Livestock farmers from Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa counties have established a Community Animal Breeding Program (CBBP) in their respective counties to enhance the management of genetic animal resources for the sustainable production and livelihood of smallholder goat producers.
The livestock farmers established the animal breeding program during the launch of the CBBP in October this year at the Central Agriculture Research Institution (CARI), in Suakoko, Bong County.
The project is the first of its kind in Liberia, under the Technical Cooperation Program agreement with the Government of Liberia which is funded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with CARI.
The director for Livestock Research and Services at CARI, Dr. Arthur B. Karnuah said the CBBP will empower livestock farmers, making them to understand the need to produce and conserve quality animals. “Quality animals come from good breeding practices, so if you know that you have good animals, based on all your preferred selection criteria you will get increase on what you need and that is what you want to preserve.”
Dr. Karnuah said there is a need for animal farmers to have enough quality breed of animals to begin multiplying in quantity for the market. “We urge our farmers to carry out good breeding practices for the production of quality animals for better income. If you sell most of your good animals, then you will lose your quality animals. If you decide to continue production, you will not have animals to replace them.”
FAO International Consultant for the CBBP, Dr. Rewe Thomas, explained that farmers need to get themselves organized to consolidate their efforts in the production and management of animals for better income.
Dr. Thomas added that he was impressed that Liberian livestock farmers were interested in adopting new ways to raise their animals and urged them to continue cooperating with each other to improve their livestock.
Waylevue Guah, a goat farmer from Nimba County, said: “I have learnt a lot of new ideas in animal breeding. I also learnt how to produce mineral lick that provides nutrients to the animals and also how to mate animals for good meat production and reproductive efficiency.”
Mr. Guah called on the Government of Liberia and FAO to extend the training to other parts of the country where farmers who are engaged in animal production also can have ideas on how to manage their animals for economic benefits.
“It is a good opportunity for me to be part of this program. I feel happy that I can go into my community and transfer this knowledge to my group. I can assure you that I will take good care of my goats by providing them with good feed (food), good management practices and a good healthcare to sustain my production,” said Patience Paye from Grand Bassa County.