Impact Of Ethnic Conflicts On Livestock Production In Africa: The Case Of The Northern Region Of Ghana

  • W Addah
  • N Zezebi
Keywords: conflict, guinea fowl war, livestock, recovery rate


Rampant ethnic conflicts and civil wars in the northern parts of most African countries have destroyed and continue to destroy the economies of such regions which are usually pastoral and dependent on livestock. This has resulted in a vicious cycle of poverty and under-development among the people of such regions. This study assessed the effects of the guinea fowl war (1994 – 1995) on household livestock holding sizes and other support services of the livestock industry in the northern region of Ghana. Before the conflict, every household owned livestock however during the conflict most feed and water resources were poisoned or destroyed, livestock stolen or indiscriminately killed or starved to death. After the conflict had subsided, 23%, 16%, 12% and 21% of households could not own any cattle, sheep, goats and poultry respectively. Commercial household holding sizes (>100) of cattle also declined from 12% before the conflict to 0% after the conflict and even a decade after the conflict had ended, it only increased by 0.7% per annum. The cumulative percentages of households who still kept more than 50 sheep, goats and poultry after the conflict also declined after the conflict. The conflict also destroyed other allied livestock support services and infrastructure culminating into sporadic outbreaks of livestock diseases. A postconflict recovery assessment indicates that only 23% of households had some surviving livestock left after the conflict that could be used for breeding to restock their farms. A relief package worth US$ 650,000 was implemented by the Government of Ghana through the MoFA to help ameliorate the livestock sector in the region but a decade after the conflict, most farmers have not yet fully recovered from the losses they suffered; household holding sizes have since remained small and subsistent. The effect of the conflict on livestock production was particularly severe because livestock production in northern Ghana is customarily the domain of males who unfortunately were the main victims of the conflict

Keywords: conflict, guinea fowl war, livestock, recovery rate

Journal of Agriculture and Social Research Vol. 8 (1) 2008: pp. 45-55

eISSN: 1595-7470