CRP 3.7 News

Livestock and Fish planning and management committee meets in Penang

Earlier this month WorldFish hosted the 9th Program Planning and Management Committee (PPMC) meeting at their headquarters in Penang.

Committee members reviewed a number of pending matters, including:

  1. Strengthening our gender agenda: we need to strengthen our human and financial resources for implementing our gender strategy, especially for supporting the gender dimensions of technology development and adoption in our value chains. Each centre will be reallocating resources to address this, and we will be asking the gender team to review their staffing strategy.
  2. Our strategy for allocating USD3.1 million in supplementary CGIAR and bilateral funding this year: some will be disbursed directly to the four partner centres for additional activities this year, some to strategic investments in our partnerships and gaps in capacity, and some to a competitive call to support our work in value chains and across Consortium Research Programs (CRPs).
  3. Taking forward partnership ambitions with Wageningen University Research and the Swedish Agricultural University (SLU): the recent roundtable consultation with Wageningen UR was very positive, we further discussed the options for the partnership arrangements to pursue.
  4. A reflection on our program model: we have been managing the program as a federative model which recognizes that the partner centres consider the Livestock and Fish program as a mechanism for implementing their respective mandates and research agenda, and so relies heavily on the researchers across the centres to shape the agenda to meet the agreed objectives. While we consider our federative model to be working well, we challenged ourselves to continue monitoring whether we are ensuring it performs well from a results-based management and value-for-money perspective.

This was Malcolm Beveridge’s last meeting as he retires from WorldFish this month. Malcolm was instrumental in designing the program and has served on the PPMC as the aquaculture science leader since it began. We appreciate him for his valuable inputs and perspectives, and wish him the best.

Filed under: CGIAR, CRP37

SNV signs collaboration agreement with ILRI for Livestock and Fish program

On 31 March 2014, Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Tom Derksen, managing director for agriculture of SNV Netherlands Development Organization signed a memorandum of understanding to start of a formal collaboration between SNV and the ILRI-led CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish. It also opens up spaces for further collaboration between SNV and ILRI beyond the program.

ILRI/SNV MoU signing ceremony

ILRI/SNV MoU signing ceremony on 31 March 2014 at ILRI in Nairobi (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

15 years ago, SNV reformed itself to become a premier capacity development organization in which a network of advisors work with clients to unlock intractable development problems. These advisory services are constructed around agriculture, water sanitation and hygiene, and renewable energy.

The Livestock and Fish program is already engaging with SNV staff in several of its value chain countries. In Tanzania, collaboration on exploring ways and means to service dairy hubs has begun as part of the MoreMilkiT project where SNV brings in expertise on multi-stakeholder facilitation. In Uganda, SNV and ILRI are working together to form a pig value chain multi-stakeholder platform. In Ethiopia, SNV contributes to the Livestock and Irrigation Value Chains for Ethiopian Smallholder project and SNV staff participated in ICARDA-led stakeholder workshops on the development of small ruminant value chains. In Vietnam and Nicaragua, there is expressed intent to expand collaboration around pigs and cattle value chain systems respectively.

These individual collaborations have converged to form the basis of a global relationship. For SNV, the partnership offers connections to well-established global knowledge, learning and research capabilities in ILRI and the other partners. For Livestock and Fish, the collaboration brings a thinking approach to development, a global field presence, and abilities to adapt innovations and take research out into development. The partnership is a concrete step towards the program’s ambition to achieve impact at scale.

The program is delighted to have found the grounds to build a shared vision and create shared value with SNV – Stuart Worsley, head of development partnership, Livestock and Fish program

The next steps are to develop a series of specific collaborative research agreements that specify joint work in a number of country and research domains of mutual interest.

The signing ceremony was also attended by Tom Randolph, director of the Livestock and Fish program, Shirley Tarawali, ILRI director institutional planning, Harm Duiker, SNV Kenya country director and Mary Njuguna Kimwadu, SNV agricultural sector leader Kenya.

Filed under: CGIAR, CRP37, ILRI, Partnership

Five ‘flagship projects’ to enhance discovery and delivery of Livestock and Fish program’s research

Livestock and fish theme planning meetings 2014From 24-28 March 2014, people working in or supporting the research themes of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish met in Kenya to plan out the coming 10 years of the program (including the 2015-2015 ‘extension’ phase). Linking the program’s work on research discovery and delivery and setting out flagship projects were also a key focus of the meeting.

