Continued harvest of the diverse African Animal Genetic Resources from the wild through domestication as a strategy for sustainable use. A case of the larger grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianus)
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With the ever-increasing human population, th e need for efficient utilization of natural resources will always remain a challenge for both scientists and development workers. Land sizes are constantly decreasing with each new generation inheriting land, making it difficult to keep cattle or larger ruminants in high potential mixed crop-livestock production systems in the eastern highlands of Kenya. Government services are equally dwindling and it can no longer maintain breeding studs in research centres and Government farms, most of them having been sub-divided and given out. FARM-Africa has been implementing a community- based goat improvement programme whose purpose is to improve the productivity of the local goats through better management, develop a more intensive goat milk and meat production system for farmers in areas under land and population pressure which are increasingly less able to sup port cattle. Toggenburg dairy goats have been imported and used as improver breed in crossbreeding with th e local goats. This paper discusses the role of farmer groups in breed improvement and development. Also discussed is the role of improved goat genotypes in improving the livelihoods of the rural resource poor farm families as well as the problems that have to be overcome when such initiatives are being undertaken.