The significance of engendered indigenous knowledge systems in smallholder animal agriculture in Sub Saharan Africa
Keywords:Gender, Indigenous knowledge, Animal agriculture, Sub Saharan Africa
The subject of gender and animal agriculture has attracted attention in recent years, primarily from the need to addressing the gender divide and fulfilling the special needs of women in food production. Animal agriculture is severely constrained by the presence of a wide range of factors that affect both production and productivity of livestock, especially in the poor rural farming communities that don’t have the access to modern and/or conventional livestock management skills. Women in particular, face a number of interlinked constraints that reduce their sustainable contribution of indigenous knowledge to animal agriculture and food security. As a result of this scenario, enhancing animal agriculture; gender equality and utilization of indigenous knowledge as means of promoting food security and reduce poverty has been a challenge in Sub Saharan Africa. It is believed that within the small-holder livestock production systems which is characterized by a generally low input-output system, the sustainability of animal agriculture efforts need to consider indigenous knowledge system as a dominant factor in improving production. Identifying indigenous knowledge systems in animal agriculture that support women’s roles and effort as livestock owners, processors and users of livestock products while strengthening their decision-making power and capabilities, are key aspects in promoting women’s economic and social empowerment, and consequently provides a way to enable rural women to break the cycle of poverty. Women play an important role in animal agriculture through management, processing and marketing, acting as animal care providers, livestock feed gatherers, and animal birth attendants. They take care of milking of animals, although not all women control the sale of milk and its products. Raising awareness concerning the value of gendered indigenous knowledge related to the sustainable use and management of animal agriculture is crucial for alleviating food insecurity and enhancing rural development. The discussion attempt to explore the role of engendered indigenous knowledge systems as they relate to animal agriculture and their implications for improving animal agriculture and food security in Sub Saharan Africa.
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