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Working Paper - 212 - Diversification and Sophistication of Livestock Products: the Case of African Countries
Africa has a sizable livestock population and almost each country produces livestock. The sector provides a large spectrum of benefits which include: cash income, food, manure, draft power and hauling services, savings and insurance, and social prestige (PicaCiamarra et al., 2014).
Notwithstanding the importance of the livestock sector, Africa has not been able to transform its vast livestock potential into value added products that can generate higher income and well-paying jobs. Traditional herding is especially predominant and many livestock producers do not see this activity as a commercial activity nor do they possess the technical capability to produce at a large scale and benefit from the economies of scale. In addition, local markets for livestock are constrained by low investments in infrastructure and the absence of a supportive and regulatory environment (McDermott et al., 2010). This has generally translated into low productivity and competitiveness of the sector in comparison to major livestock producing regions such as Latin America and Asia.