East Africa Clippings

New USD18 million program to modernize livestock breeding in East Africa

A new program that will address genetic constraints to dairy production in Ethiopia and Tanzania has been launched.

Maasai elder with his cattle

A Maasai elder in Tanzania with local breed cattle

According to an online article in PRNewswire, the five-year Partnership for Artificial Insemination Delivery (PAID) program has been awarded to the Land O’ Lakes International Development Fund by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ‘to address genetic constraints to dairy productivity in both Tanzania and Ethiopia by strengthening the delivery of artificial insemination (AI) services through public-private partnerships.’

“‘We are thrilled to be partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in this critical initiative, as it will play a catalytic role in enabling dairy farming to serve as a viable pathway out of poverty,'” said Jon Halverson, executive director of the Land O’Lakes International Development Fund.

He added that ‘compared to rain-fed crops, dairy farming can provide families not only with a year-round income, but also with a regular source of animal protein.’

But these potential nutritional and economic benefits are limited by the use of local breeds in  the two countries where local cows only produce an average of 2.3 litres per day of milk, compared to more than 12 litres a day with improved cross-breeds.

The dairy sector in Tanzania has seen increased investments including through projects such as the ILRI-led MoreMilkiT project, which is working with farmers in Morogoro and Tanga to pilot approaches to increase their use of inputs and services to improve milk production and marketing. The Tanzania Livestock Modernization Initiative, which was led by the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Department and supported by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Danish Embassy was also recently launched to guide operations in the sector.

Read the full article ‘New program to transform AI service delivery and dairy production in East Africa‘.

Filed under: Agriculture, Article, Dairying, East Africa, Ethiopia, Genetics, Research, Tanzania Tagged: BMGF, Land O' Lakes, PRNewswire

Call to scrap VAT on dairy products in Tanzania to increase their consumption

Using a lactometer to check fresh milk in Pongwe, Tanzania.

Checking milk at a collection centre in Tanga, Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Muthoni Njiru).

High taxation could be hampering efforts to promote the consumption of dairy products in Tanzania.

According to Salim Abri, director of ASAS Group, a leading dairy processor in Tanzania, high taxes on locally processed dairy products make imported dairy products cheaper and could be negatively affecting the take off of the country’s dairy sector.

According to an article posted on the IPP Media website on 16 October 2015, Abri expressed the challenge posed by high taxes on the country’s dairy industry during a visit by Titus Kamani, the Tanzania Minister for Livestock Development and Fisheries, to the ASAS processing factory in Iringa.

The visit was facilitated by the East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) II project, which uses the dairy market hub approach in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to improve dairy production and access to markets for 1 million milk producers. EADD II is led by Heifer International and is implemented in Mbeya, Iringa and Njombe regions by partners including the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Technoserve, ABS and the World Agroforestry Centre.

‘Overall, the entire tax system is hampering the success of the dairy industry in the country,’ said Salim. He added that, if scrapped, the tax rates on dairy products would not have adverse effects on government revenues, given that the dairy sector is still at ‘infancy stage’. He gave an example of the ASAS Dairies which is yet to reach its potential level of milk processing capacity and currently produces only 12,000 litres in a day.

The dairy sector in the country has high potential for growth and is being supported by projects such as MoreMilkiT, which is piloting approaches to increase the use  of inputs and services by small-scale dairy farmers to raise milk production and marketing.

Read the full article ASAS director urges government to scrap VAT

Filed under: Agriculture, Article, Dairying, East Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains Tagged: EADD, Milk

Chickens from the ACGG project to the rescue of African women and families

Women represent 70% of African smallholder chicken producers. Chickens can be a real way out of difficult livelihoods for these women and their households. A new five-year project, SciDev.Net recently reported, is aiming at leveraging this potential in novel ways.

 ILRI\Mercy Becon).

Launching the African Chicken Genetic Gain Project in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in July 2015 (photo credit: ILRI\Mercy Becon).

