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Tropentag, September 14 - 16, 2022, Prague

"Can agroecological farming feed the world? Farmers' and academia's views."

Farmers' appreciation of fodder trees and their preference by sheep in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of Burkina Faso

Linda Cletchio Gabriella Traoré1, Minata Ouattara1, Sita Sanou1, H. Oumou Sanon1, Regina Rößler2, Valérie Bougouma-Yameogo3, Eva Schlecht4

1Institute of Environment and Agricultural Research (INERA), Animal Production, Burkina Faso
2University of Kassel, Animal Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics, Germany
3Nazi Bony University, Burkina Faso
4University of Kassel / University of Goettingen, Animal Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics, Germany


Trees provide important functions to the rural population in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of Burkina Faso. During the dry season, they constitute an essential resource for feeding ruminant livestock. The objective of our study was to identify the fodder trees that are, according to farmers, the most palatable for small ruminants, and to confirm farmers’ perception through a palatability test, within the EU-Horizon 2020 SustainSahel project (https://www.sustainsahel.net/). A total of 185 households in the Centre-West Region of Burkina Faso were interviewed using a structured questionnaire, followed by an on-station feeding choice experiment to assess sheep’s preference for leaves of eight selected trees and shrubs assigned randomly to two blocks. Consumption time was taken as an indicator for the preference of a specific tree species and was observed during 30 minutes for two pairs of two sheep each per day, offered leaves of block 1 and 2, respectively, on alternate days. After a period of 8 days in total, all sheep had been exposed to all leaves twice.
According to the farmers, 15 tree and shrub species belonging to ten different plant families are highly palatable to small ruminants. The most frequently stated species are Ficus sycomorus (41% of farmers), Lannea microcarpa (39%), Pterocarpus erinaceus (33%), Khaya senegalensis (23%), Azadirachta indica (21%), Bombax costatum (10%), Guiera senegalensis (9%) and Ziziphus mauritiana (6%), which were subsequently tested in the sheep experiment. Here, the average consumption time was 3-fold, 3,5-fold, and 5-fold higher for leaves of F. sycomorus than for those of P. erinaceus, K. senegalensis and L. macrocarpa (block 1). In block 2, the average consumption time of leaves of Z. mauritiana and B. costatum was equally high, whereas leaves of G. senegalensis and A. indica were hardly consumed by sheep. It is therefore concluded that farmers have a fairly good knowledge of the fodder trees that are palatable to ruminant livestock. F. sycomorus, Z. mauritiana and B. costatum should be maintained and promoted as valuable livestock feed in this region.

Keywords: Burkina Faso, farmer knowledge, fodder trees, preference, sheep

Contact Address: Linda Cletchio Gabriella Traoré, Institute of Environment and Agricultural Research (INERA), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, e-mail: gabriella.traore@yahoo.fr

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