Animal science for sustainable productivity: Clippings

ILRI research brief says marketing information tool has improved livestock trading in Somaliland

Hargeisa livestock market – goats selected for export

Goats at a market in Somaliland (photo credit: ILRI/Peter Ballantyne).

By Andrew Wangili

A new research brief by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) shows that a livestock marketing information system (LMIS) has improved access to animal marketing information and helped increase trading in livestock in Somaliland.

The livestock sector is a major source of livelihood in many Somaliland households. Exports of sheep and goats, particularly to the Middle East, experienced tremendous growth between 2007-2012, but despite the opportunities for producers and traders offered by this growth, livestock trade is characterized by underdeveloped legal frameworks, transactional uncertainty and high information costs. Traditional institutions and religious practices guide the livestock trade in Somaliland.

In 2007, Terra Nuova set up the LMIS to address high market information cost in the state. This LMIS activity and the analysis of its data were conducted as part of a ‘Reducing vulnerability of Somali communities by raising the capacity of indigenous systems and enhancing market access and consumer welfare’ project in Somaliland, which is funded by the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) and implemented by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Terra Nuova.

Francis Wanyoike, a researcher with ILRI’s Policy, Trade and Value chains (PTVC) program, together with colleagues Lawrence Godiah, Riccardo Costagli and Ibrahim Gulaid from Terra Nuova, Derek Baker from University of New England and Ibrahim Elmi from the Somaliland Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, evaluated the validity of the LMIS including information reported on numbers of animal exports, market turnover volumes, market prices for animals of different grades and analyzed the strengths and weaknesses inherent in the livestock marketing information system.

According to the brief, analysis of the data from LMIS revealed that:

  • The establishment of a livestock certification system, investments in infrastructure supporting animal welfare and the enactment of tighter animal welfare regulations in end-markets has led to increased trade in all species of livestock.
  • Demand for small ruminants and camels in export markets led to a rise in the price of these animals between 2007 and 2012 but cattle prices stayed the same over this period due to the low number of exporters .
  • Somaliland’s reliance on a few markets; Saudi Arabia for sheep, goats and camels and Yemen and Oman for cattle; makes the live animal export trade sector vulnerable to events in those markets.

The authors say ‘the Somaliland government needs to diversify its export markets and product portfolio to stabilize the livestock export trade sector.’

Download the ‘Enhancing the provision of livestock marketing information in Somaliland‘ brief.


Filed under: Agriculture, CRP2, East Africa, Livelihoods, Livestock, Markets, PTVC, Report, Small Ruminants, Somalia, Trade, Value Chains Tagged: Somaliland, Terra Nouva

Dairy researchers say efficient systems key to boosting milk production in Tanzania

Delivering milk to a collection centre in Tanga, Tanzania.

A dairy farmer delivering milk to a collection centre in Tanga, Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

By Mercy Becon

A recent study by Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) shows that only 30% of the capacity of milk processing plants is utilized in Tanzania and per capita milk consumption in the country is a mere quarter of the global milk consumption standard.

‘Milk production in the country needs to go up to nine billion litres per year in order to catch up with global standards,’ says George Msalya, a senior lecturer at SUA, in an article published 8 Jun 2015 by The Citizen in Tanzania.

Sokoine University is a partner the Maziwa Zaidi program in Tanzania and has been actively involved in several projects under the program such as the Irish Aid-funded More Milk in Tanzania (MoreMilkiT) project that is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

MoreMilkiT is a four year project that is improving dairy-dependent livelihoods through generation of research evidence and piloting of interventions starting with pilot sites in Tanga and Morogoro. The project is reaching nearly 4,800 farmers though its dairy market hub approach which connects dairy producers and value chain actors to improve milk production and commercializing in the country.

According to Msalya, milk production in Tanzania can be boosted by ‘addressing chronic problems facing milk production and marketing such as of low output and compromised quality.’

The Maziwa Zaidi program is working with stakeholders including the government to support the dairy sector in building a sound dairy value chain, which includes activities of pastoralists, milk consumers, processors, distributors, traders, researchers and policymakers.

Read the full article: Milk production ‘too low’ in The Citizen.


Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Production, Article, Consumption, CRP37, East Africa, Livestock, Markets, Research, Tanzania, Value Chains Tagged: Maziwa Zaidi, Milk, moremilkit, Sokoine University of Agriculture

ILRI research brief reviews market participation of livestock producers in Somaliland

Goats feeding from feed truck

Goats feeding from a truck in Somaliland (photo credit: ILRI/Peter Ballantyne).

By Andrew Wangili

A recently published International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) research brief shares findings from an assessment of animal grading and market participation among sheep and goats producers that show women are an integral part of livestock ownership and enterprise in Somaliland.

Livestock trade accounts for 40% of Gross Domestic Product and is also a chief forex earner (80%) in Somaliland. Sheep and goats are reared and traded in most parts of the country. In 2012, over 3 million sheep and goats worth USD 200 Million were exported. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are the main importers.

a significant number of small ruminants are also marketed domestically creating jobs for locals especially women who are popularly involved in domestic meat selling and production of useful by-products such as soap and ornamentals. Income from livestock sales is used to buy food and other necessities thus impacting directly on food security and poverty.

ILRI’s researchers Francis Wanyoike, Nadhem Mtimet, Nicholas Ndiwa and Karen Marshall, together with Lawrence Godiah from Terra Nuova and Ahmed Warsame from the IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School (ISTVS), analyzed livestock sales, producer’s awareness, exploitation and experience with the indigenous livestock grading system used in livestock markets among men and women in 144 households from 12 settlements in Hawd pastoral, West Golis pastoral and Togdheer agro-pastoral livelihood zones in Somaliland.

According to the brief, small ruminant enterprise households keep about 50 animals and flock sizes are larger among pastoralists (on average 58-72 animals) than among agro-pastoralists (29 animals) and women are also strongly involved in these enterprises as animal owners.

‘While knowledge about the livestock grading system is widespread among producers, quality composition of animals sold and prices fetched indicates there is scope for producers to raise their incomes through sale of higher quality animals,’said the authors.

They recommend educating producers, promoting fattening of animals and addressing feed availability to improve the quality of goats and sheep reared.

This study was conducted as part of ‘Reducing vulnerability of Somali communities by raising the capacity of indigenous systems and enhancing market access and consumer welfare’ project in Somaliland, which is funded by the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) and implemented by ILRI and Terra Nuova. Findings from this study will soon be published in East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal.

Download the research brief.


Filed under: Agriculture, CRP2, East Africa, Livelihoods, Livestock, Markets, PTVC, Report, Small Ruminants, Somalia, Value Chains Tagged: Animal grading

Starbucks Foundation’s USD 750,000 grant to help Tanzania farmers complement coffee farming with dairy

Dairy cow

By Mercy Becon

Heifer International, which is working with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and other partners in the Maziwa Zaidi project in Tanzania, has received a USD 750,000 grant from the Starbucks Foundation to fund the Mbozi Farmer Livelihood Improvement project, which will improve the livelihoods of smallholders in the country.

Maziwa Zaidi is funded by Irish Aid to support dairy market hubs in Tanga and Morogoro regions. The new funding to Heifer International will help improve livelihoods and quality of life for smallholder coffee growing communities in the East African country.

