Beyond meat and methane—Advocating sustainable livestock production

ILRI news


Village women and their livestock in Niger (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

This article is jointly written by Brian Kawuma, an ILRI communications specialist based in Uganda, and Laura Arce, a student at John Cabot University, in Rome, both of whom participated in, and reported on, the 3–5 Oct 2017 GLAD meeting.

For more than 700 million livestock-dependent people across the globe, livestock are much more than a glass of milk or a plate of meat. For these people, livestock are critical economic and cultural assets. For them, livestock provide essential nutrients to mothers and children, livestock manure nourishes and replenishes soil and livestock provide muscle to transport people and goods and to plough fields. Such livestock interests in the South are being drowned out by ongoing livestock debates in the North.

To help counter these unbalanced narratives and to increase understanding of livestock-in-development dialogues, a Global Livestock Advocacy for Development…

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Animal health needs partnerships for vaccine delivery: Lessons from global rinderpest eradication campaign

AgHealth

Cattle being watered at the Ghibe River in southwestern Ethiopia Cattle being watered at the Ghibe River in southwestern Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

The successful eradication of rinderpest in 2011 offers vital lessons that can be applied in the ongoing quest to eradicate other deadly animal diseases.

In an opinion piece in SciDev.Net (16 Aug 2017), Delia Grace, co-leader of the Animal and Human Health program at the International Livestock Research Institute, shares her experiences as part of the global rinderpest eradication campaign.

Read the full article on SciDev.Net

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‘Cattle Genomics in Africa’ discussion forum: 16–26 Aug

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Invitation from Karen Marshall
International Livestock Research Institute
& Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health

Many of the more than 200 million poor livestock keepers in sub-Saharan Africa are looking to improve the productivity of their animal stock. Genetic improvement strategies—particularly when packaged with other interventions improving animal feed and health—offer great potential to accomplish this increased productivity. The use of genomics in Africa is in its early stages; further discussions are needed on where and how genomics can contribute to Africa’s development.  

We will shortly be hosting a virtual discussion forum on ‘Cattle Genomics in Africa’and invite all researchers and implementers in this and related fields to participate.

Discussions during this forum will centre on:
Current and future applications of genomics to cattle in Africa—in particular, which applications are likely to make a difference to poor livestock keepers and to consumers of beef…

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Injection of new genetics funding to boost the health and productivity of Africa’s farm animals

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‘Climate-smart’ native disease-resistant sheep being raised in western Kenya (photo credit: S Kilungu/CCAFS).

‘Efforts to tackle the challenges faced by livestock farmers in developing countries have been boosted by a £10 million research award.

Scientists will use funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to look at how genetic information can improve the health and productivity of farmed animals in tropical climates.

‘The institutions in Scotland and Africa where the researchers are based are also making additional contributions, taking the total funding pot to £20 million over the next five years.

‘The Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health is an alliance between the University of Edinburgh, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the Africa-headquartered International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

‘The teams plan to investigate the genes that make some animals more resistant to diseases than others. They will also look at why certain breeds are able to thrive in…

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On the heels of the 2011 eradication of cattle plague (rinderpest) is a new ‘frieze-dried’ vaccine that could eradicate goat plague—The Economist reports from ILRI

ILRI Clippings

Goats being herded near Wajir, northern Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Riccardo Gangale).

‘. . . [R]inderpest, a cattle disease similar to measles, which was eradicated in 2011 . . . has plagued Africa and other parts of the world ever since cattle were domesticated. In the 1980s an outbreak, originating in Sudan, killed millions of bovines across the continent. Eradication was a triumph of veterinary medicine, as rinderpest became only the second disease, either animal or human, to be wiped out, the first being smallpox.

It is exciting, therefore, that a team of scientists at a research institute in Kenya think peste des petits ruminants, or “goat plague”, could be eradicated too, thanks to their new vaccine. The disease kills up to 70% of the herds of sheep or goats it infects, animals vital to the survival of many of Africa’s poorest people.

‘The vaccine was created using a process…

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Livestock and women’s livelihoods: The recent evidence

ILRI policies, instititions and livelihoods program

This ILRI discussion paper synthesises evidence of the contributions that livestock make to the livelihoods of poor women in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and identifies factors that enhance or constrain livestock-related opportunities for women.

We apply a gender lens to three livestock-related pathways out of poverty—securing, building and safeguarding livestock assets; increasing and sustaining livestock productivity; and enhancing participation in and benefits from livestock markets.

For each pathway, we summarize what is known and what this knowledge implies for programmatic and policy interventions. Assembling this information is a first step towards identifying some of the large gaps in our evidence base as well as some indications of the kinds of research and development interventions, made in relation to which species and value chains, that appear most likely to benefit poor women and their families.

Download the report

See more ILRI outputs on gender

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Livestock key to ending poverty and hunger in developing countries

ILRI policies, instititions and livelihoods program

A child holds a newly born family lamb
A child holds a newly born family lamb in Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRIZerihun Sewunet).

At a recently held high-level United Nations meeting , several events on poverty and hunger featured the importance of livestock.

‘The key message of these sessions is that livestock’s potential for bolstering development lies in the sheer number of rural people who already depend on the sector for their livelihoods. These subsistence farmers also supply the bulk of livestock products in low-income countries. In fact, defying general perceptions, poor smallholders vastly outnumber large commercial operations.’

‘At the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), based in Nairobi, Kenya, we know that small-scale livestock farming can be the vehicle that puts families on the pathway out of poverty and out of danger when it comes to economic shocks.
Livestock policies that favour the poor have been shown to be effective in lifting families beyond mere subsistence, generating a ripple…

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