Livestock genetics and breeding – highlights from ILRI’s corporate report 2015–2016

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Cattle stand in the crush ready for bleeding and weighing The adoption of new technologies that speed up genetic gains are leading to further improvements in livestock productivity. Ghibe valley, southwest Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann)

The experience of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partner geneticists in 2015–2016 clearly demonstrates the positive benefits to smallholder farmers of the application of new breeding and genomic approaches, leading to more productive and climate- and disease resilient livestock. However, it is when these new technologies are combined with improved management practices that they are translated into enhanced food security and higher incomes for smallholder farmers. These are the findings from the genetics research and interventions, presented in the ILRI Corporate report 2015–2016: highlights on Livestock genetics and breeding.

The findings in the report are presented in line with the three objectives set out in the ILRI strategy 2013–2022:

  1. Develop, test, adapt and promote science-based practices that—being sustainable and scalable—achieve…

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New guide outlines options for integrating gender equity and social inclusion in low-emissions dairy production interventions

ILRI livelihoods, gender and impact

Visit to Lower Kamula village in Kenya: Female Empowerment Session Photo Credit: CCAFS

Why does it matter?

The importance and need to entrench gender issues in agricultural research for development cannot be overemphasized. While increasingly, research for development practitioners are adapting and implementing gender strategies in their interventions, empirical evidence reveals that gender issues go hand-in-hand with recognizing social differentiation and positioning at varying scales. A newly published research report by scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) provides a guide to best practices for gender and social inclusion in the Kenyan intensive dairy sector.

The objective of this research was to produce a practical resource guide to inform the development of Kenya’s Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) strategy. Kenya’s NAMA will provide climate finance mechanisms to a number of stakeholders in the livestock sector who are currently practising or interested in low-emissions development.

The recently published research report highlights that

In order to appropriately address gender and socially…

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No one left behind: Livestock at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

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The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) participated in this week’s UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (follow the proceedings on Twitter with #HLPF2016). This meeting is the first of many meetings and processes that will take place to monitor progress in meeting the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Shirley Tarawali, assistant director general of ILRI, is in New York this week to take part in a livestock-focused side meeting, which took place yesterday evening (20 Jul 2016). A plant scientist by training who has spent her professional life working in research-for-development partnerships to help Africa’s small-scale farmers upgrade their agricultural practices, Tarawali is passionate about the theme of the forum, ‘No one left behind’. She’s also passionate that ‘livestock’—as an agricultural sub-sector, as a livelihood of most of the world’s poorest people, as a provider of nutritious foods for the malnourished, and much else—not be…

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Livestock grass, a weapon against poverty and drought


Photo credit: CIATCIAT

An unlikely weapon against poverty and drought

Silas Mdoe has a weapon against poverty and drought. It’s so unassuming that most farmers completely overlook it: livestock grass.

As this recent study shows, keeping livestock can help farmers like Silas earn more money and put more food on the table, especially during unpredictable weather. In Tanzania, drought has decimated many farmers’ harvests, including Silas’ maize, which he relies on for an income.

In his village of Mbuzii in Lushoto, in the east of the country, one-fifth of farmers generate around 40 percent of their income from milk. “Cows give manure for crops and provide milk all year, which we can sell to buy sugar or pay school fees. Banks will lend money if you have a cow,” explained Mdoe.

But investing in higher quality varieties of grass for livestock like Napier or Brachiaria

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Can the livestock sector find the elusive ‘win-win’ on drug resistance?


A livestock health worker prescribes drugs to a dairy farmer in Bangladesh A livestock health worker prescribes drugs to a dairy farmer in Bangladesh (photo credit: IFPRI/Akram Ali, CARE Bangladesh).

An opinion piece by International Livestock Research Institute veterinary epidemiologist Delia Grace shines the spotlight on the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance and the need to tackle the problem while finding a balance between low access to antimicrobials (particularly in developing countries) and overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture.

She writes:

“Antimicrobial use is a matter of access versus excess. Somehow, we must reduce the use of antimicrobial drugs in animals to tackle growing levels of drug resistance while ensuring that these life- and livelihood-saving treatments reach those who really need them.”

Read the complete article, Can the livestock sector find the elusive ‘win-win’ on drug resistance? Devex, 16 December 2016

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About Camel Milk~With Bactrian Perspectives

Natural Health with theCamel Milk

Camels’ milk is the king of the milk kingdom, said by the Bactrian camel keepers in the Central Asia. It is the first choice for health maintenance. They think that their milk is more nourishing than their sister camel (dromedary) and all other animals. Our milk is high grade but tastes a little bit salt because of my taste as I like salty bushes; the only ice cream for me in the ecosystems where I live. I live in very cold regions and hence producing milk more thicker than my sibling dromedary. My milk keeps a desirable PH of human body as it is a bit alkaline. I have physical effect on the stomach of my keepers to make them happy and in a good mood. my bactrian

My milk is rich with protein (4.5%), making me special food item for the poor and under nourished group of human being. Bactrian milk…

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Beating plague: Rinderpest is the second disease to be eradicated from the earth

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ILRI veterinary epidemiologist Jeff Mariner at OIE meeting

ILRI veterinary epidemiologist Jeff Mariner presenting his research at a meeting of the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) (photo credit: OIE).

A disease that has devastated the planet for millennia has been eradicated. An international campaign has wiped the cattle plague rinderpest off the face of the earth.

‘For centuries, a disease has ravaged the globe—visiting nearly all corners at one time or another. In Europe so great was the threat of this disease that in the early 18th century, the Pope commissioned one of his most trusted physicians to investigate. Giovanni Lancisi’s “De Bovilla Peste”, is his detailed study of the disease, and represents the first concerted effort to control it.

‘Historians believe that in 4th-century-Europe the cattle disease, rinderpest may have contributed to the downfall of the Roman Empire.

‘Since then Rinderpest has killed hundreds of millions of cattle worldwide. Untreated, it kills within days, wiping out whole…

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