According to a 2 April 2015 press release in the MarketWatch website, ‘the project will assist at least 5,000 smallholder farmers in Tanzania by providing them with dairy heifers and bulls to complement coffee farming and increase their income.’

‘Farmers who own cows will receive training on proper dairy management and animal husbandry. A milk collection centre will also be developed to give larger dairy processors easier access to farmers’ milk.’

‘Adding dairy farming will ensure coffee farmers have a steady flow of income to reinvest into their coffee farms,’ said Pierre Ferrari, Heifer’s president and chief executive.

The project also will increase access to water and improve sanitation, as well as increase use of alternative sources of renewable energy.

Read the full article ‘Heifer awarded USD750,ooo from Starbucks Foundation to support coffee farmers in Tanzania.’


Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Production, Article, Dairying, East Africa, Intensification, Livelihoods, Livestock, Pro-Poor Livestock, Tanzania Tagged: Heifer International, Maziwa Zaidi, Starbucks Foundation

Tanzania dairy sector gets USD1.5 million boost through East Africa Dairy Development project grant

Dairy cow in Tanga, Tanzania

Dairy cows in Tanzania. The East Africa Dairy Development project has received a USD1.5 million grant to support dairy development in the country (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

The East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) project, a regional dairy industry development program has received USD1.5 million grant from Elanco Animal Health to support on-going dairy development work in Tanzania and East Africa.

According to a 3 March 2015 article published in Business Wire online, Elanco’s grant ‘will help support Phase II [of the project], expanding EADD into Tanzania while continuing to work with smallholders in Kenya and Uganda.’

The EADD project, which is led by Heifer International in partnership with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), TechnoServe, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the African Breeders Service Total Cattle Management, empowers smallholder dairy producers in East Africa to move from subsistence to sustainable livelihoods by increasing their milk production and improving collecting, preserving and transporting of milk to the marketplace.

‘Phase II efforts will focus on developing sustainable collection hubs, advancing gender equity for women farmers, and replicating successes achieved to date. Smallholders will learn about and engage new technologies and practices around fodder production, alternative energy sources and milk transport systems.’

This second phase of the project aims to increase dairy farmers’ income by 100%, increase the number of women supplying milk to hubs by 30% and see the number of women with access to and control over productive assets go up by 30%.

Read the full story Elanco supports East Africa Dairy Development Project with $1.5 million matching challenge.

Written by Mercy Becon, communication specialist with ILRI in Tanzania.


Filed under: Agriculture, Article, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, Livestock, LSE, Markets, Tanzania, Value Chains Tagged: EADD, Heifer International

ILRI report reviews Somaliland livestock market information system

The economy of Somaliland depends on livestock and the livestock sector employs about 70% of the population and contributes nearly 60% of GDP and 85% of export earnings. The principal export markets are Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates and exports of livestock products to these markets have grown steadily in the last four years.

However, as this ILRI research report shows, despite recent growth in export volumes, livestock trade in Somaliland is taking place in an environment characterized by an underdeveloped legal framework, contract uncertainty and high information costs among other factors. Most of the trade is guided by informal traditional institutions, customs and religious practices that serve as alternatives to formal contracting.

The report appraises a Somaliland livestock marketing information system that was started in 2007 to address high market informations costs. The system, which is implemented by various government ministries and agencies in Somaliland, collects and disseminates data from livestock markets in Hargeisa, Burao, Tog Wajaale, Berbera and Lowya Caddo and is a decision-making tool for livestock sector stakeholders.

Download the full report.


Filed under: Africa, CRP2, East Africa, ILRI, Livestock, Markets, PTVC, Research, Somalia Tagged: DANIDA, Somaliland

Foresight modeling to guide sustainable intensification of smallholder systems

At this week’s international conference on Integrated Systems Research for Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture, Dolapo Enahoro made a presentation on foresight modeling to guide sustainable intensification of smallholder systems.

 

 

Concerns about the future of a global food and agricultural economy under threat from economic, socio-political and climate-related shocks has triggered renewed interest in the use of integrated foresight analyses to address questions of food supply and availability. With support from the CGIAR research program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other donors, much attention is being paid to the development of tools and methodologies for assessing biophysical and economic dimensions and long-term prospects for global agricultural production and food security.

This presentation outlines foresight analysis work within the CGIAR’s Global Futures and Strategic Foresight program, highlighting the development and application of a quantitative modeling framework to address questions of technological innovation, climate change and agricultural productivity. We discuss the capacity of the modeling
platform for carrying out long-term projections of commodity markets and for evaluating the use and availability of key natural resources in agricultural production (e.g., land, water).

We point to some applications in which we quantify the country-level implications of global commodity interactions on agricultural incomes, nutrition, and related indices, and illustrate how this can serve as a useful way to guide research efforts and investments that are aimed at increasing productivity and production in agricultural systems. An example is provided of recent efforts to disaggregate the model’s representation of global livestock production into representative systems so as to improve its applicability. In this presentation we also suggest possible future directions in which the modeling platform of data, models and methodologies can be improved and linked to other activities so as to better address trade-offs, synergies and externalities relevant to sustainable intensification and smallholder agriculture. The institutional arrangement underlying the foresight analysis work is briefly outlined in the context of its potential for fostering cross-program collaboration and providing leverage to enhance systems-focused quantitative analyses.

More about the conference:

Web page

Twitter hashtag: CGIAR_Systems


Filed under: CRP2, Farming Systems, ILRI, Intensification, Livestock, PTVC Tagged: CGIAR_Systems

Livestock Matter(s): ILRI news ’round-up’ January–February 2015

 ILRI News Round-up banner

The January-February issue of ‘Livestock Matter(s)’ provides a round-up of livestock development news, publications, presentations, images and upcoming events from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and its partners. Download a print version or sign up to get Livestock Matter(s) in your mailbox each month.

 Corporate news

The meat we eat, the lives we lift–Opinion by ILRI director general Jimmy Smith
An opinion piece in The Economist by Jimmy Smith on the central importance of livestock to the livelihoods, health and well-being of three billion people.

New book presents research findings on food safety in Africa’s traditional meat, milk and fish markets
A new book launched on 27 January 2015 presents a review of food safety in informal markets and 25 case studies of the meat, milk and fish sectors in eight countries in East, West and southern Africa, as part of the Safe Food, Fair Food project. The book says informal markets provide essential sources of food and income for millions of poor, with milk and meat that is often safer than supermarkets.

ILRI joint appointee scientist reflects on John Dillon Fellowship experience
Hung Nguyen-Viet, an environmental scientist at the Center for Public Health and Ecosystem Research (CENPHER) of the Hanoi School of Public Health and a joint appointee of ILRI shares his experience as a John Dillon Fellow in 2014. Under the fellowship, he spent six weeks in Australia from February to March 2014 on formal training in communication, leadership development and research management, coupled with field visits to farms and research institutions.

CGIAR leads communication-for-research uptake (ResUP) training at Nairobi symposium
A CGIAR-led half-day training session on ‘key messaging and pitching for impact and influencing decision-makers to take up research’ was held on the last day of a ResUp Meet Up Symposium and Training Exchange held 9-12 February 2015 in Nairobi. The symposium explored emerging issues and advanced skills and practice in research uptake.

