Animal science for sustainable productivity: Clippings

Supporting agropastoralists to adapt to climate change in West and Southern Africa

The world’s climate is changing rapidly and Africa will be severely affected by this, not only because of the effects on ecosystems but also because of the low adaptive capacity of communities due to poverty and lack of infrastructure, services, and appropriate policies to support adaptation strategies.

A large share of Africa’s poor are dependent on livestock for some part of their livelihoods, most of these living in smallholder, rainfed mixed systems and pastoral systems, where livestock play a key role as assets providing multiple economic, social, and risk management functions.

This project report by Jeannette van de Steeg, Mario Herrero and An Notenbaert was written as part of the project ‘Supporting the vulnerable: Increasing the adaptive capacity of agropastoralists to climatic change in West and Southern Africa using a transdisciplinary research approach’.

The goal of the project was to increase the adaptive capacity of agropastoralists, who are one of the most vulnerable groups in Africa, to climate change and variability. The purpose of this project is to co-generate methods, information and solutions between local communities, local and international scientists, policymakers and other actors involved in climate change and adaptation programs, for coping mechanisms and adapting strategies to climate change and variability in West and Southern Africa, and more particularly in Mali and Mozambique.

Together with key policymaking institutions and regional policymaking bodies we identified and promoted policy entry points to support the implementation of priority adaptation strategies, and we identified policy mechanisms that in themselves are an appropriate intervention to allow agropastoralists to buffer the effects of climate variability and change.

Download the full report


Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Feeding, Cattle, Climate Change, CRP7, ILRI, Livestock, LSE, Pastoralism Tagged: BMZ, GIZ

Review of sheep research and development projects in Ethiopia

This working paper reviews and documents sheep research projects/activities in Ethiopia and provides an overview of major research outputs, dissemination of research results, impacts on the sheep industry, and the gaps in research. Thoughts on the future directions of sheep research are also presented.

Sheep research and development in Ethiopia dates back to the early 1960s, and has focused on characterization of genetic resources, description of farming systems, genetic improvement, introduction and evaluation of forage species, development of feeding packages, identification of diseases and parasites, development of health interventions, and marketing studies.

Research on identification, classification and description of sheep resources of Ethiopia began in the 1970s with the classification of the sheep populations into broad categories of tail and fibre types; molecular characterization has been a relatively recent development. While Ethiopian sheep are now well characterized, further research may be required to fill gaps in previous projects.

A number of research projects to improve the production environment (feeding, health) have been conducted, resulting in generation of new technologies and information. The impact of these research projects on the sheep industry has been quite notable in some cases. These include adoption of improved forages in some areas, identification and mapping of geographical and agro-ecological prevalence of economically important diseases, vaccine development, and design of health interventions (e.g. strategic deworming regimens and vaccination for viral diseases).

The existing documentation system for research and development projects and their outputs is not systematic and the information is not readily accessible, making a comprehensive appraisal difficult. While the review reported here is not exhaustive, it can be seen that numerous research projects have been undertaken. A wealth of information and numerous technologies have been generated.

Some of the research outputs have been published in technical publications and journals, annual reports and progress reports. While technologies have been demonstrated to end users through farmers’ field days and promoted through pamphlets and brochures, uptake by end users remains low. There are also gaps in the research and development endeavours (e.g. breeding programs are not coordinated).

This calls for a revisiting of the organization and functioning of the sheep research and development system. The links between research and development wings of the livestock sector need to be strengthened for effective dissemination of research outputs.

Download the full report


Filed under: Africa, Animal Production, ASSP, BecA, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, ILRI, Livestock, Research, Sheep, Small Ruminants Tagged: SIDA

Exotic sheep popular in Kenya, but better native animals are a better solution—New study

ILRI Bioscience strategic meeting in Kapiti

A recent study of livestock markets in Kajiado County, in the dry rangelands of southeastern Kenya, shows that the most popular animals among sheep traders are purebred imported Dorper, as well as Dorper cross-breds. Less important to the traders is the asking price for the animals, and the age or sex of the animals being sold.

Findings from the study have been published in a paper: ‘Assessing sheep traders’ preferences in Kenya: A best-worst experiment from Kajiado County’.

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) partnered with the non-governmental organizations Concern Worldwide Kenya as well as Neighbourhood Initiative Alliance, a community-based organization based in Kajiado, to carry out this analysis, which was the first-of-its-kind assessment of the purchase behaviour of sheep traders in Kenya.

‘Traders are a first source of market information for sheep producers. Understanding their preferences is important when designing interventions to help small-scale sheep farmers commercialize their production’, says Nadhem Mtimet, an agricultural economist working with ILRI’s Policy, Trade and Value Chains program and a co-author of the paper.

Carried out in April 2013, the study involved more than 100 traders in three livestock markets (Kiserian, Mile 46 and Bissil). Project staff interviewed the traders about their sheep trading, including the markets they use and the number of animals they buy.

Nadhem Mtimet

‘We found that traders place most value on purebred exotic sheep such as the Dorper, as well as Dorper crossbred animals, especially the red Maasai’, says Mtimet.

Though exotic and crossbred Dorper sheep are in high demand in Kajiado’s livestock markets, these animals pose threats to the livelihoods of the region’s pastoral livestock herders. Keeping these high-producing exotic breeds alive and productive in these dry, drought-ridden, rangelands is difficult. Unlike exotic breeds, the region’s native stock, though less productive, are well adapted to semi-arid climates and tolerate intestinal worms and other parasites.

Julie Ojango, a Kenyan animal scientist at ILRI, says that what we ought to be doing is encouraging pastoralists to conduct ‘selective breeding, retaining pure-bred indigenous breeds such as the red Maasai, coupled with strategic use of exotic and crossbred Dorper rams in more favourable environments’.

Julie M Ojango

According to Ojango, such selective breeding enables communities such as the Maasai in Kajiado to keep animals with desired qualities for the market while also retaining more adapted indigenous breeds that can survive droughts and other harsh climates.

Findings from this study were presented at the International Agribusiness Marketing Conference, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (22–23 Oct 2013), where it won best overall paper award.

Read the whole paper ‘Assessing sheep traders’ preferences in Kenya: A best-worst experiment from Kajiado County’.

View the presentation on ‘Assessing sheep traders’ preferences in Kenya: A best-worst experiment from Kajiado County’.

Photo captions:

1. Red Maasai and Dorper rams in Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

2. Nadhem Mtimet, ILRI agricultural economist and a co-author of the paper (photo credit: ILRI).

3. Julie Ojango, ILRI scientist and co-author of the paper (photo credit: ILRI).


Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Breeding, CRP37, East Africa, Farming Systems, Indigenous Breeds, Kenya, Livestock, Markets, Presentation, PTVC, Report, Sheep, Trade, Value Chains Tagged: Concern Worldwide, Dorper, Julie Ojango, Kajiado, Nadhem Mtimet, red Maasai

Livestock Matter(s): ILRI news ’roundup’ February 2014

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This February 2014  issue of ‘Livestock Matter(s)’ presents a round-up of livestock development news, publications, presentations, images and upcoming events from ILRI and its partners. Sign up to get Livestock Matter(s) in your mailbox each month.

Corporate news

ILRI news blog gets a makeover
In February, the ILRI news services moved to a new address – http://news.ilri.org/ – and a new look. The former news site content remains accessible.

East African Dairy Development project phase two launched
The East African Dairy Development (EADD) project received a grant of USD25.5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand its operation in a second five-year phase, from 2014 to 2018, and to scale up the impact from phase one, implemented from 2008 to 2013.

Consortium to tackle East Coast fewer in cattle in Africa
The Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) announced today that a global consortium supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been formed to develop a new vaccine against a disease that’s devastating cattle herds in sub-Saharan Africa.

Innovation platforms in agricultural research
Innovation platforms are widely used in agricultural research to connect different stakeholders to achieve common goals. To help document recent experiences and insights, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) recently published a series of short innovation platform ‘practice briefs’ to help guide the design and implementation of innovation platforms in agricultural research for development.

Sustainable livestock: What are the options?
January’s Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) was the venue for a panel session on sustainable livestock organized as part of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock. The session was run as a facilitated discussion, engaging both a panel of five experts and the 80 or so participants attending.

Project news

Australia-funded research fights aflatoxin contamination in East African foods
Across East Africa, more than 100 million people depend on maize as a staple food. Sorghum and groundnuts are other vital sources of food here. But maize, sorghum and groundnuts are susceptible to accumulation of aflatoxins, chemicals produced by a fungus that are toxic when eaten. These chemicals can cause cancer, are lethal in high doses, and may suppress immune systems, reduce nutrient absorption and stunt the development of infants.

Producing green fodder from wheat helps animals and people in India’s Uttarakhand State
In the hilly areas of Uttarakhand, a typical farming household has one or two cows, one buffalo and a bullock, and cultivates cereals and vegetables on tiny terraced plots. Livestock make important contributions to livelihoods but providing sufficient feed for them continues to remain a challenge, especially during the winter months. A research brief describes how a simple new technique using new varieties of cereals as dual purpose crops can provide nutritious green fodder to animals when it is most needed – with no detrimental impact on the eventual grain and straw yields.

AgInvest Africa web tool launched to map and track agricultural interventions in Africa
The Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System for Eastern and Central Africa (ReSAKSS-ECA) based at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya, recently launched a web portal on mapping and tracking of agriculture investments in Africa.

Prevention of Classical Swine Fever – an impact narrative from Northeast India
Classical Swine Fever (CSF) is a highly contagious, poten­tially fatal viral disease caused by positive sense RNA virus affecting pigs of all ages It is endemic in Northeast In­dia. A research brief describes how 1.5 million pig rearing households can ben­efit from actions by the government that will produce adequate quantities of the CSF vaccine and launch a CSF control program with special focus on Northeast India.

