Resource 4: Cattle in traditional life – the Fulani
Background information / subject knowledge for teacher
The Fula or Fulani is an ethnic group of people spread over many countries in West Africa, including Ghana. The ancient origins of the Fula people have been the subject of speculation over the years, but several centuries ago they appear to have begun moving from the area of present-day Senegal eastward.
The Fulani are traditionally a nomadic, pastoralist people, herding cattle, goats and sheep across the vast dry hinterlands of their domain, keeping somewhat separate from the local agricultural populations.
A Fulani family needs at least 100 heads of cattle in order to live completely off their livestock. When the number of livestock drops, the family must start farming to survive. Fulani always prefer not to farm if it is possible.