Animal science for sustainable productivity: Clippings

Tanzania livestock modernization initiative to improve livelihoods of smallholders and boost food security

Launch of Tanzania Livestock Modernization Initiative

ILRI’s Amos Omore (left) and Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete (seated) during the launch of the Tanzania Livestock Modernization Initiative on 20 July 2015 (photo credit: ILRI/Mercy Becon).

By Mercy Becon.

A recently unveiled Tanzania Livestock Modernization Initiative (TLMI) is expected to contribute to the improvement of the livelihoods of the country’s smallholder livestock farmers and increase their contribution to national food security.

Launched on 20 July 2015 by President Jakaya Kikwete, the initiative, which is the biggest and most comprehensive plan of its kind in the country, draws on expertise from livestock experts in the country and from across the world. It proposes strategic measures for growing Tanzania’s livestock sector including by improving livestock breeds and feeds to boost dairy production.

President Kikwete said ‘proper use of Tanzania’s livestock resources will transform livelihoods among farmers and other stakeholders in the livestock value chain.’ He challenged livestock researchers to ‘develop laboratories for livestock research and increase artificial insemination centres in the country’.

The report was prepared after week-long deliberations by scholars and livestock experts and also drew input from pastoralists and farmers representatives. It says strategic focus areas for enhancing livestock sector production in Tanzania include:

  • Rangelands conservation and management
  • Genetic improvement of livestock breeds
  • Improving beef, poultry and dairy production
  • Improving livestock markets
  • Establishing responsive veterinary systems
  • Livestock research and extension
  • Improving resilience in pastoral communities
  • Boosting investment for livestock sector development, and
  • Mainstreaming livestock sector development in national agriculture and rural development initiatives

The initiative also recommends the setting up of a one-stop shop for livestock sector investors at the Tanzania Investment Centre.

International and national experts in the livestock sector, ambassadors and top government officials attended the launch.The preparatory work for the TLMI was funded by the Danish embassy in Tanzania and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

ILRI is implementing various livestock projects in Tanzania including the Irish Aid-funded MoreMilkIT project in Morogoro and Tanga that is developing scalable dairy market hubs that help smallholders access inputs and services so they can achieve a critical mass of milk supply.

Download the Tanzania Livestock Modernization Initiative report.

Read a related story in the ILRI Livestock Systems and Environment blog.

Read a blog article on the launch.

Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Production, Article, CRP37, East Africa, Livelihoods, Livestock, Livestock Systems, Policy, Report, Research, Tanzania Tagged: Tanzania Livestock Modernization Initiative

ILRI promotes use of cassava peels as animal feed to DR Congo officials

Cassava peels screenshot

Cassava peels could provide a readily available and sustainable source of animal feeds (photo credit: ILRI).

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) recently promoted the use of cassava peels as animal feed to senior government officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to an article in the Africa Science News website, the senior advisors in the office of the Prime Minister of DR Congo, John Ulimwengu and Kamwanga Masankisa, met with ILRI staff during a visit, in June 2015, to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to explore areas of partnership with IITA and CGIAR.

At the meeting, Iheanacho Okike, the ILRI Nigeria country program manager, said ILRI is promoting the use of cassava peels as feed for livestock with the aim of turning an environmental menace to a valuable commodity for animals. ‘This will save food for human consumption and reduce competition between livestock and human beings,’ said Okike.

The meeting was part of DR Congo government efforts to transform its agricultural sector to increase food production and create job opportunities for its rapidly growing population.

Read the whole story ‘DR Congo plots to transform her agriculture’ in Africa Science News.

Read a related ILRI news story: From food waste to animal feed, cassava peels potentially big business for Nigerian women

Filed under: Animal Feeding, Article, Central Africa, Crop residues, CRP37, Feeds, Fodder, Livestock, PTVC, Research Tagged: Cassava

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

Hargeisa livestock market – goats selected for export

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

By Andrew Wangili

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delivering milk to a collection centre in Tanga, Tanzania.