Ugandans and pork: A story that needs telling
largely unknown or under-appreciated is that Africa’s pig sector is growing rapidly, with the highest increases in pig populations occurring in Uganda, where the national pig population has grown, remarkably, from just 0.19 million animals 30 years ago to 3.2 million animals today.

Using science to preserve culture in Rwanda
Traditional culture and science often seem to be worlds apart, but for Theogen Rutagwenda, the director general for animal resources in the Rwandan government, the two mix as naturally as salt and food.

more from ILRI projects

ILRI in the media Maasai boy with cows vaccinated against East Coast fever

A Maasai boy with his cattle wearing ear tags, designating that they have been immunized against East Coast fever in Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Lieve Lynen).

Nigeria, others to save $4.63bn annually by adopting cassava feed
The use of cassava-based feeds for farm animals in Nigeria and other countries in Africa will bring several benefits, including a reduction of maize imports mostly used as feeds for livestock, according to the Country Representative for the Ibadan based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Dr Iheanacho Okike.

Better livestock diets to combat climate change and improve food security
Livestock production is responsible for 12% of human-related greenhouse gas emissions, primarily coming from land use change and deforestation caused by expansion of agriculture, as well as methane released by the animals themselves, with a lesser amount coming from manure management and feed production.

Partnership focuses on developing East Coast fever vaccine
A vaccine that protects cattle against East Coast fever, a destructive disease in eastern and central Africa, is being developed by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya.

Connectivity and emerging infectious diseases in Southeast Asia
Experts sometimes describe Southeast Asia as a “hotspot” for emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) because several major outbreaks have started in this region. Now, with unprecedented levels of connection between animals and people through urbanization, and of people with other people through increased air travel, scientists say the threat level for new diseases is high.

CGIAR news – updates from research programs involving ILRI

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ILRI to lead pilot study on livestock identification and traceability system for IGAD region
A livestock identification and traceability system will soon be piloted in the Intergovernmental Agency on Development region, following discussions at a workshop held last week (4-5 February) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to review existing national systems and identify practical options towards a harmonized system for the region.

Egyptian aquaculture innovation platform plans for further growth in the sector
Stakeholders from Egypt’s $1.5 billion aquaculture industry came together in Cairo this week to discuss future development of the sector.

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.

Recent presentations

This month we feature a presentation by Amos Omore, on ‘Creating a livestock sector with global competitor advantages in East Africa’:

Recent ILRI publications Multimedia

Battling an African cattle killer: Second-generation vaccine against East Coast fever
In this film, Vish Nene director of the Vaccines Biosciences program at ILRI, talks about new research that is seeking to create a second-generation vaccine against East Coast fever.

ILRI under the lens

This month we feature  ILRI management team members

Suzanne Bertrand

Suzanne Bertrand, ILRI deputy director general, biosciences (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

How well do you know them?, Read their profiles here

Upcoming events Staff updates

In February, we welcomed the following new staff:

  • David Opar, research technician, IRRI
  • Daisy Kariuki, program accountant- Biosciences
  • Monica Njuguna, laboratory procurement assistant – BecA-ILRI hub
  • Jennifer Kinuthia, administrative assistant, capacity development
  • Juliah Mbaya, administrative clerk
  • Julius Githinji, research technician – Livelihoods, Gender and Impact
  • Phelister Mujeu,lifeguard – Human Resources
  • Naftaly Githaka, tick unit support officer
  • Haron Mugo Ng’ang’a, ICT
  • Nicholas Mwenda, ICT
  • Diana Muia, ICT
  • Mary Wangari, human resources assistant
  • Joseph Njoroge, HR
  • Clement Musyoka, research technician
  • Aziz Karimov, scientist, value chains, Vietnam
  • Todd Crane, scentist, climate adaptation
  • Catherine Pfeifer, spatial analyst
  • Edgar Twine, post doctoral scientists, value chains, Tanzania
  • Josephine Birungi, technology manager
  • Melakamu Dershe, post doctoral scientist, feeds
  • Franklin Simtowe, monitoring and evaluation learning scientist
  • John Goopy, scientist, mitigation of greenhouse gases
  • Tunde Adegoke Amole, post doctoral scientist, feeds

We said farewell to:

  • Sylvester Ochieng Ogutu, research assistant
  • Harrison Ikunga Rware, research technician
  • Elizabeth Ogutu, Liaison Officer
  • Alexandra Jorge, Forages genebank

Filed under: ILRI, ILRIComms, Livestock, PA Tagged: Roundup

Improving the N’Dama cattle breeding program of The Gambia

This document by Karen Marshall and Leo Dempfle was released by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in December 2013.

The document is designed to assist countries involved in the project ‘Sustainable Management of Globally Significant Endemic Ruminant Livestock in West Africa’ (PROGEBE)’ to develop plans for N’Dama cattle within their breed improvement programs, following the 3-tier (nucleus/multiplier/commercial) model of The Gambia. The document proceeds as follows:

  • First some background information is given including the broad steps to developing an animal breeding program (based on FAO 2010), as well as a basic overview of a 3-tier breeding program.
  • Second, The Gambia breeding program is described from both a historical perspective and in terms of its current activities.
  • Third, detailed guidelines are given in relation to the replication/improvement of the breeding program, with a number of specific recommendations made.

Finally, issues which will be critical to the success of the program—including human capacity, breeding program sustainability, and scale of operation—are discussed in some detail.

Download the full report


Filed under: Africa, Animal Breeding, ASSP, Cattle, CRP37, Gambia, ILRI, Indigenous Breeds, Livestock, Report, West Africa Tagged: GEF, PROGEBE

Guidelines to plan animal breeding programs in West Africa

This ILRI project report by Karen Marshall is designed to assist partners of the project ‘Sustainable management of globally significant endemic ruminant livestock in West Africa (PROGEBE)’ in structuring the plans behind their national-level animal breeding programs. It, however, will also be useful to others documenting breeding plans for developing country livestock production systems, outside of this specific project.

The need to develop and document well thought out breeding plans, prior to the commencement of actual breeding activities, cannot be over-stressed. Failure to do so risks failure of the breeding program and waste of scarce development resources.

The development and documentation of the breeding plans will be a considerable task, and should be led by a specific work group in consultation with other stakeholders. Section A of FAO (2010) guideline ‘Breeding strategies for sustainable management of animal genetic resources’ gives further information on how such a working group could be constructed and tasks assigned. The persons actually involved in writing the document (as opposed to gathering information) may be a subset of the working group. The working group must be assigned adequate resources to cover the operational costs of developing and documenting the breeding plans (including resources for their time, to consult with other stakeholders and external experts, to run meetings/workshops etc.).

A timeline for completion of the final document should be agreed upon (for example, 6 months to 1 year), and members of the working groups assigned specific tasks inside this timeline. The final document should be approved by relevant authorities and disseminated to relevant stakeholders. The document should be considered a ‘living document’ and updated on regular intervals (e.g. bi-annually) to take into account learning experiences and possible changes in the situational context.

If countries are developing more than one breeding program (for example, for the same species but in different locations, or for different species) it is suggested that these be documented separately, but with reference made to the other breeding activities. The development and documentation of these breeding plans should be considered a key outcome of resources available under PROGEBE (or other projects) to support breeding activities.

Download the full report


Filed under: Africa, Agriculture, Animal Breeding, Animal Production, ASSP, Cattle, CRP37, ILRI, Indigenous Breeds, Livestock, Report, West Africa Tagged: GEF, PROGEBE

Sustainable livestock: What are the options?

January’s Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) was the venue for a panel session on sustainable livestock organized as part of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock.

The session was run as a facilitated discussion, engaging both a panel of five experts and the 80 or so participants attending.

Following panelist interventions, the discussion highlighted the key roles to be played by livestock in sustainable development and in protecting and enhancing the livelihoods of poorer sectors of society, including the livestock sector’s central role in mitigating climate change. These were contrasted with the strong negative biases towards livestock and meat emerging from the so-called green elite of western nations.

Download a brief report of the session


Filed under: Environment, Intensification, Livestock, Livestock Systems

In Africa, livestock are a catalyst for economic growth—Livestock data study findings

 M&E training

Investing in smallholder farmers who own livestock in rural Africa, such as these women in Tanzania, is a catalyst for economic growth (photo credit: ILRI/Deo Gratias Shayo).

Last October (2013), the World Bank reported on the findings of a case study on ‘Livestock and Livelihoods in Rural Tanzania.’ The study assessed opportunities and barriers to contributions livestock make to livelihoods of the poor in three African countries.

This analysis was part of a two-year ‘Livestock Data Innovation in Africa’ project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project was implemented in Niger, Tanzania and Uganda by the World Bank, the African Union–Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources and the International Livestock Research Intistute (ILRI) from 2010 to 2012.

The study reveals ‘investment gaps, potential benefits, and overall social impact’ of the livestock sector in rural Africa, the article says. These facts include how the ‘livestock sector [contributes] to the economic growth of the country, productivity of the sector itself and gender issues, especially in terms of differential livestock ownership and access to inputs and markets.

The study reports that most rural households in Tanzania are earning an average of 22% of total household income from livestock activities and 25% of the households that own livestock use organic fertilizer from their animal stock for crop production, a practice, the article says, ‘that if taken to scale can potentially increase overall agricultural production’.

Most African farmers depend on livestock such as chickens, goats and cattle for food and much-needed income from the sale of livestock and livestock products, such as meat, milk and eggs. Animal stock are thus a key asset for many households in the continent.

Furthermore, the study shows that ‘Tanzanian women who own livestock and are heads of household provide better nutrition for their entire family and are more commercially oriented than their male counterparts. Among women who own livestock, 37% of their total production is sold on the market compared to 30% of male livestock production.’

