Feedback meeting with dairy farmers and Mbororo pastoralists in Bamenda, November 2018

Despite the worsening security situation in the anglophone Northwest Region of Cameroon, SP3 researchers Jennifer Provost and Dr. Tobias Feldt returned to Bamenda one very last time to meet and discuss with some dairy farmers and Mbororo pastoralists who collaborated with UrbanFoodPlus during the past two years. Following their participation and contribution in the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue meeting in Douala some days earlier (see separate news report), the UFP researchers together with some former project assistants organized a one-day feedback meeting on the topics of farmer-grazier conflicts and dairy markets in the Asa-Neh Hotel & Restaurant in Mile 6 Nkwen Bamenda on November 18th 2018. Altogether 17 participants made it to join the meeting that was held against the aggravating background of ongoing fighting between governmental military forces and Ambazonia separatists in the region outside the city of Bamenda, a continuous, region-wide curfew from 6pm to 6am as well as an announced (and later withdrawn) one-week strike action, which made it necessary to postpone the meeting in a very short term. Despite all these adversities, a lively discussion developed on the research findings. All in all, the SP3 team left Bamenda with very mixed feelings: while admiring the peoples’ gratitude and joy of (too short) reunion, the near future of this UFP project region stays completely unclear. It is hoped that further escalation can be avoided and peace and normal life may soon return!    

SP3 PhD student Jennifer Provost presenting results from her dairy market research.
A lively discussion developed amongst the participants of the SP3 feedback meeting.
Participants group picture (Jennifer Provost is taking that photo and therefore missing).
Dr. Tobias Feldt (first from the left) and Jennifer Provost (third from the right) together with their research assistants (from left to right: Edwin Njoyee, Vandolin Nabi, Claris Foncha and Julius Forchid).

Farmer-grazer conflicts (Part 3) & food security of dairy and non-dairy farming households in Northwest Cameroon, May 2018

Researchers from SP3 returned to Bamenda for another field visit between March and May 2018. To complete his data collection on farmer-grazer conflicts in the region, Dr. Tobias Feldt took off all remaining GPS collars from the six representative Mbororo cattle herds that had collected data on the animals’ annual transhumance movements as well as on their grazing ranges both in the temporary dry season zones and rainy season home grazing areas during the transhumance seasons 2016/17 and 2017/18. In the meantime, local assistants had executed an intensive survey of 166 randomly selected cattle-owning Mbororo households, interviewing household heads on issues concerning herd management, land ownership, access to grazing and water resources, transhumance habits, stocking densities, major challenges in general and farmer-grazer conflicts in particular. The survey covered a 70x70km investigation area in which extensively managed cattle herds were supposed to still directly supply urban and peri-urban beef markets in and around Bamenda. The household survey partly took place in very remote areas and was supplemented by asking the interview partners about their herds’ current and past transhumance zones and corridors. The information were directly registered in digital form using Google Earth software and mapping applications for smartphones.

Between March and April 2018, BSc student Leon Bessert from the University of Göttingen successfully complemented the investigation on farmer-grazer conflicts by 40 interviews with crop farmers along four major transhumance zones for also perceiving the perspective of the second conflict group. Data collection was performed within the framework of his bachelor’s thesis.

Finally, completing the study of SP3 PhD student Jennifer Provost on milk markets and value chains, Nepalese MSc student Raja Mehta, likewise from the University of Göttingen, carried out a comparative investigation on food security and diet quality of cattle-owning households that produce and sell milk (n=150), such that produce but do not sell milk (n=150) and non-cattle-owning households (n=150) in the framework of his master’s thesis. This approach followed a similar work realized in Bamako in 2016 and will help to compare these two study sites concerning dairy markets and food security.

Despite the deteriorating security situation since late 2016 in the two anglophone regions of Cameroon, seeking for more autonomy or even independence and meanwhile involving side-effects such as nighttime curfews as well as intensified controls and checkpoints by national security forces, SP3 staff succeeded to complete data collection while sending a strong sign of support to local partners and friends to not forsaken them despite this difficult situation.