A key organizational outcome was broad agreement on five flagship projects instead of the current six research themes. The two new flagships are: ‘systems analysis for sustainability’ comprising the gender, social science, targeting and environment dimensions of the program and the ‘enabling innovations for value chain transformation’ flagship which includes the multidisciplinary value chain teams, innovation, partnerships, capacity development, and communications and learning. These flagships will work together with the three existing discovery flagships focused around ‘animal health’, ‘genetics’, and ‘feeds and forages’. The flagship projects aim to better piece all the research aspects of the program together enabling outputs to be widely used and benefiting poor men and women in small- and medium-scale enterprises.

Participants reviewed activities and deliverables for 2015-2016 and defined the clusters of activities within each flagship, setting out a vision, outcomes, and objectives for each. The meeting also discussed how crosscutting issues such as gender, partnerships, communications and knowledge management, resource mobilization and capacity development best contribute to each of the flagship research projects.

‘This planning process gives the Livestock and Fish Program a clear working structure for the coming years and expresses our commitment to making our research work for and transform value chains in the target countries’ said Tom Randolph, director of the program.

Event documentation

Filed under: CRP37, Event, Research

Partnership between Livestock and Fish and Wageningen UR focus of recent roundtable meeting

Livestock and Fish program and Wageningen UR roundtable meeting

Working group discussion at the roundtable meeting in Wageningen (photo: WUR/Ben Geerlings).

‘We are the same … though we are not the same’ – Livestock and Fish program director Tom Randolph kicked off a partnership roundtable discussion between CGIAR and Wageningen UR scientists, echoing the feeling of many in the room. The spirit, principles, intentions and activities of both sides (the Livestock and Fish program and Wageningen UR) are so similar that it appears almost bizarre that the partnership has not been formalized before. The roundtable (18-19 March 2014) aimed to pin cooperation on the wall and tease out the best ideas, mechanisms and road map to bring this partnership to a solid program, beyond declarations of intentions.

Wageningen UR (university and research centre, or WUR) has been cooperating with CGIAR scientists and indeed Livestock and Fish projects for a long time:

  • The CGIAR Research program on integrated systems for the Humidtropics brings together WUR, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI, which leads Livestock and Fish) and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT);
  • The Africa RISING program involves farming systems analysis from WUR in a program that brings together ILRI, CIAT and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA);
  • Most recently, the N2 Africa project was launched in Ethiopia, involving WUR, ILRI and other partners;
  • And there are many bilateral research collaborations among scientists from WUR and CGIAR.

This meeting was seen as a good opportunity to get beyond smaller collaborations to  set up an institutionally strategic partnership around livestock and fish.

On the first morning, participants briefed one another, explored partnership do’s and don’ts (building upon past cooperation) and identified current and emergent needs could be jointly addressed by both parties.  There was consensus that effort and time should not be directed to numerous meetings that might raise transaction costs and slow down the road to effective partnership. They did however recognize the need for joint sessions and conversations to facilitate mutual understanding of approaches and collaboration requirements.

Participants subsequently worked in groups on six different areas recognized to have potential mutual interest:

  • Value chain development and sustainable interventions
  • Nutrition, food safety, post harvest and food technology
  • Aquaculture systems
  • Livestock production systems and the environment
  • Animal health
  • Gender and capacity development

Working groups identified set of priority challenges that both parties felt were important to jointly address, research questions and a set of activities and modalities to flesh out the partnership through short term activities and longer term research.

In addition, a small group worked on the overall institutional partnership to establish a ‘road map’ that could bring this cooperation to the level of a formal partnership with an exciting joint program.

Marten Scholten, director of the WUR Animal Sciences department ‘gratefully accepted the invitation to become a formal partner of the Livestock and Fish program’ and took upon himself to push discussions within WUR to cement the partnership.

Read the full meeting minutes:

 Story by Ewen Le Borgne

Filed under: CRP37, Partnership

Ethiopia small ruminant value chain analysis reports released

In mid-2012, stakeholder discussions and planning for the Livestock and Fish small ruminant value chain development project were initiated by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and national partners.

Rapid value chain assessments were conducted in each of eight selected sites.  The preliminary reports from these assessments were reviewed at three multi-stakeholder workshops where participants validated the value chain analysis and formulated initial ‘best bet’ intervention plans for each of the sites.