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

By Mercy Becon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ILRI research brief reviews market participation of livestock producers in Somaliland

Goats feeding from feed truck

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

By Andrew Wangili

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download the research brief.

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

Livestock Matter(s): ILRI news ’round-up’ March–April 2015

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

Corporate news


WILD ‘Women in Livestock Development’ on top
In March, we celebrated promotions, of female staff members, made in the last year at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in honour of International Women’s Day 2015.

Food scares: Agrifood systems need greater cooperation and investments in safer foods and farming
Delia Grace, a veterinary epidemiologist and food safety expert at ILRI and and John McDermott, a former deputy director general for research at ILRI who now directs the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, contributed a chapter in the recently launched 2014–2015 Global Food Policy Report, which was published by the International Food Policy Research Institute.

First global map of the rising use of antimicrobial drugs in farm animals published in PNAS
Tim Robinson a researcher at ILRI contributed to a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) on Global trends in antimicrobial use in food animals, which says worldwide antimicrobial consumption is expected to rise by a staggering 67% between 2010 and 2030, which is likely to cause poor people, including those that keep livestock, to suffer a disproportionately high share of the adverse effects of high microbial use in farm animals.

New study shows co-parasitic infections of cattle protect the animals from lethal disease
African cattle infected with a lethal parasite that kills one million cows per year are less likely to die when co-infected with the parasite’s milder cousin, according to a new study published in Science Advances. These findings are from a a study, Co-infections determine patterns of mortality in a population exposed to parasite infections that was part of an Infectious Diseases of East African Livestock (IDEAL) project, a multi-partner study that includes ILRI. The project followed more than 500 indigenous East African shorthorn zebu calves during their first year of life.

New paper explodes a ‘breadbasket’ myth of African food production
An opinion piece in This Is Africa, an online publication of the Financial Times (UK), by Timothy Searchinger, a research scholar at Princeton University and Philip Thornton, leader of a Policies and Institutions flagship program of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and a senior researcher with ILRI says ‘Africa could be on the brink of an agricultural revolution. Political commitment to the sector is thankfully gaining momentum as an effective route to bring African populations out of hunger and poverty.’

Project news

Livestock and Fish program holds virtual review and planning meeting
In late-March, the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish held a virtual review and planning meeting to take stock of progress since 2012, examine the wider science and development environment and devise plans and deliverables for the coming years. The discussions were organized around each of the five research and technology ‘flagships’ of the program, examining strengths, weaknesses and desired results.

Solution-oriented action research: Scaling MilkIT dairy feed innovations in India
In last year’s MilkIT project (Enhancing dairy-based livelihoods in India and Tanzania through feed innovation and value chain development approaches) workshops in Tanzania, we caught up with two Indian participants who had been invited in their roles as significant stakeholders in dairy development in the state of Uttarakhand. Conversations revealed they planned to take up several innovations and products of the project.

Australian envoy to Kenya visits BecA-ILRI Hub
The Head of Mission at the Australian High Commission in Kenya, HE John Feakes visited ILRI on 11 March 2015 to acquaint himself with various agricultural research programs funded by the Australian Government through the partnership between BecA-ILRI Hub and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO.

ILRI presents at inaugural regional conference on zoonotic diseases in eastern Africa
Bernard Bett, a veterinary epidemiologist at ILRI, gave a keynote presentation on behalf of Jimmy Smith, the institute’s director general, detailing how research by ILRI is contributing towards healthy people, animals and ecosystems at the the first-ever regional conference on zoonotic diseases in eastern Africa held in Naivasha, Kenya, 9-12 March 2015.

Tanzania dairy sector gets USD1.5 million boost through East Africa Dairy Development project grant
The East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) project, a regional dairy industry development program,which is led by Heifer International in partnership with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), TechnoServe, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the African Breeders Service Total Cattle Management, has received USD1.5 million grant from Elanco Animal Health to support on-going dairy development work in Tanzania and East Africa.