Discovering Ngembo transhumance zone (between Bali-Nyonga and Mbengwi) with MBOSCUDA-colleague Mohammed Bawuro.
BSc student Leon Bessert (right), Cameroonian assistant Edwin Njoyee (left) and a local contact person in Muju transhumance zone near Big Babanki.
MSc student Raja Mehta (right) visiting a good example for alliance farming in Ndop transhumance zone: local farmers collecting manure from an already deserted transhumance corral to use it on their fields.

Farmer-grazer conflicts in Cameroon – herd tracking and participatory mapping around Bamenda (Round 2)

In late 2017, SP3 (represented by Dr. Tobias Feldt) induced another round of GPS herd tracking and pastoral household interviews to add information to the so-far collected data on farmer-grazer conflicts in Northwest Cameroon.

Like it has already been done one year before, the same six Mbororo cattle herds were attached with GPS radio collars in late November to follow the animals’ movements and to define their transhumance zones and corridors during the dry season 2017/18. As the transhumance season is supposed to start in late December or early January, the newly collected information will either confirm last year’s spatial data or prove a shift of location.

The data actually collected by the use of the GPS collars will be completed by detailed map-based participatory interviews with local pastoralists. A similar study was already carried out in April 2017 but did not achieve satisfying results. This time, an area of 70x70 km was defined around Bamenda, oriented on the spatial extension of transhumance zones and home pastures of the six above mentioned reference herds. Within this survey area, all present pastoral Mbororo communities (so called ‘Ardorets’) and the transhumant cattle owners within were identified and four persons per Ardoret were randomly selected to answer various questions, this time more focused on transhumance corridors and areas, stocking rates, conflicts and restrictions. In the end, this should lead to more than 180 pastoral interviews. Ongoing data collection is carried out by four motivated local assistants and will be completed until late February.

Visiting a Mbororo home pasture in Acha, west of Bamenda.
Carrying out interviews on farmer-grazer conflicts in a Mbororo compound north of Santa.
Getting connected to potential interview partners at the weekly Acha Cattle Market. The presence of heavily armed soldiers in the background is proof for the ongoing political crisis in the both anglophone regions of Cameroon.

SP3 in Bamako

Sub-project 3 (Livestock Production) began its activities in Bamako, Mali in November 2015. Under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Eva Schlecht, Prof. Dr. Von Cramon-Taubadel, and Dr. Roessler, two master students completed a livestock baseline survey in the urban and peri-urban zones of Bamako. Nearly 200 livestock-owners were successfully interviewed about their livestock holdings in the last 12 months. The questionnaire pertained to households’ demographics, livestock intake and outtake, animal products, prices, breeds and breeding management, feeding (its component, source, and prices), animal health, assets, and farmers’ perceptions of the biggest challenges for urban livestock keeping.

As a result of such an extensive database, other and more focused studies now take place in Bamako. For instance, PhD student Jennifer Provost is currently in the field, researching about the city’s formal and informal milk markets. This study seeks to investigate the strengths and weaknesses of the milk value chain, and the actors that contribute to it. In turn, this will guide policy makers and businessmen alike to identify the most immediate areas of needs. Dr. Nantoume, from the IER (Institut d’Economie Rurale) who is in partnership with Urban FoodPlus, is supporting the coordination of all logistics and the organization of the research team. The work will take place in September, October, and November 2017.

Local cattle at a livestock market
Fresh milk sold in grocery stores
MaliLait dairy products


SP3 in Cameroon

Sub-project 3 (Livestock Production) has further expanded its activities in Bamenda, Cameroon. In 2016, Dr. Tobias Feldt carried out a livestock baseline survey with more than 250 urban and peri-urban households. Following this initial – and extensive – database, PhD student Jennifer Provost from the University of Kassel just recently led field research in Bamenda in spring and summer 2017. She investigated milk markets and value chain in and around the capital of the Northwest region. The objective is to investigate the marketing channels of milk through household interviews with cattle-owners who have produced and sold fresh milk and/or processed dairy products in the last year. SHUMAS (the NGO in partnership with Urban FoodPlus) provided reliable and generous support during Ms. Provost’s 4-month stay. The research team consisted of Cameroonians with varied backgrounds, some being master students from the University of Bamenda who will also use this experience and data to complete their own degrees. Overall, 165 milk producers and sellers were interviewed. In contrast to the typical paper questionnaire, this research was done with tablets and the CSPro software.

