Indigenous livestock and poultry rearing for improved resilience and rural household welfare and livelihood outcomes under climate risks in Sub-Saharan Africa


  • Never Assan Department of Agriculture Management, Faculty of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe Open University, Zimbabwe


Indigenous, Livestock, Poultry, Resilience, Rural Community, Sub-Saharan Africa


Sub-Saharan Africa is endowed with diverse and locally adapted indigenous livestock and poultry breeds/varieties that have continued to sustain production in rural areas, despite the climate change induced harsh and extreme environment associated with diseases and parasite infections, heat stress and installments of feed and water scarcity. The indigenous livestock and poultry genetic resources are critical to the rural communities’ welfare and livelihoods, food security and nutritional status, and other socio-economic environmental benefits. This scenario is on the background that the larger proportion of the Sub-Saharan Africa population resides in rural areas and are mainly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, especially the reliant on indigenous livestock and poultry populations. Now, the major challenge is that this subsector is highly vulnerable to climate change that has impinged on their ability to sustain their productivity in rural areas. In this case, rural communities should adopt coping strategies to arrest the vulnerability of animal agriculture to avoid food and nutrition deficit at the household level. Climate change impact on indigenous livestock and poultry rearing among rural resource-poor farmers will take different forms that include unsettled rainfall onset and stoppage (which are each either early or late), poor seasonal distribution of rainfall, and less than normal rainfall. Trends in temperature and rainfall have displayed an increase in average maximum temperatures, at the same time average annual rainfall showed a general decline in most cases, which has impacted negatively on grazing or indigenous livestock and poultry feed resources. Drought is a perennial feature associated with climate change, and increasing indigenous livestock and poultry disease and parasite incidences, dwindling water sources, which result in lack of flourishing grazing and livestock pastures are the major climate-related risks that hurt smallholder indigenous livestock and poultry production. Considering all these interrelated issues, an urgent arise for fostering adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change-related risks as a viable option to enable them to protect their livelihoods and ensuring their food and nutrition security. The resource poor rural dwellers have not been passive observers in combating the effects of climate change as they have adopted several local coping strategies seeking to sustain indigenous livestock and poultry production through building resilience in the indigenous and poultry rearing systems. The adopted different forms of coping strategies include promoting native animal genetic resources, diversification, crop-livestock integration, and micro-livestock farming and fodder conservation technologies. Diversification of indigenous livestock and poultry portfolios is a feasible option in fostering resilience to climate risks and thus improving the well-being outcomes of smallholder animal agriculture. The ability to cope with the impact of climate change depends largely on household’s resilience, or its capacity to absorb the impact of and recover from, climate change shock or risks. Therefore, there is a need to develop resilient indigenous livestock and poultry production systems in smallholder resource-poor rural areas. Developing resilient and diverse breeds, climate-smart livestock and poultry husbandry practices and policy support programs are the potential areas for strengthening resilience livestock and poultry rearing for resource-poor rural farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. With the advent of climate change, there is a concern on how to manage the indigenous livestock and poultry sector's growth, so that their socio-economic and environmental benefits can be attained at a lower environmental cost. This present discussion examines climate change risks and coping strategies at the household level in livestock and poultry rearing among rural resource-poor farmers in Sub Saharan Africa.


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How to Cite

Assan, N. (2020). Indigenous livestock and poultry rearing for improved resilience and rural household welfare and livelihood outcomes under climate risks in Sub-Saharan Africa. Scientific Journal of Animal Science, 9(11), 667-683. Retrieved from



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