The reports describe the various value chains, assess strengths and weaknesses, and list ‘best bet’ interventions for each of the sites:

  1. Analysis of goat value chains in Sekota Abergelle district, northern Ethiopia
  2. Analysis of sheep value chains in Horro district, Oromia region, Ethiopia
  3. Analysis of goat value chains in Yabello district, Borana zone, Ethiopia
  4. Analysis of sheep and goat value chains in Shinelle district, Somali Region, Ethiopia
  5. Analysis of sheep value chains in Menz Gera district, North Shewa zone, Ethiopia
  6. Analysis of goat value chains in Tanqua Abergelle district, Tigray, Ethiopia
  7. Analysis of sheep value chains in Doyogena, southern Ethiopia
  8. Analysis of sheep value chains in Atsbi Woreda, Tigray Region, Ethiopia



Filed under: Africa, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, Goats, ICARDA, ILRI, Livestock, Livestock-Fish, Research, Sheep, Small Ruminants, Value Chains

Propose an experimental impact evaluation to show evidence on the impact of CGIAR technologies

‘The CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council‘s Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) is soliciting expressions of interest for experimental impact evaluation projects. SPIA invites researchers from academic institutions and from CGIAR Centers/CRPs to submit proposals for impact evaluation projects that are based on an experimental design (randomized design or natural experiments).’

The overall budget available for this call is USD 900,000, 2 to 4 proposals will be awarded.

Visit the SPIA website for more details


Filed under: CGIAR, Impact Assessment

Uganda pig value chain actors to benefit from training modules on pig health, feeds, breeds and business development

ILRI Uganda team write-shop, Uganda, 11-14 March 2014The implementation of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) funded Smallholder Pig Value Chain Development (SPVCD) project was strengthened when national experts recently met in Kampala to prepare eight training modules on promising project interventions.

The writeshop participants worked on modules on pig health,  feeding, breeding and economics (business management, enterprise development and finance). The modules will be used to deliver appropriate training interventions to service provider organizations, farmers and other actors of the value chain in Uganda.

Eight national experts contracted to produce the different modules participated as writers in the workshop. The modules cover eight best-bet technologies to be included in an national training package, including:

  • Module 1: Pig Breeding Management – selection and management of village boars (Robert Natumanya)
  • Module 2: Pig Feeding – The use of local feed resources in pig feeding (Robert Mwesigwa)
  • Module 3: Pig Feeding –Strategic supplementation of pigs fed basal diets composed of crop residues (Geoffrey Beyihayo)
  • Module 4: Pig Health – Biosecurity measures for African swine fever (ASF)control (Noelina Nantima)
  • Module 5: Pig Health –Control of ecto and endo-parasites (Patricia Nakatudde)
  • Module 6: Business planning and finance (Rosemirta Birungi)
  • Module 7: Marketing and institutional strengthening (John Jagwe)
  • Module 8: Pig management- Husbandry practices (Lawrence Mayega)

Washington Ochola, ILRI consultant facilitated the workshop.

During the workshop, participants were introduced to Instructional System Design (ISD) principles, models and procesess to support the design of learning materials. Pre-developed templates for content development were provided to support the interactive design of the modules ensuring that target group training needs (e.g. rural farmers and their organisations) are met. Participants also learned how to conduct rapid training needs assessment. They also produced building blocks for each module covering:

  1. Topics, annotated structure and expanded content of the best-bet themes;
  2. Delivery methods for each topic organized around sessions to accomplish the content of the modules; and
  3. Specific instructional materials to be used in the delivery of the module including images, charts, case stories, exercises, simulation games and other illustrations.

By the end of the writeshop, each expert had written a draft module complete with background information, description of the target groups, aims and objectives, instructions to facilitators, resource requirements, module content, module delivery methods presented by sessions, module summary and assessment procedures and further reading.

The next step is a Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop scheduled for 8-11 April 2014 when a core group of professionals will meet to implement the field level training of farmers and other actors and design practical strategies to roll out the training to other districts and counties.

ILRI’s Uganda team, Danilo Pezo, Emily Ouma, Kristina Roesel, Michel Dione and Rachel Miwanda participated at the event as well as Diana Brandes – van Dorresteijn and Esther Ndung’u from the ILRI office in Nairobi, Kenya.

 Article contributed by Washington Ochola ( W.Ochola (at ) )

Filed under: ASSP, Capacity Development, CapDev, CRP37, East Africa, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains

Livestock Fish Matter(s): Roundup of program highlights, March 2014

ILRI News Round-up Logo

This is the second roundup of news from the CGIAR Livestock and Fish research program. The program aims to increase the productivity of small-scale livestock and fish systems in sustainable ways, making meat, milk and fish more available and affordable to poor consumers across the developing world. Download a print version.

Program news

2014 CGIAR-US university linkages call for proposals
As last year, USAID has provided $US 107,800 to promote linkages between the Livestock and Fish Program and United States universities. Researchers in the four partner centres (ILRI, ICARDA, WorldFish and CIAT) are invited to submit proposals for collaborative research with U.S universities. Proposals are due March 31, 2014.

