Present status of the Heifer Project International-Cameroon rabbit program : back to the future
In the past five years, Heifer Project lnternational (HPI) has distributed 2,119 rabbits to 1,410 limiled-resource families in 66 villages primarily localed in the northwest province of Cameroon. However, lhese figures exclude thousands of addilional farmers who received either direct or indirect assistance by HPI since project inceplion in 1982. HPl's approach towards poverty allevialion is to financially support a new rabbil project for farm families in a selected village for a period of three years. Technical follow-up support is then extended for an addilional two years, after which time the anticipated self-sufficient project is formally phased-out. In 1999, accompanied by HPI field staff, the consultant (the first author of this paper) visited a total of 48 farmers from 10 villages in the northwest province. On each farm, notes were taken which identified poor to good management-level practices, housing and feeding systems, as well as socio-economic aspects of the project. HPI progress reports and case studies conducted by studenl interns from University of Dschang were made available to supplement the consullant's notes in developing this evaluation report. Overall, production level of rabbit fryers presently appear to be low on farms (approximately 2.45 fryers are consumed and 2.61 fryers are sold per month). Further, income generation is a critical determinant of whether rabbits will continue to be regarded by farmers as a backyard livestock species for domestic use or as a commodity species for supplemental income. HPI could play a pivotal role in developing either local or formal market outlets for their surplus fryers. To date, the HPI-CAM rabbit program has improved family nutrition, enhanced community development and gender status in villages.
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Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)
e-ISSN: 1989-8886 ISSN: 1257-5011 https://doi.org/10.4995/wrs