Proceedings of the International Forum on Grasscutter

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2 MAEP Proceedings of the International Forum on Grasscutter Theme: Promoting Grasscutter as a business in West Africa La Promotion de L aulacodiculture Comme Activite en Afrique de l Ouest Institute of Local Government Studies Ghana 12 th 16 th December 2005

3 Proceedings of the International Forum on Grasscutter Theme: Promoting Grasscutter as a Business in West Africa La Promotion de I Aulacodiculture comme Activité Commerciale en Afrique de I Ouest Venue: Institute of Local Government Studies, Accra, Ghana 12th 16th December, 2005 Editing Team: Published By: Sponsors: Theresa Antoh, Rita Weidinger, Joshua Ahiaba and Antonio Carrillo (GTZ), Amma Serwaa Sefa-Dedeh and Charles Nkrumah (Platinum Link), Atta K. Agyepong (Facilitator) Dr. Guy Mensah (INRAB), Lonneke Bakker (FAO) Animal Production Directorate Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Ghana P. O. Box M. 37 Accra Ghana Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Ghana Ministere d Agriculture, d Elevage et de Ia Pêche (MAEP), Benin Animal Research Institute (ARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ghana HEIFER International, Ghana and Cameroon Grasscutter Farmers Associations from the Greater Accra, Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions, Ghana German Development Cooperation (GTZ, KfW, DED) - Market Oriented Agriculture Programme (MOAP), Ghana and Programme de Conservation et de Gestion et des Ressources Naturelles (ProCGRN), Bénin Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Institute Nationale de (a Recherche Agricole du Bénin (INRAB) Wireweaving Industries Ltd., Ghana Goldflelds Ghana Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Ghana Ghana Wildlife Society Ghana Wildlife Foundation Projet d Elevage des Aulacodes au Gameroon (PEAC) BØRNE Fonden, Bénin West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA) Accra Zoo, Ghana University College of Education, Winneba, Ghana Universitie of Development Studies, Ghana University of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana Development Assistance to School Farms (DASFA), Ghana ECASARD, Ghana Centre for Biodiversity Utilisation and Development (CBUD), Ghana Centre for Development of People (CEDEP), Ghana TROPENBOS International Ghana Opportunities Industrialisation Centers International (OICI) Ghana Action Aid Ghana Newmont, Ghana ISBN ii

4 TABLE OF CONTENTS FOREWORD...IV DR.OPPONG ANANE/ANKAH... ACKNOWLEDGEMENT....V ABBREVIATIONS...VI SESSION 1: WORKSHOP SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND TO WORKSHOP...1 SESSION 2: OPENING STATEMENTS...9 WELCOME ADDRESS BY DIRECTOR OF ANIMAL PRODUCTION, MOFA GHANA...9 STATEMENT BY REPRESENTATIVE OF GHANA S GRASSCUTTER FARMERS ASSOCIATIONS...10 STATEMENT BY COUNTRY DIRECTOR OF CBUD...10 STATEMENT BY DIRECTOR OF ANIMAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE...11 STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE GERMAN AMBASSADOR TO GHANA...13 STATEMENT BY AFRICA PROGRAM DIRECTOR,HEIFER INTERNATIONAL...14 SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE LIVESTOCK AND FISHERIES;REPUBLIC OF BENIN15 STATEMENT BY FAO REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES FOR AFRICA...16 STATEMENT BY PRIVATE INVESTOR;WIREWEAVING INDUSTRIES LTD,...17 KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE,GHANA READ ON HIS BEHALF BY HON.CLEMENT ELEDI DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRIC. IN CHARGE OF CROPS...19 KEY MESSAGES AND MEANINGS FROM THE OPENING STATEMENTS...20 OPENING OF THE EXHIBITION ON GRASSCUTTER VALUE CHAIN...21 SESSION 3- TECHNICAL PRESENTATIONS VALUE ADDITION ALONG THE GRASSCUTTER VALUE CHAIN CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF THE VALUE CHAIN MARKET AND PROCESSED PRODUCTS MARKETING OF GRASSCUTTER PRODUCTS AND BY-PRODUCTS...24 SESSION 4: BUSHMEAT CRISIS, POVERTY ISSUES AND POLICIES BUSH MEAT CRISIS GRASSCUTTER BREEDING -SOLUTION FOR HUNTING AND POACHING IN... NORTHERN BÉNIN GRASSCUTTER CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS MDGS AND PRSP REACHING THE POOR WITH MARKETABLE PRODUCTS POLICIES AND ADVOCACY -ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN GRASSCUTTER PRODUCTION ADVOCACY AND EDUCATION AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR GRASSCUTTER BUSINESS...42 SESSION 5: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN THE GRASSCUTTER BUSINESS PRODUCTIVITY HOUSING FEEDING AND HEALTH BIO FEEDING BREEDING...61 SESSION 6: FIELD TRIP AND EXPERIENCE SHARING VIDEO SHOW EXPERIENCE SHARING (FIELD TRIP)...69 SESSION 7: OPEN SPACE MARKETING AND TRADE PROCESSING OF GRASSCUTTER PRODUCTIVITY BREEDING NUTRITION...104