Setting up a joint CGIAR exhibition booth at ‘Celebrating FARA’ in South Africa
Highlights and lessons learned from participating at an event of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) known as ‘Celebrating FARA’ which was held 26-28 November 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Project news

Uganda chicken project inspires bigger plan to improve Africa’s chicken breeds
A 5 February 2015 article in the Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute website describes how success from a project that is helping Ugandan farmers improve their chickens is inspiring a new five-year project, led by ILRI, to improve chicken breeds in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Case study on the first insurance for Africa’s camels, cows, sheep and goats
This case study asks students to focus on growth strategy for a specialized insurance product for the poor. It focuses on the challenges and opportunities of establishing index-based livestock insurance (IBLI) in locations with large populations of poor pastoralists.

East Coast fever consortium annual meeting – a few reflections
The 2015 annual meeting of the East Coast fever (ECF) consortium was held 9-11 February 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The 40 participants in the meeting reviewed progress since a 2014 inception meeting of the consortium, explored successes and challenges in the consortium’s work and revised and agreed on a new results framework.

Humanity at risk after four environment health boundaries crossed: New study
A new high-profile paper by a team of 18 international researchers, who include Jens Heinke, a joint appointee of ILRI and the Germany-based Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), says four planetary boundaries (climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change and altered biogeochemical cycles) have been crossed as a result of human activity, which places humanity in a danger zone.

Livestock and climate change: Workshop on successes in implementing ‘climate-smart’ livestock systems
‘Livestock and climate change’ was the topic of a recent workshop funded by the consortium of the EU Animal Change Project and organized by ILRI, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Global Research Alliance (GRA) on 2-3 February 2015 at the ILRI campus in Nairobi, Kenya.

LIVES introduces new technologies to boost Ethiopia’s smallholder livestock production
The Livestock and Irrigation Value chain for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES) project has introduced new feeding, breeding and milk production technologies to boost smallholder livestock production in Ethiopia.

South Vietnam study shows pig production still most profitable in country’s livestock sector
Under the REVALTER project, ILRI, with other partners including French and Vietnamese research organizations, is working to improve livestock development in Vietnam, specifically in the pig value chain.

ILRI emphasizes role of smallholders in future livestock development and innovation at India agricultural conference
ILRI was one of the participants at a high-level 74th annual conference of the Indian Society of Agricultural Economics held 18-20 December 2014 in Aurangabad, India. Steve Staal, ILRI’s regional representative for East and Southeast Asia, delivered a keynote on the role smallholders play in meeting rising demand for livestock products in the country and the region.

Africa RISING Ethiopia manual for innovation platform facilitators
This manual is prepared for innovation platform facilitators in Africa RISING Ethiopia sites to help them understand the basics of facilitating innovation platforms.

More from ILRI projects
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Media news

How to go about rearing pigs
In Uganda, pork is a favourite for many people and due to a high demand for it, rearing pigs is highly profitable. Good pig husbandry practices include ensuring good feeding, breeding and housing of pigs. Farmers also need to manage diseases. ILRI’s smallholder pig value chain project is helping farmers in Uganda improve pig production.

Fodder and forage solutions
LRI is collaborating with the Napier grass breeding program of EMBRAPA, the Brazilian agricultural research corporation, to develop improved lines that are disease resistant and have high nutritional value.

Tanzania: Innovation key for more milk production
Tanzania’s dairy farming stakeholders are advocating for an approach that has been tried and tested in the country to increase milk sales including approaches such as the innovation platforms used in the three-year MilkIT project that enhanced dairy-based livelihoods in India and Tanzania through feed innovation and value chain development.

Study finds pig value chain in Vietnam fair
Recently, Jo Cadilhon, senior agricultural economist, Policy, Trade and Value Chains program at ILRI, travelled to Vietnam to provide methodological support on how to calculate production costs, margins and profits in value chains as part of the REVALTER project on future prospects for livestock in the country.

More ILRI news

CGIAR news-updates from research programs we work in

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Livestock and Fish independent external evaluation kicks off this year
In 2015, the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish will be evaluated by a team commissioned by the Independent Evaluation Arrangement (IEA) office of CGIAR. You can learn more about the evaluation here.

How the Livestock and Fish program selects project sites in its focus countries
Catherine Pfeifer, a spatial analyst in ILRI’s Livestock Systems and Environment program, talks about the approaches used in the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, which is led by ILRI, to implement improved site selection procedures for determining and focusing the program’s activities for impact.

Insurance simulation games

Insurance Simulation Games at the IBLI project launch in Marsabit (photo credit: ILRI).

New study proves index based insurance can work for rural poor on large scale
A new study by CCAFS and the International Center for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia University showcases projects such as the ILRI-led Index Based Livestock Insurance program, that have overcome many of the challenges that have previously hindered the uptake of index-based insurance such as poor infrastructure and lack of financing to reach millions of smallholder farmers.

 

Recent presentations

ILRI and TotoGEO: Some ‘big ideas’ and areas for potential collaboration
In this issue we feature a presentation given by Iddo Dror, head of capacity development at ILRI, at the leveraging TOTOGEO and partnerships meeting, INSEAD, Singapore, 16 February 2015.

Recent publications Multimedia

MilkIT: Enhancing dairy-based livelihoods in India through feed innovation 

This video shares results of the MilkIT project in Uttarakhand (India). The goal of the project, which is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is to contribute to improved dairy-derived livelihoods in India and Tanzania via intensification of smallholder production focusing on enhancement of feeds and feeding using innovation and value chain approaches.

• More films

ILRI under the lens

This issue features photos on the discussion of the ILRI’s Feed Assessment Tool (FEAST). The tool offers a systematic method to assess local feed resource availability and use. It helps in the design of intervention strategies aiming to optimize feed utilization and animal production. Find more information on this tool here.

 revising technology list for Techfit

An expert meeting to refine the TechFit tool. ILRI Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 12-13 March 2013 (photo credit: ILRI\Zerihun Sewunet).

Upcoming events Staff updates

In January and February we welcomed the following staff:

  • Alemayehu Tsegaye, mechanical technician, Engineering and Facilities Management
  • Augustine Nthitu, animal health technician, Kapiti ranch
  • Ann Mureithi, senior administrative officer, Director General’s office
  • Ashenafi Kidanemariam, environmental, occupational health and safety officer, Environmental, Occupational Health and Safety unit
  • Barbara Wieland, team leader for herd health, Animal Science for Sustainable Productivity (ASSP)
  • Deborah Wyburn, capacity development/instructional design specialist, CapDev
  • Elizabeth Kibwana, research technician, Biosciences–Vaccine Platform
  • Francesca Stomeo, capacity building research, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Isabelle Baltenweck, program leader, Livelihoods, Gender and Impact (LGI
  • Jason Sircely, ecologist, Livestock Systems and Environment (LSE)
  • Lina Wanga, personal assistant to the deputy director general, Integrated Sciences
  • Mesfin Hailu, program accountant, ASSP
  • Shiferaw Tafesse, capacity development associate, CapDev

We said goodbye to:

  • Eskender Berhanu, driver, ASSP-LIVES project
  • Suzanne  Bertrand, deputy director general
  • Mark Kapchanga Kwemoi, communications specialist, Policy, Trade and Value Chains (PTVC)
  • Solomon Maina, research technician, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • James Mbora Wainaina, research assistant, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Mohamed Guyo Shibia, research officer, LSE
  • Lucy Njeri Kirori,administrative assistant, PTVC
  • Apurba Shee, agricultural economist, LSE

Filed under: ILRI, ILRIComms, Knowledge and Information, Livestock, Research, Roundup Tagged: Livestock matters, Roundup

Jimmy Smith on 40 years of ILRI research–Ethiopia television interview

HE Teferra Derebew, Demeke Mekonnen Deputy Prime Minister, Jimmy Smith, Director General,  Kanayo Nwanze

HE Teferra Derebew, minister of agriculture, Ethiopia; HE Demeke Mekonnen, deputy prime minister of Ethiopia; Jimmy Smith, director general of ILRI and Kanayo Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, at the ILRI40 conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 6 Nov 2014 (photo credit: ILRI/Apollo Habtamu).

Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), was recently interviewed by Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) television journalist Tefera Gedamu, who asked Smith about ILRI’s 40-year anniversary. ILRI has a large campus in the Ethiopian capital, where it has been present for four decades (two decades as ILRI and another two decades before that as its predecessor, the International Livestock Centre for Africa, ILCA).

In the interview, Smith gives a brief history of ILRI, talks about the institute’s research scope and explains how livestock research improves people’s lives and livelihoods.

‘Our role is to see how, through livestock, we can improve the livelihoods of people,’ Smith says, adding that ‘most of the world’s livestock is kept by small producers who are relatively poor and who need to increase their incomes and food security in order to secure their livelihoods.’

According to Smith, one of the most important challenges for these small producers is how to deal with animal diseases. In response to this, ILRI carries out research in animal vaccines to control some of these diseases. ILRI also helps smallholders become better connected to markets so they can sell their products and it works to improve fodder crops so the farmers can feed their livestock better.

Most of ILRI’s research is translated to the grassroots by national research organizations, NGOs and other institutions that ILRI partners with to move research into impact.

‘We work on strategic areas of the research portfolio where the national research organizations may not have capacities, for example in areas such as laboratory research in animal genomics,’ says Smith.

In Ethiopia, ILRI is working with the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research (EIAR) in livestock research priorities identified by the Ethiopian government to add value to their work.

But, Smith admits, success in translating ILRI’s findings for those who need them most is ‘uneven’ across countries and depends greatly on national organizations.

‘The most important vehicle in achieving our goals is our engagement with the national, government and non-state actors who are working on livestock development,’ says Smith. These engagements include building the capacity of research students in partnership with the universities of developing countries.

He says ILRI’s research is addressing challenges facing livestock keepers across the developing world, such as livestock’s role in climate change, water and land use, as well as the effects of these on livestock production.

Smith concludes by saying that scientific research will remain crucial in enabling the agricultural sector respond to the food demands of a growing world population.

Watch the whole 20-min interview of Jimmy Smith at meet EBC with Tefera Gedamu.


Filed under: Agriculture, Directorate, East Africa, Ethiopia, ILRI40, Interview, Livestock, Research Tagged: Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation, Jimmy Smith

Livestock Matter(s): ILRI news ’roundup’ November–December 2014

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The November–December issue of ‘Livestock Matter(s)’ provides a round-up of livestock development news, publications,presentations, images and upcoming events from ILRI and its partners. Download a print version or sign up to get Livestock Matter(s) in your mailbox each month.

Corporate news

Addis Ababa conference marks 40-year anniversary of world’s leading livestock-research-for-development institute
To mark 40 years of international research last year, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) facilitated a series of events highlighting the ways livestock research advances the global development agenda, specifically for food and nutritional security, economic well-being and healthy lives. The highlight event was a two-day conference on 6–7 November 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

ILRI@40 celebrations in Hanoi focus on opportunities for ‘One Health’ in livestock research
On 13 October 2014, ILRI in East and Southeast Asia celebrated 40 years of ILRI’s research by holding a gala dinner at Melia Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam on the sidelines of a three-day One Health workshop which the institute co-organized.

Azage Tegegne of ILRI-LIVES recognized for role in improving Ethiopia’s dairy production
Azage Tegegne, who leads the Livestock and Irrigation Value chains for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES) project was, in November 2014, honoured by the Ethiopian Government for his role in improving dairy cattle genetics and dairy value chain development in the country.

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Project news ILRI@40 well-wishers in Vietnam

The ILRI@40 gala dinner at Melia Hotel, Hanoi on 13 October 2014 (photo credit: ILRI/Jules Mateo).

New environmental research centre improves GHG emissions inventories for the livestock sector in East Africa
Globally, agriculture and livestock systems are responsible for 32% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and are the largest users of land. Livestock systems are major drivers for land use change, including deforestation and soil degradation. Hence, improving their environmental performance could lead to significant GHG reductions and the protection of ecosystems services (water, biodiversity and others).

ILRI stresses need for sustainable use of animal genetics at high-level Southeast Asia agriculture symposium
Steve Staal, the ILRI regional representative for East and Southeast Asia, delivered a presentation on ‘The sustainable use of animal genetics in developing countries’ at the 2nd international conference on Agricultural and Rural Development in Southeast Asia (ARD2014) on 12-13 November 2014 in Manila, Philippines. The talk highlighted how demand for livestock products in Southeast Asia is driving increased use of higher productivity, mostly exotic livestock breeds and the need to conserve genetic diversity of animals, particularly in poultry and pigs, in the region.

Welcome home Brachiaria! Home coming of Africa’s ‘super’ grass
‘The hitherto overlooked Brachiaria grasses have returned home to Africa and have been warmly embraced by smallholder dairy farmers in eastern Africa.’ A paper, presented at the 6th All Africa Conference of Animal Agriculture in Nairobi on 27 October 2014, co-authored by nine scientists from seven institutions including the BecA-ILRI Hub gives an overview of the research, successes and challenges of adopting improved Brachiaria hybrids Mulato and Mulato II in the African context.

The global impact of ILRI’s epidemiology expertise: An impact narrative
A new brief illustrates how ILRI’s integration of epidemiology with agricultural economics and other social sciences is offering a unique approach for assessing the economic impact of animal disease, and for evaluating the implications of intervention options, whether at farm, national or global level.

Innovation platforms as a route to dairy development in India
The International Livestock Research Institute has adopted an Innovation Platform (IP) approach as a route to dairy development in the hills of Uttarakhand, India. A case study illustrates how the  approach is being used by the project ‘Enhancing dairy-based livelihoods in India and Tanzania through feed innovation and value chain development approaches’ (MilkIT), which is being funded by a grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). In Uttarakhand the project is working in two districts, with two village clusters – each of four to six villages – in each district.

Case study helps understand how IBLI developed the world’s first insurance scheme for African pastoralists
A business school type case study was prepared by ILRI, in November 2014, about its Index-Based Livestock Insurance program. The case asks students to focus on growth strategy for a specialized insurance product for the poor. It focuses on the challenges and opportunities of establishing index-based livestock insurance (IBLI) in locations with large populations of poor pastoralists.

Africa RISING learning event puts typologies, innovation systems and program framework under the lens
Partners implementing activities in all Africa RISING countries converged in Arusha, Tanzania from 11-12 November 2014 for the second annual program-wide learning event. More than 65 scientists and collaborators attended the meeting.

Linking poor livestock keepers to markets in Africa and Asia
Writing in the November 2014 issue of Rural 21, Isabelle Baltenweck, an agricultural economist at ILRI, argues that the growing global demand for animal products also offers poor livestock keepers the opportunity to switch from the subsistence to the market economy. She introduces three approaches in the meat and dairy sector in Africa and Asia with their respective potentials and limitations – and also warns against possible negative effects.

