The overall objective of the project was to improve livestock marketing and inter regional trade in West Africa. This was achieved through two major components of the project. The first component, which CILSS will lead, involves strengthening livestock marketing and trade through the development of market infrastructure, information and human capacity building in the participating countries. It has four sub components:
(i) improvement of infrastructure in existing three frontier markets;
(ii) development of corridors for livestock movement to markets;
(iii) development of a livestock trade information and dissemination service; and
(iv) training programme to improve the organizational and management skills of the major market operators.
The second component, which ILRI lead, determined appropriate economic incentives to improve market efficiency and develop a framework to streamline and co ordinate policies relating to livestock trade across participating countries. It has three sub components:
(i) assessment of economic and institutional problems in livestock marketing to identify sources and magnitudes of inefficiencies and measures to reduce them;
(ii) identification of sectoral and trade policy constraints to inter regional livestock trade and development of policy options to reduce their negative effects; and
(iii) development of an appropriate framework to coordinate livestock trade policies among participating countries and to disseminate policy results to decision makers.
The primary project beneficiaries were livestock producers who will receive better and more predictable farm gate prices for their animals. The project also benefited traders, consumers and the suppliers of services to the livestock industry (e.g. animal health and production services). The project aimed at increasing the contribution of livestock to national income and development. An equally important objective is to make livestock products more affordable and accessible to poorer households and thereby enable more children to obtain the protein they need for healthy growth and the essential micro nutrients such as vitamin B12 that are essential for the development of their cognitive capacities. Without improved marketing there will be an increase in stock numbers and increasing resort to cultivation of unsuitable fragile land. Improved marketing is thus essential to preserving the vegetative cover of the vast Sahel rangelands which, as a sink for CO2, make a vital contribution to global environmental health.