Journey starts to an improved vaccine to control East Coast fever
On 27-29 January 2014, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) campus in Kenya hosted discussions on ways to ‘wrestle’ the African cattle disease known as East Coast fever to the ground. Experts from the fields of  East Coast fever research, bovine immunology, parasitology and genomics met to discuss how to develop a new-generation vaccine to protect cattle from this lethal disease.

Country updates – value chain innovation

Egyptian aquaculture innovation platform plans for further growth in the sector
Stakeholders from Egypt’s $1.5 billion aquaculture industry recently came together in Cairo to discuss future development of the sector. Organized by WorldFish, the two-day Innovation Platform meeting was planned in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Competitive beef and dairy project launched in Nicaragua
On 27 February 2014, the Livestock and Fish program team in Nicaragua joined with partners CATIE, Center for Export and Investment Nicaragua (CEI), and Heifer International to launch a new project called ‘competitive beef and dairy through sustainable intensification and specialized market access‘. The project’s objective is to improve the competitiveness and income of small and medium cattle farmers in Nicaragua through the implementation of good farm management practices and the creation and strengthening of sustainable beef and dairy value chains.

Uganda pig value chain partnership with private sector raises sector profile
The Uganda Daily Monitor published an article on a two-day training organized by the Pig Production and Marketing Ltd Uganda, to chart the way forward on how to develop the pig industry. The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Uganda team was among the invitees who provided training to the pig farmers present at the event mid February 2014.

Gender mainstreaming in the Nicaraguan dual-purpose cattle value chain
On 21-22 January 2014 the Livestock and Fish program conducted a gender workshop in Managua, Nicaragua to share methodologies and approaches to incorporate gender in the program’s work in the dual purpose cattle value chain in Nicaragua. The workshop was an opportunity for current and potential partners to reflect on basic concepts and perceptions regarding gender equity, from both personal and organizational perspectives, taking into consideration gender statistics and opportunity gaps between men and women in the Nicaraguan livestock sector.

Research theme updates

Tools for feed resources assessment and feed technology prioritization focus of ILRI–ICRISAT training
From 27–30 November 2013, the CGIAR research programs on Livestock and Fish and Dryland systems joined with ‘Bhoochetana Plus’ – a Government of Karnataka-CGIAR initiative, to deliver a four day training program on the Feed Resources Assessment (FEAST) and the Feed Technology Prioritization (Techfit) tools.

Assessing resource ownership by women in Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Tanzania
The Gender, Learning and Impact theme is exploring ways the concept of ownership is perceived by rural women in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Nicaragua, to determine how this influences gender dynamics and the adoption of practices and technologies which enhance availability and access to food.

Ethiopia sheep and goat value chain training in benchmarking
On 6-9 Nov 2013, the Livestock and Fish program organized training on the use of benchmarking tools for sheep and goat value chain development in Ethiopia. Nearly 30 participants took part in the training from the different value chains intervention areas in Ethiopia namely Atsbi, Abergelle, Doyogena, Horro, Menze, Yabello, and Shinelle.

Recent publications

Filed under: CGIAR, CRP37

Enhancing dairy based livelihoods in India and Tanzania: Updates from the MilkIT project

Tanzania dairy farmers collect forages

The ILRI-led project on ‘enhancing dairy-based livelihoods in India and Tanzania through feed innovation and value chain development approaches’ – commonly known as MilkIT – has been implemented since 2012 with support from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). The project aims to contribute to improved dairy-livelihoods in these countries via intensification of smallholder production focusing on enhancement of feeds and feeding using innovation and value chain approaches.

Two briefs from the Livestock and Fish research program provide mid-term progress reports from the project in India and Tanzania. Research in both countries involves support for innovation platforms, as well as feed assessment, value chain assessment, market linkages and institutional strengthening.  Insights and lessons on these and other outcomes are documented in the briefs.


See project photos


Filed under: Animal Feeding, ASSP, Cattle, CIAT, CRP37, Feeds, ILRI, India, Tanzania, Value Chains

Exploring the sustainability of Vietnamese pig value chains: food safety comes first

A local slaughterhouse worker cools down his pigs

A local slaughterhouse worker in Binh Phuoc Province, Vietnam, cools down his pigs with the help of a hose (photo credit: ILRI/Andrew Nguyen).

Last week, and close to one year after its launch meeting, the REVALTER project held its first annual meeting in Ba Vi dairy production area on the outskirts of Hanoi, Vietnam. REVALTER is the French acronym for Multi-scale assessment of livestock development pathways in Vietnam. The project involves livestock production systems scientists, livestock economists, anthropologists and geographers from different French and Vietnamese agriculture-for-development research centres and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The meeting was an opportunity for researchers scattered across three countries to meet physically after numerous videoconferences, to share the findings from the first year of this research project and to plan activities for its second year.

