Economic and anthropological limitations to regional development in African livestock industries ; paper presented at the Society for Applied Anthropo

Material Information

Economic and anthropological limitations to regional development in African livestock industries ; paper presented at the Society for Applied Anthropo
Sullivan, G. M.
Farris, D. E.
Place of Publication:
College Station, Texas
Texas A & M University
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Farming ( LCSH )
Africa ( LCSH )
Agriculture ( LCSH )
Farm life ( LCSH )
Spatial Coverage:


General Note:
Paper presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting, Merida, Mexico, April 7, 1978.
Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. This item may be protected by copyright but is made available here under a claim of fair use (17 U.S.C. §107) for non-profit research and educational purposes. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact Digital Services ( with any additional information they can provide.

Full Text
The major livestock producing regions in Africa are found in countries
which also have thd lowest per capita income on the African continent. The
livestock industries in the Entente nations of the Sahel, -Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya have not been able to commercialize this large resource
potential to stimulate general development and improved nutritional levels for the indigeneous population. Limitations on development of the industry are similar for each country as they are embedded in the traditional
economic and social customs of raising livestock.
These countries produced only 10 to 15 kilograms of meat per head of
cattle inventory in 1972 compared to 31 in South Africa and 87 in the United States [1]. Number of head slaughtered as a percent of cattle inventory was
5 to 15 as compared to 20.6 in South Africa and 34.2 percent in the U.S.A.
This demonstrates the extremely low productivity of herds in the less developed countries (Table 1).
In the past, indigeneous livestock production systems in Africa have
been balanced between the ecological conditions and tribal customs. Livestock herders before the advent-.of colonial settlement of Africa enjoyed
Z Paper presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting,
Merida, Mexico, April 7, 1978.
**Research Assistant and Professor respectively, Dept. of Ag. Econ., Texas
A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.'

Table 1. Meat production and head slaughtered per head of cattle inventory by African countries, 1972.
Meat Prod. Slaughter
Indigenous to
Country Cattle Inventory Cattle Inventory
(herd) (kg/hd of Inv.) M
Ethiopia 26,450,000 10.9 9.5
Sudan 14,700,000 13.2 7.4
Tanzania 13,400,000 9.6 9.2
Nigeria 11,405,000 15.3 14.8
Kenya 9,200,000 15.1 10.3
Mali 5,000,000 12.0 8.1
Chad 4,600,000 9.8- 6'.0
Niger 4,000,000 12.5 5.1
South Africa 12,400,000 31.0 20.6
U.S.A. 117,862,000 87.1 34.2
Source: Calculated from FAO, Production Yearbook, 1972, Volume 26, Rome.

free access to large grazing areas with minimal restrictions on movement. Livestock populations fluctuated with the availability of water and forages as well as with the outbreak of diseases. Rangelands under tribal law were common property for all members of the tribe and communal grazing was an appropriate management system.
With British, French, and Portuguese establishment of colonies in 1800's, large uncontrolled grazing lands were divided by political boundaries. Gradually, tribal wars were quelled and colonial governments restricted livestock movements and administered livestock improvement programs. Sedentary lifestyles for herders were encouraged with emphasis placed on agricultural production. With livestock development programs and especially-water development, herd sizes increased and fluctuation in climate had less effect on livestock numbers.
With increased stocking rates, constraints on available resources have now become evident. During the drought of 1968 to 1974 in the Sub-Saharan nations of Africa, large numbers of livestock were decimated and famine wassevere. Some of the previous advances in regional development in these areas was nullified. Communal grazing in the traditional sense was-never able to facilitate adoption of new technology so that stocking pressures were increasing while productivity was declining because some of the supportive institutions and conditions had been changed. Rangelands deteriorated.
Many authors have noted the problems of low productivity, the social customs, and the economic motives for individuals to increase the size of their herds and overstock the range under communal grazing. Such diverse