The first step is to increase the productivity of chicken production for smallholders. Tadelle Dessie, director of the African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) project, is convinced that this productivity can be doubled and that we can guarantee ‘an egg per person per day‘ if:

  • Tropically adapted chicken strains are adopted in the project countries (Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania);
  • Women are in the driving seat and share their preferences for these chicken strains;
  • Public-private partnerships are put in place and organized around effective poultry value chains boosted by innovation platforms.

Alberto Leny, from SciDev.Net’s Sub-Saharan Africa desk, wrote the article about the project and its potential after following a workshop by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in September 2015 to explore the potential of using outreach and communication to increase uptake of animal genetic research technologies.

Read the full article ‘Project helping women gain more from raising chicken‘ in SciDev.Net.

Read more about the ACGG project


Filed under: Animal Breeding, Animal Production, Animal Products, BioSciences, Chickens, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, Food security, Gender, Indigenous Breeds, Nigeria, Nutrition, Research, Tanzania, West Africa, Women Tagged: ACGG, SciDev.Net, Tadelle Dessie

Tanzania livestock minister pledges government support for the country’s dairy farmers


Selling milk by the road in Tanzania

Milk producers in Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Ben Lukuyu).

The Tanzania government is committed to addressing challenges associated with milk production and marketing so that more dairy farmers can benefit from the country’s growing dairy sector.

According to an article published in the IPP Media website on 16 October 2015, the country’s Livestock and Fisheries Development Minister, Titus Kamani, says the government will ‘support increased milk production at the domestic level to increase productivity and counter escalating production costs and marketing problems.’

Livestock is one of the top five sectors in Tanzania and it contributes immensely to the country’s GDP with farmers in the southern highlands, in particular, relying on livestock for their livelihoods. In Mbozi District, where the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)-supported East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) II project works, 84% of farmers depend on livestock and agriculture and the dairy sector contributes to about 80% of the district’s economy.

‘We believe that EADD II project will help to raise the amount of milk produced in our households and ensure sustainability of dairy farming by working through the dairy value chain approach,’ he said.

The EADD II project works with smallholder dairy farmers in Iringa, Mbeya and Njombe regions in the southern Tanzania to increase production and income from milk at farm level by exploring markets through dairy business hubs. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and led by Heifer International, the project is implemented Technoserve, African Breeders Services Limited, the World Agroforestry Centre and ILRI.

The minister was touring dairy value chain projects in Mbozi District including the EADD II project.

Read the full article Dairy farmers in Tanzania challenged to produce more milk.

Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Production, Article, Dairying, East Africa, Livelihoods, Livestock, Markets, Tanzania Tagged: BMGF, EADD, IPPMedia

Knowledge of livestock grading and market participation among small ruminant producers in northern Somalia

This article reports on market participation and producers’ knowledge of the indigenous livestock grading and pricing system applied to small ruminant marketing in Somaliland.

Results confirmed the importance of small ruminants as sources of income in producer households. Knowledge about the grading system was generally widespread, and this was important for market participation. Factors that significantly influenced market participation were number of animals kept, gender of sales/decision maker, age of household head and livelihood zone.

Download the article:  Wanyoike, F., Mtimet, N., Ndiwa, N., Marshall, K., Godiah, L. and Warsame, A. 2015. Knowledge of livestock grading and market participation among small ruminant producers in northern Somalia. East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal 81(1):64-70.

Filed under: ABS, Animal Production, CRP2, East Africa, ILRI, Markets, PTVC, Research, RMG, Small Ruminants, Somalia

Household responses to shocks in rural Ethiopia: Livestock as a buffer stock

This paper from the World Bank uses a stochastic dynamic programming model to characterize the optimal savings-consumption decisions and the role of livestock inventories as a buffer stock in rural Ethiopia.