The project is going according to plan: in year 1 the research partners collected data on dairy and pig production systems in the three Vietnamese provinces under study. Year 2 will see this data analysed to create sustainability typologies of the farms. More data collection will be done and analysed to understand the value chains distributing the pork and dairy products from these farms. We also need to start thinking about a method to measure the sustainability of the dairy and pig systems at farm, landscape and value chain levels so as to collect this data in Year 3.

To help this process of identifying sustainability indicators, and to try to come up with indicators that will also be meaningful for the stakeholders involved in the chains, some of us decided to take the opportunity of this trip to Vietnam to visit study sites in the Southern peri-urban province of Dong Nai. We asked three different stakeholders of the pig value chains there: ‘What does sustainability mean to you’?

Nguyên Van Chiêu is a pig producer in Gia Tan II Commune, Thong Nhat District of Dong Nai Province. He was introduced to us by the District Office of Agriculture and Rural Development. Mr Chiêu is not a smallholder farmer: 500 sows and their piglets on 2.5 hectares of land tended by 12 labourers. His pig producing enterprise is nonetheless characteristic of the family agribusinesses raising pigs for the enormous consumer market of Dong Nai Province and neighbouring Ho Chi Minh City (population: more than 7.7 million at the end of 2012). Mr Chiêu’s view of sustainability was centered on his farm: “active management of sows, feeds and vaccination of the herd to keep the business going in the long-term”. If we refer to the three traditional pillars of sustainability (economic, environmental and social), Mr Chiêu thus clearly sees sustainability as an economic construct.

The two other chain stakeholders we visited had a radically different viewpoint focusing on the social pillar of sustainability. Lê Khanh Nhân is the Chief of the Quality Department at D&F: a state-owned pig and chicken slaughterhouse also manufacturing processed meat. When asked what sustainability meant for him and his business, his first answer was: ‘We must make sure that our products are safe and of good quality’. Other criteria spanned the environmental construct (abiding to provincial regulations on liquid waste processing and obtaining ISO14000 environmental certification to satisfy supermarket customers) and finally the economic profitability of the business. As for Bui Dinh Buoi, Director of the Thong Nhat District Office of Agriculture and Rural Development, sustainability was also primarily food safety, followed by farmers’ incomes paying for farming costs, products being acceptable for consumers, government management of the whole chain for an equitable redistribution of incomes across the chain and environmental friendliness.

This is only a first exploration of what sustainability in the pig value chains of Dong Nai Province might mean for its various stakeholders, which will have to be deepened by a larger survey within the value chain. Nonetheless, it is useful for us researchers to have identified that, from the perspective of a pig farmer, pig processor and government official, the sustainability of pig value chains is predominantly linked to food safety. Economic considerations come second; the environmental aspect only comes third. This is a first step in constructing a valid and relevant questionnaire to study the sustainability of large-scale peri-urban pig farming systems in Southern Vietnam, which contribute to providing nutritious livestock products to the rural and urban poor.

Jo Cadilhon, Senior Agro-economist

Policy, Trade and Value Chains Program, ILRI

Filed under: Animal Health, Asia, CRP37, Environment, Feeds, Food Safety, Genetics, Impact Assessment, Pigs, PTVC, Value Chains, Vietnam

Livestock and Fish animal health theme updates plans to 2022

Animal health theme planning meeting group photoThe Animal Health theme of the Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program met last week for a two-day planning meeting at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Nairobi campus. This was a preliminary meeting organized in advance of the week long program research planning meeting to be held on 24-28 March in Naivasha, Kenya.

Meeting participants updated their overall plans for the coming years and worked on elements of the program’s 2015-2022 Strategic Implementation Plan.

Led by ILRI scientist Phil Toye, the Animal Health theme is one of the three technology platforms of the program whose objective is to generate data and materials to improve the pro-poor management of animal health and food safety in the targeted value chains. East Coast fever, contagious bovine pleuro-pneumonia, peste de petit ruminants and African Swine fever are some of the livestock diseases that the team is working on.

A long term visioning exercising that mapped out what individual theme members and the group as a collective would have liked to achieve in 2023 was carried out. The exercise provided an excellent platform for the detailed review of the theme’s plans where specific activities, milestones and deliverable for 2015-2016 as well as 2017-2019 were discussed and sketched out.

Outputs from this preliminary meeting will be further discussed and refined through the interactions and exchanges with other program researchers at the end of March meeting.