But livestock management challenges remain significant in the country. For example, ‘less than one-third of all family-owned livestock is vaccinated and approximately 60% of all the animals suffer from some type of preventable disease.’

The findings of the study, reports the World Bank article, ‘confirm that investing in smallholder farmers who own livestock in rural Africa is a catalyst for economic growth’.

Read the whole article from the World Bank website: ‘The Role of Livestock Data in Rural Africa: The Tanzanian Case Study.’

Visit the project website: Livestock Data Innovation in Africa


Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Production, Article, East Africa, Livelihoods, Livestock, Pro-Poor Livestock, PTVC, Tanzania, Value Chains Tagged: AU-IBAR, BMGF, Livestock Data Innovation in Africa project, World Bank

Mainstreaming livestock value chains: Conference to discuss bridging research gaps between households and policies

Sheep foraging in Tamale market

Research into developing country livestock systems is primarily micro-economic and sectoral with limited interaction with formal multi-market and macro-economic models. This results in analysis and advocacy that are frequently not linked to broader formal policy models nor to the workings of public policy and the international trading environment.

On 5 and 6 November 2013, the International Livestock Research Institute convenes a conference in Accra Ghana to discuss ‘mainstreaming livestock value chains.’ It will look at experiences and approaches to bridge research gaps between household analysis and policy modeling.

The conference aims to:

  1. establish strong and functional linkages between livestock value chain and impact analysis on the one hand and sectoral, general equilibrium, and other economic modelling on the other.
  1. identify and advocate pro-poor livestock policy as it emerges from existing analysis

Participants from research or development agencies with an interest in the empirical specification of agricultural policy are encouraged to attend.

For registration and further information contact: Dolapo Enahoro (d.enahoro@cgiar.org)

Confirmed speakers and presentations include:

  • “Livestock in development: challenges in policy advocacy and the role of economic analysis” – D. Baker
  • “The application of microeconomic and value chain analyses in ex ante multi-market modelling and implications for policy analysis and advocacy: a synthesis of views” – D. Enahoro
  • “How pastoralists perceive and respond to market opportunities: The case of the Horn of Africa” – P. Little
    “Measurement of competitiveness in smallholder livestock systems and emerging policy advocacy: an application to Botswana” – P. Malope, S. Bahta
  • “Economic analysis of non-livestock production in agro-pastoral areas: The peanut value chain in the Ferlo (Senegalese Sahel)” – A. Wane, I. Toure, A. D. Mballo, C. I. Nokho, A. Konaté
  • “Understanding gender relations in livestock value chains” – M. Mboo-Tchouawou
  • “Analysis of animal health interventions for policy analysis and advocacy” – M. Fadiga, H. Katjiuongua
  • “Application of an agricultural sector model to the assessment of advances in animal health and livestock feed technologies” – D. Enahoro
  • “Incorporating micro-level data in multi-market CGE: the case of livestock in Africa” – C. Kuhlgatz
  • “From global economic modelling to household level analyses of food security and sustainability: How big is the gap” – M. van Wijk
  • “Effects of climate change on feed availability and the implications for the livestock sector” – P. Havlik
  • “Integrating livestock into agricultural multi-market models: The example of IMPACT” – S. Msangi, D. Enahoro, M. Herrero

The conference is supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets


Filed under: CRP2, Event, Livestock, Policy, PTVC, Value Chains

Livestock Matter(s): ILRI news ’roundup’ September 2013

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This September 2013 issue of ‘Livestock Matter(s) presents 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

Sustainable intensification of agriculture in Africa: The case for mixed crop-livestock farming
On 19 September 2013, Shirley Tarawali, ILRI’s director of institutional planning and partnerships made the case for continued close integration of crop farming and livestock raising in Africa at the 22 International Grasslands Congress, in Sydney Australia. In a presentation, ‘Integrated crop livestock systems: A key to sustainable intensification in Africa’, Tarawali said integrated farming systems are key to helping small-scale food producers intensify their production levels while conserving their natural resources and protecting their environments.

Jimmy Smith on why the world’s small-scale livestock farms matter
On 16 September 2013 Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) gave the keynote address to the 22nd International Grassland Congress in Sydney to about 1000 delegates from more than 60 countries. His presentation, ‘Feeding the world in 2050: Trade-offs, synergies and tough choices for the livestock sector’, gave an overview of the global food security challenge and argued that the world’s small-scale farmers and livestock keepers can be a large part of the solution, rather than a problem, to feeding the world sustainably to 2050.

Project news 120_kenya_Hoag

A pastoral woman takes her sheep and cattle to the pastures (Photo Credit : Dana Hoag/ LCC CRSP In Kenya)

Livestock keepers adaptations key to helping scientists tackle climate change 
Understanding local contexts is key to improving pastoral production and outsmarting climate change, according to a new study ‘Mutual learning of livestock keepers and scientists for adaptation to climate change in pastoral areas’ which is published in a manual Identifying local innovations in pastoral areas in Marsabit County, Kenya whose authors include ILRI’s Okeyo Mwai. The study says many top-down approaches that aimed at introducing innovations from outside failed because they ignored the pastoral context locally. The manual is based on fieldwork carried out among the Rendille, Gabra and Boran communities in Marsabit County in Northern Kenya.

International conference in South Africa features work from Safe Food, Fair Food project
From 25 to 29 August 2013, the , ILRI-led Safe Food, Fair Food project contributed to the 14th International Conference of the Association of Institutions for Tropical Veterinary Medicine.

Pose and Click: Hassle-free goat sampling in Ethiopia
Taking blood, tissue or hair samples for genetic analysis and at the same time doing physical measurements of livestock in the field can be a very hectic and time consuming activity. This tedious but necessary sampling process has greatly been eased by the use of a sampling method (AdaptMap photo protocol and sampling kit) developed by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Africa RISING learning event kicks off in Addis Ababa
On 24 September 2013, the first Africa RISING learning event kicked off at the ILRI campus in Ethiopia. The annual learning event aims to: facilitate learning  from ongoing program-wide activities (research framework, M and E, Communications  etc.);  build on project-specific methods, approaches and problems as well as interesting innovations, approaches; discuss specific sub-themes in more detail and prioritize  program activities for the next 12 months.

Climate-smart Brachiaria grasses: livestock feed, household cash
A Swedish funded research program led by the BecA-ILRI Hub is improving the adaptation of Brachiaria grasses, an indigenous East African forage crop, to drought and creating forage seed production enterprises to benefit resource poor smallholder farmers in the region.

Poultry value chain innovation in Tigray
Aleka Gebremedhin is an entrepreneurial farmer who is trying to close some gaps of the poultry value chain in Laelay Mayichew district of Central Tigray zone. This post explains how he got into the chicken business and some of his experiences. It illustrates how local value chains constantly innovate and evolve in response to different opportunities and solutions.

ILRI in the media

Scientists begin measuring greenhouse gases emissions produced by Kenyan farmers
A team of scientists is from CGIAR centers under the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) collecting information on the level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by smallholder farmers. The project aims ‘to get first hand information on how much greenhouse gas is released through agriculture in smallholding farms and inform government and agricultural organizations to develop policy on management of the problem. The project will also train researchers on how to measure GHG emissions resulting from agricultural activities and to identify best mitigation options for the country.

Is there a trade-off between climate mitigation and food security?
Recent modeling by scientists from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia, the Institute for Sustainable Economic Development, Austria, Valin and ILRI has found that ‘increasing yield for crops is not as efficient for greenhouse gas emissions savings as increasing yield for livestock, especially if farmers use more fertilizer, but increasing livestock yield is not as beneficial to food security as increased crop yield can be, because meat is a small share of diet, especially in developing countries.’ The scientists were assessing the trade-offs between climate mitigation and food security in a bid to find how agricultural production can be boosted while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

more media items …

CGIAR news – updates from the research programs that ILRI works in

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Agrifood chain toolkit conference – researchers and practitioners unpack value chain analysis
From 9-11 September, the CGIAR research programs on ‘Livestock and fish’, and ‘Policies, Institutions and Markets’ joined forces to bring together nearly 60 participants interested in value chain analysis. Meeting in Kampala, the event explored the challenges behind value chain analysis and sought to enrich the AgriFood chain toolkit.

International symposium features One Health initiative in Southeast Asia
The subject of ‘One Health’, an interdisciplinary approach to combating emerging infectious diseases by addressing the complex interactions of human health, animal health and the environment, took centre stage during the August 2013 International Symposium of Health Sciences held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In a keynote presentation at the start of the symposium, Hung-Nguyen Viet – a researcher at the Center for Public Health and Ecosystem Research at the Hanoi School of Public Health discussed a regional One Health initiative in Southeast Asia and how this integrated approach is working to develop the capacity of universities to respond to the threat of emerging infectious diseases.

Gathering information about pig keeping in Mukono, Uganda Documenting disease prevalence in the Uganda pig value chain
A disease prevalence survey in Uganda’s Masaka, Mukono and Kamuli districts was recently undertaken by a team of ILRI researchers and postgraduate students from Makerere University. Led by Michel Dione, a post-doctoral fellow with the Smallholder Pig Value Chains Development (SPVCD) project, the activity contributes to the joint efforts of the SPVCD and Safe Food Fair Food (SFFF) projects.

Towards a comprehensive livestock environment assessment framework – East Africa consultation
Earlier this year the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) funded an 18-month project called ‘Comprehensive Livestock Environment Assessment for Improved Nutrition, a Secured Environment and Sustainable Development along Livestock Value Chains.’ The project is taking stock of existing environmental assessment methods and aims to formulate a new comprehensive framework. To take forward an East Africa dairying ‘proof of concept’, stakeholders from Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania recently met in Nairobi to anchor the development of the framework within regional realities.

