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2.2 Learning points from the experience and innovation Box 6. What do we learn from this case? 

When given appropriate technical support, farmers have proved that they can be very  efficient breeders, equitably sharing the limited genetic resources among themselves,  hence strengthening community­based but farmer­led genetic improvement systems  is  a sure way forward that need to be popularized  for small­holder targeted  goat  development programmes. Formation and strengthening if farmer groups, including breeders’ associations at a  village  level,   serve  not only  as   focal  centre’s  for  new  technology   adaptation  and  uptake   (genetic   and   husbandry   improvement),   livestock   marketing,   but   also   as  avenues for   critically addressing the human social factors such as empowerment,  good governance, including advocacy rules for the members The farmer groups and associations offer windows of opportunities for accessing and  managing hitherto unavailable credit facilities (e.g. cash, drugs, feeding stock and  equipment) by the resource poor livestock farmers without demanding collaterals. The community based and farmer led approaches enable partnership building based  on   shared   needs.   This   leads   to   integrated   systems   approach   whereby,   all   aspects  (breeding, feeding, fodder development, housing, marketing, disease control etc) are  addressed by the farmers, extension staff and researchers together. Policy, research and development needs and issues, especially those touching on the  small   ruminant   sector   are   better   highlighted   and   discussed   when   the   farmers  themselves   actively  participate.   Community   based and  farmer   led  initiatives  offer  direct opportunities for farmers’ participation hence ensuring the inclusion of their  view and concerns in the national policy agenda. Farmer   group   approaches   could   enable   value   addition   to   their   animals   (breed  registration   and   inspection)   and   products   through   better   quality   control   and  processing (e.g. cheese and other goat milk products) therefore maximizing returns  from the enterprise.  Farmers have become more enlightened and empowered in social organizations and  development   as   can   be   seen   in   the   number   of   groups   being   formed   and   in   the  successful MGBA annual general meeting and elections. The population of improved goats and pure Toggernburgs that are sold from Meru  has continued to increase.

2.3 The group system An overriding here to ask is­  would the farmers have achieved the success noted if they   participated as individuals? FARM­Africa in collaboration with the Ministry of Livestock development helped set up 44  groups   of   around   18­25   farmers   –   women,   men   or   mixed   gender   and   MGBA   has 

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Case 5 Meru Goat Breeders Association  
Case 5 Meru Goat Breeders Association  

Case 5 Meru Goat Breeders Association

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