1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in the economy of many developing countries where it provides survival mechanism for up to 80% of the population (Cupps, 2007). It plays a central role in the rural economy of the developing nations (Omage et al., 2007). The food crisis that has engulfed Africa and the developing countries requires a more concerted effort. Major food sources in the developing countries are almost entirely starchy foods such as tubers, roots, and cereal crops. These obviously do not and cannot satisfy the protein needs of the populace. Protein intake and particularly animal protein consumption is generally grossly below the recommended rate (Omage et al., 2007). The British Medical Association recommended a minimum daily intake of 34.4g of animal protein per adult per day. Unfortunately most developing countries, consumption is at 7.5g of animal protein as against 28g consumed by an average Briton (Wines, 2009).
Over 800 million people worldwide suffer from malnutrition and hunger either because of low food production and unequal distribution and also because the people are too poor and therefore lack the income to acquire adequate quantities and qualities of food (Bayemi et al., 2005; Palitza, 2009). This is true of the people of Africa who consume foods that consist mainly of starch and oil (Redmond, 2009). Cattle production offers an avenue for rapid transformation in animal protein, because beef enjoys wide acceptability in the world (Zahraddeen et al., 2007). Cattle also contribute to subsistence, nutrition, income generation, social and cultural functions. However, their main products remain meat, milk, hides, manure and traction. Beef and milk consumption have grown more than 5% per year and are projected to grow even faster until 2020 (Cupps, 2007).