‘Grassroots action’ in livestock feeding to help curb global climate change
In a series of papers, scientists in the Livestock and Fish research program offer new evidence that a potent chemical mechanism operating in the roots of a tropical grass used for livestock feed has enormous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Recent presentations

This month we feature a presentation by Jimmy Smith, director general of ILRI on ‘Improving environmental sustainability of livestock systems in the developing world’, which was made at the Agri4D annual conference on agricultural research for development, Uppsala, Sweden, 25−26 September 2013.

Recent ILRI publications Multimedia

New approaches to chicken farming reduce poverty without adding to disease risks: Chickens have been central to global food security for a long time. Readily available, cheap, and easy to feed and transport, chickens are kept by hundreds of millions of the world’s poor. But with few resources, the local scavenging birds these farmers raise grow slowly, produce few eggs, and are susceptible to diseases, so most poor farmers cannot use them to improve their incomes. Scientists at ILRI are working with partners to determine the best ways to reduce the risks of poultry diseases as well as human diseases caused by poultry.

ILRI under the lens

This month we feature images from the small ruminant value chains project in Ethiopia

A women pastoralist milks her goat (photo credit: ILRI/Zerihun Sewunet).

Upcoming events Staff updates

In September, we welcomed the following new staff:

  • Harrison Njamba Kimani, Data Systems Manager
  • Esther Wangui Ndungu, Administrative Assistant
  • Desmond Kirui Rono, Research Technician – ReSAKKS
  • Erick Kipkemoi Rutto, Research Technician – RMG
  • Jennifer Timbomei, Human Resources Officer
  • Macdonald Kitili Ngangi, Program Accountant
  • Beth Mbecha Njoroge, Administrative Assistant
  • Sabina Gitau, Program Accountant
  • Maureen L A Otieno, Research Technician
  • Anne Gesare Timu, Research Analyst
  • Linda Wambui Njeri, Administrative Assistant
  • Diana Brandes, Capacity Development Specialist – Institutional Planning and Partnerships
  • Florence Mutua, Post Doctoral Scientist – Food Safety and Zoonoses Program
  • Henry Kiara, Scientist – Animal Health Assessment and Product Delivery

We said farewell to:

  • Solomon Benor Belay, Post Doctoral Scientist – BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Fridah N Wanjala, Database Analyst
  • Sylvia Wanjiru Kamau, Environment, Occupational Health and Safety Officer
  • Paul Arodi, Tailor
  • Zerihun Sewunet, Electronic Publishing Specialist
  • Mekonnen Feyissa, Web Development Officer

Filed under: ILRI, KMIS, Livestock, PA, Roundup Tagged: Roundup

Africa’s animal agriculture focus of All Africa livestock conference

Nairobi, 27-30 October 2014 hosts the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture.

The theme of the conference, ‘Africa’s Animal Agriculture: Macro-trends and future opportunities’ will be addressed in several sessions:

  • Future of smallholder livestock systems in Africa
  • Market access: domestic and regional trade for livestock and their products
  • Market access: high value international markets
  • Youth and agriculture
  • Africa’s human capacity challenge for animal agriculture: which way now?
  • Pastoralism: options for tomorrow?

The organizers seek individuals to be session convenors as well as submissions of posters and papers.

More information: www.aacaak.or.ke


Filed under: Africa, Animal Production, Event, Kenya, Livestock

Livestock Matter(s): ILRI news ’roundup’ August 2013

 ILRI News Round-up banner

This August issue of ‘Livestock Matter(s) presents 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

Jimmy Smith with State MinisterGebregziabher Gebreyohannes (photo credit: ILRI/Apollo Habtamu)

Ethiopian State Minister for Livestock Development visits ILRI
Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, newly appointed State Minister for Livestock Development in Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture recently visited the ILRI campus in Addis Ababa. The meeting discussed ways of enhancing cooperation between ILRI and the Ethiopian government with a particular focus on livestock sector development where ILRI’s research is helping people transform their lives through livestock. ‘Ethiopia, with its large livestock sector and population, is a very important focus for ILRI’s work,’ said Smith (more on the new ministry).

ILRI geneticist Fidalis Mujibi wins prestigious ‘BREAD Ideas Challenge’ award
Fidalis Mujibi, a Kenyan geneticist working with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, is one of the winners of the 2013 USD10,000 ‘BREAD Ideas Challenge’, announced in July. Mujibi received the award together with American scientist and beef reproductive management specialist George Perry, from South Dakota State University. Their idea is to eliminate the need for liquid nitrogen in livestock artificial insemination services in developing countries. Mujibi and Perry are preparing a full proposal they will submit to the American National Science Foundation in September.

Measuring Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions key to getting ‘climate-smart’ farming adopted in continent
Obtaining country-specific greenhouse gas emission data from agricultural activities is critical in supporting ‘climate smart’ agricultural practices that will help Africa’s smallholder farmers protect their livelihoods in the face of climate change.  According Klaus Butterbach-Bahl, a scientist at ILRI, who gave a ‘livestock live talk’ at ILRI’s Nairobi campus on 14 Aug 2013, ‘current estimates of emissions from Africa’s agricultural sector rely heavily on data collected in developed countries that are inapplicable to Africa’s climatic and environmental conditions.’ ILRI is on the front line of building competence in measuring Africa’s agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, which will collect evidence so governments have the information they need to implement climate-smart interventions.’

Real change in food security through innovation platforms, where science marries local know-how
Science alone cannot help Africa feed itself. That was a strong message from Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive Officer of the Food Agriculture and Natural Resource Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) at the recent Africa Agricultural Science Week (AASW) organised by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). In a special session organized by the Challenge Program for Water and Food, Sibanda, chairs ILRI board of trustees, lauded engagement platforms for the efforts they make to bring together local farmers, scientists and others to collaboratively unearth innovative solutions to the challenge of food security, in Africa and the rest of the world.

Project news

Farmers in Vietnam have low awareness of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that infects animals (including pigs) and humans (photo credit: ILRI/Andrew Nguyen).

Study finds Vietnam has low awareness of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease transmitted between animals and people
A joint research team consisting of staff from the Vietnamese Department of Animal Health, the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, Nong Lam University and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) recently completed a three-year study of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease passed from animals to humans. The study shows that farmers and small-scale slaughterhouse workers in Vietnam have low awareness of leptospirosis, even though researchers found that the disease was common in the pigs and humans tested.

International conference features risk assessment of raw milk consumption in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
A study under the collaborative Safe Food, Fair Food project, which is led by ILRI, has shown that raw milk consumers in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire are exposed to the risk of gastro-intestinal infection caused by harmful milk-borne bacteria. Findings of the study were presented at a poster session at the 5th Congress of European Microbiologists (FEMS 2013) held on 21-25 July 2013 in Leipzig, Germany. The international conference brought together 2270 participants from 70 countries across all continents.

ILRI and BAIF host policy meeting on small ruminant production and marketing in India
On 13 August 2013, ILRI and BAIF Development Research Foundation hosted a small ruminant policy meeting at the Park Hotel in New Delhi, India. This activity was part of the imGoats project. Over 50 participants were present, in the meeting, which among other findings noted that increased demand for goat and sheep meat offers an opportunity for both smallholder and commercial small ruminant sectors to grow. Participants at the meeting suggested the organization of smallholder producers into self-help groups that will eventually evolve into cooperatives to stimulate linkages with the private sector.

  •  more from ILRI projects
ILRI in the media

Tanzania dairy master plan set to raise milk production to 6 bn litres
On 22 August 2013, Tanzania held a 2nd Dairy Development Forum (DDF) meeting in Dar es Salaam. Reporting from the meeting, the Guardian reported that the ‘Livestock and Fisheries ministry together with Tanzania Dairy Board (TDB) are in the process of framing a National Dairy Master Plan aimed at increasing efficiency and productivity in the sub-sector.’

A Maasai father and son tend to their cattle in Kitengela, Kenya

East Africa’s dryland herders take out a policy for survival
ILRI and partner are providing livestock insurance to herders and their families in Ethiopia and Kenya to protect against the hunger and poverty that can come as a result of a significant drought. According to Andrew Mude, a researcher ILRI who has been working to develop risk management instruments for pastoralists in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia in the Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) project, ‘this year, Ethiopian pastoralists in seven districts bought 270 policies. Kenyan pastoralists bought 216 policies, insuring 75 camels, 193 cows and 1,131 sheep and goats’.

Uganda researchers develop ‘more accurate’ tapeworm test kit for pigs
Scientists in Uganda have developed a kit that tests for the presence of tapeworm (Taenia solium) in pigs. The test kit was developed by the Association for strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), the University of Edinburgh, Astel Diagnostics in Uganda and ILRI. The kit adds a new tool to the arsenal against the parasite, which also attacks human and causes neurological disorders like epilepsy.

more media items …

CGIAR news – updates from the research programs that ILRI works in

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Nicaraguan dual-purpose value chain stakeholder visit livestock production site
On 7 August 2013, stakeholders participating in the Livestock and Fish Impact pathways and planning workshop visited the city of Camoapa, one of the main livestock production areas in Nicaragua, to witness firsthand the various levels of the dual-purpose cattle value chain. The stakeholders also met with with Edmundo Robleto, the mayor of Camoapa who said that most farmers in the area don’t have the capacities to assess their farms’ profitability and they trainings from the program’s interventions are enabling them know how to better manage their farms. This visit was followed by a tour of a small livestock farm owned by Jose Vallejos, who is also a professor at the National Agrarian University and concluded with a visit to a small-scale processing plant in Boaco, another important livestock production area.