New series of articles on adaptation and resilience in drylands
In April, the ILRI Livestock Systems and Environment (LSE) blog, started a series of articles, published every week (Thursdays), featuring newly-published work on adaptation and resilience research in drylands. Writers in the series include ILRI’s Lance Robinson, Mike Jones, who leads the Resilience Thematic Group at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Annette Cowie, a principal research scientist, Climate in NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Time to prioritize: Africa RISING West Africa partners make plans for 2015 
A review and planning meeting of the Africa RISING West Africa project ended on 25 March 2015 in Accra, Ghana with partners committing to greater integration of research activities in 2015. The two-day meeting focused on taking stock of 2014 achievements, planning research activities for the approaching field season in Ghana and Mali and addressing project implementation challenges cited in a November 2014 report of the mid-term external review of the project.

Extending the use of social and multimedia in Somaliland’s IGAD Sheikh Technical and Veterinary School
In March, ILRI’s Communications and Knowledge Management (CKM) team led a five-day communications and knowledge sharing training workshop with research and teaching staff at the IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School and Reference Centre (ISTVS) in Somaliland.

Making a living from mobile beekeeping in Tigray: Mileat Gebrehiwot’s story
This is the story of beekeeping as observed in Wurko town in Tigray, northern Ethiopia. Mileat Gebrehiwot, a young woman who just completed high school education and has had no formal training in beekeeping, is managing 80 beehives in about 1,600 m2 of land and her colony management strategy is completely based on moving the beehives seasonally.

Media news


IGAD’s Horn of Africa, Nile Valley and Great Lakes region member states sign agreement for joint work with ILRI
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-country trade bloc in Africa including governments from the Horn of Africa, the Nile Valley and the African Great Lakes region signed a memorandum of understanding with ILRI on 27 March 2015. The memorandum establishes and defines a framework for cooperation and strengthens the IGAD-ILRI research and development work in the IGAD member states: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

Cattle parasite study points to possible way to fight malaria
Herds of African cattle may hold the secret to new ways of fighting parasitic diseases like malaria, which kills some 600,000 people a year. ‘Our results suggest seeking a simple vaccine that could protect cows from East Coast fever by inoculating them with a related but far less harmful parasite,’ said Mark Woolhouse, who led the study with a team from the University of Edinburgh, several other universities and ILRI.

Feeding Africa’s livestock: Fodder and forage solutions
The forecasted doubling of demand for meat and milk in developing countries in the next two decades offers significant opportunities for livestock producers. However, the availability of – and access to – quality fodder and livestock feed remains an important constraint. ILRI is collaborating with the Napier grass breeding program of EMBRAPA, the Brazilian agricultural research corporation, to develop improved lines that are disease resistant and have high nutritional value.

CGIAR news-updates from research programs we work in

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Uganda pig value chain project partners with private sector to boost access to advisory services
The Smallholder Pig Value Chain Development (SPVCD) in Uganda project, which is led by ILRI, has established partnerships with private sector organizations to offer advisory services through trainings for pig farmers in Uganda. In February 2015, ILRI collaborated with Pig Production and Marketing Uganda Limited on a training workshop on piggery management for small and medium-scale farmers.

Humidtropics Innovation platform

National level members of the Humidtropics R4D platform

Humidtropics program launches research-for-development platform in Ethiopia
The CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics (Humidtropics) Ethiopia Action Site R4D Platform was launched on 5 February 2015 at the ILRI campus in Addis Ababa. The platform is designed to oversee, and link with, the local level innovation platforms at field sites for co-learning and guiding Humidtropics integrated research for development activities in the country.

Recent presentations

Using social media to communicate research: Experiences of the International Livestock Research Institute
In this issue we feature a presentation given by Tezira Lore, a communication specialist at ILRI, at the Agri-biotechnology and Biosafety Communications Conference (ABBC 2015), Nairobi, Kenya 13-14 April 2015.