The results show that relatively land-rich households use accumulation and liquidation of cattle and other animal inventories for partial consumption smoothing, while low-income households appear not to do so. The results highlight the need for improvement in livestock markets, which are often affected by high transaction costs and price risk, and for investigation of other approaches to risk management.

Download the paper

Filed under: East Africa, Ethiopia, Livestock, Resilience

Does livestock ownership affect animal source foods consumption and child nutritional status in Uganda

In many developing countries, consumption of animal source foods among the poor is still at a level where increasing its share in total caloric intake may have many positive nutritional benefits.

This paper from the World Bank explores whether ownership of various livestock species increases consumption of animal source foods and helps improve child nutritional status. The paper finds some evidence that food consumption patterns and nutritional outcomes may be affected by livestock ownership in rural Uganda.

The results are suggestive that promoting (small) livestock ownership has the potential to affect human nutrition in rural Uganda, but further research is needed to estimate more precisely the direction and size of these effects.

Download the paper

Filed under: Africa, Animal Products, East Africa, Livestock, Nutrition, Uganda

Kenyan livestock farmers reap benefits of climate-smart Brachiaria grasses

Tropical forages in Africa

Brachiaria in Kenya (photo credit: CIAT)

Brachiaria grass is helping Kenyan farmers improve their dairy production and alleviate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and ground water pollution.

An article in the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub blog last week (24 Sept) says scientists from the Hub and other partners are developing appropriate varieties of Brachiaria. They aim to enhance access to the ‘wonder grass’ for  smallholder farmers and livestock keepers in east Africa.

‘Brachiaria grasses are highly nutritious, possessing about 12 per cent protein at harvest which can be sustained over a long period as compared to the commonly used Napier grass whose protein concentration starts diminishing after about four months.’

Read the full article ‘Improved Brachiaria grasses broaden horizon for Kenya’s livestock sector‘ on the BecA-ILRI Hub blog.

Read a related ILRI Clippings article: Secrets of Brachiaria: An African pasture grass holds enormous promise for reducing greenhouse gases

Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Feeding, Article, BecA, Cattle, Climate Change, East Africa, Forages, Kenya, Livestock Tagged: Brachiaria

Impacts of innovation platforms on smallholder dairy production

Tanga dairy platform meeting

A dairy innovation platform meeting in Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

The ‘innovation platforms approach’ is an effective way of establishing systematic interactions among stakeholders in the agricultural sector by stimulating technical, institutional and organizational innovations in agricultural value chains. In an innovation platform, different actors with different backgrounds and interests in a value chain come together not only to diagnose problems but also to identify opportunities and find ways to achieve their goals.

As innovation platforms are increasingly used, the importance of evaluating their impacts also becomes a major concern of both researchers and development practitioners. In 2013, Jo Cadilhon, an agricultural economist formerly with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), developed a conceptual framework to address the impact assessment of innovation platforms, and proposed a field method for its empirical validation.

To test the effectiveness of this framework, researchers from ILRI and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) selected Pham Ngoc Diep, a young Vietnamese woman studying at the University of Bonn, Germany, for an ILRI Graduate Fellowship during which she investigated a dairy innovation platform that is trying to improve farmers’ access to cattle feeds in Tanzania. The platform was set up by the MilkIT dairy development project, to intensify smallholder production through feed enhancement and value chain approaches. Diep’s study was made possible with funding from Humidtropics, a CGIAR Research Program that aims to develop new opportunities for improved livelihoods in a sustainable environment.

Communication between platform members is fundamental

Newly published findings from the study show that ‘the structure of the platform (how it is organized) affects members’ conduct (how they communicate and share information), which in turn influences the overall performance of platform members (feed availability and accessibility)’. Thus, it is paramount that the platform facilitators invest in fostering communication between platform members, because this communication contributes to platform members reaching their goals.

The more specific to needs of members, the better

Additionally, innovation platforms should be needs-specific: innovation processes should be compatible with the needs of individual members because the characteristics of members and their production systems play a significant role in reaching stated productivity goals.