A family of Hmong farmers thresh their maize harvest in rural Northwest Vietnam (image: ILRI/Jo Cadilhon)

Northwest Vietnam situational analysis shapes up for Humidtropics research program
On 15 and 16 August 2013 the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) organized the launch meeting of the CGIAR’s Humidtropics research program situational analysis in Northwest Vietnam. Jo Cadilhon represented the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in the meeting and helped facilitate the process. He reports on the outcomes.

Vietnam smallholder producers can compete in the fresh pork market
Smallholder pig development in Vietnam is one of the focus value chains of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish. A recent study by ILRI scientist Lucy Lapar and colleagues on ‘smallholder competitiveness’ offers insights into household pig production systems in Vietnam. It said that increased attention should be given to domestically produced feeds (increase their supply; reduce their costs; better utilize existing supplies) for pigs.

Smallholder livestock farmers in Tanzania can benefit from growing consumer demand for livestock products
A recent research study shows that major business opportunities exist for smallholder livestock producers in Tanzania, driven by growing demand for high quality beef and poultry products and a large number of rural livestock-keeping households. These findings were presented at the 19th International Farm Management Congress held in Warsaw, Poland in July 2013. The study assessed urban and rural consumers’ preferred retail outlets and retail forms (different cuts of beef and poultry) as well as their preferences for product quality and safety attributes. Retail outlets and form preferences differed markedly across consumer income classes, but quality and safety attributes were valued by all income classes.

Recent presentations

This month we feature a presentation on ‘One Health – an interdisciplinary approach in combating emerging diseases by Hung Nguyen-Viet, Delia Grace and Jakob Zinsstag at the International Symposium of Health Sciences (iSIHAT 2013), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 20-21 August 2013.

Recent ILRI publications Multimedia

Dairy farming = ‘dairy education’: The sector that is educating Kenya’s children is a short film documenting how keeping cows has enabled Margaret Muchina, a dairy farmer from central Kenya, to support and educate her four children, who include Edward Kimani, who sat for his high school exam in 2010 and emerged as one of the country’s best students.

ILRI under the lens

This month we feature livestock in dryland systems

Tilapia-rearing ponds at Tropo farm in Akuse, Ghana

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

Upcoming events Staff updates

In July, we welcomed the following new staff:

  • Annet Mulema, Social Scientist, Livelihoods, Gender and Impact program
  • David Njenga, Program Management Officer, Vaccine Group
  • Dedan Githae, Bioinformatican, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Emmanuel Keya, Program Accountant, Policy, Trade and Value Chains
  • Evans Aseta, Electronics Engineering Supervisor, Corporate Services
  • Harrison Kimani, Data Systems Manager, RMG
  • Immaculate Waithaka, Office Assistant, Directorate
  • James W. Macharia, Mechanical & Refrigeration Engineering Supervisor
  • Obed Ateka, Program Accountant, Animal Science for Sustainable Productivity program
  • Signe Nelgen, Post Doc, Policy Trade and Value Chains
  • Timothy Mutuku, HR Assistant
  • Elias Damtew, Research Technician, Animal Science for Sustainable Productivity program
  • Dereje Legesse, Agribusiness Expert, LIVES Project
  • Yigzaw Dessalegn, Regional Coordinator, LIVES Project
  • Binyam Befirdu, Country Finance Manager,Corporate Services
  • Wako Gobu, Research Assistant, Animal Science for Sustainable Productivity program
  • Zinabu Haile, Driver, LIVES Project

We said farewell to:

  • Hailu Kassaye, Reservation and Events Coordinator, Corporate Services
  • Yohannes Derese, Research Assistant, Forage Diversity
  • Josephine Mueni Mayale, Financial Accountant
  • George  Omondi Acharry, Research Technician
  • Samuel Kahumu Mburu, Research Technician
  • Nancy Awino Ajima, Programme Management Officer
  • Timothy Kyallo Mulatya, Programme Management Officer
  • Collins Oduor Owino, Research Technician

Filed under: ILRI, KMIS, Livestock, PA, Roundup Tagged: Livestock matters

Estimating the financial costs of animal disease burden, morbidity and mortality in Nigeria

Nigeria’s agriculture sector generates one-third of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs two-thirds of the workforce. Its recent growth dominates Nigerian non-oil economic growth. Small-scale, semi-commercial farms, settled agricultural households and transhumant pastoralists dominate production. Livestock is the second largest agricultural subsector and features 16.43 million cattle, 34.69 million sheep, 55.15 million goats, 7.18 million pigs and 183.16 million poultry. These provide nutrition and food security, and a range of services including draught power for cropping activities.

Poor animal productivity is widely attributed to the occurrence and endemicity of certain animal diseases. These are often unreported, unconfirmed or poorly documented. The financial losses associated with such outbreaks and costs associated with the disease burden are also rarely documented.

This ILRI research report by Mohamadou Fadiga, Christine Jost  and John Ihedioha documents the costs of disease burden, morbidity and mortality related to the following diseases in Nigeria: Newcastle disease (NCD) in local poultry, peste des petits ruminants (PPR) in sheep and goats, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) in cattle, African swine fever (ASF) in pigs and trypanosomosis in cattle and pigs.

This study shows that interventions to control major livestock diseases would yield significant economic returns
to Nigeria.

Economic analysis estimates the current annual financial burden of PPR, CBPP, trypanosomosis, NCD and ASF
amounts to be 29.2 billion Nigerian naira (NGN). The cost of inaction against these diseases is highest for
trypanosomosis in cattle and pigs (NGN 10 billion), followed by NCD in rural chicken (NGN 8.9 billion), PPR in sheep
and goats (NGN 6.8 billion), CBPP (NGN 2.2 billion) and ASF (NGN 1.3 billion). An additional investment of NGN 10.8 billion will be required to eliminate the losses associated with the five diseases.

An additional investment of NGN 10.8 billion will be required to eliminate the losses associated with the five diseases.
This would lead to NGN 24.4 billion worth of additional benefits with 18% or NGN 2.4 billion accruing due to
intervention against PPR, 2% against CBPP, 23% against trypanosomosis, 52% against NCD in local chicken and 5%
against ASF.

Download the full report


Filed under: Animal Diseases, Animal Production, ASF, CBPP, CRP2, Epidemiology, Livestock, Nigeria, PPR, Trypanosomiasis, West Africa

Livestock Matter(s): ILRI news ’roundup’ July 2013

 ILRI News Round-up banner

This July issue of ‘Livestock Matter(s) presents 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 Jimmy Smith and Frank Rijsberman speak out at FARA’s Africa Agriculture Science Week

During the just-concluded sixth Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW6) organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and held in Accra, Ghana, 20–25 Jul 2013, Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), represented CGIAR at a press conference.

Prestigious Award for BecA-ILRI Hub Scientist, Jagger Harvey

Jagger Harvey was presented the prestigious Societal Impact Award by The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) in Norwich, UK. The award, one of four given to TSL alumni who have worked with developing country agriculture, was presented to Harvey for his work at the BecA-ILRI Hub focused on research and capacity building.

ILRI scientist honoured by Australian university for contributions to African agricultural research

Azage Tegegne, a senior scientist working with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Ethiopia has received recognition from Australia’s James Cook University for his outstanding contributions to agricultural research in Africa. Tegegne, an Ethiopian, was one of 12 recipients of the 2013 James Cook University Outstanding Alumni Award given on 26 Jul in Townsville, Australia. The award pays tribute to graduates of the university who ‘have made an outstanding contribution in their field of endeavour and to the community’.

Invest in Africa’s fast-growing livestock sector: The time is now

The director general of the International Livestock Institute (ILRI) has called for significant investments in the development of Africa’s livestock sector, which he said is rapidly growing. Jimmy Smith told the told participants of a recent three-day Africa Livestock Conference and Exhibition (ALiCE2013), held in Nairobi, Kenya, that such investments ‘can ensure that livestock enterprises on the continent are economically profitable, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable.

Project news ILRI publishes report on rapid appraisal of Ethiopia’s live cattle and beef value chain

Despite the prominence of cattle in Ethiopian society and its economy, relevant qualitative and quantitative information is both scarce and subject to a variety of interpretations. Mobilizing cattle, and their supporting natural and human resource base, in a sustainable manner for development purposes is therefore a challenge that begins with identification of problems and opportunities about which there is limited agreement.

Smallholders could feed Africa more efficiently

Smallholder Farmers Profit in Tanzania Market

USAID’s Tanzania Agriculture Productivity Program shares vital market information on price trends to help farmers maximize profits (photo credit: Fintrac Inc.).

What are the options for sustainable intensification through livestock feeding? How can we best deal with the competition for biomass between livestock feeding and soil fertility? These are some of the questions that future research on livestock keeping needs to address in order to feed and maintain the 600 million rural poor people worldwide who rely on livestock for their livelihoods.

Illumina MiSeq sequencer lights up diagnostics research in eastern and central Africa

From 24 June to 5 July 2013, the BecA-ILRI Hub hosted a training workshop on the use of the newly installed Illumina genome sequencing machine (MiSeq). The training conducted by Claudia Hasche, a senior field application specialist from the Alliance Global Group included both wet-lab sessions as well as a number of presentations describing the MiSeq system and its different applications.

Matters ARISING – News from Africa RISING, July 2013

Matters ARISING is the news update of the Africa RISING program. It brings you news and updates on from our projects in East, West and Southern Africa

New project launched to compile information on African livestock breeds

Improving the breeds of farm animals is one important way of resolving food problems to ensure food security for the sustainable development of humanity. On 22 July, the Country Domestic Animal Genetic Resources Information System (C-DAGRIS) was launched in Nairobi.

