East Africa Clippings

ILRI at the Africa Livestock Conference and Exhibition (ALiCE) 2014 Conference in Uganda

Hope Ruhindi Mwesigye, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and Edward Ssekandi, Vice president of Uganda

ILRI at the 2014 African Livestock Conference and Exhibition (ALiCE2014): ILRI’s Danilo Pezo receives a gift in recognition of ILRI’s sponsorship role presented by Uganda Vice President Edward Ssekandi and Uganda Minister of State for Animal Industry Bright Rwamirama (photo credit: ILRI).

Article by Evelyn Katingi, communications officer for the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish.

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) participated actively in the African Livestock Conference and Exhibition (ALiCE2014), the theme of which was ‘Developing livestock value chains and improving livelihood in Africa‘, held at the Speke Resort & Conference Centre, in Kampala, Uganda, 18–20 June 2014.

Members of ILRI’s office in Uganda served on the conference’s hosting committee, which was led by Nicholas Kauta, director of Animal Resources of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF). The opening speech and inauguration of the conference were made by Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, vice president of Uganda, who was also the conference’s guest of honour.

Danilo Pezo, ILRI’s country representative in Uganda, gave a keynote presentation in the inaugural session—Evolution of animal production in Africa and other emerging markets—on behalf of ILRI’s director general, Jimmy Smith.

Key messages delivered by ILRI’s Pezo
• In 2030, demand for animal-source foods in sub-Saharan Africa will double that of 2000
• While monogastric production (pigs and poultry) in Africa is in rapid transition to industrial systems, at least 30% of pig production will remain in smallholder hands by 2015
• Smallholder mixed crop-and-livestock farmers are competitive:
> 90% of pig production in Uganda is made by smallholders (there are great opportunities for increasing pig productivity if diseases such as Africa swine fever are better controlled and farmers gain better access to technology and market information)
> 1 million smallholders in Kenya keep Africa’s largest dairy herd

ILRI’s Emily Ouma, agriculture economist, and Michel Dione, post-doctoral fellow in animal health–epidemiology, were discussants in ALiCE2014 sessions on ‘Livestock Industry Sector Policies and Economics’, and ‘Animal Health and Welfare’, respectively.

Vice president of Uganda Hon. Edward Ssekandi, right being handed ILRI's brochure by ILRI's Emily Ouma and Danilo Pezo at the ILRI exhibit

Emily Ouma and Danilo Pezo talk to the Ugandan Vice-President Edward Ssekandi at ILRI’s exhibit at ALiCE2014 (photo credit: ILRI).

Ugandan Vice-President Ssekandi and Minister of State for Animal Industry Rwamirama heard about ILRI’s work, particularly two Uganda projects− Smallholder Pig Value Chains Development in Uganda (SPVCD) and Safe Food Fair Food (SFFF) − at ILRI’s exhibition stand. ILRI’s exhibit provided information on other work done by ILRI in different livestock systems and value chains in Africa. Information on multi-institutional CGIAR research programs that ILRI and its partners are participating in was also highlighted. Visitors to ILRI’s exhibit stand included members of the media and farmer groups and general public; national and local government officers; researchers and lecturers from African universities; and representatives of financial institutions and private-sector companies..

ILRI’s Tony Brenton-Rule, head of business development, and Azage Tegegne, manager of the ILRI-led Livestock and Irrigation Value Chains for Ethiopian Smallholders project, also participated in ALICE 2014 and were at hand to answer questions from visitors to ILRI’s exhibit.


Filed under: Agri-Health, Animal Production, ASF, CRP37, CRP4, East Africa, Event report, Food Safety, FSZ, ILRI, ILRIComms, Integrated Sciences, Kenya, PA, Pigs, Uganda Tagged: ALiCE2014, Danilo Pezo, Emily Ouma, LIVES, Safe Food Fair Food, Uganda Minister of State for Animal Industry, Uganda Vice President

Eight principles for land and water management in the Nile Basin

The Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC) aimed to improve the resilience of rural livelihoods in the Ethiopian highlands through a landscape approach to rainwater management. At the end of the Challenge, the team distilled insights, findings and experiences into eight key messages which, taken together, contribute to  new water and land management paradigm that enables poor smallholder farmers improve their food security, livelihoods and incomes while conserving the natural resource base.

The paradigm is introduced in this digital story:

You can also view each key message as a separate (and different) digital story:

  1. Empower local communities and develop their leadership capacities to achieve long-term benefits and sustainable outcomes.
  2. Integrate and share scientific and local knowledge and encourage innovation through ‘learning by doing’.
  3. Strengthen and transform institutional and human capacities among all stakeholders to achieve the potential benefits of sustainable land management.
  4. Create, align and implement incentives for all parties to successfully implement sustainable innovative programs at scale.
  5. Adapt new models, learning and planning tools and improved learning processes to increase the effectiveness of planning, implementation, and capacity building.
  6. Integrate multiple rainwater management interventions at watershed and basin scales to benefit rainwater management programs.
  7. Attend to downstream and off-site benefits of rainwater management as well as upstream or on-farm benefits and costs.
  8. Improve markets, value chains and multi-stakeholder institutions to enhance the benefits and sustainability of rainwater management investments.

Download the brief with all the messages.

Read the full technical report “A new integrated watershed rainwater management paradigm for Ethiopia: Key messages from the Nile Basin Development Challenge, 2009–2013

Read the Nile Basin summary

The NBDC was implemented by a consortium led by the International Livestock Research Institute and the International Water Management Institute. It was funded by the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF).

