A Perspective on the Impact of Reproductive Technologies on Food Production in Africa

Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 752)


Africa for the largest part is still regarded as part of the developing world and has a history of political instability, natural disasters, floods and droughts that all had an effect on the development of livestock production systems and the potential application of biotechnologies. It is expected that the human population in sub Saharan Africa will experience a growth of 1.2 % per year over the next 30 years. There is therefore pressure to increase sustainable productivity of livestock. Reproductive technologies such as Artificial Insemination in Africa were driven primarily by the need to control or prevent venereal diseases like Trichomoniases and Campylobacter fetus in cattle. Reproductive biotechnology had a limited impact in Africa due to several factors including a lack of infrastructure and animal recording systems, clear breeding objectives and continuously changing production systems and markets. Africa has a large variety of genetic resources adapted to the diverse environment and production systems and biotechnology should be applied within this context for an increase in food production.


Reproductive biotechnology Artificial insemination Embryo transfer Indigenous Cattle sheep Goats Animal recording Animal identification Adaptation 


  1. Alderson GLH (1999) The development of a system of linear measurements to provide an assessment of type and function of beef cattle. Anim Genet Resour 25:45–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Amare B, Kefyalew A, Zeleke M (2012) Typical features, characterization and breeding objectives of Begait sheep in Ethiopia. Anim Genet Resour 50:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barker RL (1988) Genetic resistance to endoparasites in sheep and goats. A Review of genetic resistance to gastrointestinal nematode parasites in sheep and goats in the tropics and evidence for resistance in some sheep and goat breeds in sub-humid coastal Kenya. Anim Genet Resour 24:13–30Google Scholar
  4. Bebe BO, Udo HMJ, Rowlands GJ, Thorpe W (2003) Small holder dairy systems in the Kenay highlands: breed preferences and breeding practices. Livestock Prod Sci 82:117–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bergh L (2010) The National beef recording and improvement scheme, chap 5. In: Scholtz MM (ed) Beef breeding in South Africa. Agricultural Research Council. www. Agric.zaGoogle Scholar
  6. Bonsma JC (1980) Livestock production: a global approach. Tafelberg, Cape TownGoogle Scholar
  7. Corrigan L, Parnell PF (2006) Application of genetics technology in the temperate Australian beef seedstock industry. In: Proceedings of Australian Beef—The Leader! Conference. University of New England, Armidale, 7–8 March 2006Google Scholar
  8. Cunningham EP (1999) The application of biotechnologies to enhance animal production in different farming systems. Livestock Prod Sci 58:1–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Delgado C, Rosengrat M, Steinfeld H, Ehui S, Courbis C (1999) Livestock 2020: the next food revolution, food, agriculture and the Environment discussion paper 28 IFPRI/FAO/ILRI. IFPRI, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  10. Department of Animal Health and Production, Botswana (2000) Omang Wa Dikgomo. Livestock identification and trace-back system. Department of Veterinary Services, Gabarone, BotswanaGoogle Scholar
  11. Du Plessis I, Hoffman LC, Calitz FJ (2005) Influence of reproduction traits and pre-weaning growth rate on herd efficiency of different beef breed types in an arid sub-tropical environment. S Afr J Anim Sci 35:89–98Google Scholar
  12. Du Preez JH, Terblanche SJ, Giesecke WH, Maree C, Welding MC (1991) Effect of heat stress on a dairy herd model under South African conditions. Theriogenology 35(5):1039–1049CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Du Toit PJ, Louw JA, Malan AI (1940) A study of the mineral content and feeding value of natural pastures in the Union of South Africa. Onderstepoort J Vet Res 14:123Google Scholar
  14. Ellis RW, Rupp GP, Chenoweth PJ, Cundiff LV, Lunstra DD (2005) Fertility of yearling beef bulls during mating. Theriogenology 64:657–678CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Escrivao RJA, Webb EC, Garces APJT (2009) Effects of 12 hour calf withdrawal on conception rate and calf performance of Bos indicus cattle under extensive conditions. Trop Anim Health Prod 41:135–139CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Escrivao RJA, Webb EC, Garces APJT, Grimbeek RJ (2012) Effects of 48 hour calf withdrawal on conception rates of Bos indicus cows and calf weaning weights in extensive production systems. Trop Anim Health Prod 44:1779–1782CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. FAO Statistical yearbook (2012) Part 1 Livestock cattle 46–49. FAO RomeGoogle Scholar