ILRI in the media Saving the world’s genetic wealth: Scientists in Kenya propose plans for first livestock genebank

 Examining seed

SciDevNet reports on a ‘livestock genebank’ that’s needed to help conserve breeds and populations of farm animals, especially the wealth of diversity remaining in Africa and other developing regions, that are fast being eroded through cross-breeding and importations of exotic stock.

New study addresses trade-offs between food security and climate change mitigation

Improving crop yields using sustainable methods could cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 12% per calorie produced according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. At the same time, these changes could provide more food to people in need.

‘BREAD Ideas Challenge’ winners announced: Each receives $10,000 prize

The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced the 13 winners of the $10,000 BREAD Ideas Challenge. The challenge, part of the Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development (BREAD) program and co-funded by NSF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, asked participants from around the world to describe, in 100 words or fewer, the most pressing, novel issues facing small-holder farms–farms typically the size of a football field or smaller–in developing countries.

Climate shifts linked to rise in animal diseases in people

Smallholder farmers who have settled on intensive agriculture as a way to adapt to climate change are facing threats to their health and livelihoods from animal diseases previously thought to have been eliminated, experts warn. Kenya is no exception to these new pressures on the lives of the struggling poor. According to experts from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), diseases such as anthrax, Rift Valley fever and sleeping sickness are now common in regions experiencing climate shifts.

CGIAR news – updates from the research programs that ILRI works in

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Livestock and Fish program’s achievements highlighted in CGIAR CRP portfolio report

The CGIAR Consortium recently released its second annual CGIAR Research Programs (CRP) performance assessment report which took stock of CRP performance during 2012. According to the report, the first evidence of the CGIAR reform’s potential for improving scientific and development synergies within the system is becoming evident. Further, the overall picture emerging is of a CGIAR system that is well positioned to capture significant synergies, both within and across the CRPs, in a way that was not possible before the reform.

Recent presentations

This month, we feature a presentation by Jimmy Smith, Shirley Tarawali, Iain Wright, Suzanne Bertrand, Polly Ericksen, Delia Grace and Ethel Makila at a side event at the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week, Accra, Ghana, 15-20 July 2013

Recent ILRI publications Multimedia

ILRI and the global development agenda is a video presentation by Jimmy Smith.

ILRI under the lens

This month we feature photos from the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW6), in Accra, Ghana, 15-20 Jul 2013, organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).

Tilapia-rearing ponds at Tropo farm in Akuse, Ghana

Tilapia-rearing ponds in Akuse, Ghana (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

Upcoming events Staff updates

In July, we welcomed the following new staff:

  • Assenath Kabugi: Program Management Officer, Livestock Systems and Environment
  • Anita Mutua: Human Resource Officer, Human Resources
  • Fridah Kariuki: Research Technician, Biosciences
  • Habtemariam  Assefa: Research Assistant, LIVES Project
  • John Ngure: Payroll Accountant, Corporate Services
  • Kaleb  Shiferaw: Research Officer, LIVES Project
  • Tadiwos  Zewdie: Research Assistant, LIVES Project

We said farewell to:

  • Erick Masanta, Corporate Services
  • Behailu Moti, Corporate Services
  • Balcha Haile Mariam, Corporate Services
  • Daniel Kifle, Corporate Services
  • Hailu Kassaye, Corporate Services
  • Leykun Assefa, Corporate Services

Filed under: ILRI, KMIS, Livestock, PA, Roundup Tagged: Livestock matters

Livestock Matter(s): ILRI news ‘roundup’, June 2013

 ILRI News Round-up banner

The June issue of ‘Livestock Matter(s), explores 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

Entrepreneurs: Your livestock business is growing–but only in Africa and other developing regions
Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), gave a keynote presentation this week at a three-day Africa Livestock Conference and Exhibition (ALiCE2013). In 20 minutes, Smith made a powerful case for making significant investments in Africa’s livestock sector, which is growing rapidly.

Neville Clarke, former ILRI board chair, honoured for advancing international agriculture and rural development

On 10 Jun 2013, the Texas A & M University announced that Neville Clarke, former chair of the board of trustees of ILRI (1995–2001), has received an award for his nearly four decades of exemplary service to international agricultural and rural development, helping to reduce world poverty and food insecurity. Clarke received the 2013 Special Service Award from the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development recently at the Future Leader’s Forum in Washington, D.C.

Project news

Roots and tubers to the fore: How a Tanzanian crop and goat project is helping farmers

On 18-20 Jun 2013, ILRI’s Nairobi campus hosted partners in a crop and goat project that is helping Tanzanian farmers integrate their dairy goat production with growing root crops for improved food security in the country. The meeting reviewed research results from the two-year-old project.  The project, by Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania and the University of Alberta in Canada, ILRI and local partners in Tanzania, started in March 2011 and is funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Canadian International Development Agency. Findings from this workshop guided preparation of a proposal to scale up the project’s interventions in the final phase of the project, which ends in August 2014.

Study on the East Africa Dairy Development project provides insights into agricultural innovation processes

Evolution of Uganda's dairy systems

Dairy farming in Uganda (photo credit: ILRI).

A new study on agricultural innovation systems in the East Africa Dairy Development project was published in the June 2013 issue of the journal Agricultural Systems. The study’s lead author is Catherine Kilelu, a PhD student at Wageningen University who was hosted at ILRI as a graduate fellow. According to the study, innovation platforms support co-evolution of innovation and can be considered sets of intermediaries. Also, feedback and learning platforms need to be better monitored and that agricultural innovation policies can be better tailored to co-evolution.

‘We can do it on our own now’ – the imGoats Inhassoro innovation platform holds its ninth meeting

On 13 June 2013, the imGoats Inhassoro innovation platform held its ninth meeting at Vulanjane, Inhassoro, Mozambique. The meeting discussed the potential for goat sales and the future of the innovation platform was discussed.

Asia Pacific Participatory Epidemiology Network Holds First Training Workshop

The Asia Pacific Participatory Epidemiology Network (APPEN) based at Chiang Mai University is holding its first Introductory Training for PE Practitioners. The course is divided into two 5-day sessions. The first session was held at Khon Kaen University from June 8 to 12. The course included 22 veterinary and public health participants from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and China. Participants were sponsored by the RESPOND Project and by CIRAD though the SEA-PREID Network. The first session included 2 days of field work on the epidemiology and control of Opisthorchis liver fluke disease in man associated with the consumption of raw fish. The second session will be heldat Chiang Mai University from July 8 to 12, 2013. PENAPH and ILRI are providing trainers to led the program.

ILRI in the media

Growth in climate-smart grass

Dual purpose cattle grazing Brachiaria in silvopastoral systems in Nicaragua

Sweden has signed a 4-year (2012-2015) 40 million Swedish kronor agreement with the Bioscience eastern and central Africa – International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub for an ‘Innovative programmatic approach to climate change in support of BecA’s Mission: Climate-smart Brachiaria grasses for improving livestock production in East Africa’. The program will contribute to food and feed security, increased animal productivity and increased income generation for poverty reduction in East Africa through the introduction of climate-smart Brachiaria grasses and capacity building in improved tropical forage technology, natural resource management and adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

Global consultation reinforces CIARD in making agricultural knowledge accessible and useful for smallholders

Representatives of national, regional and global organizations attended a Global Consultation in May 2013 at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Addis Ababa where they endorsed the CIARD movement and agreed on a new focus to support innovation in smallholder agriculture.

CGIAR news – updates from the research programs that ILRI works in

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Climate change–Wholesale reconfiguration of diets, livelihoods, farming will be required in some regions

Cattle in the great Kenya drought of 2009

Cattle in the great Kenya drought of 2009 (photo credit: ILRI/Dorine Adhoch).

Findings from a new report from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), ‘Addressing uncertainty in adaptation planning for agriculture’, which was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (PNAS), finds that the cloudy aspects of climate forecasts are no excuse for a paralysis in agriculture adaptation policies.

Of platforms and tables, cows and chillies: Scrutinizing numbers in Togo opens worlds of new ideas to explore
Jo Cadilhon, an agricultural economist with ILRI’s research program on Policy, Trade and Value Chains, recently spent four days in Lomé, Togo, facilitating a workshop for a project on ‘Resilience of smallholder agriculture through dairy and market gardening value chains’. In this blog post, he tells how the analysis of data during the workshop led to some new ideas to explore in research on value chains.

Prioritizing animal feeding interventions – TechFit tool takes shape
In May, feed specialists from ILRI, CIAT, ICARDA and partner institutes got together in Addis Ababa to further elaborate the TechFit tool that is designed to help people set priorities for feed interventions.

Uganda workshop kicks off project to assess the impact of African swine fever
On 13 May 2013, the “Assessing the Impact of African swine fever (ASF) in smallholder pig systems and the feasibility of potential interventions” project held a kick-off workshop in Kampala.

Vietnam hosts pioneer training course in One Health and EcoHealth
The first ever short course on One Health and EcoHealth in Vietnam – hosted by the Center for Public Health and Ecosystem Research (CENPHER) at the Hanoi School of Public Health (HSPH) and ILRI – took place on 27-30 May 2013 in Hanoi.

Recent presentations

This month, we feature a presentation by Delia Grace at a Workshop: An Integrated Approach to Controlling Brucellosis in Africa, Addis Ababa, 29-31 January 2013

Recent ILRI publications Multimedia

Watch ILRI’s new 5-minute film, New approaches to chicken farming reduce poverty without adding to disease risks , the film describes a corollary ‘chicken boom’ in poor countries, with narration by ILRI veterinary epidemiologist Delia Grace.

ILRI under the lens

This month we feature photos of the African Livestock Conference and Exhibition (ALiCE 2013) held on June 26th – 29th 2013.