studies as anthropologist Goldschmidt's writing concerning the tribal pastorialists in Uganda [2] and Agricultural Economists Simpson who studied Common Property Range conditions on the Papago Indian Reservation in Anizone [5] observed many problems similar to those observed by the authors in Tanzania [6]. There is abundant evidence that significant improvement in productivity cannot be achieved without some form of effective management of stocking rates. Where this problem is solved in the same areas significant improvement in the herds can be seen. The solution to this problem is not easy because it is imbedded in the social and economic systems, but some form of control of stocking rates is essential to progress and development.
This paper sets out to describe what is the interaction between microproduction level decisions by producers and macro governmental policies which have caused conflicts to arise within the traditional system. Tanzania presents an appropriate case study since this country has the third largest livestock herd in Africa and the majority of its cattle are being managed under an uncontrolled communal grazing system.
Tanzania has approxi mately 13 million cattle, 4.5 million goats, and
2.5 million sheep raised on natural pastures. This is a livestock inventory almost the size of Texas' livestock inventory, but output per head in the U.S. exceeds the Tanzanian livestock by a about eight times (Table 1). From survey data collected in 1975 a typical livestock herd is illustrated

in Table 2. The herd is primarily a dairy herd with milk the most valued product from the herd with females comprising over 60% of the herd [6]1. Livestock producers on the average kept sheep and goats besides cattle, and these animals were .utilized more for family meat consumption.
In Table 3, disposal and utilization of each species of the average herd indicates that off take rates for small ruminants is higher than for cattle. A reason for the higher percent off take is due to the mortality rate. Animals which die in the herd are still consumed which provides meat for family consumption. This partially explains why some unproductive animals, especially old cows, are retained in the herd. Since communal grazing does not encourage culling unproductive stock they still have a value for their meat even when they die and the added cost to herdsmen for maintenance is viewed as being essentially zero.
Limitations to regional development where livestock are raised under
communal grazing are hypothesized to stem from two sources: (1) micro-economic and anthropological factors endogeneous to communal grazing system; (2) macro government policies and anthropological factors which are exogeneous to the system. These two become sources for conflict with the present institution
of communal grazing. For successful implementation of-livestock programs for increasing regional development is important to determine the nature of the conflict between these two causes.
Micro considerations are those which are embodied within the family and tribal customs. These represent the traditional management practices which

Table 2. Composition of the Average Traditional Livestock Herd, Tanzania
1975.- Average Percentage with
Herd Respect to Species.
(hd) M%
Total Cattle: 27.3 100
Total Cows: 11.1 41
Total Calves: 5.2 19
Total Heifers: 5.0 18
Total Steers: 2.4 9
Total Bulls: 3.6 .13
Total Goats: 13.7 100
Total Females + 2 yrs.: 6.9 50
Total Sheep: 9.1 100
Total Females + 2 yrs.: 4.7 52
a/ 729 respondents in sample
Source: TAJIU/USAID Livestock Survey [6].

Table 3. Estimated Herd Offtake and Disposals, Livestock Zone, Tanzania
Cattle Goats Sheep
Inventory (hd.) 27.3 13.7 9.1
Sold=/(hd.) 3.6 1.47 .83
Trades (hd.) .34 .38 .08
Slaughtered and Eaten (hd.) .63 1.33 1.52
Died and Eaten (hd.) 3.46 1.63 1.42
Total Offtake (hd.) 8.03 4.81 3.85
Percent Offtake (%) 29.4 35.1 43.3
Percent Commercial (%) 14.4 13.5 10.0
Dowry and Gifts (hd.) 1.99 .51 .09
Died and Buried (hd.) 3.54 1.33 1.56
Total Disposal (hd.) 13.56 6.65 5.50
SAll data based on 792 herds
SIncludes small amount slaughtered and sold. Source: TAMU/USAID Livestock Survey. [6]

we considered had evolved without external influences. The economic value placed on the herd by the individual herdsman and the social organization of family and tribal customs ard the inherent controls on the producer.
Imposed upon this organization has been a fragmenting of existing institution with colonial and missionary influence which are exogeneous to the traditional system. External impact on what was once a stable communal system has lead to instability by government's involvement especially in determining market prices for livestock. The scenario is set with conflict arising between micro endogeneous variables and the imposed impact of external macro variables.
Key to regional development for Tanzania and other African livestock
nations is whether productivity and commercialization of traditional herds can be increased. Methods must be devised to determine whether livestock programs,. which have these as their goal result in adoption of improved technology. Examination of the conflicts which limit regional development focus on five ecologial zones in Tanzania. Eco-zone 5 is the only area which does not have communal grazing whereby it becomes possible to compare differences between these areas.
Approaches to analyses have been developed and results documented in previous research [4,71. An adoption quotient index, a "perceived" traditional and commercial value by each producer based on types of cattle kept in herd, and finally, a measure of productivity, expressed as an annual value of the output from herds in Tanzanian shilling, are used to understand the limitations that communal grazing places on regional developments.