  18. Faustin PL, Kyvsgaard NC (2003) Improving pig husbandry in tropical resource-poor communities and its potential to reduce risk of porcine cysticercosis. Acta Trop 87:111–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Flores R, Looper ML, Rorie RW, Hallford DM, Rosenkrans CF Jr (2008) Endocrine factors and ovarian follicles are influenced by body condition and somatotropin in postpartum beef cows. J Anim Sci 86:1335–1344CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Gizaw S, Van Arendonk JAM, Komen H, Windig JJ, Hanotte O (2007) Population structure, genetic variation and morphological diversity in indigenous sheep of Ethiopia. Anim Genet 38:621–628CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Goosens B, Osaer S, Ndao M, Van Winghem J, Geerts S (1999) The susceptibility of Djanllonke and Dkallonke-Sahelian crossbred sheep tp Trypanosoma congolense and helminth infection under different diet level. Vet Parasitol 85(1):25–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hanotte O, Jianlin H (2005) Genetic characterization of livestock populations and its use in conservation decision-making. In: The role of biotechology, Villa Gualino, Italy, 5–7 March 2005Google Scholar
  23. Holt W, Pickard AR (1999) Role of reproductive technologies and genetic resource banks in animal conservation. Rev Reprod 4:143–150CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Houghton PL, Lemeneger RP, Moss GE, Hendrix KS (1990) Prediction of postpartum beef cow body composition using weight to height ratio and visual body condition score. J Anim Sci 68:1428–1437Google Scholar
  25. Ibeagha-Awemu EM, Erhardt G (2004) Genetic structure and differentiation of 12 African Bos Indicus and Bos Taurus cattle breeds, inferred from protein and microsatellite polymorphisms. J Anim Breed Genet 122:12–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kahi AK, Rewe TO (2008) Biotechnology in livestock production: overview of possibilities for Africa. Afr J Biotechnol 7(25):4984–4991Google Scholar
  27. Kios D, Van Marle-Köster E, Visser C (2011) Application of DNA markers in parentage verification of Boran cattle in Kenya. Tropl Anim Health Prod 41(3):471–476Google Scholar
  28. Koehler-Rollefson I (2012) Sustainable solutions need smallholder systems. Global donor platform for rural development. http://wwwdonorplatformorg/livestock-and-pastoralism
  29. Kosgey IS, Baker RL, Udo HMJ, Van Arendonk JAM (2006) Successes and failures of small ruminant breeding programmes in the tropics: a review. Small Rumin Res 61:13–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kosgey IS, Mbuki SM, Okeyo AM, Amimo J, Philipsosson J, Ojango JM (2011) Institutional and organizational frameworks for dairy and beef cattle recording in Kenya: a review and opportunities for improvement. Anim Genet Resour 48:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lenstra JA, Groeneveld LF, Eding H, Kantanen J, Williams JL, Taberlet P et al (2011) Molecular tools and analytical approaches for the characterization of farm animal genetic diversity. Anim Genet 41:1–20Google Scholar
  32. Machuka J (2001) Agricultural biotechnology for Africa African scientists and farmers must feed their own people. Plant Physiol 126:16–19CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Mapiye C, Chimomyo M, Muchenje V, Dzama K, Mumyaradzi CM, Raats JG (2007) Potential for value—addition of Nguni cattle products in the communal areas of South Africa: a review. Afr J Agric Res 2(10):488–495Google Scholar
  34. Mattiolo RC, Pandey VS, Murray M, Fitzpatrick JL (2000) Immunogenetic influences on tick resistance in African cattle with particular reference to trypanotolerant N’Dama (Bos taurus) and trypanosusceptible Gobra zebu (Bos indicus) cattle. Acta Trop 75(3):263–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mirkena T, Duguma G, Haile A, Tibbo M, Okeyo AM, Wurzinger M, Solkner J (2010) Genetics of adaptation in domestic farm animals: a review. Livestock Sci 132:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Morrison DG, Spitzer JC, Perkins JL (1999) Influence of prepartum body condition score change on reproduction in multiparous beef cows calving in moderate body condition score. J Anim Sci 77:1048–1053PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Mwacharo JM, Okeyo AM, Kamande GK, Rege JEO (2006) The small East African shorthorn zebu cows in Kenya. I: linear body measurements. Trop Anim Health Prod 38:65–74CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Peters KJ, Zumbach B (2004) Needs for research and development in livestock recording systems (LRS) in transition and developing countries. Technical series no 9. In: Pauw R, Mack S, Maki-Hokkonen J (eds) Development of animal identification and recording systems for the developing countries. icar technical series are published by the International committee for animal recording. pp 152–174Google Scholar
