Video of PhD student about his research on community-based cattle breeding programme in Burkina Faso

12. October 2020
This video introduces APPEAR scholar Dominique Ouedraogo and his PhD studies on Community-based breeding in Burkina Faso. His research aims to improve local cattle breeds’ size and their disease resistance in order to increase the interest of farmers to conserve this indigenous breed.

As many people in his country Burkina, Dominique came from small rural farm. In his village located at 50 km from the capital Ouagadougou, he grew up with cattle and he has been a herder since he was 5 years old. When he started his primary school with 6 years until his entry to university, he always spent his holidays from June to September keeping cattle when his parents were in charge of crop production activities. This passion for cattle led him to study ariculture with specialization in livestock science at the University Nazi Boni of Bobo-Dioulasso where he has been graduated with a Master's degree. He studied agriculture for his passion for animals but also to contribute to the improvement of his parents’ livelihoods and that of the 80% of the population of Burkina Faso who rely on this activity.

Dominique is currently an assistant lecturer at the University of Dédougou in Burkina Faso. In 2017 he started his PhD study in Animal Breeding and Genetics at BOKU. He is an APPEAR scholarship holder and pursuing his PhD research in the framework of the APPEAR project Local cattle breed of Burkina Faso – Characterization as sustainable use | LoCaBreed. The topic of his PhD thesis is “Design and implementation of community-based local cattle breeding program in Burkina Faso”. The aim is to implement appropriate breeding programmes which improve local cattle breeds size and their disease resistance in order to increase the interest of farmer to conserve them. Community-based breeding programme (CBBP) is a new approach adapted to smallholders’ low-put systems in developing countries where farmers are mostly illiterate and where conventional breeding failed due to lack of infrastructures and recording systems. CBBP is an participatory approach that includes farmers in all the steps of breeding programmes, from designing to implementation. In this approach, farmers are the key players and the owners of the breeding programme. By adopting this approach, the LoCaBreed project aimed to work with farmers for farmers. During the 3 years, Dominique worked very closely with about 100 local farmers to define their breeding objectives. He supported them in the identification of more than 2000 animals with ear tags and he set up a recording system to evaluate the young bulls´ growth performance and to assist farmers to choose the best reproductive bulls in order to improve the size of their cattle offspring.

Dominique Ouedraogo will complete is PhD by the end of 2020. He plans to go back to his country to continue his academic career at the university. He has a strong ambition to become a key scientist and player in animal breeding in Burkina Faso. Staying in Austria for 3 years, he built a strong network that will be useful for his career. In addition to the current cattle breeding programme in rural area, he plans in the long term to set up a recording system for dairy cattle as seen in Austria. This will subsequently contribute to improvement of milk production in Burkina Faso. He is convinced that genetic improvement is the key to enhance livestock production and thus contribute to the food availability for the growing population and reduce poverty in his country. As he learnt during his PhD study, changing the environment of animals is temporary but, when you change its genotype you change it forever. Dominique is grateful to Austrian Development Cooperation through OeAD and APPEAR for giving him this opportunity to study in Austria. Here, he has been trained not only as a scientist but a human who will be useful to his community.