Characterization and conservation of indigenous livestock genetic resources for wealth creation in tropical Africa: A review
Authors: A. Ahmadu, H. I. Kubkomawa, N. S. Abubakar, T. Sini, J. H. Chama, R. H. Gapsiso and M. S. Adamu
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The objective of the study was to review the methods of characterization and conservation of indigenous livestock genetic resources for wealth creation in tropical Africa. Animal genetic resources have been contributing to food and agriculture for more than 12, 000 years, providing the human population with a wide range of food products, along with fibre, manure for crops, droppings for fuel and draught power. In addition, animal genetic resources frequently reduce farmers’ risk exposure, generate employment and contribute to rural development. It is estimated that, directly or indirectly, domestic animals contribute 30 to 40 percent of the total value of food and Agriculture production in Nigeria. In the course of the development of diverse human societies, livestock became a very important cultural element and is essential in maintaining many traditional lifestyles. Farmers and breeders have been using animal genetic diversity effectively to develop breeds and varieties that were suitable for local environmental conditions and provided for different human needs and wants. The domestication process and breeding under different environments has resulted in over 6,000 identified breeds developed within about 40 animal species. The total diversity of animal genetic resources available to farmers makes it possible for humans to survive in a wide range of production environments, from hot-humid tropics to arid deserts and cold, severe mountainous regions. Genetic diversity also supported livestock adaptation to many limiting environmental factors, such as diseases, parasites, wide variations in the availability and quality of feed and water, and extreme temperatures. It is therefore, concluded that, animal genetic resources should be preserved and conserved and not be allowed to erode away. Local breeds that are hardy and withstand harsh climates should not be let go to extinction because of their role to wealth creation in both rural and urban communities in Nigeria and tropical Africa as a whole.