300 million poor people in Asia depend to some extent on livestock keeping for their livelihoods, some 200 million in South Asia and another 100 million in South East Asia and China. This represents half of the world’s poor livestock keepers.
The livestock sector in Asia is undergoing unprecedented rapid and dynamic change which presents huge opportunities for improvement in livestock-related livelihoods and opportunities to reduce extreme poverty through livestock, as well as posing a number of challenges to poor livestock keepers. A rapidly growing demand for livestock products, driven by population and economic growth and urbanization is creating unprecedented demand for milk, meat and eggs. These increased demands open up new opportunities for livestock producers. At the same time, huge changes are taking place in the way food is sourced, processed and retailed. Processed or packaged food now accounts for about one third of retail sales in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand and about two thirds in South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines.
As in other regions of the world ILRI’s activities in Asia are managed within the three Research Themes, but in Asia there are three priority topics:
Livestock value chains
The aim of the research on value chains is to identify and test innovative approaches to overcome technical, institutional and policy constraints that enhance access by smallholder producers to markets and to improve the livelihoods of poor people involved in livestock value chains, with a particular focus on smallholder dairy and pig systems.
Livestock - health- environment linkages
ILRI’s initial research in South East Asia on Avian Influenza in which there is a special focus on the implications of disease control for the poor is expanding to cover a wider range of emerging zoonotic infectious diseases with a focus on ‘one world’ and ‘ecohealth’ approaches. We are working closely with a range of veterinary, public health, environmental and social scientist and building capacity to undertake multidisciplinary research.
Livestock science – knowledge and research
We work on aspects of livestock feeding, breeding and health, but within an innovation systems framework. This includes:
• research on increasing fodder supply and the resource efficiency of its production and utilization, especially through research on food-feed crops.
• support for the development of policies for a) improved animal health and conservation and utilization of Farm Animal Genetic Resources.
• facilitation of exchange of knowledge between the research and development communities to ensure both more effective livestock development for poverty reduction and that livestock research for development is responsive to the needs of development agencies.