Download the article here

Read a blog post on the rise of innovation platforms and ILRI’s work in this area.

Filed under: Agriculture, CRP12, Dairying, East Africa, Impact Assessment, Innovation Systems, Livestock, PTVC, Report, Research, Tanzania, Value Chains Tagged: Jo Cadilhon, MilkIT

New study calls for more awareness and promotional campaigns to boost milk consumption in Tanzania

Tanga Fresh milk processing factory

A milk processing plant in Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

Greater awareness on the health benefits of milk and dairy products is needed to raise their consumption in Tanzania.

An article published online (10 Sept 2015) by IPPmedia says milk and milk products are seen as ‘functional’ drinks in the country, which contributes to their low consumption. The article reports on findings from a survey, commissioned by the East African Dairy Development (EADD) II project, that also showed that dairy products are missing out on ‘opportunities for emotional and social consumption’ in the country that are currently taken up by tea, carbonated soft drinks and porridge.

The EADD survey showed that the country could produce and consume more milk and dairy products. Currently, Tanzania produces about 2.06 billion litres of milk per year compared to Kenya, which produces 5.2 billion litres of milk annually with a national average per capita milk consumption of 47 litres per person per year.

Researchers in the EADD project are calling for more efforts, by stakeholders in the dairy sector, in pushing milk products into the space of carbonated soft drinks and juices by communicating better on their benefits to human health and nutrition. Other constraints to the availability of milk in the country such as quality, price and seasonal fluctuations also need to be addressed to boost consumption of dairy products.

The EADD II is a five-year project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led by Heifer International. Implementing partners include Technoserve (TNS), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), African Breeders Services Ltd limited (ABS) and World Agro-forestry Research Centre (ICRAF) who work together to support the set up of dairy farmers’ business associations to develop dairy hubs and provide services required by small-scale dairy farmers to increase their dairy productivity and market access.

The project is targeting smallholder farm families in Kenya Uganda and Tanzania and hopes to double the dairy income of 136,000 farm families. Since the start of the second phase of the project in March 2014 it has so far reached about 17,000 dairy farmers in Tanzania.

Read the whole article Minimal back-up of dairy laws a challenge to the industry.

Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Products, Article, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, Integrated Sciences, Livestock, Tanzania, Value Chains Tagged: EADD, IPPMedia, Milk

Animal genetics project to review and improve Tanzania’s dairy herd for higher milk yields

Dairy cow

Helping Tanzania’s smallholder farmers identify and keep dairy breeds best suited to farm environments (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

The livestock population in Tanzania, at 25 million animals, is the third largest in Africa. Nearly all (98%) are indigenous breeds, owned by smallholder farmers. Most of these dairy cows are kept in areas unsuited to them. Unsuitable environments, combined with poor dairy management practices, results in low milk production, something the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and its Tanzanian partners are seeking to reverse.

Attempts by farmers to increase dairy yields have centred on cross-breeding indigenous animals with higher producing ones. However, due to the absence of a breeding and mating strategy, breed composition of these animals is unknown, making it extremely difficult to improve low milk yields.

The ILRI-led project, Tanzania Dairy Genetic Project (AgriTT), in understanding the breed composition of dairy and indigenous cattle in the country, seeks to find the appropriate dairy cattle genotypes that will help farmers identify dairy breeds most suitable to farm environments. The project also identifies the best ways of transferring knowledge on improved animal husbandry to farmers, helping them increase their dairy production.

Started in August 2014, the project targets households with at least two dairy cows or with an active bull. Preliminary results from a baseline survey show that on average dairy farmers in Lushoto and Rungwe districts, the project’s focus areas, own four acres of land and rely on Napier and Guatemala grass to feed their animals.

The survey shows that men head most of the households involved in dairy farming in Lushoto District, while Rungwe District has more such female-headed households (about 10%). Hired labour accounts for less than 20% of those employed in dairy farms across the two districts–household members do most of the work–and local banks are the main sources of credit for farmers.