5 7.6 DRY SEASON FEEDING/PELLETING HEALTH HOUSING ECONOMIC ASPECTS ROLE OF GOVERNMENT EXTENSION FARMER ASSOCIATIONS GENDER STARTING EXPERIENCES ATTRACTING FUNDING SESSION 8: ECONOMICS, BUSINESS PLANNING AND FUNDING OF PROJECTS ECONOMIC ANALYSIS FINANCING PRODUCT FOR GRASSCUTTER FARMERS DEVELOPING A BUSINESS PLAN A PRACTICAL APPROACH SESSION 9: COUNTRY SPECIFIC EXPERIENCES SESSION 10: NETWORKING AND WAY FORWARD NETWORKING AMONGST STAKEHOLDERS BEST PRACTICES SUMMARY OF FINDINGS OF THE FORUM/TAXI HOME FORUM EVALUATION CLOSING APPENDIXES APPENDIX 1: LIST OF PARTICIPANTS APPENDIX 2: WORKSHOP ORGANISING COMMITTEE...246

6 FOREWORD Within the West African sub region, the estimated total meat consumption per person has been found to be far below the threshold of the normal dietary requirement. This accounts for the prevailing health problems that are the result of malnutrition. The cause of this phenomenon seems evident. Even though a greater percentage of people in the sub region are engaged in agriculture, the majority engages in crop production. There is a high dependence on crops for food and for income. A relative surplus market supply exposes farmers and consumers alike to great risks in terms of floating and often low prices; severe post harvest losses, reduced income and at times scarcity of food on the market due to crop failure. Livestock production has not been given much attention over the past years. Governments within the sub region have been compelled to import meat and meat products, an expensive alternative. Wildlife was recently identified as an important source of animal protein particularly in tropical areas. Bushmeat is widely distributed and consumed all over WestAfrica. Among the different types of bushmeat consumed, in most places Grasscutter. was identified as the preferred one, Its meat is considered a delicacy. There is a high demand for Grasscutter in both the local and international market. Following the demand trends, people have developed various means of hunting wild Grasscutter to satisfy the market demand. These include bush burning, trapping, the use of guns, dogs, and various types of poisonous chemicals as baits. These methods are cruel to the animals and bush burning is very detrimental to the environment. The use of poisonous chemicals can lead to food poisoning with harmful or even deadly effects on the consumer. It is for these reasons that large-scale Grasscutter production should be seen as a breakthrough for tile domestic meat production within the sub region. In the last years, since captive rearing of Grasscutter begun, several organizations and individuals have invested immensely into the industry. However, farmers and other stakeholders are still facing numerous challenges. One of them, raised during recent stakeholder meetings in Ghana is the lack of proper coordination and information flow between stakeholders along the Grasscutter value chain To address this challenge and in line with the National Strategies for Grasscutter Promotion in Ghana, this International Forum on Grasscutter promotion was organized by the Animal Production Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana, together with the Grasscutter Farmers Associations in the country, supported by the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) through the Market Oriented AgriculturalProgramme (MOAP), HEIFER International, FAO, INRAB and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Republic of Benin, and a host of stakeholders. The forum provided a platform for the exchange of practical, technical and scientific experiences and quality information on production, processing and marketing of Grasscutter. It also created an excellent opportunity for useful contacts and networking. I therefore wish that these proceedings, besides being a rich source of information, contribute also to the growth and success of the young but fast growing Grasscutter industry in the sub-region. I am highly delighted to present to you the proceedings of the International Grasscutter Forum held from the 12th to 16th December July 2006 Dr.Oppong-Anane, Director Animal Production Directorate, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana iv

7 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The first International Forum on Grasscutter was made possible through the support and efforts of many individuals and organisations. Special thanks to the preparation committee especially the farmers from the Greater Accra, Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions for the initiative, commitment and tireless efforts in preparing the content and organisation of this forum, and for bringing animals and materials for exhibition. Special acknowledgements are due to our institutional partners; HEIFER International, Ghana for commitment and hosting the preparation committee during the eight month preparation period. GTZ Market Oriented Agriculture Programme for the never failing support to the farmers initiative. FAO, GTZ Germany and HEIFER International, Cameroon are also acknowledged for their support. We are grateful to all the Guests of Honour who graced the occasion with their presence and messages of support His Excellency the Ambassador of Germany, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Ghana, and the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Benin. Merci to the delegation from Benin for the insightful presentations and the enthusiasm you brought to the conference, with a special thanks to the representative of the Minister for Agriculture and the personal commitment of Dr. Mensah from INRAB. And to our partners from the private sector, Wire Weaving Industries and all the other exhibitors. The forum would not have been the same without your presence and input. Thanks to the facilitation team coordinated by Kofi Atta Agyepong for the sensitive and determined way of keeping the focus on business orientation in grasscutter production. All the support staff from MOFA, the various projects and ILGS and to the translating services for the excellent and highly flexible job. Finally all participants for sharing ideas, questions and experiences actively and tolerating the tight space with the steadily increasing number of participants. v