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Media news

 IITA/Jeffrey Oliver)

Participants – Africa RISING learning event 2014 (Photo credit: IITA/Jeffrey Oliver)

ILRI conduct training program for scientists
Livestock is an important sector in Pakistan’s economy and considered to be a net source of invariable income for rural and middle grade agri-business holders. It can play a major role in poverty alleviation in rural areas of Pakistan. Inadequate fodder availability is the major limiting factor for profitable livestock production in Pakistan.

How mix of livestock and crops on small farms will feed world
According to the report done by ILRI, farmers and policy makers need to turn their attention away from already over farmed land to mixed farming, especially in high-potential areas. According to the report, ‘it is these mixed farms that, more than the traditional breadbaskets and rice bowls of the past, will feed the growing world over the next few decades’.

East Africa scientists conduct research on disease resistant Napier
Scientists in East Africa are currently conducting research in order to select a disease resistant Napier grass variety. The research is a joint collaboration between ILRI, the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and the national research institutes of Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda under the East African Productivity project.

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CGIAR news-updates from research programs we work in

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The value of knowledge in rural development – ‘I also have a right to decide.
Supporting technical solutions to on-farm problems with knowledge for development initiatives is crucial to ensure rural families can better manage their resources to rise out of poverty. The Learning Alliance, is being implemented by the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics (Humidtropics) in Northern Nicaragua, where the Livestock and Fish program also promotes capacity development activities to strengthen the involvement of small farmers in the beef and dairy value chains.

Piecing together the (gender) research for (capacity) development puzzle
Conducting research for development is at the heart of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish’s value chain approach. Diana Brandes, global capacity development specialist at ILRI, argues that, in a world of complex sustainable development challenges, the solution(s) to ensure program outputs respond to localized demands to facilitate value chain transformation is a puzzle, where any number of rural communities, organizations, institutions may hold different pieces.

New feed technology to offer more nutritious and sustainable aquaculture in Vietnam
Launched on 20 November 2014 in Ho Chi Minh City, the ‘Nutritious-system feeding concept; nourishing Vietnamese ponds to produce quality seafood’ project aims to increase the contribution of naturally occurring food in the diets of farmed fish and shrimp in the country. The project will work with Vietnamese aquaculture farmers to research an innovative ‘nutritious-system’ concept that involves feeding not only the cultured animals in the pond but the entire pond ecosystem, including algae and bacteria in the water.

Introducing Africa’s bridge between climate change research and policy
The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) the Rockefeller Foundation and Pamoja Media came together to form the Climate and Agriculture Network for Africa (CANA), a regional learning platform that seeks to capture the synergies of research and create opportunities for linking emerging lessons with policy.

Recent presentations

Introducing the MilkIT project and its initial results
This presentation by Alan Duncan of ILRI on introducing the MilkIT project and its initial results was presented at at the MilkIT Outreach Meeting, Dar es Salaam, 11 December 2014.

Sustainable intensification and climate change: An EARS-CGIAR Mega-program initiative in support of the Government of Ethiopia and the African Union
Presented by Barry Shapiro (ILRI) at a Consultative Meeting on Strengthening CGIAR – EARS partnerships for effective agricultural transformation in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, 4–5 December 2014

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Recent publications

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Multimedia

Animal agriculture research director envisions developing-world livestock sector in 2054
Jimmy Smith, director general of ILRI, provided a vision of what he thinks livestock production in the developing world will look like in 2054, 40 years from now. He presented this on the first of a two-day conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to mark the 40-year anniversary of ILRI.

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ILRI under the lens

Ushers at the ILRI 40 celebration

Ushers at the ILRI 40 celebration in Addis Ababa, 6 Nov 2014 (photo credit: ILRI/Apollo Habtamu).

To mark ILRI’s 4o years, this issue features images from ILRI@40 events last year.

More pictures

Upcoming events

Feb 2-4 ‘Livestock and Climate Change’ Workshop, Nairobi, Kenya

View more upcoming events

Staff updates

In November and December we welcomed the following staff

  • Degefa Biru, driver, Integrated Sciences
  • Ayda Tegenu, administrative assistant, Animal Biosciences
  • Rahel Eshetu, helpdesk administrator, Engineering and Facilities
  • Tesfaye Kebede, electrical technician, Engineering and Facilities
  • Alemayehu Negussie, driver, Integrated Sciences – Livestock Systems and Environment (LSE)
  • Sikhalazo Dube, regional representative – Southern Africa, Institutional Planning and Partnerships (IPP)
  • John Recha, postdoctoral fellow – participatory action research, Integrated Sciences (IS)
  • Alok Kumar, postdoctoral scientist – Feed and Forage, BioSciences
  • Annie Cook, postdoc scientist-epidiemolgy, BioSciences
  • Iain Wright, deputy director general, Integrated Sciences
  • Edwin Pancras Oyieng, research technician, Animal Sciences for Sustainable Productivity (ASSP)
  • Lilian Nekesa Masigah, administrative assistant, ICT
  • Diana Ndunge, ICT helpdesk administrator, ICT
  • Loise Makara, ICT helpdesk administrator, ICT
  • Mercy Macharia, research assistant, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Polycarp Onyango, communication specialist, Bio-Innovate Program
  • Mercy Macharia, research assistant, BecA-ILRI Hub

We said goodbye to:

  • Nebiat Kassa, program accountant, ASSP
  • Emily Kerandi, development officer – Recruitment, People and Organizational Development (P&OD)
  • Timothy Njoroge, assistant technology manager, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Titus Mureithi Kathurima, research technician III, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Purvi Mehta Bhatt, regional representative and director general representative, Asia
  • Georgina Diana Oduor, Integrated Sciences
  • Cynthia Mbula Kyaka, legal officer, IP and Legal Unit

Filed under: ILRI, ILRIComms, Knowledge and Information, Livestock, Research, Roundup Tagged: Livestock matters, Roundup

International Rangeland Congress 2016 – First call for papers

The First Call for Papers for the 2016 International Rangeland Congress in Saskatoon, SK Canada is now open. Interested people are invited to submit oral or poster presentations on range/grassland related research to one of thirty-one (31) topic categories. The online submission system will be live starting February 1, 2015.

If you are a rancher, grass farmer, extension agrologist, range manager, land reclamation specialist, parks or wild lands supervisor, modeller, remote sensing specialist or a person interested in the management of the world’s grazing and wild lands you are also invited to make an oral or poster presentation involving your work or operation.

For a complete list of the topic areas you can present in, please visit our website: http://2016canada.rangelandcongress.org


Filed under: Animal Feeding, Event, Forages, Livestock, Research Tagged: Rangelands

Scaling out livestock research: Struggles and successes are key says feed innovation project

source: http://www.infortrend.com

Scaling out research results for wider application and use is a goal of every research for development project in today’s CGIAR. It is also one of the most difficult things to achieve.

Scaling out was on the agenda of recent end-of-project workshops of the IFAD-financed MilkIT project (Enhancing dairy-based livelihoods in India and Tanzania through feed innovation and value chain development approaches).

Following internal reviews by the project team, on 11 December 2014, team members met with a few national partners in an ‘Outreach Meeting’ to share project lessons and findings.