The project will collect bio-samples from 960 animals to assess their genetic makeup and diagnose diseases and obtain performance records. Findings from the two-year project are expected to provide critical information that will inform the breeding strategy in Lushoto and Rangwe, subsequently to be scaled up to the rest of the country.

AgriTT is a collaboration of ILRI, the Nelson Mandela Africa Institute of Science and Technology (NMAIST), the Scottish Rural University (SRUC) and the China Agricultural University (CAU).

ILRI also implements a four-year MoreMilkiT project in Tanzania using the dairy market hub approach to facilitate market linkage and collective action among smallholder farmers.

With additions from Paul Karaimu, communications officer at ILRI.

Filed under: Agriculture, Animal Breeding, Animal Production, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, Genetics, Indigenous Breeds, Livestock, Project, Research, Tanzania Tagged: Milk

Ethiopian insurance company to pay Borena livestock herders compensations ahead of drought season

Borana sheep and goats

Herding sheep and goats in Borena, Ethiopia (picture credit: ILRI/ Zerihun Sewunet).

‘Oromia Insurance Company (OIC), the lone index based insurer of livestock in the country, has launched a new scheme that will entail paying compensation for livestock ahead of the drought season instead of after, as it was originally done.

‘The company uses what is called index-based-livestock-insurance (IBLI). This insurance coverage is applicable only in the Borena Zone of the Oromia Region, and targets the two drought seasons of the area called Hageya and Hudulissa.

‘Owners of livestock insured under the IBLI will be getting money for the sustenance of their animals, an asset protection, through the two major dry seasons in the region. The new scheme, introduced this month in response to demands from policy holders, calculates the cost resources needed to keep the animals alive during the anticipated drought.

‘Though premiums are lower than those of the previous scheme, the asset replacement, OIC has also found it more profitable, according to Daniel Negassa, head of OIC’s Micro-insurance Department.

‘The premium for camels is 5,000 Br; 3,000 Br for cows and oxen, and 500 Br for sheep and goats. These values are calculated based on the market price of forage, and administration and labour costs involved in the animals having access to the forage. The respective figures under the old system were 10,000 Br, 5,000 Br and 800 Br, based on the average market value of the livestock.

‘OIC started this insurance coverage in August 2012 in collaboration with Cornell University and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The scheme currently covers 2,612 households. . . .

ILRI’s IBLI was able to identify which risk management practices are effective and efficient for pastoralists in mitigating risk of drought arising from shocks as to build resilience of pastoralists. Therefore, ILRI/IBLI identified first the options of these contract features,” Masresha Taye IBLI Ethiopia programme coordinator, research officer at ILRI told Fortune. . . .

‘According to the Central Statistics Agency of Ethiopia 2014/15 Agricultural Sample Survey, Borena Zone has 1.1 million cattle, 439,082 sheep, 878, 355 goats and 77,147 camels.

Activities are underway to work with the government of Ethiopia and big multilateral donors are showing interest to scale up the product in other pastoral regions of Ethiopia, mainly Afar and Somali regions,” Masresha, who is in Kenya, told Fortune through an email interview.

‘Regionally, IBLI was first introduced in January 2010 in Marsabit, northern Kenya and it then expanded to Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa, and Mandera in Kenya and Borena in Ethiopia in 2013.

‘In all of these areas, 10,067 policies have been sold and 149,007 dollars have been paid as indemnities until April 2015, according to research by the International Livestock Research Institute titled The Favourable Impacts of Index-Based Livestock Insurance: Evaluation Results from Ethiopia and Kenya.’