8 ABBREVIATIONS ABEA AFLEG ARB ARI CBUD CEDEP CSIR DASFA) DED ECASARD ECOWAS FAO GTZ ILGS INRAB KNUST MAEP MDGs MOAP MOFA NEPAD NGO OICI PEAC PRSP WAPCA Association Béninoise des Eleveurs d Aulacodes Animal Research Institute Centre for Biodiversity Utilisation and Development Centre for Development of People Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Development Assistance to School Farms Economic Community of West African Countries Food and Agriculture Organisation Institute of Local Government Studies Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du Bénin (INRAB) Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Ministère d Agriculture d Elevage et de la Pêche Millenium development Goals Market Oriented Agriculture programme Ministry of Food and Agriculture New Partnerships for Africa s Development Non Governmental Organisation Opportunities Industrialisation Centers International Projet d'elevage des Aulacodes au Cameroun Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper West African Conservation Action vi

9 SESSION 1: WORKSHOP SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND TO WORKSHOP Workshop summary The promotion of captive rearing of grasscutter has gained major attention from farmers, extensionists and development agencies. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture in collaboration with the German Development Cooperation (GTZ, DED), HEIFER International, FAO, CSIR and INRAB Benin, Wire Weaving Industries and many others are promoting grasscutter as a viable option for income and improved nutrition for a wide scope of people including marginalized groups in rural areas. For this reason a 5-day workshop was organized from 12 th to 16 th December 2005 under the theme Promoting Grasscutter as Business in West Africa. This report is the outcome of the 5-day workshop for the promotion of grasscutter as a business in West-Africa using the value chain approach as a concept for analysis and intervention Opening The workshop began with opening statements from representatives of the various stakeholders involved in its organising, these included, the Director for Animal production of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana, representatives of grasscutter associations, the Director of CBUD, which is involved in training of farmers in grasscutter rearing, The Director of the Animal Research Institute of Ghana, The German Ambassador to Ghana, The Country Director of Heifer International, Ghana and the Managing Director of Wire Weaving Company, a private company manufacturing materials for pens. The keynote address was given by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Ghana, who officially opened the workshop. An exhibition showcasing grasscutter housing, poster presentations on various subjects, samples of processed grasscutter and information on the work of the various stakeholder organisations was also officially opened. Workshop Outputs Introduction into the value chain of Grasscutter The workshop continued with an interactive self introduction session for participants (from 7 countries) to enable them to interact with one another. This was followed by a conceptual framework presented by Rita Weidinger of the Market Oriented Agriculture Programme, to set the scene for and guide the workshop. She explained the value chain approach and shared that it aims at creating best value at every stage in the production, processing and marketing of graccsutter. It therefore involves corporation among all the actors at every stage. According to Rita, the workshop was organised along the value chain to equip individual stakeholders (researchers, farmers, producers of inputs, development partners, retailers, financial institutions etc) with information for increased value creation. It was important to develop linkages amongst stakeholders and to ensure that all understand the impact of their input on the whole process. Market and Processed Products Mr Reginald Amonoo, a farmer, challenged participants to be creative in their use of grasscutter meat. In a presentation on grasscutter recipes, ideal for your kitchen he shared innovative storage methods for grasscutter meat including smoking and storing in an earthenware pot with charcoal dust. Participants were especially excited about his suggestion that grasscutter meat be processed into ham, bacon, burgers etc. The second presentation was on strategic marketing plan for bred grasscutter products and byproducts. The presenter shared the results of a study on the marketing of bred grasscutter products in Benin and made suggestions for developing a strategic marketing plan for the grasscutter industry. He advocated amongst others, training for farmers, supporting of farmer networks to advocate for themselves and trade shows. Bush Meat Crises, Poverty Issues and Policy This session established the bushmeat crises as the basis for promoting domestic breeding of grasscutter and showed that grasscutter was an effective tool for poverty alleviation. It explored how 1

10 grasscutter breeding could contribute to poverty alleviation and the role of policy makers and advocacy. In her presentation on managing wildlife sustainable for long term food security, Lonneke Bakker established the vicious cycle of poverty, food insecurity and unsustainable exploitation of wildlife resources as the basis of the bushmeat crises. She shared the various strategies being adopted by regional bodies such as ECOWAS, AFLEG and NEPAD to address wildlife policy issues. She focused specifically on the West African Bushmeat Network set up by FAO to spread information and harmonize policies regarding the bushmeat crisis cumulating in the adoption of an action plan which is being currently discussed and endorsed by various national government institutions. M. GNAMMI Yoro Raouffou a grasscutter farmer from northern Benin continued by sharing how grasscutter rearing has contributed to a decline in poaching in the National Wildlife Park of Penjani where his village is situated. According to him, grasscutter farming has reduced bushfires caused by poachers, increased the incomes of the farmers and their access to good meat. Dr Rolf Mack adopted an innovative presentation style for his paper on Grasscutter contribution towards MDGs and PRSP. After setting the scene with the premise that real contribution towards the MDGs came not from information generated from studies, reports and conferences but from real work done by ordinary farmers and researchers, he advocated for a focus on outputs and not inputs. He then shared briefly the story of how the grasscutter became domesticated and invited some of the pioneer farmers who were involved in the early days to share their experiences. His presentation generated a lot of excitement and energy and the achievements of these pioneer farmers greatly encouraged all the others. Mr Paul Boateng continued with a presentation on how grasscutter rearing was an effective tool for Reaching the Poor with Marketable Products. According to him, grasscutter was the most commonly consumed bushmeat in Ghana. He shared various benefits of grasscutter rearing under three broad headings. Health related advantages including better nutrition from consumption of meat; economic related advantages such as increased income and environmentally related advantages such as reduction in poaching and bushfires. He concluded by sharing some secrets for success including reasonable start-up capital, education and training, space and a high sense of discipline and dedication. He encouraged farmers to become affiliated to a grasscutter group/association to improve their access to adequate education and training as well as access to credit facilities. Focusing on the experiences of Ghana, Mr Ankrah shared on the topic Policies and advocacy, the role of government in Grasscutter production. He shared the history of the Government of Ghana s work in grasscutter rearing beginning in the early seventies when a rabbit rearing project was launched. He shared the current work of the Animal Production Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture including establishment of a domestication and breeding centre at the Nungua Livestock Breeding Farm; development of a strategic plan for grasscutter rearing and training of trainers. He shared that future plans of the Ministry included training of more veterinary doctors to be able to provide support to grasscutter farmers and establishment of a fully equipped grasscutter demonstration and training centre in Mr John Heloo in his presentation stressed the need for Advocacy and Education in creating an enabling environment for grasscutter production. He shared that addressing the lack of basic skills through development of manuals and training, developing a national frame work that addressed grasscutter issues and addressing the health and nutritional issues that arise in grasscutter rearing though research and dissemination of information as some of the areas in which urgent government support was needed. He appealed to research institutions, banks and financial institutions and city and municipal authorities to get on board in support of grasscutter rearing though demand driven research, improved access to credit for grasscutter farmers and incorporation of urban agriculture into city land uses. Productivity Dr. G.A. Mensah in his presentation on new research results obtained in grasscutter husbandry in Benin gave a summary of the research that had been done. According to him research began 22 2

