Authors : Daniel S. Ugwu
Abstract: A socio-economic study of the role of small ruminants in the farming system of Southeast zone of Nigeria was carried out. Three stage sampling technique was employed in the selection of farmer respondents. One hundred small ruminant farmers were sampled on the whole. Data collection was done by the use of questionnaires. Descriptive statistics such as percentages, frequency tables and averages were used in the analysis of data. The study showed that 83% of the farmers reared West African Dwarf sheep, 1% respectively kept Ouda and Yankasa breeds of sheep. Crosses were reared by only 15% of the farmers. For goats, 89% of the farmers produced West African Dwarfs (WAD), 1% Borno Red, 6% Kano Brown and 5% Crosses. Only 13% of the farmers adopted extensive system of production while 87% of them adopted semi-intensive method. The main reasons why farmers engaged in small ruminant production include the provision of income, home consumption/entertainment, prestige, provision of animal products eg. manure and security against risk. A gross margin analyses for sheep/goat production under traditional farming systems show that small ruminants hold great potential for reasonable economic returns. For instance, the gross margin for sheep and goats were found to be N16,536.00 and N23,970.00 respectively per small holder farmer during the survey period. The problems of small ruminant producers were identified as disease, feeding problem, accommodation constraint, inadequate capital, destructive habit of the animals and predators, among others. It is recommended that introduction of alley farming system, effective extension system as well as the establishment of adequately equipped veterinary clinics by the government in the region should be pursued for increased production of these animals to solve the protein deficiency problem in Nigeria.
Daniel S. Ugwu , 2007. The Role of Small Ruminants in the Household Economy of Southeast Zone of Nigeria . Research Journal of Applied Sciences, 2: 726-732.