Filed under: Animal Diseases, Animal Health, CRP37

Egyptian fish farmers target for aquaculture training videos

A series of high quality aquaculture training videos, designed to teach Egyptian fish farmers the industry’s best management practices, has recently been released.

Produced by WorldFish, an international non-profit research organization, the 10 short videos are being used to train local fish farmers in the most effective ways to boost the production and quality of farmed fish.
Available in Arabic with English subtitles, the videos cover all aspects of aquaculture from pond preparation and fish health care, to how to transport and handle live fish.

These videos are good learning tool for fish farmers to show them the industry’s best management practices in a simplified way – Dr. Diaa Al-Kenawy, WorldFish

The videos are part of the Improving Employment and Income through the Development of Egypt’s Aquaculture Sector (IEIDEAS) project. This project is part of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) led Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program small and medium-scale aquaculture value chain in Egypt.

More information

Watch all the videos


Filed under: Aquaculture, Capacity Development, CGIAR, CRP37, Egypt, Fish, North Africa, Value Chains, WorldFish

Competitive beef and dairy project launched in Nicaragua

Livestock and Fish press conference to present the competitive beef and dairy through sustainable intensification and specialized market access projectOn 27 February 2014, the Livestock and Fish program team in Nicaragua joined with partners CATIE, Center for Export and Investment Nicaragua (CEI), and Heifer International to launch a new project called ‘competitive beef and dairy through sustainable intensification and specialized market access

The project’s objective is to improve the competitiveness and income of small and medium cattle farmers in Nicaragua through the implementation of good farm management practices and the creation and strengthening of sustainable beef and dairy value chains.

The project’s intervention strategy approaches the issues through four main components: local capacity-building, exploring and testing market incentive mechanisms to increase technology adoption and generate added value in meat and milk production, promoting sustainable farming practices and sustainable livestock products to access specialized market niches, and the continuation of project activities beyond the scope of the project through the creation of a sustainable livestock farming platform.

The practices promoted by the project will lead to a sustainable intensification of the farms, better smallholder adaptation to climate change, and offer a business opportunity in specialized markets through a certification process with internationally recognized standards. This will lead to the expected project impacts of poverty reduction, environmental sustainability, and capacity building within the target group.

Filed under: Cattle, Central America, CGIAR, CIAT, CRP37, Dairying, Intensification, Livestock, Nicaragua, Project, Value Chains

2014 CGIAR-US university linkages call for proposals

As last year, USAID has provided $US 107,800 to promote linkages between the livestock and fish research program and United States universities. Researchers in the four partner centres (ILRI, ICARDA, WorldFish and CIAT) are invited to submit proposals for collaborative research with U.S universities.

Proposals are due March 31, 2014 and should be submitted by email to Stuart Worsley (s.worsley (at) and Esther Ndungu (E.Ndung’u (at) Decisions will be announced by April 30th.

In 2013, two proposals were approved for this funding.

Sustainable grassland intensification through ecosystem services and improved grazing management strategies (CIAT, University of Florida, Mississippi State University)

The project aims to fill an important gap in research efforts on sustainable grassland intensification indispensable for increasing animal production per unit of area, through improved grassland conservation and grazing management practices on the one hand and introducing ecosystem services on the other hand, with specific focus on carbon insetting. Deliverables will include innovative pasture management and ecosystem services concepts for dual purpose cattle systems with emphasis on dairy, training of graduate students, publications from on-site projects and proposals to acquire larger funds. The outputs will contribute importantly to enhancing and intensifying the dual purpose value chain in Nicaragua.

Mobile technology to enhance community-based sheep breeding programs in Ethiopia (ICARDA, Oregon State University)

The objective of the project is to build on community-based sheep breeding programs to ease and improve recording using mobile data transfer (cell phones, or tablets) from villages to research centers. The project will have tremendous role to play in sustaining community-based sheep breeding programs by helping for timely and easy collection, analysis and delivery of breeding data, and feedback breeding values for selection decisions. Success of the project will have significant impact on speeding the ability to understand existing livestock populations and bring advanced genomic technology applications to bear on genetic improvement for global food security.

Filed under: CGIAR, CRP37, Research

Monitoring and evaluating innovation platforms in livestock value chains

Growing local and informal markets in Asia and Africa provide both challenges and opportunities for smallholders. In developing countries, market failures often lead to suboptimal performance of the value chains and limited and inequitable participation of the poor.

In recent years, innovation platforms have been promoted as mechanisms to stimulate and support multistakeholder collaboration in the context of research for development. They are recognized as having the potential to link value chain actors, and enhance communication and collaboration to overcome market failures.