At the end of the discussions (see key messages), participants listed out some of the critical success factors such a project needs to be able to scale out its results.

The suggestions shared by participants included:

  1. Have a scaling strategy that sets out the different types of outcomes and impacts and mechanisms to reach these.
  2. Ensure that the project has something successful and tangible to actually scale and make visible.
  3. Make successes visible through ‘noise’ – essentially promoting and talking about them. Ensure however that the noise ‘volume’ is proportional to the actual success.
  4. Beyond noise and volume, remember that ‘seeing is believing’; tangible visible evidence is much more convincing than ‘telling’ people about it.
  5. Don’t speak in ‘Chinese’ (unless the audience is in China) – make sure the messages are clear and can be understood by people expected to take decisions. Work with media.
  6. Involve different actors from the start of the project – so they are ‘insiders’ to the thinking and the results. Ensure that the ‘scaling partners’ are with you from the start.
  7. Organize regular stakeholder meetings or platforms where some of the different people involved can feed in their insights; making it more likely they will spread and take them up later!
  8. Build sustainability into the design of any platforms so their results can continue after projects end or evolve.
  9. Members of platforms need to ‘own’ the platform and be able to see interests in joining and participating clearly demonstrated.
  10. Expand from a few local ‘research’ sites and platforms via regional and national platforms – where they exist – where a lot of other actors are involved.
  11. Link research packages into whatever extension systems exist; working with them to ensure that knowledge reaches local and village communities.
  12. Have ‘exit’ strategies for a project that include passing on results or having work continue through others.
  13. Generally, projects like these come and go. Ensure that projects feed into bigger flows, acting as ‘tributaries’ into main rivers. Connect to main flows and channels and make sure your results are well-directed to reach the mainstream of thinking and action.
  14. Supporting and working through national and regional platforms and clusters (such as Maziwa Zaidi for dairy development in Tanzania) helps bring broader reach and continuation to project findings.
  15. Scaling ‘requires’ partnership. It’s important that partners are not just ‘involved’; they need to become ‘co-owners’ seeing benefits and especially the project and its activities as vehicles for their own success.
  16. Don’t chase all possible partners; you need the right partners.
  17. When engaging with partners, try to see into their heads; really knowing them and their desires.
  18. Farmers are important partners. Don’t only target ‘resource poor’ farmers as they face the greatest challenges to scale something out. Other farmers, with more resources perhaps, have more scope to scale.

While the notion of an ‘exit strategy’ was mentioned several times, what really came through instead was the need for an ‘entrance’ strategy in which project participants plan from the beginning saying where and to whom project results and approaches will be taken up. Gaining entrances into the workplans of others is perhaps more important that ensuring a tidy exit or closing of a project.

Project leader Alan Duncan: ‘Projects such as MilkIT place a lot of emphasis on developing participatory approaches that build engagement and ownership of the development process with key local actors. In MilkIT for example we spent a lot of time establishing local and regional innovation platforms that were then instrumental in bringing about changes in milk marketing and feeding practices. We also refined and applied tools such as FEAST that focus strongly on making sure that feed interventions develop from the bottom up and really address farmers’ core concerns.’

‘Working in innovation platform mode and applying participatory tools such as FEAST is not trivial – in fact it can sometimes be a struggle. It forces researchers and other actors to move out of their comfort zone and think through issues from a different perspective. However, this struggle is central to the successes that emerge. The struggle builds ownership and leads to solutions that fit the context.’

‘When it comes to scaling, the temptation is to attempt to scale out the successes rather than the processes (the struggle) that led to those successes. In my view, one key lesson that we need to internalize is that the struggle is important and that we need to scale out the struggle rather than the success. This is harder work but will be more effective in the long run.’

The conventional model is ‘success, scale, fail’. The new model is ‘struggle, success, scale the struggle’ – Alan Duncan

Read more about success, scaling and struggles in this blogpost by Owen Barder that stimulated Alan.


Filed under: Animal Feeding, ASSP, Cattle, CRP37, Dairying, Feeds, Fodder, ILRI, India, Innovation Systems, Knowledge and Information, Livestock, Participation, Research, South Asia, Southern Africa, Tanzania Tagged: CIAT, IFAD, innovation platforms, MilkIT, scaling out

Setting international livestock research priorities: Some challenges suggested during ILRI@40 events

In 2014, to mark four decades of international livestock research, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) held a series of events on the ways in which livestock research advances food and nutritional security, economic well-being and healthy lives.

At each event, we asked participants to comment on two questions: Looking to 2054, what are THE two most critical livestock-related challenges we must answer through research? What is THE most promising ‘best bet’ opportunity we should invest in to achieve better lives though livestock in 2054.

The powerpoint below gives a summary of the responses provided by participants:

 


Filed under: ILRI, ILRI40, Livestock, Research Tagged: ilri40

Where’s the beef? Why livestock is overlooked by public and private investors

In 2014, to mark four decades of international livestock research, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) held a series of events on the ways in which livestock research advances food and nutritional security, economic well-being and healthy lives.

At the November 2014 Addis Ababa event, we asked participants to suggest reasons why livestock is overlooked by public and private investors. The suggestions fell into the following seven clusters:

  1. Livestock investors must overcome complexity
  2. Livestock investments are risky
  3. Livestock investments need time to mature
  4. Livestock investors have a limited evidence base
  5. Livestock have image problems
  6. Livestock are often invisible
  7. Crop investments are more popular

The powerpoint below gives a summary of the suggestions mentioned by participants:

 


Filed under: ILRI, ILRI40, Livestock, Research Tagged: ilri40

ILRI renews collaboration to support livestock development in the Philippines

Fodder for water buffaloes in the Philippines

A small-scale livestock farmer in the Philippines. ILRI is supporting livestock research and development in the country (photo credit: ILRI).

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has renewed collaboration with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) to support the country’s livestock sector.

According to an article on PCAARRD’s website, this collaboration will ‘focus on livestock research and development initiatives and advocacies’.

The renewed collaboration follows a meeting, in November 2014, between Patricio Faylon, the executive director of the council and Steve Staal, ILRI’s regional representative for East and Southeast Asia, which identified priority areas and opportunities for cooperation between the two organizations. At the meeting, Staal expressed ILRI’s interest in supporting the council’s initiatives in ‘conservation and utilization of Philippine native animals like swine and native chicken.’

PCAARRD-ILRI collaboration dates back to the early 2000s when ILRI projects on small ruminants and crop-animal system projects were coordinated by the council.

Read the full article: ILRI backs PCAARRD’s livestock research and development initiatives and advocacies.


Filed under: Agriculture, Article, Livestock, Partnerships, Philippines, Southeast Asia Tagged: PCAARRD, Steve Staal

Ethiopia Livestock Master Plan makes a public splash in the research community of the ‘African livestock giant’

The Ethiopia Livestock Master Plan is about the biggest piece of cooperation between the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) in a very long time. And that plan is about to change the face of livestock research and development programs within Ethiopia. Not a minor step forward for a country deemed as the livestock giant of Africa (see maps on the Livestock Geo-Wiki).

Directly following the recent ‘summit of the systems‘ (a meeting to develop much better integrated activities between the -international CGIAR research family and the Ethiopian Agricultural Research System [EARS]), HE Dr Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, State Minister for Livestock Resources Development,  publicly presented the Ethiopia Livestock Master Plan on the premises of ILRI Ethiopia.