11 years ago and was first aimed at making rearing in captivity possible. Since then it has been largely demand driven as farmers experimented and encountered challenges. Some of the research findings include the optimal age for castration of bred grasscutter males that is 4 to 8 weeks; the low danger of parasitic exchange between grasscutter and small ruminants, development of inspection criteria for identifying sick grasscutter, research on various feeding material and marketing of grasscutter. He showed how research had caused improvements at every stage in the domestication process and encouraged farmers to use the results of these research to improve their output. Housing Eugene Atiemo of CSIR in his presentation shared that earth buildings have been found to be most ideal for farmhouses, both for human and animal habitation. This is because they provide satisfactory indoor conditions because of their good thermal properties. The advantages of earth are, that the earth is abundant, it costs less, has excellent thermal properties and is easy to work with. He took participants though the steps for preparing earth blocks. On the cost effectiveness of earth block houses he shared that the use of earth blocks could result in a cost savings of almost 70% as compared to the use of cement blocks. He shared some tips for the construction of earth block houses and recommended the use of earth blocks because; Production of earth blocks is simple; It has excellent thermal properties for both human and grasscutter habitation Feeding/Health In the first presentation under this topic on the use of home-made pellets from green forages and concentrated feedstuffs for feeding grasscutter across seasons. Dr. G. A. Mensah, shared that the use of pellets had become necessary because of the increasing number of grasscutter stock and the difficulty in finding fresh forage for animals especially during the dry season. He shared the method for making these pellets and some of the results of the research. Dry pellets can be kept for at least 6 months depending on the binder used for the granulation. A cube of the pellet weighted on average 55 g and 6 cubes were enough to feed one bred grasscutter for one day. The average pellets wasting rate is % versus 70 % with the classic diet. The daily live weight gain of the bred grasscutter fed with the pellets is 4.79 to 11.2 g versus 5.8 to 9.9 g with the classic diet. In terms of the binder preferred grasscutter breeders ranked gari as no 1, flour of sweet potato as no 2 and galigo and agbéli as the least desired. The second presentation by François Joseph Yawo Agboli from Togo focused on Bio-Feeding as a means of preventing grasscutter illness in grasscutter production: case of Exploit Farm Agric. Lome Togo. He shared that his group of grasscutter farmers became interested in bio-feeding when they almost lost 316 animals in one year due to feeding and health problems. Because there is inadequate veterinary care for grasscutter they resorted to traditional medicine with support from Professor Amakoué Michel Robert. He listed some of the medicinal plants they had identified as: - Pleurotus Oestraetus- Moringa Oleifera- Delonix Regia- Leuceana Glauca- Ipomoea Batatas- Eugenia- Aromatica- Acanthospermum Hispidum- Tridax Procumbens- Boerhavia Diffusa- Phyllanthus Amarus- Mangifera Indica- Carica Papaya- Imperata Cylindrica. Some of the plants were used dry, boiled, and in powder. He appealed for support from NGOs and other stakeholders to help deepen the research. Breeding In his presentation on captive breeding and improvement program of the larger grasscutter. G. A. Mensah shared that the breeding program began in 1985, but a new set of breeder stock was began in According to him, the selection criteria were the live weight at the 4th month, the live weight at the 8th month, docility (for males only) and litter size (for females only). For the two sexes, the inheritability of the live weight characters was found to be high. There are 3 levels in this breeding program: the Nucleus, the Multiplier and the Producer. The Nucleus constitutes the beginning of the selection whilst the producers constitute the last level of the pyramid. With this new scheme, the cycle of reproduction was reduced, particularly at the Nucleus level from 15 months (in the first scheme) to between 8 and 13 months (presently). He shared that in the absence of genetic parameters, the index of selection has been calculated from weighted averages. Video Show Participants watched two video shows on Technology for Livelihood Programme (Grasscutter Farming) from the Centre For Scientific and Industrial Research by CSIR and on Group formation, 3

