Fulani cattle productivity and management in the Kachia grazing reserve, Nigeria

Marie Ducrotoy, Ayodele Majekodunmi, Alexandra P M Shaw, Husein Bagulo, Usman Baba Musa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kachia Grazing Reserve (KGR) in northern Nigeria, was home to some 10,000 Fulani pastoralists and their 40,000 cattle in June 2011. This study examines productivity and management of cattle belonging to livestock keepers within the reserve before and after a mass immigration event when 3,000 immigrants moved into the reserve with their cattle to escape inter-community violence during May 2011. Data, on livestock management strategies (transhumance) and production parameters (herd size, composition, fertility, dynamics) was collected in March, June and October 2011.

Cattle productivity in KGR is geared to supporting Fulani households while maintaining herd wealth. High offtake of young animals, especially the selling of heifers, was an unusual finding and may indicate that KGR pastoralists have been restricting their herd size voluntarily as well as limiting milk production to household requirements. This is probably due to the absence of a commercial milk market and a higher reliance on the sale of young stock to meet cash needs.

Despite the widespread perception that grazing reserves are promoting sedentarisation of Fulani pastoralists and curbing transhumance, the inhabitants of the KGR were observed to practice wide ranging transhumance both during wet and dry seasons driven by the limited availability of grazing. Some households selected a sub-sample of animals for transhumance rather than sending their whole herd and some maintained cattle on alternative land holdings outside the reserve. KGR households described modifying their usual transhumance practices in response to the mass immigration event and insecurity.

Nevertheless, the herd demography results from this study are broadly similar to data obtained from other studies over the past 40 years, indicating that productivity and management practices have remained relatively unchanged.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice
Early online date1 Dec 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2016


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