This paper sets out a monitoring and evaluation framework to understand and assess the performance of innovation platforms in the context of pro-poor value chains.

Download the report

More on innnovation platforms

Filed under: ASSP, CRP12, CRP37, ILRI, Innovation Systems, Livestock, Report, Value Chains

Meat atlas – on the meat we consume and its impacts

Is humanity substituting the quality and safety of our meat with quantity? Published in January 2014, the Meat Atlas looks at commercial and small & medium scale meat production in the developed and developing countries and the global effects on livestock farming on livelihoods and individuals.

‘…Contribution to poverty reduction, gender quality and a healthy diet and eating meat does not have to damage the climate and the environment.

The report chapters include:

‘A species-poor planet; The genetic basis of livestock is getting ever narrower. We are relying on a few, specialized breeds of animals, such as the black-and-white Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle that are raised in over 130 countries. A few high-yielding strains also dominate the production of chickens, goats, pigs and sheep.

‘The grain in the feed trough; Ruminants and people do not have to compete over food. But producing more meat requires ever more grain to feed to animals as concentrates. If we cannot grow enough at home, we have to import it from abroad.

‘In search of good food; Concerned consumers in the rich world face a dilemma. They want good-quality meat that is produced in an environmentally friendly, ethical manner. How best to ensure this? …Farmers who use ecological methods are struggling to compete with large-scale industrial producers who focus on speed and quantity. These big producers can afford to sell at low prices because they do not take external costs including damage to the environment, or harm to animals and human health, into account.

‘What to do and how to do it: individuals and groups; Given all the problems with livestock production and meat consumption, is there anything that normal people can do?

Various recommendations on safer farming system such as supporting small and medium enterprises that could counter some of the livestock farming negative effects are discussed in the report.

Download the report

Filed under: Animal Products, Food Safety

Egyptian aquaculture innovation platform plans for further growth in the sector

Stakeholders from Egypt’s $1.5 billion aquaculture industry will come together in Cairo this week to discuss future development of the sector.

Organized by WorldFish, an international research organization, the two-day Innovation Platform meeting, on 19 and 20 February is planned in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation under the ‘Improving Employment and Income through Development of Egypt’s Aquaculture Sector (IEIDEAS) project.

More on this story

Filed under: Africa, Aquaculture, CRP37, Egypt, Fish, Livestock-Fish, North Africa, Value Chains, WorldFish

Uganda pig value chain partnership with private sector raises sector profile

The Uganda Daily Monitor yesterday published an article on a two-day training organized by the Pig Production and Marketing Ltd Uganda, to chart the way forward on how to develop the pig industry. The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Uganda team including two graduate students and one national partner was among the invitees who also provided training to the pig farmers present at the event held on 14-15 February 2014.

Below is an excerpt from the Daily Monitor

 PPM/Christopher Mulindwa).

Christopher Mulindwa at the Production and Marketing Uganda Ltd. training (photo credit: PPM/Christopher Mulindwa).

‘Government has been urged to put piggery as one of its priorities in the development of the country since more than one million households are engaged in the activity in Uganda. ‘The call was made by more than 90 pig farmers who attended the training in Matugga, Wakiso District.

‘The seminar, which was organized by Pig Production and Marketing Ltd Uganda, was to train farmers in the modern methods of pig farming. It was also to enable them transform from engaging in subsistence to profitable commercial farming systems.

‘Christopher Mulindwa, the production manager at Pig Production and Marketing Uganda Ltd. noted that the interaction between various actors in the value chain has been limited causing the farmers to sell to exploitative markets, buy counterfeit inputs and have limited access to finance and extension services.

Danilo Pezo at the Pig Production and Marketing Uganda Ltd. training

Danilo Pezo at the Pig Production and Marketing Uganda Ltd. training (photo credit: PPM/Christopher Mulindwa).

Interactions between Mulindwa and the ILRI Uganda team began in 2012 with deliberations on how Pig Production and Marketing Uganda Ltd could partner with ILRI projects in Uganda. ILRI has been providing technical support and information that would make the enterprise even more effective. Through the enterprise, ILRI has been able to spread out its research outputs to many actors in the pig value chain –including medium size pig farmers, who are not the direct beneficiaries of the project- and offer advice on good farming practices. This kind of partnership is making great contributions towards the value chain approach focus of the Livestock and Fish program that seeks to engage with different partners along the entire value chain.

Mulindwa also shared the experiences of his enterprise with participants from Africa, South Asia and Europe, during the Livestock and Fish Value Chains Tools Conference organized by ILRI, and held in Kampala in September 2013. He recently won the ‘The GrowthHub’s 2014 Agribusiness Innovation Incubator’ prize with the support of several ILRI colleagues.