12 Development and Sustainability from the Berekum District Grasscutter Association Brong Ahafo Region. Experience Sharing from Field Trip Day 3 began with experience sharing from the field trip. Participants shared what they had seen and learnt from the trip. The sharing evolved into a discussion where many issues wee discussed including; innovative financing strategies used by Beninese farmers such as loaning of breeder stock, conversion of old existing structures into pens etc; the need for increased publicity for activities related to grasscutter breeding; the gap in knowledge and research as well as the inadequate dissemination of the little knowledge that was currently available. Open Space During the plenary sessions there were more questions and contributions than the time would allow therefore Day 3 was organised as an open space session where 5 groups of participants listened to presentations and discussed topics around the value chain of grasscutter production. The purpose of the open space session was: to allow participants to follow specific interest and topics; to give opportunity for detailed sharing of content issues which otherwise could not find space in the normal programme; to allow space for interaction and movement. Each group discussed two topics spending about 45 minutes on each topic. Topics covered subjects such as extension, nutrition, health, farmers associations, breeding, gender, housing, processing, the role of government and economic aspects of grasscutter rearing. See Table 1 on page 81 for a detailed program of the open space session. Each group had a rapporteur and selected a facilitator for the session. Translations were done mainly by participants in the sub-groups. Economic Aspects Sodjinou E. and Mensah G. A. shared a study that was done to identify and analyze the constraints to the development of grasscutter rearing in Northern Bénin. The study revealed that feeding constitutes the largest part (52 to 67 %) of grasscutter s production costs. However grasscutter breeders generally earn two (2) times more than what they invested in the grasscutter husbandry. Compared to other livestock bred by peasant farmers, grasscutter gives the best added value and exploitation results. The study identified some of the factors determining the adoption of grasscutter farming including education and age of the producers, access to credit, contact with an extension structure and availability of training in grasscutter breeding. The main constraints to the development of grasscutter husbandry in Northern Bénin are difficulties in feeding (especially in the dry season), low level of training in breeding techniques, high start up capital and lack of credit. Mr Emmanuel K. Kwapong, ARB Apex Bank Limited, Ghana in his presentation on Financing Products for Grasscutter Farmers, shared how rural banks in Ghana could assist grasscutter farmers in accessing credit. He shared that funds for rural banks come from the government and also from funds mobilised by the rural banks. He advised farmers to join groups and obtain training and certification since these were some of the things that banks would consider in deciding if the entrepreneur would be likely to succeed. Mr K.B. Owusu Sekyere showed participants a practical approach to developing a business Plan. He taught that a business plan was a written document describing the internal and external elements of a new venture and evaluating all the aspects of the economic viability of a venture. A good plan should integrate the functional plans - marketing, finance, production, and human resources and address both short-term and long-term decision making for first three years. He gave an outline for writing a business plan and explained how farmers could write their own business plan using the outline provided. Country Specific Experiences The session invited participants from five countries to share with participants the details of grasscutter farming in their respective countries as well as plans and policies being put in place to move the industry forward. Representatives from Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon and Liberia shared with the forum. 4

13 Networking and Way Forward This took the form of an energy charged brainstorming session in which participants shared the issues which they felt should be in the forefront of future networking. Some of the contributions included; enabling policy, synergy, build up capacities, teach the youth (looking for showcase to, promote grasscutter farming-tv, exhibition, school visits), training, team up for education, learn from women, teaching the teacher, advertise grasscutter as business, business management skills, train producers for fattening, teaching Grasscutter husbandry, and communication. Forum Evaluation Participants filled evaluation forms where they assessed the forum on 10 criteria namely; forum publicity, general organisation, registration process, time management, quality of presentations, field trip, exhibition, snacks and meals, facilitation, overall rating. For the results of the evaluation please see page 235. Closing The forum closed with a brief statement from the Minister of Agriculture of Benin who shared his summary of the way forward. After the official closing interested participants were taken on a tour to the famous Akosombo Dam. Background to Workshop The first international forum on promoting grasscutter as a business in West Africa was held in Ghana at the Institute of Local Government Studies in Madina from Monday 12 th December to Friday 16 th December, The Topic The rearing of grasscutter as a business is being undertaken more and more by farmers and others and it has proved to be a viable business in many African countries. Although the industry is facing challenges in housing, breeding stock, financing and marketing; technological and social packages have been developed to solve these problems on a sustainable basis. It is for this reason that an international forum was organized in Ghana to promote grasscutter farming. Grasscutter rearing has many benefits apart from the economic welfare of the farmer, it aids in promoting sound environmental management (e.g. combating bushfire), contributes to moderating the bushmeat crisis and increases the supply and consumption of protein. Therefore, governments and other partners have an important role to play in encouraging the grasscutter rearing business. Key Issues of the Forum Policies and Advocacy What are the service requirements in grasscutter farming and how can these be met? Poverty Alleviation How can grasscutter production contribute to the Millennium Development Goals and the Poverty Reduction Strategies? Bush Meat Crisis How does the production of grasscutter meat contribute to reduce unsustainable bushmeat hunting and ensure long term food security? Challenges and Opportunities in the Grasscutter Business How can productivity in captive grasscutter rearing be increased? What are the challenges and what innovative solutions have been developed in breeding, housing, feeding and health? Processing and Marketing Which products made from grasscutter exist; which products can be developed? What are the market outlets? 5

