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Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-6

Ethnoveterinary practices among small-holder goat farmers in Ogun State, Nigeria

1 Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria
2 Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria
3 Department of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal of Science and Livestock Production, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria
4 Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Parasitology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria

Date of Submission19-Aug-2020
Date of Acceptance09-Sep-2020
Date of Web Publication15-Sep-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. O T Irekhore
Department of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal of Science and Livestock Production, Federal University of Agriculture, P.M.B. 2240, Abeokuta, Ogun State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/MTSP.MTSP_11_20

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Objective: Challenges of diseases and inadequate healthcare skills limit productivity of livestock while dearth of qualified veterinarians in rural communities have encouraged ethno-veterinary practices by small-holder farmers. Prevalent goat diseases and the practice and perception of ethno-veterinary activities among small-holder goat farmers were evaluated in Yewa North Local Government Area, Ogun State, Nigeria. Material and Methods: Data were drawn from 110 goat farmers (selected through multistage sampling technique) using Interview guide. Data obtained were analysed using descriptive statistics, Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient and Chi Square analyses. Results showed that respondents mean age, farming experience and average herd size were 63 years, 21.5 years and 15 goats, respectively. All the farmers reared the West African Dwarf breed of goat. Parent stocks were mainly sourced from fellow farmers (95.5%) and most of the farmers keep goats for economic benefits (93.6%). Results: Common diseases that farmers observe in the goats were mange, ecthyma, peste des petits ruminants, and foot rot. Result indicated that farmers largely (81.8%) adopted ethno-veterinary practices in goats disease control and adoption of these practices was due to poor access to professional veterinary doctors (x̄=4.36, SD±0.89), ease of sourcing medicinal plants and herbs (x̄=4.16, SD±1.12), and cost effectiveness (x̄ =3.44, SD±1.21). Farming experience and herd size had significant association with farmers' perception of ethno-veterinary practice. Source of information did not influence farmers' perception on ethno-veterinary practices. Conclusion: Respondents preferred ethno-veterinary method in control of goat diseases and there is need for increased extension and veterinary interventions.

Keywords: Disease control, ethnoveterinary practices, goat health, small-holder farmers

How to cite this article:
Adeyeye O A, Osuntade E O, Irekhore O T, Akande F A. Ethnoveterinary practices among small-holder goat farmers in Ogun State, Nigeria. Matrix Sci Pharma 2021;5:1-6

How to cite this URL:
Adeyeye O A, Osuntade E O, Irekhore O T, Akande F A. Ethnoveterinary practices among small-holder goat farmers in Ogun State, Nigeria. Matrix Sci Pharma [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Feb 3];5:1-6. Available from: https://www.matrixscipharma.org/text.asp?2021/5/1/1/326040

  Introduction Top

Goats (Capra hircus) are widely distributed among livestock species in Africa and other continents of the world. They are commonly kept for their hardiness, wide religious acceptance, high reproductive performance, ability to utilize forages, and good feed conversion rate. The management of small ruminants, goat inclusive[1],[2] is largely coordinated by small holder farmers most of who are located in rural areas. This could be due, among other reasons, to the fact that the small sizes make them highly suitable for home consumption among poor households.[3] Animals in rural areas many raised under extensive systems and semi-intensive, often causing them to experience severe weather conditions and pathogens, and encourage the vulnerability and the spread of disease. Livestock diseases and poor management practices are major threats to the sustainable livelihoods of resource -poor rural communities.[4] Moreover, most small farmers in rural communities have little or no knowledge and ability of orthodox veterinary care while those with knowledge in many cases can barely afford the high costs.