The Cameroonian research team is now in Phase 2 of the field work, meaning that they are interviewing the farmers who stopped selling dairy products between 2015 and May 2016. This will enable a deeper understanding of the milk markets and help identify the challenges of linking the different milk value chain actors together.

Homemade yogurts sold in recycled plastic bottles
Imported powdered milk taking over the market
Julius Forchid, MSc, interviewing a farmer
A Holstein calf


MSc research topic announcement

We are looking for a MSc candidate with interest in livestock breeding in the tropics and subtropics and French proficiency.

Topic "Breeding strategies, production objectives and adoption of breeding technologies of urban livestock keepers in Bamako (Mali)"

October - December 2017

>>> More information


Farmer-grazer conflicts in Cameroon – herd tracking and participatory mapping around Bamenda

Investigation on farmer-grazer conflicts in the peri-urban and rural surroundings of Bamenda, increasingly gaining importance due to growing human and livestock populations and progressive land use change from natural and traditional grazing areas to agricultural land, continued in early 2017.  Building on the methodological approach already chosen in late 2016, further three Mbororo cattle herds were equipped with GPS radio collars to track the animals’ movements and land use within their annual dry season transhumance areas – resulting in a total of six such herds from all directions around Bamenda. Each of these herds was accompanied one full day to study the animals’ behavior to get an impression of the geophysical conditions on-site as well as the areas’ current land use.

To extend the dataset, additional map-based participatory interviews with 83 herd owners were carried out based on information from 116 transhumant cattle herds, respectively. Information were collected on transhumance corridors and areas, stocking rates, conflicts and restrictions, but also on general aspects on the topic of livestock ownership, livestock production and marketing of animals and animal products, breeding and feeding management, as well as animal health to complement last year’s livestock baseline survey dataset which contained only few information from Bamenda’s Mbororo community.

Most cattle herds have meanwhile returned to their domestic rainy season grazing territories, the last ones will do so until the end of May. All collected herd tracking and participatory mapping data will then be integrated into a historical, GIS-based land use change analysis, which should allow understanding the reasons for today’s increased farmer-grazer conflicts over time and to develop possible solutions and approaches to mitigate this increasingly burning topic.

A collared cow grazing next to an off-season field north of Bafut
Observation of grazing activities and land use near Bali
Participatory mapping with Mbororo cattle herd owners in Mbengwi


Studying farmer-herder conflicts in Cameroon

A project to study farmer-herder conflicts and food security was initiated in collaboration with the Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA). The Mbororo are traditional cattle breeders and the semi-sedentary Fulani subgroup in the northwest of Cameroon, contribute significantly to the region’s meat supply. The herders increasingly come into conflict with crop farmers. Like in most parts of Africa, the human and consequently livestock population increased substantially within the last decades. This development is followed by a mostly uncontrolled expansion of cropland into the Mbororo’s traditional transhumance corridors and zones. This conflict has already caused severe contentions, such as the revenging mass-poisoning of cattle, that not only threaten the livelihood of the involved Mbororo pastoralists but also, indirectly, the food security of the local population.

To investigate on this issue, several Mbororo herds were equipped with GPS radio collars to track their movements during the coming months of transhumance. The so gathered data will later be overlaid with land use maps based on recent and past satellite images to demonstrate the zones of conflict as well as the change in land use during the past years and decades.

Fixing GPS collars on Mbororo cattle


Baseline survey in Bamenda, Cameroon

An extensive livestock baseline survey was carried out for Bamenda’s urban and peri-urban area. Students from the Universities of Dschang and Buea, in collaboration with the local UFP partner SHUMAS and supervised by Dr. Tobias Feldt, visited a total of 226 livestock-keeping households at 60 randomly selected survey points in Bamenda and its surrounding areas. The baseline survey covered aspects on the topic of livestock ownership, livestock production and marketing of animals and animal products, breeding and feeding management, as well as animal health.

Students from Dschang and Buea University during the livestock survey in Bamenda’s urban and peri-urban area.


One Bachelor student graduates after conducting research in dairy production systems in Ouagadougou

Till Fehlauer from University of Kassel recently graduated after successfully conducting his research in Ouagadougou. He investigated the topic  “Evaluation of animal housing and body/health conditions of cattle in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso”. This study complements a similar study conducted in Tamale, Ghana in 2014.