14 Developing a Business Plan Which factors should be considered to create a business plan for grasscutter rearing? What are the opportunities for financing? Networking and Funding How do stakeholders in the grasscutter value chain collaborate? How can this collaboration be improved in (West-) Africa? Workshop Organisers and Sponsors Under the host of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture/ Animal Production Directorate in Ghana, the forum was jointly organized by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)/ Animal Research Institute (ARI), Ghana; Ministère d Agriculture d Elevage et de la Pêche (MAEP), Bénin; Institute Nationale de la Recherche Agricole du Bénin (INRAB); Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO); Market Oriented Agriculture Programme (GTZ, DED), Ghana, HEIFER International Ghana, Grasscutter Farmers Associations Brong Ahafo, Volta and Greater Accra Regions: Other sponsors and supporters were Wireweaving Ltd. Ghana, Goldfields Ghana, Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Ghana Wildlife Society, Ghana Wildlife Foundation, Programme de Conservation et de Gestion et des Resources Naturelles, Benin (GTZ, KfW), Projet d'elevage des Aulacodes au Cameroun (PEAC), BØrne Fonden, West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA)/ Accra Zoo, University College of Education Winneba, Universities of Development Studies, University of Ghana, KNUST, Development Assistance to School Farms (DASFA), ECASARD, Centre for Biodiversity Utilisation and Development (CBUD), Centre for Development of People (CEDEP), Tropenbos International Ghana, Opportunities Industrialisation Centers International (OICI), Action Aid Ghana and Newmont, Ghana. Workshop Objective Workshop objectives included; Creating awareness about grasscutter rearing as a viable business venture in West Africa. Providing a forum for the exchange of practical, technical and scientific experiences as well as information on production, processing and marketing of grasscutter in West Africa Creating a platform for advocacy, sensitisation and education. Developing a framework for stakeholder collaboration in grasscutter promotion, networking and research. The Concept and Method Using the value chain concept, the forum brought together the various actors involved in input supply, production, processing, marketing and trade to exchange information and experiences, identify limitations, challenges, options and opportunities and establish networks across the value chain to promote the building of successful grasscutter businesses. The methods used during the forum were presentations by practitioners and promoters, discussions, poster presentations, exhibition of housing models, animals and processed grasscutter products, and video displays. The workshop combined a series of interactive methods to enhance individual and group learning. These included the presentation of technical papers, practical demonstrations, field trips, visual presentations, group work and plenary discussions. At the exhibition that was mounted, participants displayed their experiences with pictures and posters. On display were housing models, animals, processed grasscutter products, wiremesh, grasscutter clothing, information on various production and processing procedures, reference material and many 6

15 others. The AIDS Commission Ghana/TCAF were present to provide participants with information on the HIV/Aids pandemic. Private business people added to the exhibitions diversity and attractiveness. An Open Space session was organised to allow participants to focus on their areas of interest and seek further information on technical and organisational issues. The conference was in two languages, French and English, most of the presentations were in English with simultaneous interpretation, some local languages were also used to facilitate understanding. Workshop Program Overview Workshop Day 1 was used for the official opening ceremony and the opening of the exhibition on the grasscutter value chain, 3 technical papers were also presented. Table1: Day 1 Opening Ceremony and opening of exhibition Introduction into the Value Chain of Grasscutter Market and Processed products Bush Meat Crises Eleven (11) papers were presented in Day 2 under 4 broad headings (Table 2), after which a field trip to various farms was organised in the afternoon for interested participants. A video presentation on grasscutter farming was played for those who were not interested in the field trip. Table 2: Day 2 Productivity Housing Feeding/Health Breeding Field Trip/ Video Show Day 3 began with experience sharing from the field trip and continued with an open space session where 5 groups of participants listened to presentations and discussed topics around the value chain of grasscutter production. Each group discussed two topics spending about 45 minutes on each topic. Topics covered subjects such as extension, nutrition, health, farmers associations, breeding, gender, housing, processing, the role of government and economic aspects of grasscutter rearing. See page 81 for a detailed program of the open space session. Table 3: Day 3 Experience Sharing Open Space Day 4 focused on the economics of grasscutter rearing such as business planning, funding and financial management. Three papers were presented under three major topics. Table 4: Day 4 Day 4 Economic Analysis Financing Product For Grasscutter Farmers Developing A Business Plan A Practical Approach Day 5 was used to foster effective networking amongst the stakeholders in the grasscutter industry and for evaluating the conference. The forum was officially closed and the day ended with a pleasure trip to the Akosombo Dam for interested participants. Table 5: Day 5 Day 5 Country Specific Experiences 7