Furthermore, successful livestock production has been challenged by changing rural contexts such as lack of medications,[5] inadequate veterinary services, and high cost of medical technologies.[6],[7] Rural farmers have therefore, over the years, evolved indigenous treatment methods as alternative solution for coping with disease constraints in both humans and animals.[8] The methods of treating animals using indigenous knowledge are broadly referred to as ethnoveterinary medicine (EVM).[5],[9] The pharmacopeia usually used in EVM includes plant products, animal products, as well as minerals.[10],[11] EVM plays important roles in animal health-care system across Africa not only because of poor linkages between veterinary agencies and livestock farmers, but also due to its low cost, environmental friendliness, and wide cultural acceptance and local availability of materials. As reported by,[11] the World Health Organization estimated that nearly 80% of the world's poor depend on EVM. In addition, increased awareness of short- and long-term effects of synthetic antibiotic or antimicrobial drugs on livestock and human consumers of animal products have necessitated paradigm shift toward more natural means of disease control under intensive and modern livestock production. Moreover, in the developed economies, farmers may utilize phytotherapeutic products in compliance with directives for organic livestock treatment.[12]

It was stated by Caudell et al.,[9] that EVM is usually practiced alongside or as an alternative to allopathic veterinary medicine. In nature, animals have been observed to consume certain plants to derive treatment for various ailments.[13] Furthermore, since there are distinctive pharmacological nature of properties derived from plants in treating animal infections and diseases,[14] there is a growing call for the use of plant-derived metabolites as healthier alternatives to synthetic agents in livestock production activities. There is also increased quest for environment-friendly technologies in support of livestock welfare and health.[15] Moreover, ethnoveterinary knowledge as posited by Ahmad et al.,[8] is communally owned under the custody of older members of the population and is passed across to generations by oral tradition depending on the community, ethnicity, sex, age, and caste. Conversely, there could be variations in generational knowledge and practices adopted in treating livestock depending on locality, environmental peculiarities, beliefs, seasonality of herbs, and advances in knowledge, among others. This study therefore aimed to assess the ethnoveterinary practices adopted by small-holder goat farmers in Ogun State, Nigeria, with a view to preserve and promote the heritage, provide basis for necessary interventions, improve livestock production and productivity as well as promote healthy goat products for human consumption. In the light of the foregoing, this study sought to answer the following objective statements:

  1. Identify the socioeconomic characteristics of goat farmers
  2. Ascertain prevalent diseases of goat, mode, and materials used for treatment and
  3. Examine the perception of goat farmers on ethnoveterinary practices.

  Materials and Methods Top

This study was carried out in Yewa North Local Government Area (LGA) of Ogun State, Nigeria. Yewa North LGA is located within coordinates of 7°14′00″N 3°02′00″E with headquarter in Ayetoro. It has the largest land mass of 200,213.5 hectares compared to other LGA s in the State.[16] A total of 110 small-holder goat farmers (59 males and 51 females) interviewed for this study were selected through multistage sampling technique. Interview guide was used to obtain data on socioeconomic characteristics of farmers, prevalent goat diseases, materials used for disease control and methods of administration, as well as farmers' perception on ethnoveterinary practices. The plants parts or other materials used in treating specific goat diseases as well as the orthodox methods were recorded. The plants were identified in their local names, while common and botanical names were also recorded. Data generated from the field were entered into Microsoft Excel 2013 and analyzed using SPSS Software. Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). SPSS 21.0 for windows. SPSS Inc. Chicago, Illinois, USA. 2016.[17] Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient and Chi-square were used to ascertain relationships existing between the variables at 0.05% (P < 0.05) level of significance. Results generated were also presented in descriptive statistics. Responses of farmers on the perception of ethnoveterinary practices were measured using Likert type scale rated as; strongly agreed (5), agreed (4), undecided (3), strongly disagreed (2), and disagreed (1). The mean score of the perception statements was 3.40. Therefore, any response with mean score >3.40 was adjudged as positive perception on ethnoveterinary practice and the results were ranked accordingly.

Hypothesis testing

The following hypotheses were tested in their null form:

  • Ho1: There is no significant relationship between the socioeconomic characteristics of the respondents and perception on ethnoveterinary practices
  • Ho2: There is no significant relationship between sources of information and respondents' perception on ethnoveterinary practices.

