, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 785-807
Date: 11 Apr 2006

Urban Sheep Keeping in West Africa: Can Socioeconomic Household Profiles Explain Management and Productivity?

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Rapid urbanization in Africa leads to a spatial concentration of people with different cultural origins and socioeconomic backgrounds resulting in a great diversity of life styles and livelihood strategies. One common strategy in Maroua/Cameroon and Bobo-Dioulasso/Burkina Faso is urban sheep keeping. Cluster analyses identified distinct socioeconomic groups with similarities between the towns: traditional livestock keepers, households headed by well educated government employees or traders, and more vulnerable groups formed of households headed by females, retired people or people with limited formal education. The household types in Bobo varied in their perception of the importance and the development of urban sheep keeping and their future plans. Those in Maroua differed in management intensity and in the potential to adapt their practices to the urban environment. Development interventions to reduce environmental pollution and risks for human health associated with urban sheep keeping need to account for these differences in the target group.