Trade, Political Influence and Liberalization: Situating the Poor in the Political Economy of Livestock in Senegal


This paper presents a case study of how livestock policies are made and implemented in a national context, and how they can be improved to better serve the interests of the poor. In Senegal, approximately one-third of all households depend on livestock for some portion of their livelihood, yet, the sector has not received significant state or private investment, nor has it received a significant amount of bi-lateral and international assistance.

The study used the key informant method supplemented with official documents, newspaper sources and recently published research on the livestock sector. Interviews helped reveal policymakers' concerns, whereas field trips allowed the researcher to talk to farmers and learn their perspectives from the bottom. Newspapers contained many lively stories of how well-intentioned policies went awry at the implementation stage, while published research analyzed various political, institutional and technical aspects of policymaking in the sector.

The author concludes that poor producers in the sector remain relatively unorganised and disadvantaged in the policy-formation process. Macro-economic forces and the distribution of political influence focus state attention on the concerns of large-scale producers and importers of dairy and poultry products rather than on the concerns of poor producers. The unexpected alliance between human rights organizations, some of the most active public pressure groups in Senegal today, and livestock producers during l'affaire du Doli however demonstrates the potential for new issue linkages to strengthen the political position of livestock producers.

Strategic entry points are recommended that can both improve the performance of the sector and the participation of the poor in productive activities. With sufficient resources to back up programs and efforts to identify political allies for the cause, it may be possible to make livestock policies better serve the interests of the poor.

A three page executive summary is also available in addition to this paper.


PPLPI, FAO, Rome, Italy, v+38pp.

Published 1 January 2004