  Results and Discussion Top

Socioeconomic characteristics of goat farmers in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State

There is a good distribution of gender of farmers involved in goat rearing in the study area with 53.6% of them as males [Table 1]. Reports of other researchers revealed high proportion of male involvement in small ruminant farming across sub-Saharan Africa.[18],[19],[20],[21] High level of male involvement in livestock production could be attributed to male dominance in decision making[22] which includes technology transfer and adoption in most African settings. The results obtained in the present study could therefore be an indication of increasing participation of the female gender in decision making.
Table 1: Socioeconomic characteristics of respondents (n=110)

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The mean age of the respondents was 63.7 years with 45.5% of them being between 51 and 60 years. This implies that adults above the middle age were mostly involved in goat farming as a means of livelihood while young people are likely engaged in other more rigorous livelihood activities. This could also be a reflection of the fact that most of the rural dwellers are above middle age. There is a reasonable level of education among the respondent farmers as 45.5% and 30.0% of them had primary and secondary education, respectively. Findings show that mean general farming experience was 21.5 years with 60.0% of the respondents having 11–20 years' experience.

All the respondent farmers keep the West African Dwarf breed. Goat rearing is of significance to farmers because of the economic importance (93.6%) and high proliferation rate (39.1%). These observations are supported by the findings of researchers[23],[24],[25] who posited that small ruminants are of great importance because of their unique biological attributes of short gestation period, high prolificacy, rapid growth rate, high feed use-efficiency, and high marketability. Furthermore, the opinion of Oluwatayo and Oluwatayo[3] that small ruminants are suitable for home consumption, help to meet animal protein requirements as well as improve the nutrition and food security among rural households buttress results of this study as 65.5% of the farmers indicated that they rear goats specifically for household consumption. Farmers primarily source for parent stock from fellow farmers (95.5%). This could be due to ease of sourcing as well as assurance of stock quality and performance. A large proportion of the farmers (60%) reared between 11 and 20 goats with a mean herd size of 15. Results further showed that respondents commonly feed kitchen waste (59%), maize shaft (56%), and dried cassava peels (54%) to their goats in addition to foraging. Maize and cassava are common staple crops in the area; hence, the abundance of their by-products as feed for goats.

Goat farmers indicated that they used ethno-veterinary methods (81.8%) or a combination of orthodox and traditional methods (36.4%) to control goat diseases. This has nothing to do with the fact that there are advantages of crops and medicinal materials in rural communities other than the fact that farmers are knowledgeable about their use. Information on ethno-veterinary practices was largely obtained through extension agents while farmers received medicines, vaccines and orthodox services through unqualified veterinary officers (37.3) liaison agents (25.5) and professional veterinarians (12.7). However, consultation with unqualified veterinary personnel often lead to wrong administration of drugs with attendant hazardous effects on animal's health or consequences on humans' health when products from such animals are consumed. Inadequacy of extension and veterinary services to the rural livestock farmers could hinder the growth of livestock industry and livelihood of farmers. Report[26] has it that as at the year 2012, the ratio of extension agents to farm-families was 1: 3364 and is likely to have grown worse because of persistent poor funding of agricultural extension by government in most developing countries, Nigeria inclusive. This ratio is far below the United Nations' standard of an Extension Agent to about 500-800 farm-families.

Prevalent diseases of goat and control methods

Prevalent goat diseases as indicated by respondent farmers [Table 2] include contagious ecthyma (27.3%), peste des petits ruminants (PPR) (25.5%), foot rot (21.8%), mange (32.7%), and contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP) (13.6%). Both traditional (ethnoveterinary) and orthodox measures are employed by farmers in the control of diseases in goats. Contagious ecthyma (orf) is one of the important diseases of goats which could sometimes be transmitted to human handlers. It causes painful lesions of the mouth, nose, and feet membranes especially in young goats, though it may occur in animals of all ages.[27],[28],[29] It could affect feeding, delay or reduce growth, and cause weight loss in goats which will result to economic losses for farmers[29],[30] if not controlled. The sampled goat farmers treated this disease locally by scrapping the affected areas and applying used or spent engine oil. The farmers also use orthodox vaccine for its control.
Table 2: Prevalent diseases of goat and control methods (n=110)

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PPR is also recognized as an important disease to control to reduce poverty in Africa and South Asia as it is a great threat to small ruminant production and livelihood of smallholder farmers.[31],[32] The farmers who have access to orthodox medicine use PPR vaccine to control the disease while the ethnoveterinary practice employed in its control is the use of Christmas melon (Adenopus breviflorus), locally called “Itagiri” (“Tagiri”). The farmers cut a few melon bulbs into pieces and put in goats drinking water for both prophylactic and therapeutic purposes.