16 Networking and Way Forward Forum Evaluation Closing Trip to Akosombo Dam Organisation of Proceedings The proceedings provide a record of all the abstracts of papers presented at the forum and the full text of some of the presentations. Most of the abstracts are in both French and English with the English version coming first. Immediately after each set of abstracts, the full text of the paper is provided in the language in which it was presented. Some presenters did not present written papers but rather presented only power point presentations; in such a case only the abstracts are provided. The report is organised chronologically in the order in which the presentations were made during the forum Participation and Attendance This forum was organised by and for grasscutter farmer organisations and related service providers, namely extensionists, researchers, teaching institutions, input suppliers, financial institutions, supporting NGOs, Governmental Institutions and Development Partners supporting the production, processing and marketing of high quality grasscutter meat. The workshop attracted three hundred and eighty one (381) participants from Six (6) African Countries and One (1) European Country, namely, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Germany, 68 organisations and 19 Associations as well as media representatives. Some of the dignitaries present included the representatives of the Ministers of Agriculture for Ghana and Benin, the German Ambassador to Ghana, FAO Regional Representative for Africa, the Country Director of Heifer International the Director of Animal Production, MOFA, The Country Director of CBUB, The Director of Animal Research Institute, CSIR, Ghana and many others. Annex 2 presents the list of participants for the workshop. 8

17 SESSION 2: OPENING STATEMENTS Overview of Opening Statements Opening statements were made by all the stakeholders involved in the organisation of the workshop. The keynote address was given by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Ghana, who officially opened the workshop. Welcome Address by Director for Animal Production, MOFA Ghana Statement by Representative of Ghana s Grasscutter Farmers Associations Statement by Country Director of CBUD Statement by Director of Animal Research Institute Statement by His Excellency the German Ambassador to Ghana Statement by Country Director of Heifer International Speech by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; Republic of Benin Statement by FAO Regional Representatives for Africa Statement by Private Investor; Wireweaving Industries Ltd Keynote Address by the Honourable Minister for Food and Agriculture, Ghana Key Messages and Meanings from the Opening Statements Welcome Address by Director of Animal Production, MOFA Ghana Dr Kwame Opong Anane Mr. Chairman, Hon. Minister of Food and Agriculture, Your Excellency German, Ambassador to Ghana, Distinguished Grasscutter Farmers, Participants, Ladies and Gentleman, It is my pleasant duty to welcome you all, on behalf of the Hon. Minister and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) of Ghana, to the Official Opening of this important forum on Grasscutter promotion. We are grateful to have in our presence today a host of very important persons including our dear grasscutter farmers and researchers. Mr. Chairman, today and for the next four days, the humble grasscutter goes international for we have in our midst participants from eight countries as well as representatives from a number of international institutions and NGO s. Mr. Chairman, grasscutter farming in Ghana received official attention in the late 1960s when Dr. E.A.O. Asibey, the then Director of Game and Wildlife Department, commenced studies on the grasscutter. Not only did his work earn him a doctorate degree in 1973, but it gave scientists an insight into the physiology, domestication and breeding to take up grasscutter rearing. Mr. Chairman, our friends in the Republic of Benin graciously took up the mantle from Dr. Asibey and today we no longer see the grasscutter as a mere object for poverty alleviation but an object for business, and hence the theme Promoting Grasscutter as a business in West Africa. Mr, Chairman, I am happy that the toils of the pioneers of grasscutter research and production have not been in vain. Mr. Chairman, the holding of this international forum on the grasscutter is through the initiative of the grasscutter farmers of Ghana, and I wish to recommend, in particular, the Greater Accra and Brong Ahafo Grasscutter Farmers Associations for their foresight that has brought us here today. Mr. Chairman, I will like to place on record the Ministry of Food and Agriculture s deep appreciation for the patronage received form various institutions, organisations and our hard working grasscutter 9

18 farmers towards the holding of this forum. Special mention is made of the support the Ministry has received from GTZ and some other organizations in the promotion of grasscutter as a business in Ghana for the last few years. We hope this collaboration will continue in the years to come. Once again, Mr. Chairman, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen; you are welcome to this forum and thank you for coming. Merci Beaucoup. Statement by Representative of Ghana s Grasscutter Farmers Associations Mrs Rebecca Reynolds, Grasscutter Association Pokuase Mr. Chairman, His Excellency German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Peter Linder, Hon. Ministers from Benin and Ghana, Representative of FAO Africa, Country Directors, Distinguished guests, Grasscutter Farmers, Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen. Grasscutter has been a common and traditional meat in the bowl of the natives of Ghana over the years. The taste of the grasscutter meat is traditional and original. The demand is therefore high and supply low. Grasscutter rearing has become one of the economic activities in Ghana and in West Africa. It is a business which has to be sustained many people would want to exploit this viable and increative venture. In the past no detailed research on grasscutter was made and knowledge and skills in handling of the rodent was not known, but now with research and innovations grasscutter farming is taking off. Interest is now high in grasscutter production. Innovative ideas are being exchanged by farming leading to an initiative to organize this Forum. At this stage, grasscutter production and management, housing and breeding stock have increases but there are challenges and there is the need for organizations such as GTZ, Heifer and other stakeholders to support our associations for successful business. Achievements Awareness increased: More associations are formed across the length and breadth of Ghana with membership increasing daily. The Forum being opened today is the greatest achievement the grasscutter farmers association has achieved. Other financiers like the banks and business concern have been made aware of the need or micro finance. Way forward Our aspiration is that grasscutter production shall be the top of Presidential Initiative. The ECOWAS make grasscutter business as a priority on animal production. FAO in their next general council meeting will promote grasscutter production as an additive in protein in take. Thank you. Statement by Country Director of CBUD Dr B. Amoako Atta Hon. Minister for Food and Agriculture, Ghana; Hon. Deputy Minister in charge of Livestock; Your Excellency the German Ambassador to Ghana; FAO Rep Africa; Hon. Minister for Food and Agriculture, Republic of Benin; Director of Animal production, MOFA; African Area Director of HEIFER 10

