The process of consulting stakeholders, particularly farmers, in developing appropriate indicators for sustainability evaluation of low-input ruminant systems is often compromised by limited awareness and understanding of the sustainability concept by farmers in developing countries. Insights from farmers’ challenges present useful prospects for developing context-specific sustainability evaluation indicators for low-input ruminant systems. In the present review, a meta-analysis was used to develop farmer challenge-derived indicators for the sustainability evaluation of low-input ruminant farming system in sub-Saharan Africa. Key ecological challenges reported were low forage quality, poor soil quality, feed shortages and; economic challenges were low poor marketing structure, high cost of labour, and poor transport network, poor marketing infrastructure; and social challenges were rural to urban migration, lack of animal breeding management and inadequate access to information. The corresponding derived ecological indicators were biomass quality, soil quality, high winds; economic indicators were available marketing infrastructure, labour costs, transport networks; and social indicators were rural to urban migration, animal management training and access to information. The review shows that farmers’ challenges can be transformed to indicators for assessing the sustainability of the low-input ruminant farming system in sub-Saharan Africa.