Understanding The Drivers of Urban Demand for Bushmeat

As in many parts of west and central Africa, the bushmeat trade in Ghana plays an important role in peoples’ livelihoods and provides a valuable source of animal protein and micronutrients to numerous consumers. It also represents one of the most pressing conservation challenges in the region (Ripple et al. 2016).

Although total bushmeat production is difficult to estimate owing to its artisanal nature, studies that have attempted to quantify the trade suggest that annual production could be as high as 400,000 tonnes (Ntiamoa-Baidu 1998). To put this in context, FAO data reports that in 2013 total production of all farmed meat (beef, mutton, goat, pork and poultry) was 135,000 tonnes, while marine and freshwater fish production was 209,000 tonnes (FAOSTAT 2017).

These figures highlight the degree to which wild meat is relied on as a source of protein and underscores the scale of the challenge to reduce demand. This challenge will only become more acute in the future. Forecasts by the FAO suggest that demand for meat in Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to increase more than 170% over the next 40 years driven by population growth and rising wealth (Alexandratos 2012).

To develop economic and culturally effective policies that address bushmeat demand, it is essential to develop a robust understanding of demand drivers.

Demand for bushmeat is influenced by numerous factors. Population growth, consumer wealth, cultural preferences, availability of farmed meat alternatives, demographics (differences in patterns of consumption between different generations) and rural to urban migrations,  have all been shown to play important roles in driving demand for bushmeat(Brashares et al. 2004; Wilkie et al. 2005; Rentsch & Damon 2013; Cronin et al. 2015; Luiselli et al. 2017; Nielsen et al. 2018).

Although numerous studies have examined individual drivers, few have presented an integrated analysis of multiple drivers, often due to data limitations. Even fewer have contextualised how demand may change in the future under expected economic and demographic change and shifting consumer preferences.

This study addresses this gap by using more than 27 years of market data from Ghana’s two largest fresh bushmeat markets, Atwemonom in Kumasi and Kantamanto in Accra.  These market data contain information on numbers of different wildlife species sold, as well as condition of the meat and prices. This data will be complemented with parallel price information of domestic meats and fish in local markets (as opposed to centralised FAO data), as well as demographic and economic data, to provide a detailed analysis of the drivers of demand for bushmeat in the region.

This work has critical links to understanding the drivers of bushmeat demand in the region. It will draw on the findings of numerous other studies to present a comprehensive analysis on how economic growth, population growth, demographic change, and the influence of alternative meats may influence the supply of bushmeat in African cities. These findings are critical for understanding how bushmeat demand could change in the future, and how we can identify key levers for reducing consumption of wild meat in general. The outcomes of our work have implications for biodiversity conservation, food security and livelihoods.

Project Details

Funding partners: CIFOR

Starting Date: 2018

Ending Date: 2019

Work Packages: Ecosystem Services

Location: Accra and Kumasi