This Livestock Master Plan (LMP), a project led by ILRI’s Dr. Barry Shapiro, proposes strategic recommendations covering a 15-year period which will feed into the second generation of the National Growth and Transformation Program (GTP). The team behind the LMP already presented a poster about this Plan during the 40th anniversary events of ILRI. But the plan itself had not been presented in the open and in details thus far.

The presentation from the State Minister highlighted the opportunities that the LMP brings forward, which the second GTP should bear in mind:

  • Investing in all LMP interventions could help the Government of Ethiopia eliminate poverty in 25% of livestock keeping households (over 11 million people);
  • Poultry development can help achieve better food security, enable red meat exports, and lower greenhouse gas emissions;
  • A combination of cattle and poultry can lower domestic meat prices, while increasing exports and foreign exchange earnings;
  • Dairy development can help achieve food security in domestic markets and also increase export earnings;
  • The private sector’s participation (in processing and value addition) is crucial for success, which means the sector will have to develop very attractive incentives for private investment;

Specific priorities of the LMP include: improving indigenous red meat animals, cross-breeding of dairy cattle and small ruminants, improved family poultry and camels, focusing on scaling up technologies, improving livestock and livelihoods data, especially in pastoral areas…

The audience of the meeting where this presentation was shown comprised EARS-CGIAR Dialogue participants including CG Center representatives, the Director Generals of six Regional Agricultural Research Institutes, Vice-Presidents for Research from five Ethiopian Universities, as well as to other stakeholders from Ethiopia in the research, government  and development sectors.

This presentation will hopefully help the RRIs and Universities to align their research programs with the Livestock Master Plan; but also the CGIAR system in the longer run. Indeed the process of developing this Ethiopia Master Plan has been quite intensive and relatively slow, but extremely useful for ILRI and for other CGIAR centres working on livestock issues such as the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) since they have a number of programs and projects that will have to follow the recommendations and align with national policies and investments deriving from the Plan. To name but a few of these programs:

With a likely review of all CGIAR Research Programs (which dovetail the above-mentioned projects), such strategic pointers become precious to plan the next generation of livestock research and guarantee a relevant and bright future for livestock in Ethiopia and the wider Eastern African region.

Read more on the Ethiopia Livestock Master Plan: a recent poster; a media note from ILRI; a newspaper article.


Filed under: Animal Breeding, Animal Diseases, Animal Feeding, Animal Health, Animal Production, Animal Products, CGIAR, CRP12, CRP37, Ethiopia, Event, Farming Systems, Livestock, Livestock Systems, Partnerships Tagged: Barry Shapiro, Livestock Master Plan, LMP

Reducing the vulnerability of Somali livestock communities through capacity development and enhanced market access

Hargeisa livestock market buying and selling

Hargeisa livestock market buying and selling

According to ILRI’s Nadhem Mtimet, livestock provides around 60% of gross domestic product (GDP) in Somaliland and the sector employs over 70% of the population. Livestock producers, he says, are very market-oriented, and the country exports around three million small ruminants each year to Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East.

Ensuring high quality and disease-free animals for export is thus critical to the development of the Somalia’s northern states of Somaliland and Puntland. There is also a growing need to balance the production of more animals with the sustainable management of the dry areas in which the animals are reared. Staff of the IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School (ISTVS) and Reference Centre already see the need for more action and research on issues around soil and land degradation, dryland management and adaptation to climate change. It is not enough to just produce more animals, they need to be better, and produced better.

ILRI’s engagement in Somalia reaches back at least 10 years, with active involvement in several research for development projects, usually alongside NGO partner Terra Nuova.

Mtimet explains that the most important livestock sector challenges he encountered in the project relate to livestock production in terms of access to feed and water and animal health – dealing with diseases, pests and parasites. Livestock marketing is also hampered by insufficient market information for the producers.

He sees the greatest opportunity as the ‘increasing export market demand especially from Saudi Arabia and the geographic location of Somalia close to the Gulf countries. Large foreign private investments are happening which is improving the infrastructure and securing stable demand along the year.’

Somalia is one of the world’s poorest countries and has endured a prolonged civil war. While livestock are critical to the economy, and they support a large part of the population, processing of agricultural products is a small part of GDP.

As an ISTVS professor remarked: Somaliland needs to move from exporting livestock ‘on the hoof’ to exporting livestock ‘on the hook’ – with more value adding activities taking place in Somalia.

This, along with the emerging sustainability agenda, calls for stronger research and learning systems and institutions, more evidence-based decision making – and evidence on which to decide, and effective market organizations and linkages.

Batch of export quality Somali sheep and goats

Batch of export quality Somali sheep and goats

Following the collapse of the Somali state the private sector (including individuals and organizations) have grown impressively, particularly in trade, commerce, transport, remittances and infrastructure services. The primary sectors (livestock, agriculture and fisheries) have led the way. However, capacities of the evolving institutions remain limited, particularly in regulatory services and in transforming export market opportunities into higher incomes and broader development results.

Achieving these market opportunities and delivering their benefits to the rural poor, in Somalia’s extreme physical and institutional environment, requires enhanced investment in and use of the indigenous knowledge base.

Reducing Vulnerability of Somali Communities project

The current project (officially ‘reducing vulnerability of Somali communities by raising the capacity of indigenous systems and enhancing market access and consumer welfare’) was initiated in 2012 and it runs until June 2015. It aims to strengthen local capacity to mobilize and use knowledge from Somali livestock research in decision making. It also aims to enhance the capacities of public and private sectors to improve livestock products’ marketing and safety.

Mtimet: The project is targeting 3 main objectives: First, improving the indigenous knowledge about Somali livestock breeding and marketing practices; second, improving the technical and scientific skill of ISTVS staff through capacity building; and third, increasing the awareness of donors, development agencies, and other international organization about the importance of the livestock sector and attracting those partners to invest more in the sector

Research and knowledge strengthening results are delivered through support to the ISTVS so it can better conduct and disseminate applied research. The idea is for the ISTVS to become a valuable knowledge base and able to partner with regional and international research institutions.

Market access results are delivered through activities that foster the establishment of public-private partnerships to formulate product standards as a way of improving international trade. It also helps consolidate Livestock Market Information System (LMIS) operated by the local Chambers of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture.

So far, the project has developed partnerships between the Somaliland Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (SLCCIA), the Somaliland Quality Control Commission (SQCC), the Ministries of Livestock and Commerce, the IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School, Terra Nuova and the Kenya Bureau Standards (KEBS). In Puntland, partnerships have been forged between the Puntland Chamber of Commerce, the Puntland Food Quality Control unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministries of Livestock, Health, Fisheries and Commerce, Department of Water, Terra Nuova and KEBS.

What’s been achieved so far?

Result 1 (on knowledge and capacity development) is focused around the ISTVS, established in 2002, to take on some important training, research and extension roles in the Somali ecosystem that stopped as a result of the collapse of the Somali Federal government in 1991.

The ‘school’ provides professional and academic courses and has links with universities in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia to develop its staff and deliver accredited BSc education. It is being attained through intensive capacity building, largely enabled by ILRI. Activities will enable the ISTVS Reference Centre to conduct and disseminate applied research to local audiences of livestock value chain actors and the nascent civil society. This work is only implemented in Somaliland and has made progress in five main areas.