Read the whole article in Addis Fortune: OIC launches new insurance scheme for vulnerable livestock, 19 Aug 2015

Filed under: Article, CRP7, Drought, Drylands, East Africa, Ethiopia, ILRI, Insurance, Kenya, LSE, Pastoralism, Rangelands, Vulnerability Tagged: Cornell University, IBLI, Maresha Taye

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

Kenya Government launches insurance program to protect its northern frontier herders against catastrophic drought


Scenes of IBLI work in northern Kenya (photo credit: ILRI). After almost five years of implementing Index-based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) across northern Kenya, ILRI’ is delighted to partner the Government of Kenya and the World Bank in a new government scheme to scale up pastoral livestock insurance against drought.

Written by Bryn Davies

Fred Segor, principal secretary in Kenya’s State Department of Livestock in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and member of the board of trustees of the Kenya-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), recently announced that a large government-sponsored livestock insurance scheme would begin being implemented this October in Wajir, Turkana and Marsabit at a cost of Kshs80.9 million (about USD800,000).

Fred Segor said the cover would be escalated to cover 14 of Kenya’s northern counties, targeting 5,000 households in the short term, to help them cope with recurring drought. William Ruto, deputy president of Kenya, lauded this pastoral insurance initiative, noting that it was a culmination of intense research by the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, the World Bank and ILRI to compensate farmers who buy insurance cover against the effects of drought.

Ruto pledged a further KShs200 million from the government towards the cover to hasten its expansion to all 14 counties of northern Kenya: Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Laikipia, Isiolo, Samburu,Garissa, Tana River, Lamu, Kajiado and Narok.

The new Kenya Livestock Insurance Program (KLIP) is essentially a scaling-up of an insurance product of ILRI’s, known as the Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI), made possible through ILRI’s partnership with the World Bank Group and the Government of Kenya.

KLIP will offer limited livestock insurance contracts to targeted individuals in northern Kenya, with possible subsidies to the general public in later years. The government will provide premiums for households most in need, with individuals able to top up their KLIP policy and purchase more coverage if they choose to.

IBLI remains a separate insurance product: the ILRI’s micro/individual coverage will continue to be sold on a commercial basis across northern Kenya. While KLIP will initially cover select households in Wajir, Turkana, Marsabit and Mandera counties, IBLI will continue to be sold to private individuals in Wajir, Mandera, Garissa, Isiolo, and Marsabit counties through Takaful Insurance of Africa and APA Insurance Ltd. ILRI’s IBLI team also plans on continuing its expansion to Turkana and Samburu counties later in 2015.

Read the news clipping at KBC: World Bank to extend credit of shs. 6.5b to promote livestock, 20 Jul 2015.

For more information about IBLI, follow IBLI on Facebook and Twitter (@IBLI_Kenya), or visit the IBLI site.

Filed under: Article, CRP37, Drought, Drylands, East Africa, ILRI, Insurance, Kenya, LSE, Pastoralism, Vulnerability Tagged: Bryn Davies, Fred Segor, IBLI, KLIP, William Ruto, World Bank

Transforming African economies for sustained growth – ReSAKSS 2015 conference in Addis Ababa

The 2015 ReSAKSS (Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System) Annual Conference will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on September 1-3, 2015.

The theme of the conference is “Beyond a Middle Income Africa: Transforming African Economies for Sustained Growth with Rising Employment and Incomes”. More information will be provided later; please stay tuned and mark your calendar.

Established in 2006 under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) supports efforts to promote evidence and outcome-based policy planning and implementation as part of the CAADP agenda.

More information: resakss@cgiar.org.


Filed under: Africa, CRP2, East Africa, Event, ILRI, PTVC, Trade Tagged: ReSAKSS

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

‘White gold’ improves lives of women in western Tanzania

milk at a chilling plant

By Mercy Becon

Access to a reliable dairy market and good market prices of milk has transformed the lives of dairy farmers in Kahama District in Tanzania’s Lake zone of Shinyanga. These farmers are beneficiaries of a World Vision Tanzania (WVT) initiative to improve farmers’ lives by developing dairy farming.

According to an article published in coastweek.com, World Vision Tanzania ‘trained the selected rural communities on artificial insemination, increasing the number of improved dairy cattle that have replaced the indigenous cattle which proved to be less effective in milk production’.

