Sustaining n’Dama cattle for the resource-poor farmers in the Gambia
N’Dama cattle which is endemic to West and Central African countries is a part of global livestock biodiversity that needs to be sustainably conserved in order not to lose its unique genetic characteristics which are important for meeting the challenges of insufficient animal protein production, food insecurity, rural poverty and climate change. This study assesses the genetic improvement, sustainable production, utilization and conservation of this breed of cattle in order to strengthen them through relevant technical strategies and policy measures. Review of relevant literature and policy documents, participatory group discussions were used while the information gathered was analysed through content analysis. Efforts to sustainably improve, utilize and conserve the adaptive traits of N’Dama cattle which are able to tolerate trypanosomosis and survive on low-quality feed will serve as impetus for the farmers. Particularly, strengthening of open nucleus breeding scheme, institutional support of the multipliers, financial and technical support of the extension services, and favourable policy environments are the packages that would maximize the potentials of N’Dama cattle in terms of food production and reliable income generation for the resource poor farmers in a country such as The Gambia.
Keywords: N’Dama; Production; Utilization; Conservation; Policy; Nucleus breeding.