Foot rot is also common in the area of study probably due to the extensive and semi intensive system of rearing. It could be costly to control and may result in lameness, loss of condition, and mortality in goat and sheep.[33],[34] Farmers in the study area treat foot rot with topical application of a mixture of oil and powdered seed of Colocynthis vulgaris (wild gourd) which is locally called “Bara itapara.” Orthodox antibiotics are also used for its control.

Mange (sarcoptic mange) is of economic importance because it has impact on the productive and reproductive performance as well as the quality of meat and hide of animals.[35] The farmers studied use various plants for treating mange. Leaf extract and seed oil of neem (“Eke oyibo” or “Dongoyaro”) as well as extracts from leaves of other plants including button grass (“Irawo ile”), mango plant (“Mangoro”), giant milk weed (“Bomu bomu”), siam weed (“Akintolataku” or “Akintola” or “Awolowo”), tree of life (“Akoko”), and pignut (“Botuje”) are successfully used to control mange. The use of sulfur powder mixed with oil or kerosene was also reported to be effective against mange. The past work showed a recovery rate of 87.5% and 62.5% in mange infested goats when they were washed with tobacco and neem extracts, respectively.[35]

CCPP is a highly infectious disease of goat which is widespread in Africa, Asia, and Middle East which can cause high level of morbidity and mortality with resultant high economic losses.[36],[37] The goat farmers depend on orthodox vaccine for its control. This is an indication that an outbreak of the disease in areas with poor access to veterinary services could be a threat to stock and livelihood of farmers.

Perception on ethnoveterinary practices

Several factors could influence farmers' perception and practices. Respondents demonstrate preference for the use of traditional treatment over modern health care [Table 3] because of easy access to herbs, roots, leaves, and/or shrubs (= 4.16, standard deviation [SD] = 1.12) and cost effectiveness (= 3.44, SD = 1.21). This is in tandem with another reports[38] that cost and effectiveness influence ethnoveterinary practice among agro-pastoralists in Tanzania. The farmers are however of the opinion that increased adoption of modern medicine would limit ethnoveterinary practice. Seasonality of medicinal plants is not perceived by farmers as a barrier to ethnoveterinary practice. This could be as a result of the fact that many of the plants used are perennial, and are available all year round. Unavailability of professional veterinary doctors in rural areas due to poor funding of extension and veterinary services by government coupled with high cost of available veterinary services could have contributed to disease prevalence, popularity of ethnoveterinary practices and increased patronage of unqualified veterinary practitioners in the rural areas of Nigeria ( = 4.36, SD = 0.89).
Table 3: Respondents perception on ethnoveterinary practices (n=110)

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Association between respondents' socio-economic characteristics, sources of information, and perception on ethnoveterinary practices

Result [Table 4] indicates that respondents' age did not influence their perception on ethno-veterinary practice (r = 0.599, df = 1, P < 0.05). However, there was significant association between years of farming experience (r = 8.727, df = 1, P < 0.05) and perception on ethno-veterinary practice. The herd size also influenced farmers' perception of ethnoveterinary practice (r = 6.328, df = 2, P < 0.05). Furthermore, results show a non-significant association between sources of information on ethnoveterinary practices and respondents' perception. This indicates that the farmers have high level of trust in their sources of ethnoveterinary information and this could be due to the fact that information is primarily from extension agents. Moreover, poor access to orthodox veterinary services and medicine could be a great influence.
Table 4: Test of association between respondents' socioeconomic characteristics, sources of information and perception on ethnoveterinary practices

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  Conclusions Top

There was an equal distribution of gender of goat farmers in Yewa North LGA of Ogun State. Mange, ecthyma, Peste des petits ruminant, and foot rot were the most common diseases of goats in the study area. Most of the farmers preferred and depended on EVM to control goat disease. Farmers' preference for EVM was mainly due to poor access to professional veterinary doctors, ease of sourcing medicinal plants and herbs and cost-effectiveness of ethnoveterinary practices. The practice and perception of EVM among the goat farmers was influenced by farming experience and herd size. The research should be intensified in the area EVM to promote appropriate and correct use of natural and locally available plants and other materials while government should provide concerted efforts at increased agricultural extension and veterinary services for farmers.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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