To escape poverty, farmers decided to form a dairy cattle keepers’ association for collective action such as sourcing of markets for their dairy products. WVT also established a small-scale milk processing plant, which has greatly increased milk processing in the area and enabled farmers to sell their milk in distant areas.

One female farmer, Rose Kasubi, who owns two dairy cows, said she gets 20 litres of milk every day, some of which which she sells at Tsh 800 (USD 0.4) per litre, compared to Tsh 400 (USD 0.2) she used to sell before. She earns a USD 260 each month.

‘All supermarkets around are full of our milk products. I am proud to be a member of the group,’ said Kasubi.

Another group member said that ‘before getting the plant, we used to process only 50 litres of milk a day, but after getting this new plant we process more than 500 litres daily’.

Before venturing into the project, Kasubi lived in a grass-thatched house, but has now constructed a corrugated iron sheet-roofed house. The money she gets from the venture is used to pay school fees for her children and to meet the family’s needs, she says. ‘My children are also free from malnutrition as everyday they get a cup of milk. All these are the benefits of this farming venture.’

The association’s chairman describes milk as ‘white gold’ and dairy farming as an investment option for rural communities, adding that his group is striving to improve its milk products to market in neighbouring countries and is currently making arrangements to be issued with bar codes.

Read the full article ‘Women in western Tanzania benefit from dairy farming

Filed under: Agriculture, Article, Dairying, East Africa, Livelihoods, Livestock Systems, Pro-Poor Livestock, Tanzania, Women Tagged: Coastweek (Kenya), Milk, World Vision

Blood-sucking ticks and their disease and death toll in Africa

ECF tick research

ILRI’s tick laboratory in Nairobi, Kenya (photo credit: ILRI).

‘. . . In Africa there are over 650 tick species. . . .The most damaging effect of ticks . . .  is their ability to transmit diseases, some of which can be fatal to the host. Four groups of tick-borne diseases (TBD) are of importance to the livestock industry: anaplasmosis, babesiosis, cowdriosis and theileriosis. In Africa, all four of these types of disease pose a threat to livestock production. . . .

‘The most widely used method for the effective control of ticks is the direct application of acaricides (pesticides that kill members of the arachnid subclass Acari) to host animals, usually using a dip tank. However acaricides are expensive and can be detrimental to the environment. . . .

‘One particularly devastating tick-borne disease is East Coast Fever, caused by the protozoan parasite, Theileria parva. East Coast fever disease is the single biggest killer of cattle in 11 countries in Eastern and parts of Central Africa and it is widely regarded as the most serious animal health constraint to increasing the productivity of cattle in eastern, southern and central Africa — mostly because the disease causes high mortality (greater than 80%) in susceptible cattle populations, with the more productive European and improved zebu breeds being particularly susceptible.

For four decades, the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and its predecessor, the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD), conducted research on East Coast fever.

‘A “live” vaccine that protects cattle in Africa against East Coast fever has been developed . . . .

‘However, . . . production of the live East Coast fever vaccine is complicated, time-consuming and expensive. To produce one million doses of vaccine requires 130 cattle that have not previously been exposed to the disease, 500 rabbits and at least 600,000 ticks.

The entire process of making the batch takes up to 18 months. The product then requires a cold chain and careful handling to deliver it and have it administered by trained veterinarians on farms and ranches.

‘. . . The last challenge however will be getting this vaccine to the people who need to access it most, where significant barriers exist in terms of access, cost and administrating the vaccine.’

Read the whole article by Samantha Spooner (@samooner) at The Mail & Guardian Africa (@MandGAfrica): They kill one cow every 30 seconds in Africa, but you’ve probably never given them much thought, 11 May 2015.

Filed under: Article, Central Africa, CRP37, Disease Control, East Africa, ECF, ILRI, ILVAC, Southern Africa Tagged: Mail & Guardian Africa