The objective of this study is to explore the benefits of donkeys for rural and urban smallholder farmers in northwest Nigeria. We visited 112 smallholder donkey farmers located in rural and urban areas from four states in northwest Nigeriathrough four focus group meetings, interviews with individual farmers and in depth interview with 12 key informants. In addition, 80 citizens were interviewed about their perception on donkeys. Donkeys were used more intensively in urban than in rural areas. The number of donkeys was higher (p<0.001) in urban (4.1) than in rural areas (1.9). The number of days per week working with donkeys was also higher (p<0.05) in urban (6.4) than in rural (2.9) areas. However, farm sizes werelower (p<0.001) in urban (0.5 ha) than in rural (1.0 ha) areas. Farmers in urban areas received 16% higherannual income from their donkeys than those in rural areas. Donkeys were mainly appreciated by farmers for their low purchasing price, low-cost equipment, ease of management, and role in ceremonies. The main constraints facing the farmers were lack of information on donkey keeping, lack of access to clean water and proper feed, and lack of money to expand the business. About 50% of citizens associated donkeys with poverty.It was concluded that donkeys play important socio-economic roles in the farming systems and should therefore be included in future livestock policy planning in Nigeria.
Key words: Constraint, donkey, northwest Nigeria, perception, socio-economic role.
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