4 Animal Breeds and Plant Varieties that are Transforming Agriculture in Africa



The agricultural industry is always evolving, as it must respond to changes in the environment and climate. Certain animal breeds and crop varieties are more suited for certain environments than others. For example, livestock breeds that had been introduced to Africa from Europe were not well adapted to the hot climate of some parts of Africa because they lacked tolerance for heat.

This led farmers in those regions to switch their practices back to indigenous livestock breeds like Zebu cattle which were better suited for hotter climates. More innovation around animal breeds and plant varieties in Africa has advanced, giving rise to well-performing animals and plants that are suitable for Africa. We explore some of these breeds and varieties that are transforming the agricultural industry in Africa.


Dorper sheep

The Dorper sheep is a breed of sheep that was developed in the mid-1800s by crossing the Dutch Dorset breed and the Blackhead Persian sheep breed. The name Dorper is a portmanteau of the two breeds: "Dor" from Dutch Dorset and "Per" Blackhead Persian.


The crossbreed has become very popular in South Africa because it produces high-quality meat. The Dorper is found to be particularly suitable for the hot-humid terrain of southern Africa as well as for semi-arid conditions such as those in Northern and Eastern Kenya. Their success under difficult veld conditions makes them popular with smallholder farmers who have relatively poor grazing resources.


Their success under conditions of high temperature has made them very popular for crossbreeding with all the indigenous breeds in those countries. The other reason for their popularity with breeders is their excellent growth rate, and therefore attractiveness as terminal sires.


Learn more about sheep farming in Africa.


Boran cattle

The Boran cattle are a breed that is not yet well known to the rest of the world. They can be found in Eastern Africa in countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia. These animals thrive on grasses and other plants that grow abundantly in this region which makes them an ideal choice for farmers with limited resources. Mature Boran bulls can reach a live weight of 850kg while cows can attain a live weight of over 550kg under optimum conditions.


The Boran cattle are also hardy creatures that have adapted to their environment over time, making them an excellent option for those who own land in dry hot areas. As more people turn towards farming, it may be worth looking into how to raise this particular cattle breed since it will do well with minimal work from you.


Learn more about beef cattle farming in Africa.


Boer Goats

Boer goats are a type of goat that originated in South Africa. They are white in color with reddish-brown heads with large drooping ears. They were bred mainly for their meat. Boer goats have been around for over 100 years, so they have adapted well to different climates in Africa and around the world. However, just like the Dorper sheep, Boer goats are seen largely as premium breeds that are not easily available to most livestock farmers across Africa.


Apart from their ability to adapt to different climates, Boer goats have excellent resistance against bluetongue disease. They have a good feed conversion ability. Bucks can attain a live weight of up to 130 kg while does can reach 80 kg.


Learn more about goat farming in Africa.


Hass avocado

Hass avocado originated in California USA. The fruit is pear-shaped with very rough skin. When raw, this skin is green but assumes a dark brown color when ripe. Over the last decade, the Hass avocado has grown in popularity, helping farmers to earn high profits and putting Africa as one of the global leading producers of the fruit.


What makes this avocado variety attractive to farmers is that it takes 3 to 4 years only to reach maturity. The productivity period is over 40 years, highlighting it as one of the best long-term investments to make in Africa. Hass avocado farming has helped the continent to realize the potential of fruit farming. It has paved the way for the farming of other fruits and even tree nuts like macadamia.


Learn more about avocado farming in Africa.


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