deaths, insufficient milk production for young, etc., etc., -- many of which, such as insufficient milk and anemia, are inter-linked.

 

2.  Lack of technical resources / assistance .  Many of the veterinarians and other livestock technical specialists either fled the country or were massacred during the war.  As a consequence, the Heart of Africa project does all of its own veterinary surgery and medical work, under very basic conditions .

The national veterinary laboratory has only minimal facilities still operational, and any serious laboratory work needed by the project requires that samples be sent to Kenya or to South Africa. 

 

3.  Lack of markets & marketing information.  A major constraint in buying / selling livestock and other agricultural products results from fragmented and collapsed marketing structures and a complete lack of timely information on market prices in different areas of the country.

 

4.  Serious fodder constraints:  Many livestock owners experience severe shortages of fodder, particularly during the dry months.  Village-level disputes often grow out of the illicit grazing / browsing of animals in the lands of a neighbour.  As well, severe underfeeding of stock during the dry period results in growth-stunting, lowered oestrus, miscarriages, insufficient milk, and increased vulnerability to parasites and diseases.

 

5.  Lack of Infrastructure.  Livestock services have collapsed; both extension and training activities have ceased or been greatly diminished throughout the country.  Most of the private and public infrastructures in rural areas were destroyed or their operations seriously reduced, resulting in isolation of farmers from technical assistance and from veterinary help

 

6.  Lack of Information. From small farmer through animal scientist, up-to-date information on the livestock sector in general, and on the goat subsector in particular, is sorely lacking.  10 years of unrest have created serious information and knowledge gaps and what information does exist is often outdated, incomplete, or incorrect.

 

7.  Lack of Knowledge about Current Livestock Conditions in the country.  As Burundi moves into a post-crisis reconstruction phase, information on current conditions in the livestock sector is urgently needed.  However, there have been no comprehensive assessments of current conditions for over a decade.

 

8.  Lack of resources and training for returning ex-combatants and refugees:  several hundreds of thousands of ex-rebels and refugees outside of the country are now returning.  Burundi farmers are livestock dependent and therefore these returnees will need livestock or training in a livestock-based small enterprise, training in animal husbandry, and other inputs, in order to successfully re-establish their lives.

 

THE PLAN

 

1.  Replace lost livestock with sustainable, productive breeds.  The project maintains foundation and multiplication herds totalling over 100 head.  German Alpine dairy goats and South African Boer meat goats have been imported by the project and are being crossbred with the indigenous, Central African Goat (CAG).  Well-proportioned CAG does and bucks have been purchased to upgrade the indigenous breed.  CAG does are being crossbred to Alpines, to develop a dairy strain of CAG, and others are being crossbred to Boers, to develop a meat strain of CAG.  The project now has both 1st through 4th generation crosses.  For distribution to farmers, the project uses crosses at the 1 st and 2nd generation (50% & 75%).  This helps to assure that adaptive traits of the CAG, like tolerance to certain parasites and tick-borne diseases, will be retained.

 

2.  Train livestock owners in nutrition, healthcare, etc.  Bucks of 1st or 2nd generation are leased to farmer goat associations that the project helps to form or strengthen, and association members breed their own does to the buck that they have leased.  They also use the buck as an income-generator, by charging a small fee to non-association members who want to breed their does.   Associations are given basic training in goat husbandry.  Persons who have no goats can join the association and then receive – under contract - two bred does of the 1 st generation of crosses – or a full-blooded CAG that will be bred to the association's improved buck

Training of village-level para-veterinarians and of veterinary technicians is also an important project activity.  Most recently these activities have been conducted in collaboration with World Vision-Burundi, with whom we are collaborating by providing improved breeding stock and training to para-veterinarians and veterinary technicians: -.

 Village level Para-Veterinarians learning to use a digital thermometer.

 Veterinary Technicians learning to estimate goat weight using a measuring tape

3.  Develop markets and marketing structures for livestock & livestock products and improve distribution of price information.  In the next phase, the project intends to work with farmer associations in order to improve both direct marketing to consumers as well as provide association members with timely information on market prices.

 

4.  Introduce appropriate agroforestry and fodder crops.  Based on prior work conducted by the International Centre for Agroforestry Research in Burundi, the project is organizing on-farm, farmer-managed trials in several areas of the country in order to identify species that best meet the needs of farmers for fodder, soil improvement, and wood products.  This includes both direct seeding and use of seedlings.

 

Women from rural areas are encouraged to bring their infants to workshops so that they can feel free to attend.

5.  Strengthen livestock infrastructure and outreach.  The program has completed plans for a paraveterinary program that will provide basic services and livestock products to participating associations.  As well, the project is now collaborating with Pan-American Veterinary Laboratory in Texas to re-establish ELISA testing and several other much-needed laboratory exams at the national laboratory.  It is also planned to update the training of laboratory staff in 2004.

 

6.  Provision of Information & Training Materials.  To help address the serious lack of information and training materials, the project has put in place a small resource center as well as materials online.

We have also developed several video presentations on goats from around the world to use in training courses.  Here, in the adjoining picture, technical staff of World Vision–Karuzi are enjoying a presentation of pictures showing  Tennessee Meat Goats, Kikos, and Boers from the States; and Nubians and other Indigenous breeds from around Africa.

 

7.  Assessments of Current Livestock Conditions.  The project has already completed a broad assessment of conditions in the goat sector, funded by the International Livestock Research Institute, and now is working with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on a national assessment of current goat projects and programs in the different provinces of the country.  These assessments are participatory, incorporating villagers in the work – as shown here.

 

8.  Assistance to returning ex-combatants & refugees.  Together with partners, the project is providing livestock-based training,  workshops, information, and business and support services to ex-combatants, returning refugees, and members of their home communities as a key part of the reintegration process.

 

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