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The use of SWOT analysis to explore and prioritize conservation and development strategies for local cattle breeds

  • D. Martín-Collado (a1), C. Díaz (a1), A. Mäki-Tanila (a2), F. Colinet (a3), D. Duclos (a4), S. J. Hiemstra (a5), EURECA Consortium and G. Gandini (a6)...


SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis is a tool widely used to help in decision making in complex systems. It suits to exploring the issues and measures related to the conservation and development of local breeds, as it allows the integration of many driving factors influencing breed dynamics. We developed a quantified SWOT method as a decision-making tool for identification and ranking of conservation and development strategies of local breeds, and applied it to a set of 13 cattle breeds of six European countries. The method has four steps: definition of the system, identification and grouping of the driving factors, quantification of the importance of driving factors and identification and prioritization of the strategies. The factors were determined following a multi-stakeholder approach and grouped with a three-level structure. Animal genetic resources expert groups ranked the factors, and a quantification process was implemented to identify and prioritize strategies. The proposed SWOT methodology allows analyzing the dynamics of local cattle breeds in a structured and systematic way. It is a flexible tool developed to assist different stakeholders in defining the strategies and actions. The quantification process allows the comparison of the driving factors and the prioritization of the strategies for the conservation and development of local cattle breeds. We identified 99 factors across the breeds. Although the situation is very heterogeneous, the future of these breeds may be promising. The most important strengths and weaknesses were related to production systems and farmers. The most important opportunities were found in marketing new products, whereas the most relevant threats were found in selling the current products. The across-breed strategies utility decreased as they gained specificity. Therefore, the strategies at European level should focus on general aspects and be flexible enough to be adapted to the country and breed specificities.


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