Completed diploma theses in Burkina Faso

Two students of the Polytechnical University of Bobo-Dioulasso (Burkina Faso) successfully completed their diploma theses. The studies were conducted in cooperation with CIRDES in Bobo-Dioulasso and INERA in Ouagadougou. Cécile Sarambe focused on the analysis of the feeding system of dairy farms in the peri-urban area of Ouagadougou (“Analyse du système d’alimentation des vaches laitières dans les fermes périurbaines de la ville de Ouagadougou“) while Marie-Louise Kaboré evaluated the productivity and value of pastoral grazing areas in peri-urban areas of Ouagadougou (“Productivité et valeur pastorale des pâturages naturels dans la zone périurbaine de la ville de Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso”). The results will complement data collected during regular farm visits that aimed at monitoring resource flows of different livestock production systems in Ouagadougou.


Michael Mensah Brown graduated at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Michael Mensah Brown successfully completed his Master thesis. He assessed the husbandry conditions of local chickens and Guinea fowls kept in (peri-) urban households of Tamale. Eight hundred adult local chickens and 400 adult Guinea fowls were phenotypically described with respect to their plumage pattern and colors as well as earlobe, eye and shank color. All birds were weighed and body measures were taken. Adaptive genes, associated to naked neck, crested head, silky and frizzle feather, as well as rose and pea comb, were identified. The study provides valuable information to protect local chickens bearing adaptive genes and to exploit their genetic potentials through in-situ improvement programs.


Livestock farmer feedback workshops held in Ouagadougou and Tamale

Livestock farmer feedback workshops were held in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso, and Tamale, Ghana, on 4 April and 12 March 2016, respectively, to mark the end of the on-farm monitoring in both cities that lasted for about 16 months. While preliminary results were presented by UFP researchers, the attendant farmers and invited representatives of livestock farmers associations were given the opportunity to raise questions and to discuss various issues on livestock production.

In Tamale, farmers appealed for more support in livestock developing, mentioning water reservoirs, housing structures, feeds and veterinary care as priority needs. At both locations, each participant finally received a set of approved veterinary products as appreciation for their support during the monitoring period.

Participants in Tamale
Participants in Ouagadougou


Livestock farmers workshop held in Tamale

Livestock farmers discussed with UFP staff and project partners at the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale, Ghana. The workshop was aimed at getting feedback from farmers who are participating in the on-farm monitoring activities. This was also an important platform for participating farmers to get to know each other and to meet project partners. The results of the livestock baseline survey conducted between December, 2013 and April, 2014 were presented to the farmers. Two MSc students introduced their on-going work. Farmers shared their experiences and ideas on livestock feeding, livestock breeding management, livestock health care among other issues.

October/November 2014

From each group of UP livestock systems, 3-6 farms were selected in each city for regular on-farm monitoring in the coming 12-18 months. Next data collection rounds will be done on a six-week basis. The 18-month set of on-farm data will be used for modelling and scenario analysis to identify improved livestock feeding and manure management practices for the different farm types operating under urban and peri-urban conditions in Tamale and Ouagadougou.

October 2014 Two bachelor students graduate after conducting research in Ghana.

End October 2014, Jonas Bösl and Felix Stiegler graduated from Georg-August-University Göttingen after doing their research from August until September 2014. Their work focused on the evaluation of health and husbandry conditions of pigs and cattle in Tamale.

April 2014 Livestock baseline survey has been completed.

The data obtained in this survey were used for categorical principal component and two-step analysis to establish a preliminary typology of livestock farming systems in both cities. Three distinct main UP livestock systems were identified, of which two are common to Tamale and Ouagadougou: dairy cattle farms and non-ruminant farms. The third group was different and was characterized by traditional ruminant and non-ruminant farms in Tamale and farms with ruminants other than dairy cattle in Ouagadougou.

In Ouagadougou, each main cluster can be further divided into two sub-clusters, i.e. small or semi-commercial farms and large commercially-orientated farms. Thus, six groups of UP livestock systems were identified in Ouagadougou. In Tamale, the group of non-ruminant farms is also further divided into small- to medium-scale farms and large-scale commercially-orientated farms. The dairy cattle cluster includes farms that are engaged in milk marketing, whereas the second sub-cluster produces milk for home consumption. The third main cluster in Tamale is not further divided; this results in five groups of UP livestock systems in Tamale.