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Market-based approaches for livestock distribution/provision

I just wanted to find out any experiences on market-based approaches to livestock provision/distribution instead of direct livestock distribution. There is quite a lot of experiences around livestock fairs, but much less on commodity vouchers for animals. Anyone engaged with vouchers? Any other market-based approach known?
Many thanks!


Dear Cecilia,

I don’t have experience with this type of program, but I hope some people in our network do have experiences they can share.

I worked in Haiti during the earthquake recovery/rehabilitation time, and we had a goat distribution project and an agribusiness/credit endeavor with poultry. I met people from KORE Foundation who work with vulnerable families to produce eggs. They provide a lot of the initial investment for a small-scale production, some on credit, and they provide feed/inputs, and buy a percentage of the production for school feeding programs. I wonder if this model might be helpful to learn from.

I also found some documents that might be of interest in this area:

Kind regards,

Cecilia Gonzalez

Hi Cecilia, thanks a lot for your feedback and for the resources. I’d say linking farmers to agribusiness and credit systems sound like market-based approach, though I’m not entirely sure about the sustainability of buying back from the farmers, unless KORE run long-term feeding programs, which might be the case and the farmers have a diversified range of customers to sell, should be fine. In a lot of remote and isolated area where we work however access to credit is still very difficult besides community saving schemes. Thanks again

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Hi Cecilia -

I have used a number of approaches to distribute animals. The greatest challenge of ‘pure’ market-based approaches including the use of vouchers is guaranteeing the health and quality of the animals. You can easily spread diseases by having farmers buy animals in a marketplace and bringing them back home. Unless you are working in a country with enforced regulations around vaccinations, health inspections and movement certificates, you risk bringing diseased animals back home. A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Farmers tend to hold on to animals until they are older. Thus those animals available in the market are typically beyond their peak reproductive age. The point of distributing animals is to have bear offspring and grow the family herd/flock for future sales, milk and egg production. You need to look at all of the different markets in the area you are working. Some markets will have days or different locations where younger animals are sold (i.e. farmer to farmer for herd growth). Learn from your farmers where they go to buy animals for reproduction herd/flock growth.

  2. You need to have a trusted veterinarian inspect all animals before the transaction is finalized. You can also invest in training farmers in how to inspect animals before purchasing. They will need to look at the animals teeth, hooves, genitalia, eyes, skin, feel the body condition, check the general health of the animal.

  3. Have a disease outbreak response plan in place and ready to operationalize (i.e funds available)- especially if you are working with chickens.

  4. Corruption in use of vouchers to purchase livestock is easy and rampant. For some reason, the voucher reduces a farmer’s ownership of the animal. Collusion with family members or neighbors to sell/buy a lower value animal and split the difference of the balance of the value of the animal is common. (e.g. goat worth $15 will suddenly become $20 if that is the face value of the voucher. The seller takes the $20 when they submit the voucher and gives $2.50 back to the buyer)

I prefer to set up livestock fairs at a minimum because you can guarantee the age and health of the animals available. It is extremely labour intensive and you need a good team to do the prep work. But the returns can be great because it becomes a chance for farmers to test their knowledge and negotiation skills.

You can also look at conditional cash transfers specifically for livestock. This allows farmers to get the type of animal in the way the are comfortable getting it. For example, farmers/herders often get quality animals through trusted sources especially from animals within the extended family. Since the farmer knows what they want and as long as they can keep an savings (i.e. $20 cash transfer), they will often negotiate harder for a good animal in an effort to get the most that they can. It also builds on traditional mechanisms for acquiring animals.

Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you have more questions.



Hi Carmen, many thanks for your detailed answers, extremely helpful! You touched on some very important points of concern about health checks and age of the animals. I also agree that livestock fairs would lead to better outcomes, though the preparation is quite long it’s probably worth it. Interesting to hear the suggestion of conditional cash transfer for buying livestock. I like it, but I wonder what the enforcement of spending the money to purchase animals would look like, and the monitoring behind that. Do you have any recommendations on that? Thank you very much again