An additional hypothesis is: Communal grazing systems with no control of stocking rates do not create necessary incentives for technology adoption and the higher productivity found only in Eco-zone 5 does not have communal grazing. A marginal- cost-price relationship will be examined graphically to illustrate a producer's rationale for adoption technology and choosing stocking rates.
From survey data collected in 1975 in Tanzania, livestock producers
are found to be rational in economic decisions when managing their livestock with respect to adoption of technology and commercialization of their herd [7]. Results of the adoption quotient scale, which has a scale of 0 to 100 with 100 indicating complete adoption of all "recommended" improved practices, show a skewed distribution of livestock producers to the lower end of scale (Figure la.) [7]. The overall average s core for the total sample is 28. When a producer perceives a traditional value based on the by-products in a given year from a cow, and a commercial value based on government market prices for commercial stock in herd; Figure lb indicates that traditional value for the herd perceived by producers is higher. Figure lc shows that the net advantage in traditional value over commercial value for 792 herds is on an average the value of six cows, approximately Tshs. 1400. This supports the data in Table 2 where females comprise close to 60 percent of the herd, and a greater value is placed-on the expected value of the by-products from the females for family subsistence.

300 300- 300200- 200 200 (T.V.-C.V.)
100 100 100
z I
0 10 .20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90'100 0 500 1500 2500 3500 4500Tsh. -1000 1000 2000 0O
(a) (b) (c)

Even though adoption scores on the average are low and herds are not
commercially oriented for the total sample, statistically significant differences in adoDtion scores is found between Eco-zone 5 and the other zones. Zone 5, with an adoption score of 50, has private ownership of property whereas the other four zones have communal grazing and lower scores (Table 4). Regional development is also higher in Zone 5 with gross domestic product per capita higher than the other zones [3]. Correlated with this finding is higher annual productivity of the herds at, Tsh. 569 per head. This implies that the livestock industry is playing an important role in development in this area (Table 4) [4]. Differences in rainfall did not appear to explain differences in herd productivity or adoption scores although differences in rainfall should explain differences in production per hectare, communal grazing tends to negate the impact of higher rainfall on herd productivity.
Several important explanations are given for these differences between areas. Eco-Zone 5 with private ownership of grazing land implies greater incentive for improved management and commercial orientation. This area has had a longer exposure to European education and culture which has influenced the social organization of the people. Higher levels of education have transformed life styles where the economy is more highly developed. Government pricing policies have been less detrimental to livestock development in this area because of the strong urban demand for livestock by-products. Level of technology adoption is higher because incentives are clearly evident with higher market prices for livestock. This areas'

Table 4. Relationahip Between Productivity and Adoption Scores for Livestock Ecological Zones in Tanzania.
Annual Average Approximate Adoption
Zone Rainfall Productivitya/ Location Score
(mm) (Tsh/herd)
1 700-1200 353.09 Mwanza 21
2 600- 800 346.66 Singida 25
3 200- 600 458.32b/ Dodoma 30
4 400-1200 419.49 Tarime 35
5 >600 568.71 b/ Arushad/ 50C/
Source: TAMU/USAID Survey by Personal Interview. [4] !/ Annual value of herd output.
Zones 3 and 5 had productivity significantly different from Zones 1 and 2. / Zone 5 had adoption scores significantly different from the other zones. / Arumeru District.

proximity to a large urban market with available consumption items has encouraged commercialization of its herds.
Moving further into the interior of the country away from the influence of the urban center (Eco-zone 1 and 2) the traditional livestock system is the norm, with low average adoption scores of 21 and 25 and low productivity Tsh. 353 and 346 respectively. The influence of missionary and European settlements in these areas was less because of remoteness and less favorable climate. The social organization typified by the traditional family and tribal allegiances has been relatively unchanged.
A macro policy toward the livestock industry in fixing the live price for cattle with no spatial, seasonal, or quality differences'has a greater effect on creating disincentives for individuals to adopt new technology and become more commercially oriented. Demand for livestock and by-products is not as high in the four eco-zones as in Eco-zone 5 so level of productivity is lower. A combination of the lack of social and cultural change with the present traditional, communal grazing system explains why these areas have had less impact on regional development. The constraints on development of livestock herds in these areas given these limitations can be understood by examining how the individual producer makes decisions under an uncontrolled communal grazing system.
A standard paradox in economics is the conflict of interest between the actions of individuals and the group. The self-interest of the

