Contribution of cattle of different breeds to household food security in southern Mali uri icon

abstract

  • Cattle husbandry plays an important role in the livelihoods of many households in southern Mali where the endemic N'Dama and Fulani Zebu breeds and their crosses are raised by farmers. This study examines food security, its determinants and the coping strategies used among 258 households in southern Mali, with particular emphasis on the contributions of cattle keeping and different breed groups, i.e. N'Dama, Zebu, crossbreds and mixed herds, to food security. The main aim was to investigate whether the replacement of the endemic N'Dama breed threatens or improves household food security. A linear mixed model was used to analyze the effects of household characteristics on food security using the household dietary diversity score (HDDS), food consumption score (FCS), and a modified household food insecurity access scale (mHFIAS) as indicators. Results revealed that cattle ownership and breed group were important determinants of all household food security indicators. Households keeping Zebu and mixed herds had the highest FCS. HDDS and FCS were positively correlated with crop diversity and household wealth, while negatively correlated with cotton cultivation. During the period of food shortage, households raising Zebu were better off and had significantly lower mHFIAS than those keeping N'Dama, crossbreds or mixed herds. In times of food shortage, selling livestock was the main coping strategy for households with a cattle herd, while households without cattle relied mostly on borrowing cash. In conclusion, the ongoing displacement of native N'Dama cattle by Zebu cattle and their crosses is contributing to improved household food security in Mali.

publication date

  • 2018
  • 2018