Muthoni Njiru receives ILRI sponsor’s plaque (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

Upcoming events Staff updates

In June, we welcomed the following new staff:

  • Keith Child: Senior scientist-Impact Assessment, Livelihoods, gender, impact and innovation program
  • Sita Ghimire: Scientist Plant Pathologist, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Monday Ahonsi: Program Coordinator, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Jochem Kumm: Bio-informatics research group leader, Animal bioscience program
  • Barbara Szonyi:Post Doc Veterinary Epidemiologist, Food safety and zoonoses program
  • Robert Ngeno: Analytical Chemist -BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Leah Kago: Research Technician – BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Eric Macharia: Data Analyst ReSaKKS, Policy, trade and value chains program
  • Simon Patita: Program Management Officer, Livelihoods, gender, impact and innovation program
  • Assenath Kabugi: Program Management Officer, Livestock systems and the environment program
  • Mesfin Tefera: Zonal Coordinator, LIVES project
  • Rakeb Habte: ICT Customer Services Helpdesk Coordinator/Administrator
  • Birhanu Biazin: Regional Coordinator – LIVES project

We said farewell to:

  • John Amoti: Directorate
  • Negussie Abraham: Corporate Services
  • Wilfred Gitaari: Corporate Services
  • Esayas Wake: Corporate Services
  • Arage Melaku: Corporate Services
  • Wolde Wodaje: Corporate Services
  • Tesfaye Dejene: Corporate Services
  • Luelseged Ayalew: Corporate Services
  • Gezahegn Bogale: Corporate Services
  • Mekonen Ajebe: Corporate Services
  • Mulugeta Regassa: Corporate Services
  • Sahlu Beyene: Corporate Services
  • Mamushet Aweke: Corporate Services
  • Abdulkadir Mohammed: Corporate Services
  • Wondwossen Shewangizaw: Corporate Services

Filed under: ILRI, KMIS, Livestock, PA, Roundup Tagged: Livestock matters

Molecular study makes a difference to guinea pig producers in eastern Congo

Domestic cavies (or guinea pigs) provide a high-quality meat source with high levels of protein in similar quantity as chicken meat. Here, Brigitte Maass, Bertin Bisimwa, Wanjiku Chiuri and Larelle McMillan explain how an innovation platform linking cavy producers and other organizations is helping to bridge molecular science with livestock production.

An Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ACBF) project (led by the BecA-ILRI Hub, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, the University of Dschang, and the Université Evangélique en Afrique) is looking at ways to improve alternative and rapid access to food and income in Cameroon and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by improving cavy production.

Guinea pig scientist meets cavy farmers in Congo

In a recent meeting of the Regional Cavy Innovation Platform in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Bertin Bisimwa, a former BecA-ILRI Hub ABCF fellow, explained to farmers and other participants the consequences his molecular studies of cavies in the province should have for their keeping of this small animal.

Farmers were concerned about him taking blood samples; they wondered what would happen to their animals. Bertin told them that he thoroughly studied the blood – and the DNA – in the laboratory in Nairobi to assess the degree of inbreeding and the general genetic diversity found in the their cavy populations. He brought two important messages: inbreeding is high and has serious negative consequences such as decreased litter sizes, less litter frequency, kids with inferior birth weights, increased disease susceptibility, and death of animals at younger ages.

He also found two genetically quite different groups of cavies from North of the provincial capital town of Bukavu (Kalehe and Kabare territoires) or South of it (Walungu territoire). This was good news as it suggests some ways to deal with inbreeding – through the innovation platform, people from these different areas could exchange guinea pigs to increase genetic diversity.

The regional Cavy Innovation Platform in Sud-Kivu was established in October 2012. It comprises various stakeholders along the cavy value chain, including producer representatives from four different villages, where the project has research sites, traders, NGOs, a micro-credit organization and a radio station. The Platform functions by bringing together all kinds of actors along a value chain to identify challenges and knowledge gaps and help link cavy keepers to markets. Innovation Platforms are driven by the stakeholders who collectively engage in development challenges and research needed. They identify possible solutions and opportunities for improvement and sustainability.

Bertin reflected on his conversations in the platform: “the meeting of the Innovation Platform in Kalehe was a new experience for me  – as a researcher doing cutting edge science in the laboratory – I had to face farmers’ pre-occupations and challenges and explain my research in a language they could understand. Nevertheless, I returned happy from that day in the field because I could really understand that my laboratory study can make a difference to the lives of the cavy farmers.”

The work took place within the project ‘Harnessing husbandry of domestic cavy for alternative and rapid access to food and income in Cameroon and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo’ supported by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) under the Africa Food Security Initiative and through the partnership between Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) Hub at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

See a related story


Filed under: Africa, Animal Production, BecA, Biodiversity, Cameroon, Central Africa, Congo, CRP37, East Africa, Genetics, ILRI, Innovation Systems, Livestock Tagged: cavies, Cavy, CIAT, Guinea pigs, innovation platforms

Developing value chain action plans for the Ethiopia Livestock Master Plan

Earlier this year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) approved funds to support the development of value chain action plans for the Ethiopia Livestock Master Plan (LMP).

The project began on Wednesday, May 1, with the hiring of Dr. Asfaw Negassa as Value Chain Expert and Ms. Hiwot Yerga, as Program Coordinator.

ILRI is working with BMGF and the MOA to develop a Livestock Master Plan (LMP or ‘LMP Road Map’) which is intended to assist the MOA in developing a vision and strategy to inform its development support and investment planning, as well as to inform the strategies of the Foundation and other donors in their investments in Ethiopia.

The LMP will be a series of 5-year development plans for the key livestock value chains with specific strategies and timed activity plans with outputs, outcomes and expected impacts. The key chains (to be confirmed through stakeholder consultations) are expected to include: Live animals and meat, dairy, hides, skins and leather and apiculture.

The end product will be livestock value chain development or action plans that include specific technology and policy interventions to be implemented by MOA, together with its development partners (NGOs, etc.) and the private sector, with technical backstopping from international and local research organizations, and with managerial support from the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA).

The development of the LMP entails ensuring full and open consultation with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the ownership of all relevant stakeholders in the livestock sector, national and international, public and private, farmers and businesses, development practitioners and researchers, etc. As part of this process, ILRI is also assisting the Ministry to develop a Livestock Policy Support Unit (LPSU) which will be responsible for livestock sector development planning and policy analysis, including the development of the LMP.

The project also includes learning elements which will enable us to share the lessons from this experience with others trying to help African governments strengthen their agricultural development planning.

The project is coordinated by Barry Shapiro as part of his policy support to the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture. Barry’s role is part of ILRI’s strategy to deepen its engagement with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), and to raise the visibility and increase the impact of ILRI in Ethiopia, especially through influencing policy making and technology uptake, and capacity building.


Filed under: ASSP, Capacity Strengthening, East Africa, Ethiopia, Livestock, Project, Value Chains Tagged: BMGF, LMP

Making visible the ‘invisible benefits’ of African pastoralism will spur national and pastoral economies both

Fulani boy in Niger herds his family's animals

Pastoral areas of Africa are experiencing a booming livestock export trade and inflow of investment that can be harnessed to grow national economies (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

A comprehensive economic evaluation of pastoral livestock’s often invisible livelihood benefits in Africa’s drylands could be key in maintaining and harnessing the increasing economic benefits for poor herders and communities living in the continent’s marginal lands.

An article published by IRIN last month (16 May 2013) cites findings from a book published last year by the Future Agricultures Consortium, to which researchers from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) contributed.

Polly Ericksen, who leads a CGIAR Research Program on Drylands Systems in East and Southern Africa and is based at ILRI, is one of the book’s authors. In a chapter on Climate change in sub-Saharan Africa: What consequences for pastoralism? Ericksen says ‘insights from pastoral systems are critical for generating wider lessons on climate adaptation responses’ because ‘pastoral people are at the forefront of responding to climate change using their experiences in managing high climate variability over the centuries.’

The article says pastoralism, against many odds, is generating an ‘estimated USD1 billion each year through trade between pastoral communities in Africa’ and ‘contributes to the livelihoods of millions of people . . . in some of the poorest and most deprived areas’ of the world.

‘[We are seeing] in areas where pastoralists live, the growth of a booming livestock export trade, the flourishing of the private sector, the expansion of towns with the inflow of investment, and the emergence of a class of entrepreneurs commanding a profitable market, and generating employment and other business opportunities; and all of this driven without a reliance on external development aid’, said the authors of the study

Research by ILRI scientists has shown that ‘pastoralism contributes between 10 and 44 percent of the GDP of African countries. An estimated 1.3 billion people benefit from livestock value chain’.

But even though pastoralism is ‘a key economic activity in dryland areas where other forms of agriculture are impossible’, assessing its benefits to livestock keepers and their communities is often hampered by the use of techniques that are not adapted to capturing its impacts. ‘The benefits that pastoralism brings are invisible to most governments because the methodologies they use for assessing economic activity and growth, the most popular being GDP, are not adapted to pastoralism’, says the article.

According to Ian Scoones, of the Institute of Development Studies, who is one of the book’s editors, ‘rapid urbanization in Africa will continue to provide increased market opportunities for pastoralists’ and will provide ‘opportunities for diversification’ for some livestock keepers.

‘There are spin-off benefits from such trade, including opportunities for engaging in diversified activities, including processing animal products, providing transport, fodder and marketing support, and offering services in the growing small towns in pastoral areas’, says Scoones.

The book recommends ‘a total economic valuation framework’ to capture the benefits of pastoralism, which could lead to a better appreciation of pastoral livestock’s contribution to individual livelihoods and countries economies. For example, the article highlights the use of this framework by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, which revealed that ‘livestock’s contribution to Kenya’s agricultural GDP was about two and half times greater than official estimates indicated’.