Recent publications Multimedia

Sharing Somali livestock knowledge

A photofilm from a communication and knowledge sharing workshop at the IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School and Reference Centre in Somaliland from 15-19 March 2015.

ILRI under the lens

This issue features photos of  a ‘Farmers’ Horticultural Day’ that brought together farmers’ organizations and other key stakeholders dealing with horticultural activities to exchange experiences and ideas on how to support smallholder horticulture development in Ethiopia.

Ranking popcorn, tasting watermelons at the Farmers' Horticultural Day

Ranking popcorn, tasting watermelons at the Farmers’ Horticultural Day. ILRI Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, April 29, 2015 (photo credit: ILRI/Liya Dejene).

Upcoming events Staff updates

In March and April we welcomed the following staff:

  • Helen Jane Atshul, development partnerships specialist, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Micha Joachim Brandenburg, chief financial officer, Finance
  • Habtamu Asre, driver, Animal Science for Sustainable Productivity-Livestock and Irrigation Value Chains for Ethiopian Smallholders (ASSP-LIVES) project
  • Daniel Korir Kipyegon, research assistant II, Livestock Systems and Environment (LSE)
  • Andmasu Mekonnen, chief security officer, Administration – Security
  • Fasil Getachew, research associate, Animal Biosciences

We said goodbye to:

  • Esther Mukoya, HRIS engineer, People & Organizational Development (P&OD)
  • Anthony Brenton-Rule, head of business development, Business Development
  • Peter Muchira Nyambura, ICT business systems administrator, ICT
  • James Mariga Githinji, procurement logistics assistant, Commercial Services
  • Juliah Mbaya, administrative clerk, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Jacqueline Kimeu, administrative clerk, Internal Audit
  • Jenifer Timbomei, HR officer, compensation and benefits, P&OD
  • Berine Atieno Ada, program accountant, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • James Njuguna Thuku, technical services manager, Commercial Services
  • Danilo Pezo, project coordinator, Smallholder Pig Value Chain Development in Uganda, ASSP
  • George Michuki, postdoctoral fellow – Pathogen Discovery, Animal Biosciences
  • Elizabeth Anne O’Brien, research associate, Vaccines Platform
  • Romain Pierre Frelat, scientist, systems analysis, LSE
  • Jacqueline Kinuthi, internal auditor, Internal Audit

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

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

Dairy cow

By Mercy Becon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dairy cow in Tanga, Tanzania

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ILRI report reviews Somaliland livestock market information system

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

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

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

Download the full report.

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

Foresight modeling to guide sustainable intensification of smallholder systems

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



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

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

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

More about the conference:

Web page

Twitter hashtag: CGIAR_Systems

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

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

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

 Corporate news

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

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

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

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

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

Project news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from ILRI projects
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Media news

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

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

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

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

More ILRI news

CGIAR news-updates from research programs we work in

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

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

Insurance simulation games

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

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


Recent presentations

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

Recent publications Multimedia

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

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

• More films

ILRI under the lens

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

 revising technology list for Techfit

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

Upcoming events Staff updates

In January and February we welcomed the following staff:

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

We said goodbye to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ILRI News Round-up Logo

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

Corporate news

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

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

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

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Project news ILRI@40 well-wishers in Vietnam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More projects

Media news

 IITA/Jeffrey Oliver)

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

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

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

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

More news

CGIAR news-updates from research programs we work in

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

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

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

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

Recent presentations

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

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

More presentations

Recent publications

More publications


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

More films

ILRI under the lens

Ushers at the ILRI 40 celebration

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

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

More pictures

Upcoming events

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

View more upcoming events

Staff updates

In November and December we welcomed the following staff

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

We said goodbye to:

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

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

International Rangeland Congress 2016 – First call for papers

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

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

For a complete list of the topic areas you can present in, please visit our website:

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

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


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

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

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

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

The suggestions shared by participants included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

ILRI renews collaboration to support livestock development in the Philippines

Fodder for water buffaloes in the Philippines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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