The study sought to assess the urban and peri-urban livestock keeping in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State, Nigeria. Six council wards were randomly selected out of the 11 council wards in the study area. Twenty livestock farmers were randomly selected from each of the council wards. Thus, a total of 120 farmers were used for the study.  Structured interview schedule/questionnaire was used to collect data. Data collected were analysed using percentages, mean scores and factor analysis. The findings revealed that, majority (56.8%) of the respondents were male farmers. The mean age of the farmers was 36.1 years. A greater proportion (39.5%) of the respondents had no formal education. The mean number of years spent in school was 7.3 years. The major livestock kept by the farmers were poultry (76.3%), cow (26.3%), goat (6.1%) and sheep (5.3%). The mean stock sizes of the major livestock kept were: poultry (M = 486), cow (M = 21), sheep (M = 34), goat (M = 20). Majority (86.3%) of the livestock farmers engaged in poultry production on large scale, while majority (60.0%) of the farmers also engaged in goat production on large scale. Majority (71.9%) of the respondents used intensive system of production for poultry, sheep (4.4%) and pig (5.3%) while semi-intensive system was used mostly for cattle (23.7%) and poultry (7.9%). Extensive system of production was used for poultry (1.8%) and cow (0.9%).   About 79.0% of the farmers used homestead for poultry, while 18.4% used it for cow, goat (6.1%), sheep (5.3%) and pig (3.5%) production. On the other hand, off plot was used by 6.1% of the respondents for cow rearing. Unused land was only used by few (0.9%) farmers for poultry production.  Majority (76.0%) of the respondents used houses with concrete floor and roofed with zinc for poultry, cow (23.7%) and goat (5.3%) production. However, earthen floored houses roofed with zinc were used by 28.8% for housing cow, while 16.7%, 5.3% and 4.4% used for poultry, goat and sheep respectively. Majority (98.2%) of farmers kept livestock for the purpose of household consumption, income generation (97.4%), source of protein (96.5%); cash reserve (95.6%) and substitution for cash (94.7%) etc. Sourcing of information (99.1%) and extension services (99.1%) were the major linkages between rural and urban livestock farmers.  The major constraints to livestock production were lack of capital (M=1.97), low reproductive rate (M=1.94), unavailability of market (M=1.92), poor market prizes (M=1.92) poor transport services (M=1.91) etc. The constraints were further subjected to factor analysis and were later grouped into financial constraints, technical constraints and site location constraints. Majority (98.2%) of the respondents were aware of extension services and were visited by extension agents for one reason or the other, though there was irregular contact between farmers and extension agents.  The extension need of the livestock farmers were mostly in livestock marketing (M=2.00), vaccine procurement (M=2.00), disease prevention (M=2.00), vaccine and disease management (M=2.00), livestock housing (M=1.99), livestock procurement (M=1.99)


1.1 Background information

            The world is rapidly urbanizing with an average global increase of 160,000 people per day, mostly occurring in developing countries (Ministry of Agriculture Kenya, 2010). The report further stated that in the year 2000, approximately 49% of the world was urbanized and it was expected to be 52% by 2010 and 60% by 2020. In sub Saharan Africa (SSA), urban areas account for 34.0% of the total population of 611  million in 2005, which will approach 440 million, or 46% of its projected total of 952 million, by 2020 (FAO, 2007).The urbanization in many African countries is because of the increase in rural-urban migration as people seek better livelihood sources in urban areas and as a result, urbanization continues to present challenges in infrastructure development, services provision and food requirements to meet the needs of increasing urban populations (Ministry of Agriculture Kenya, 2010).

           Unfortunately rapid urbanization has been accompanied with inequitable economic growth and has resulted in increased urban poverty with many low income households suffering from limited alternative livelihood, food insecurity among others. (Ministry of Agriculture Kenya, 2010). It is because of the high incidence of the urban poverty that majority of the urban poor engage in urban agriculture as a response to limited alternative livelihood options and food insecurity (Armar-Klemesu 2000).

            Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) can be defined simply as the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities (Chris, in Van, 2006). According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNPD, 1996 in City Farmer, 2006), UPA which is synonymous to urban farming is an industry that produces processes and markets food on land and water dispersed throughout urban and peri-urban areas. It is an entrepreneurial activity for people from different levels of income.

            The most striking feature of UPA, which distinguishes it from rural agriculture, is that it is integrated into the urban and peri urban economic and ecological system; it is embedded in and is interacting with the urban ecosystem (Mougeot, 2000). Such interaction include the use of urban residents labourers, use of typical urban resources (like organic waste as compost and urban wastewater for irrigation), direct links with urban consumers, direct impacts on urban ecology (positive and negative), being part of the urban food system, competing for land with other urban functions, being influenced by urban policies and plans, etc. Urban agriculture may take place in locations inside the cities (intra-urban) or in the peri-urbanareas. The activities may take place on the homestead (on-plot) or on land away from the residence (off-plot), on private land (owned, leased) or on public land (parks, conservation areas, along roads, streams and railways), or semi-public land like schoolyards, grounds of schools and hospitals (Waters-Bayer, 2000).