19 International, Director General of CSIR, Managing Director of Wire Weaving Industries Ltd.; Hon. Grasscutter Farmers, Distinguished Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen Promotional efforts CBUD S promotional efforts on grasscutter development activities have been targeted towards demystifying production techniques for maximized returns. Within this framework, specified husbandry practices than have been simplified for farmer s adoption include: Taming of wild grasscutter into domesticated breeding stock through adaptive management techniques. Combining scientific and indigenous knowledge systems for improved management techniques well suited to capacity building of target beneficiaries. Reduced mortality in transit through proper handing methods. Development of suitable cages and housing structures that is economical to produce. Grasscutter production as a tool for poverty reduction and wealth creation Through CBUD s promotional effort there has been a drastic shift from the consumption of hunted wild grasscutter, to increased patronage of live, domesticated, healthier grasscutter. This has impacted on sustainable production, conservation and environmental preservation through a reduction in the incidence of bushfires. With over 10,000 persons impacted with skills and resources in grasscutter production, there is a sharp increase in grasscutter acquisition demands, both as starter stocks and for consumption. The consequence is a well developed market niche for grasscutter and grasscutter products as a ready market source for framers produce. CBUD s promotional efforts on grasscutter among other products, has found a perfect focus in the social responsibility agenda of some corporate and institutional partners including mining companies, and sector Ministries within the framework of skills training and development for sustainable alternative livelihood for their affiliate beneficiaries. Challenges Notwithstanding these accomplishments the following challenges confront successful promotional efforts in grasscutter production: Inbreeding Observation of good hygiene Attitudes/ lack of business/ market orientation Way forward There is the need to encourage participation and adherence to good management practices. Sustain developing market linkages for maximized returns CBUD wishes to caution that people should be encouraged to participate in grasscutter production as a business but not as ordinary publicity. We wish you well in your deliberation and hope that this meeting will not be only a one day affair. Thank you. Statement by Director of Animal Research Institute Dr K. J. Aining Mr. Chairman, Hon. Minister of State, His Excellency, German Ambassador to Ghana, Country directors/representative of our development partner organisations, Director of CSIR and MOFA, Coordinators of Grasscutter Projects, Extensionist and Grasscutter Farmers, members of the Press Corps, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen. 11

20 I am honoured to be invited to present this statement on behalf of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research- Animal Research Institute (CSIR-ARI) on the occasion of this international meeting which aims at promoting the business of grasscutter production. The domestic production of grasscutter as a business enterprise encompassing its farming, processing, packaging and marketing offers vast opportunities of diversifying animal production in Ghana and other West African countries. Apart from its potential for rural peri- urban and even urban poverty reduction it falls into Ghana Government s plans for increasing the contribution of agriculture to the country s GDP through processing and agribusiness. Grasscutter meat is a delicacy in many West African countries and is greatly sought after. This has led to massive hunting of the species in the wild through methods that are destructive to the environment and injurious to the health of consumers. Domestication of the grasscutter and its farming will therefore make very significant contributions to the economy, food security, environmental conservation, public health, and social well-being of countries of the sub-region. CSIR-Animal Research Institute initiated research into the domestication of the grasscutter in Ghana, as back as the 1960 s but the attempts were half-heated and by 1975, had altogether stopped. It was Dr. Asibey of the Ghana Wildlife Service who resuscitated research into the biology and domestication of the species in the late 1970 s, and CSIR-ARI took it up again with the recruitment of an energetic and highly committed young Scientist, Mr. E.K Adu in The research agenda of the CSIR is closely linked to the Government of Ghana s development agenda. The CSIR-ARI s mission, overall, is to develop and disseminates technologies that will contribute to the production and productivity of livestock and poultry and also to enhance natural resource management and current all our activities are centered on the millennium Development Goal of poverty reduction. What are the Research Issues? 1. To produce grasscutter on a large scale for both innovative actions, which should be predicated on Research? 2. First we must select suitable stock of grasscutter to survivability and productivity under domestication. 3. Then we need to undertake breeding research urgently obtain animals that have desirable traits. Optimum litter size Good weaning weight Desirable growth rate Fee conversion rate For grasscutter promotion to be undertaken on a commercial basis, nutritional package must be developed. The nutritional requirements of all stages of farmed grasscutter-breeders, neonates, weaners, growers and Fatteners must be ascertained. Appropriate housing types have to have to be designed and tested. The health problems of grasscutter in captivity and under commercial production must be closely monitored and answers found to them. Mating procedures must be studied and optimized. Management of pregnant animals and the parturition process must also be studied. Also importantly are the processing, preservation and packaging grasscutter meat for the domestic market and for export. The socio-economic factors affecting grasscutter farming must also be studied. For example, would meat of farmed grasscutter be as acceptable as grasscutter bush meat? At what age of slaughter would the taste of grasscutter be acceptable to chop-bar keepers? Ladies and Gentleman, there is a lot to research into to make this enterprise profitable. But results from research development efforts from CSIR-ARI, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research Animal Production Directorate, with admirable support from the GTZ indicate that the challenge has been accepted. 12

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