Pastoral livestock keeping will inevitably face many challenges in coming years, as pastoralists are ‘forced to abandon their livelihoods’ through conversion of their lands for use in more ‘viable’ development projects like large-scale irrigation schemes or ranches. The book’s authors, however, advocate for a more nuanced approach that will allow pastoralism to continue producing ‘benefits in arid and semi-arid environments characterized by rainfall variability’. Such approaches might lead to more sustainable change, at least for those communities already benefiting from improved livestock trade and business opportunities in these regions.

Read the whole article on the IRIN website: Pastoralism’s economic contributions are significant but overlooked.

Read an ILRI news article about the book cited in this article: Pastoralism and Development in Africa: Dynamic Change at the Margins.


Filed under: Agriculture, Article, Climate Change, CRP11, East Africa, Integrated Sciences, Livelihoods, Livestock, Pastoralism, Vulnerability Tagged: Future Agricultures Consortium, Ian Scoones, IGAD, Institute of Development Studies, IRIN, Polly Ericksen

Dairy hubs in East Africa – Lessons from the East Africa Dairy Development project: Livestock live talk at ILRI on 26 June 2013

On Wednesday 26 Jun 2013, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) hosts a ‘livestock live talk’ on Dairy hubs in East Africa: Lessons from the East Africa Dairy Development project.

The talk by Isabelle Baltenweck, an agricultural economist at ILRI, and Gerald Mutinda, the East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) project’s regional manager in charge of dairy productivity, gender and youth, will focus on the impact of the hub approach that the EADD project is using to set up milk chilling plants and service centers where East Africa’s smallholder dairy producers can access farm inputs, artificial insemination services, animal feed and training on dairy farming.

The talk takes place at the John Vercoe Auditorium at the ILRI Nairobi campus from 1500 to 1600 hours.

View the event announcement

About the EADD project
Started in January 2008, the EADD project works in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to transform the lives of 179,000 families (about 1 million people) by doubling household dairy income in 10 years through integrated interventions in dairy production, market access and knowledge application.

The project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by Heifer International, African Breeders Services—Total Cattle Management, ILRI, TechnoServe and the World Agroforestry Centre.

Livestock live talks’ is a seminar series at ILRI that aims to address livestock-related issues, mobilize external as well as in-house expertise and audiences and engage the livestock community around interdisciplinary conversations that ask hard questions and seek to refine current research concepts and practices.

All ILRI staff, partners and donors, and interested outsiders are invited. Those non-staff wanting to come, please contact Angeline Nekesa at a.nekesa[at]cgiar.org (or via ILRI switchboard +254 20 422 3000) to let her know. If you would like to give one of these seminars, or have someone you would like to recommend, please contact Silvia Silvestri at s.silvestri[at]cgiar.org (or via ILRI switchboard +254 20 422 3000).


Filed under: CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, Event, ILRI, Kenya, Livelihoods, Livestock, Rwanda, Uganda Tagged: EADD, livestock live talks, livetalks

Livestock Matter(s): ILRI news ’roundup’, May 2013

 ILRI News Round-up banner

The May issue of ‘Livestock Matter(s), explores 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

Wherefore ILRI - Presentation by Jimmy Smith

ILRI’s global livestock research agenda: A strategy for ‘better lives through livestock’
Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), opened ILRI’s Annual Program Meeting on (15 May 2013) with a review of where the institute has come from, where it is now and where it’s going.

Celebrating achievement: Julie Ojango and Tadelle Dessie promoted
Two researchers in the Animal Sciences for Sustainable Productivity team – Julie Ojango and Tadelle Dessie – have been promoted to the position of Scientist. The appointments were made at the beginning of April 2013. Both Julie and Tadesse joined ILRI in 2006.

ILRI’s Azage Tegegne becomes Australia Awards African Alumni Ambassador
The Australian Government recently launched an Africa Alumni Ambassadors initiative aimed at raising the visibility of Australia Awards in Africa. ILRI’s Azage Tegegne, coordinator of the Livestock and Irrigation Value chains for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES) project joined the first group.

Project news

New advances in the battle against a major disease threat to cattle and people in Africa
As part of ILRI’s comprehensive fight against trypanosomiasis, the institute is now in the very early stages of a project to develop disease-resistant cattle, which could save the lives of livestock and people both. Thus far, ILRI and its partners have taken a preliminary step in the process, which involved successfully cloning a male calf from one of East Africa’s most important cattle breeds, the Boran. The calf is healthy and is being raised at ILRI’s research facilities in Kenya.

Study links the rise of zoonotic diseases to intensive farming and environmental changes
Modern farming practices, such as intensified livestock production, as well as environmental and biodiversity changes can be linked to the new wave of zoonotic diseases, according to a new study published in the 21 May 2013 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Capacity development for wildlife health management
The 2012 annual scientific meeting of the Wildlife Disease Association featured a workshop on capacity development in wildlife health management. The workshop consisted of presentations, table-top exercises and general discussion among over 60 participants from all over the world. ILRI was represented by Purvi Mehta-Bhatt, regional representative for South Asia, who gave a keynote presentation on capacity development in One Health and EcoHealth.

Uganda farmer explains smallholder pig value chain priorities
In recent months, pig value chain assessment activities have been carried out in Masaka district as part of the Uganda Smallholder Pig Value Chains Development (SPVCD) and Safe Food, Fair Food (SFFF) projects. One farmer approached by the project team was unavailable to meet the team; but shared a letter capturing the project’s objectives.

Livestock data collected in Niger, Tanzania and Uganda to measure — and improve — livestock development
‘Africa still suffers from a lack of good quality data on livestock that could be used to measure and improve progress as well as inform policymaking processes, scientists have said. ‘Good data are crucial for identifying effective public and private sector investment opportunities, and in helping to improve the livelihoods of smallholder livestock producers in Africa, according to ‘Livestock Data Innovation in Africa‘ initiative.

Tracking domestic pigs in western Kenya provides new insights into dynamics of disease transmission
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the International Livestock Research Institute are using GPS technology to track the movement of a different kind of asset that, though not motorized or electronic, is nonetheless of great value to resource-poor farmers in rural western Kenya: free-ranging domestic pigs.

ILRI in the media

Typical mixed crop-livestock farming of western Kenya

African cities test the limits of living with livestock
Raising chickens has become so fashionable among some urban Americans that there’s now a market for , as we reported this month. For a bit of a reality check, let’s consider what it means to raise urban livestock in the developing world, where people are poorer and hungrier, and cities are much more densely populated. It’s a starkly different picture of people and animals living together, and the question of how it’s done has major implications for improving food security and preventing public health disasters.

Keeping camels, and their keepers, free of disease in Kenya, where ‘raw’ camel milk is becoming popular
‘Camels are known for their ability to travel long distances across the desert without water. ‘But they’re also becoming an increasingly important source of milk for people in drought-prone regions. That includes East African countries like Kenya, where camel numbers have skyrocketed over the past few decades.

Kenyan experts search for ASF vaccine
Scientists in Kenya have launched research of a vaccine to be used against African swine fever. The study is still at an early stage where scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) are identifying antigens and best-bet delivery systems to be used. “Research in this area, with the ultimate goal of generating resistant and productive domestic pigs, is just beginning,” said ILRI molecular biologist Dr Richard Bishop.

CGIAR news – updates from the research programs that ILRI works in

cgiar logo

Dryland agriculture program launched for developing countries: Hot topic for a hot climate
A new science program launched in Jordan last week—the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems—is setting itself a huge ambition: To help many of the 2.5 billion people living in the vast drylands of the developing world raise their levels of both food production and security. A CGIAR Fund is supporting the program’s first three years of work to the tune of 120 million dollars.

Livestock and Fish program annual review and planning meeting in May 2013
From May 20-22, the CGIAR livestock and fish program held its first annual review meeting in Ethiopia. t offered an opportunity for CGIAR centres and partners to assess progress and results, review the program’s Intermediate Development Outcomes (IDOs) and Results Strategy Framework and plan activities 2014-2017.

Livestock Fish program reports on its first year
After a period of engagement and design, the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish began in January 2012. The first annual report was just published giving insights into progress, achievements and challenges.

Recent presentations

This month, we feature a presentation by Tom Randolph, the director of the CGIAR Livestock and Fish Research program during the Livestock and Fish Annual Review and Planning Meeting held in Addis Ababa, 20-22 May 2013.

Recent ILRI publications Multimedia

Experts meet to share tactics in fight against ‘goat plague’: Filmed highlights
This short (3:50 minutes) film express the views of participants at a recent meeting to coordinate research strategies for a disease of small ruminants known as peste des petits ruminants, or PPR. This second meeting of the Global Peste de Petits Ruminants (PPR) Research Alliance, held 29–30 April 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya, brought together over 60 livestock experts from across the world.

ILRI under the lens

This month we feature photos on livestock in Uganda

Upcoming events Staff updates

In May, we welcomed the following new staff:

  • Alessandra Galiè, Social Scientist, Livelihoods Gender, Impacts and Innovations
  • Charity Muthoni Muriuki, Research Technician, Biosciences
  • Teresa Abira, Senior Administrative Assistant, Directorate
  • Teresa Amaya, Senior Administrative Assistant, Biosciences
  • Cynthia Mbula Kyaka, Legal Officer, IP & Legal
  • Elizabeth Mwende Ngungu, Assistant Accountant, Corporate Services
  • Ivan Lihenzero Muhavi, Technical Assistant- Environment, Occupational Health and Safety
  • Racheal Mwaura, Program Management Specialist, IBLI

We said farewell to:

  • Isaac Kahugu Njung’e, Systems Administrator (Linux), RMG

Filed under: ILRI, KMIS, Livestock, PA, Roundup Tagged: Livestock matters

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