individuals is not necessarily in harmony with the interest of the industry to which he belongs. This-principle is strikingly evident in communal grazing systems, where the individual herdsman does not recognize his independent action of reducing his stocking rate as having any impact on range conditions. This can be illustrated by Fi-gure 2 using standard economic marginal concepts.
Under -uncontrolled communal grazing there will be no economic or social cost recognized by the individual herdsman to increasing the size of his herd. On the contrary, there are good economic and social reasons for him to maintain as large a herd as possible. If there is no grazing fee or animal unit tax he is inclined to maintain unproductive-cattle as a bank, for prestige and for family security against starvation.
In Tanzania each herdsman views grazing land as a free good that can
improve his well-being if he has livestock to use it; as each herdsman pursues his self interest the stocking rate reaches the existing level of S" in Figure 2a and village herd output is at level B. On the other hand the economic optimum stocking rate is at S and village herd output is at A where little or no technology is used. Marginal costs and price relationships associated with this situation is illustrated in Figure 2b.
With the adoption of technology, costs per unit may rise in the short run. Despite some increase in village herd output, the individuals have every incentive to increase herd size and create an overstocking problem indicated at S" and yields village herd output B'. As a. matter of fact, with overstocking the effects of improved technology could be wiped out. In the

Figure 2. Herdsmen and Village View of Economic Optimum Stocking Rates
Under Communal Grazing
Output per
Village herd Figures 2a. Village herd output
(Stocking rate per unit of 'capacity) Price or
cost per M.C. (Village)
Figure 2b. No Technology
Price. ___ erd)
(Stocking rate per unit of capacity) Price or
cost per
cost perM.C. (Village)
A. U.
Figure 2c. Technology (
Pric (erd)
0 S S11
(Stocking rate per unit of capacity)

survey of Tanzanian herdsmen there appeared to be little incentive to adopt even simple technology that was understood by many herdsmen. Range improvement was non-existant except where government bore the expense. The legal authority is now available for villages in Tanzania to control stocking rates, but to date there has been little use of- the authority. Until the leadership and professionals in Africa devise some programs to change the economic and social institutions blocking the transition to modern livestock production and marketing, the contribution of livestock to regional development will be far below its potential.
The practice of communal grazing of livestock is widespread in much of Africa and where grazing land Ais free and stocking rates are uncontrolled, productivity is extremely low. Valuable food production resources are wasted because these societies have not developed economic and social institutions to aid in achieving economic optimum stocking rates. There are a variety of methods to control stocking rates even under communal grazing conditions and this is one of the important development challenges where there has been little progress to date. It is the thesis of this paper that the problem is well recognized but the solution requires group action and changes in political, social and, economic institutions to solve it.

1. Food and Agricultural Organization, Production Yearbook, Rome, 1972,
Volume 26.
2. Goldschmidt, Walter, "A National Livestock Bank: An Institutional Device
for Rationalizing the Economy of Tribal Pastoralists: IDR, 1975/2
Univ. of California, Los Angeles.
3. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Tanzania Agricultural and Rural Development Sector Study, Washington, D. C., Vol. I,
II, III, December, 1974.
4. Njukia, James, "Productivity Analysis and Technology Adoption for Livestock in Tanzania, "Unpublished Master's Thesis, Texas A&M University,
December, 1977.
5. Simpson, James R. "Costs and Returns in a Study of Common Property Range
Improvement:, Journal of Range Management, Vol. 24, No. 4, July, 1971.
6. Sullivan, G. M. and Farris, D. E. "Survey of Traditional Livestock Sector",
Tanzania Livestock-Meat Subsector, Vol, II, October, 1976.
7. Sullivan, G. M. and Farris, D. E., Yetley, M. J., and Njukia, W. J.;
"A Socio-Economic Analysis of Technology Adoption in an African Livestock Industry, Zeitschrift fur austandische Landuirtschaft (Quarterly
Journal of International Agriculture); Berlin, 1978, No. 2.