Village breeding programmes were defined as breeding activities carried out by communities of smallholder farmers, often at subsistence level. The classical components of breeding programmes (description of production environment, definition of breeding objectives, choice of traits to be selected, decision about breeding method and organisation structure) were analysed under the premise that environmental conditions are rough and not easily changed. Practical examples of breeding projects were sought to highlight approaches and problems. Definition of a comprehensive breeding goal incorporating the specific needs and social circumstances of the target group as well as ecological constraints was found to be missing in virtually all cases. If defined explicitly at all, simplistic breeding objectives (improvement of growth or of milk yield) prevailed. Traits which represent a comprehensive breeding goal are mostly complex traits with components of production and reproduction (e.g., number or weight of offspring per year). Recording of such traits and individual animal identification is in many cases difficult. Use should be made of existing structures for transfer of knowledge and information.

Johann Sölkner, H. N Nakimbugwe, A. V Zarate

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 25: Lactation; growth and efficiency; meat quality; role of exotic breeds in the tropics; design of village breeding programmes;, , 273–280, 1998
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