  39. Pica-Ciamarra U, Baker D, Bedane B, Emwanu T, Morgan N (2010) Intergrating livestock into agricultural statistics Joint paper of the World Bank, FAO, October 2010Google Scholar
  40. Pollak EJ (2005) Application and impact of new genetic technologies on beef cattle breeding: a “real world perspective”. Aust J Exp Agric 45:739–748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Qwabe SO, Van Marle-Köster E, Visser C (2012) Genetic diversity and population structure of the endangered Namaqua Afrikander sheep. Trop Health Prod. doi:101007/s 11250-012-0250 onlineGoogle Scholar
  42. Read MVP, Engels EAN (1986) Phosphorus and the grazing ruminant. 2. The effects of supplementary P on cattle at Glen and Armoedsvlakte. S Afr J Anim Sci 16:7–12Google Scholar
  43. Rege JEO (1999) The state of African cattle genetic resources. I. Classification framework and identification of threatened and extinct breeds. Anim Genet Resour 25:1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rege JEO, Marshall K, Notenbaert A, Ojango JMK, Okeyo AM (2011) Pro-poor animal improvement and breeding—what can science do? Livest Sci 136:15–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Roberts CJ, Gray AR (1973) Studies on trypanosome-resistant cattle. II. The effect of trypanosomiasis on N’dama, Muturu and Zebu cattle. Trop Anim Health Prod 5(4):220–233CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Rode LM, McAllister TA, Beauchemin KA, Morgavi DP, Nsereko VL, Yang WZ, Iwaasa AD, Wang Y (2010) Enzymes as direct-feed additives for ruminants. In: Renaville R, Burny A (eds) Biotechnology in animal husbandry. Kluwer Academic, DodrechtGoogle Scholar
  47. Ruxandra D-AR (2010) Gene therapeutic enhancement of animal health and performances. In: Renaville R, Burny A (eds) Biotechnology in animal husbandry. Kluwer Academic, DodrechtGoogle Scholar
  48. Scheepers SM, Annandale CH, Webb EC (2010) Relationship between production characteristics and breeding potential of 25-month old extensively managed Bonsmara bulls. S Afr J Anim Sci 40(3):163–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Scherf BD (ed) (2000) World Watch list for domestic animal diversity, 3rd edn. FAO/UNEP, RomeGoogle Scholar
  50. Scholtz MM, McManus C, Okeyo AM, Theunissen A (2011) Opportunities for beef production in developing countries of the southern hemisphere. Livestock Sci 142:195–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Spickett AM, De Klerk D, Enslin CB, Scholtz MM (1989) Resistance of Nguni, Bonsmara and Hereford cattle to ticks in a Bushveld region of South Africa Onderstepoort. J Vet Res 56:245–250Google Scholar
  52. Stewart IB, Louw BP, Lishman AW (1993) Suckling behaviour and fertility in beef cows on pasture, 1. Suckling behaviour. S Afr J Anim Sci 23:176–179Google Scholar
  53. Taberlet P, Valentini H, Rezaei R, Naderi S, Pompanon F, Negrini R (2008) Are cattle, sheep and goats endangered species? Mol Ecol 17:275–284CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Taylor G, Swanepoel FJC, Webb EC, Stroebel A (2008) Effect of heifer frame size on their subsequent reproductive performance and preweaning performance of their calves. Aust J Exp Agric 48:945–949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Theiler A, Green HH, Du Toit PJ (1927) Minimum mineral requirements in cattle. J Agric Sci 17(3):291–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Thibier M, Wagner H-G (2002) World statistics for artificial insemination in cattle. Livestock Prod Sci 74:203–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Thornton PK (2010) Livestock production: recent trends, future prospects. Philos Trans R Soc 365:2853–2867CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Van Arendonk JAM (2011) The role of reproductive technologies in breeding schemes for livestock populations in developing countries. Livestock Sci 136:29–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Vilakazi DM, Webb EC (2004) Effect of age and season on sperm morphology of Friesland bulls at an artificial insemination centre in South Africa. S Afr J Anim Sci 34(1):62–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Webb EC, Van Niekerk WA, Lee K, Marais WJ (2010) Reproductive performance of semi-extensively kept Döhne Merino ewes fed with different protein sources. S Afr J Anim Sci 40(5):451–454Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal and Wildlife SciencesUniversity of PretoriaHatfieldSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations