Current situations of animal data recording, dairy improvement infrastructure, human capacity and strategic issues affecting dairy production in sub-Saharan Africa

An on-line survey on the state of existing dairy data, dairy improvement infrastructure and human capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) was undertaken with the aim of assessing whether the state of existing animal recording, dairy improvement methods and key issues facing dairy production together with means of addressing these issues differ among countries and regions of SSA. Respondents comprised experts and practitioners in livestock production and genetic resources from research institutes, animal breeding companies, universities, non-governmental organisations and government agricultural ministries. The main dairy farming system in which the respondents were involved was mixed crop- livestock system (30.2%) and this was mainly practiced in the private land tenure system (46.3%). Data were analysed using linear model and paired student t-test in R software package. Respondents identified key issues affecting dairy production as; poor genetic assessment of imported exotic breeds and crosses in Africa (62.3%), fluctuations in milk prices within both the formal and informal markets (50.9%), no comprehensive sire ranking systems (39.6%), housing and health management regimes which adversely affect milk yield (32.1%), poor market networks for dairy products (25.5%), poor feeding (13.3%), inadequate genetic technologies (9.4%) and poor animal performance recording systems (9.4%). Respondents emphasised the need for updated breeding policies, sire ranking systems, adequate farm management systems, capacity building, across-country collaborations and joint genetic assessments of dairy breeds found in sub-Saharan Africa. The current situation of dairy production though similar for the different countries, differed in order of emphasis and magnitude across the countries and regions in sub-Saharan Africa.