Danilo Pezo, the Uganda value chain country coordinator and coordinator of the Smallholder Pig Value Chains Development (SPVCD) project gave the opening speech for the two-day training. Kristina Roesel, coordinator of the Safe Food Fair Food project conducted a training session on breaking the tape worm cycle at the same event.

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Filed under: Animal Health, CRP37, East Africa, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains

Journey starts to an improved vaccine to control East Coast fever

East Coast fever vaccination campaign in Maasailand, East Africa On 27-29 January 2014, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) campus in Kenya hosted discussions on ways to ‘wrestle’ the African cattle disease known as East Coast fever to the ground.

Experts from the fields of  East Coast fever research, bovine immunology, parasitology and genomics met to discuss how to develop a new-generation vaccine to protect cattle from this lethal disease. A new ‘subunit’ vaccine could better control this disease that is causing farmers distress and uncertainty in countries of eastern, central and southern Africa where it is now endemic.

Opening the workshop, Jimmy Smith, ILRI’s director general, highlighted three areas that the project will address. First, by developing an improved vaccine for East Coast fever, the project will increase food security by reducing losses of livestock. Second, the project will assist smallholder farmers escape poverty caused by animal losses and enable them to be more secure in their agricultural livelihoods and transform their subsistence practices into commercial farming. Third, the partnerships in this consortium should help to greatly enlarge the depth and breadth of the scientific knowledge in this area.

The project forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish:

This project on East Coast fever will be a critical contribution to the program. Through focused research, it will address a key cattle health constraint in the short run with improved techniques for manufacturing the existing live vaccine, and in the longer run through an even better vaccine. Further, by fitting this effort into a coordinated national program working to address other nutritional and breeding constraints to dairy development, combined with institutional innovations that promote smallholder participation, it will help transform the smallholder dairy value chain in Tanzania – Tom Randolph, director of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish.

ILRI and others have been working on better control of East Coast fever for many decades. Significant progress has been made, notably the development of the current infection-and-treatment method (ITM) of immunizing cattle against the disease now being deployed in Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania. But the cost of administering this ‘first-generation’ vaccine is costly for smallholder farmers and requires refrigeration to store and transport the vaccine.

Divided in two phases, phase 1 activities on the new project titled ‘improved vaccines for the control of East Coast fever in cattle in Africa’ will improve aspects of the current sub-optimal live (infection and treatment method – ITM) East Coast fever vaccine, fill knowledge gaps regarding the qualitative and quantitative aspects of acquired immune responses that mediate immunity to East Coast fever and test the vaccine potential of candidate vaccine antigens and develop a more detailed antigen map. These activities will contribute to the project’s goal of developing a broad-spectrum subunit vaccine for the control of East Coast fever (phase 2).

Our recent surveys confirmed East Coast fever as one of the two most important diseases that cattle farmers worry about in Tanzania, where it kills thousands of cattle every year. Moreover, the fear of the disease has made many farmers hesitant to invest in more productive dairy breeds to improve their income. The Livestock and Fish program is working on a pro-poor  dairy value chain transformation agenda in Tanzania and overcoming constraints such as East Coast fever is critical to our success – Amos Omore, Tanzania dairy value chain coordinator

The experts were drawn from the Center for Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases (Malawi), GALVmed (UK), the Institute of Tropical Medicine at Antwerp (Belgium), the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland (USA), the International Livestock Research Institute (Kenya), the Roslin Institute at University of Edinburgh (UK), the Royal Veterinary College (UK), the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USA) and Washington State University (USA), which together are forming an East Coast fever vaccine consortium.

The project is led by ILRI’s Vish Nene and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Normal Borlaug Commemorative Research Initiative of the US Feed the Future initiative and the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish.

More information on the Project website

Filed under: Animal Diseases, Animal Health, Cattle, CRP37, East Africa, ECF, ILRI, ILVAC, Livestock, Tanzania, Vaccines

Worldfish is recruiting a value chain science leader in Bangladesh

WorldFish is a Partner Center of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

The Livestock and Fish Program works to sustainably increase the productivity, availability and affordability of meat, milk and fish by and for the poor, and is structured around six Themes: Animal Health, Genetics, Feeds, Value Chains, Targeting Sustainable Intensification, and Gender & Learning.

WorldFish oversees the Program’s fish related value chain and technology development research and is now seeking a highly motivated, dynamic, and experienced individual to head up the Livestock and Fish effort in Bangladesh.


More information and application details

Filed under: Aquaculture, Bangladesh, South Asia, Value Chains, WorldFish