ISTVS PRA data collection with female community members in Sheikh (Somaliland)

ISTVS students carry our PRA data collection with community members in Sheikh

  1. Research methods training and support combined with mentored action research has been provided to academic staff, especially juniors at the ISTVS. The aim was to familiarize them with conventional and participatory research approaches and tools and gain skills to document and write up science.
  2. Research on livestock importer requirements in importing countries has been carried out in Saudi Arabia to study both the tail end of the up-stream market (Somaliland) and the end-market. This is intended to the help identify opportunities and constraints for the various actors along the market chain and ways to address these.
  3. Activities are underway to promote uptake of applied research results into academic teaching and the wider communities. Findings from past ILRI and Terra Nuova value chain studies have been incorporated into the ISTVS training curricula/program as teaching notes for Diploma students. Students are encouraged to get out to the field – and markets – to gain in-depth knowledge on the functioning and importance of the value chain and the market information systems that support it.
  4. Participants in the project have carried out a number of studies on issues around markets, animal production and pastoralist challenges and opportunities. These are being written up for wider dissemination locally and beyond.
  5. Finally, the functional infrastructure of ISTVS has been upgraded with improvements to labs, offices, power supply and an extension of the kitchen and refectory.

A new focus in recent months focuses on communications and knowledge sharing – examining opportunities to better generate and document knowledge in the ISTVS, making it widely accessible to different stakeholders.

Mtimet: ISTVS is probably the unique “quality” centre in Somalia that has some skills and is developing new skills to tackle the problems that livestock keepers are facing in terms of animal health, animal husbandry, feeding, mating, marketing, etc.

Result 2 (on markets and regulation) is being implemented with chambers of commerce in Somaliland and Puntland. They have brought in the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to help establish public-private partnerships to develop and implement appropriate standards and instruments for the sector. This work has made progress in five main areas:

Livestock export quarantine center at Berbera port, Somaliland

Livestock export quarantine center at Berbera port, Somaliland

  1. Work to identify gaps in export standards, needs and policies has been finalized and reports detailing the current status and strategy to improve the quality infrastructure have been developed for Puntland and Somaliland.
  2. Assistance was provided to the chambers to develop a set of Guidelines for Grading of Export Quality Livestock. These contain specifications for different grades for export quality livestock covering cattle, sheep, goats and camels. The chambers were also helped to enforce standards compliance using two codes of practice developed earlier in the project on 1) the Welfare of Export Quality Livestock During Land and Sea Transport and 2) the Welfare of Livestock While at Sale Yards and Quarantine Station. Finally, financial support was provided to the Somaliland chamber to help meet the operational costs of running the Livestock Market Information System (LMIS).
  3. In terms of regulatory support, the project supported development of a draft Somaliland Quality Control Commission Bill that aims to entrench SQCC within the laws of Somaliland. In Puntland, work also began to define the type of standards body sought by the different stakeholders.
  4. This quality control work was supported at the ISTVS through the establishment of a new food laboratory to provide food safety and hygiene surveillance services. Analysts from the food quality laboratory were attached to KEBS in June 2014 to familiarize themselves with the analytical operations of accredited testing laboratories and gain first-hand experience on how a (documented) quality system is implemented.
  5. Finally, since animal health surveillance and delivery of livestock services are so important to the sector, Ministries of Livestock received financial support for networking, communication and supervisory linkages between Regional Veterinary Offices and Directors of Animal Health. A disease surveillance fund was set up in Somaliland to cover operational costs of rapid response teams and to procure laboratory equipment, reagents and diagnostic test kits for early confirmation of trade-limiting animal diseases and sero-surveillance of OIE-listed diseases.

Mtimet: We aim to have a much better understanding of the requirements and standards of importing countries and specifically Saudi Arabia, as well as better assessments of livestock producers’ knowledge about grading systems leading to activities (such as training) to improve their knowledge

More information

This post was developed with Nadhem Mtimet, an Agricultural Economist in ILRI’s Policy, Trade and Value Chains program.

This work in Somalia has been supported by the Government of Denmark and the European Union.


Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Production, Capacity Strengthening, CRP2, Drylands, East Africa, ILRI, Integrated Sciences, Livestock, Markets, Project, PTVC, Research, Small Ruminants, Somalia Tagged: ISTVS, Nadhem Mtimet, Somaliland, Terra Nuova

Driving livestock development through multidisciplinary systems research: An impact narrative

Forty years ago,  the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) was a pioneer in livestock systems research, which was designed to take account of the complexity of real farming systems so as to be able to contribute to development.

Such systems-based research fell out of favour in the 1980s and 90s, but still continued to produce useful development outcomes. Since the early 2000s, however, it has regained its position, developing at ILRI to focus on ‘innovation systems’ and becoming a mainstream approach within the CGIAR Research Programs (CRP).

Impacts from this work have included policy changes on food safety in milk and meat markets, improved access of smallholder livestock farmers to input and output markets, and much greater awareness of gender issues in agricultural development.

The promotion and adoption of such systems-based approaches within national research institutes in developing countries would make a huge contribution to the development of smallholder agriculture.

Download a brief that illustrates how scaling up transdisciplinary research so that a systems approach can be applied by more and more scientists could make a huge contribution to development in smallholder farming.


Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Production, Farming Systems, ILRI, ILRI40, Impact Assessment, Innovation Systems, Integrated Sciences, Livestock, Livestock Systems, Participation, Research

Ethiopia livestock master plan presents roadmaps for growth and transformation

This poster, prepared for the ILRI@40 series of events, gives an overview of Ethiopia’s Livestock Master Plan (LMP) that is as part of the country’s wider growth and transformation plan II for 2015-2020.

The master plan, which the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) contributed to, is based on a qualitative and fact-based livestock sector model and analysis. The new plan will see improvement in Ethiopia’s poultry breeds and forages and the creation and maintenance of a livestock population database in the country.

Ethiopian Livestock Master Plan (LMP): Roadmaps for growth and transformation (2015-2020) from ILRI

Visit ilri.org/40 for more information.

Follow #ilri40 on Twitter.


Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Production, East Africa, Ethiopia, ILRI, ILRI40, Livelihoods, Livestock, Research Tagged: poster

Linking poor livestock keepers to markets in Africa and Asia

Writing in the November 2014 issue of Rural 21, Isabelle Baltenweck argues that the growing global demand for animal products also offers poor livestock keepers the opportunity to switch from the subsistence to the market economy.

She introduces three approaches in the meat and dairy sector in Africa and Asia with their respective potentials and limitations – and also warns against possible negative effects.

She concludes: “There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to link livestock keepers to the market in a manner that is inclusive and sustainable. Women’s and men’s needs have to be taken into account for a value chain transformation to happen. There are still many unknowns, in particular regarding the effect of increased market orientation on the household nutritional status. In fact, the effect can be negative when more livestock products (like milk) are sold rather than consumed at home, extra income is spent on items not beneficial to children health and nutrition, and women’s workload increases and less time is available to care for their children. Concerted efforts by researchers, development partners, public and the private sector are needed for inclusive value chains to become a reality so that poor livestock keepers can take advantage of the Livestock Revolution to improve their livelihoods in a sustainable manner.”

Read the full article

Recent articles by Klaus Butterbach-Bahl


Filed under: Africa, Animal Production, Animal Products, Asia, CRP37, ILRI, LGI, Livestock, Livestock Systems, Markets Tagged: EADD, rural21

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