Filed under: ASSP, Capacity Strengthening, Crop-Livestock, CRP5, East Africa, Environment, Ethiopia, Extension, Farming Systems, ILRI, ILRIComms, Innovation Systems, Livestock-Water, Nile, NRM, Research, Water Tagged: NBDC

DAAD research grants for young Kenyan scientists and academics 2015/2016

Application deadline: Tuesday September 30, 2014

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is offering up to seven (7) research grants for young Kenyan academics and scientists for the academic year 2015/2016 to pursue a PhD in Germany.

About the scholarships

  • Open to all fields of research
  • Have no age limit
  • Master’s degree must not be older than six (6) years at the time of application

Among the main requirements is a well developed research proposal (between 10 to 15 pages). The applicants will also be required to find a supervisor in Germany or get admission into a structured PhD programme.

For more information, contact

Anja Bengelstorff
Programme Officer
DAAD Regional Office for Africa
3rd flr, Madison Insurance House, Upper Hill Close, P.O. Box 14050 – 00800, Nairobi

Tel: +254 – 020 – 2729741
Email: bengelstorff@daadafrica.org

or click here to visit website

Filed under: Award, CapDev, East Africa, Kenya, Scholarship Tagged: DAAD

Gates-funded East African Dairy Development project expands into Tanzania

Faustina Akyoo,  dairy farmer in Tanga, Tanzania.

Faustina Akyoo is a dairy farmer in Tanga, Tanzania. Her five dairy cows are an important livelihood  asset for her family  (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

Earlier this year, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided a grant of USD25.5 million to boost dairy technology uptake in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Given through Heifer International, the grant is being used to implement technology projects under the East African Dairy Development (EADD) project, which aims to support 179,000 families living on 1–5 acre plots and keeping a few dairy cows.

‘More than 200 participants attended the launch of the Tanzanian phase of the project in late March 2014 among them players in the country’s dairy sector, including dairy processors, officials from the Tanzania Dairy Board, dairy farmers, banks and microfinance organisations.

‘The EADD is a regional program led by the Heifer International in partnership with the International Livestock Research institute (ILRI), TechnoServe, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the African Breeder Service Total Cattle Management (ABS-TCM). . . .

‘According to Heifer International, the implementer of the project, the aim is to strengthen relationships between farmers, processers, distributors and consumers in a region where milk demand outstrips supply. . . .

‘During the launch, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which is major EADD partner, was represented by Amos Omore, the ILRI country representative in Tanzania and Edgar Twine, a value chain economist.

Read the whole article by Mwangi Mumero in African Farming and Food Processing, Gates Foundation rolls out Tanzanian dairy project, 26 Jun 2014.

And read an earlier article on this topic in an earlier issue of African Farming and Food ProcessingGates Foundation issues US$26mn grant to East African farmers, 30 Jan 2014.

Filed under: Article, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, ILRI, ILRIComms, Integrated Sciences, Kenya, LGI, PA, Tanzania, Uganda Tagged: African Breeder Service Total Cattle Management (ABS-TCM), African Farming and Food Processing Magazine, Amos Omore, EADD, Edgar Twine, ICRAF

More pork by and for the poor: Catalysing smallholder pig value chains in Uganda

Inception workshop participants

Last week in Mukono, the International Livestock Research Institute convened an inception and planning workshop for the new ‘more pork by and for the poor’ project. With funds from Irish Aid, the project will catalyse emerging smallholder pig value chains in Uganda for food security and poverty reduction.

The new project builds on the results of the smallholder pig value chain development (SPVCD) project that was funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (2011-2014). The new project is part of the wider pig value chain development in Uganda program of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish which comprises several associated projects to strengthen food and nutritional security through transformation of pig value chains.

At the inception workshop, project leader Emily Ouma introduced the project pointing out some of the challenges and constraints in the value chain, including:

  • Poor husbandry practices and high mortality rates from diseases such as African swine fever (ASF) due to poor implementation of biosecurity measures.
  • Inbreeding and poor selection of breeding stock.
  • Seasonality of feed supply and lack of capacity to develop nutritionally balanced feed rations.
  • High costs and poor quality of commercial feeds.
  • Lack of appropriate organisational models to enhance access to quality inputs, services and pig markets.
  • Pig farmers lack voice – and tend to carry out individual sales.
  • Poor access to extension, quality animal health services and financial services.
  • High transaction costs incurred by pig traders – transport and search costs.
  • No structured pig meat inspection and lack of capacity by meat inspectors.
  • Poor waste management – e.g. abattoirs (drainage of blood into water bodies).
  • Practices that could increase the risk for foodborne and occupational diseases./li>
  • Poor household nutrition.

She also drew attention to the project’s focus on gender, ensuring that women as well as men benefit along the chain.



According to Ouma, the new four-year research-for-development project will lead to improved food and nutritional security for poor households, improved livelihoods for value chain actors, and better performance of smallholder pig value chain systems in selected areas in Uganda. It will achieve these by testing and piloting best bet options (entry points) to improve on-farm productivity, household nutrition, and efficiency and pork safety in the marketing chain. These will produce validated options to form part of an integrated intervention strategy and an evidence base demonstrating the benefits such a strategy can achieve.

The workshop was opened by Dr. Chris Rutebarika, Assistant Commissioner, Disease Control in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). He prefaced his opening words saying “we are a pork-loving country, despite the problems associated with pigs.”

He highlighted the problems caused to farmers by African swine fever, which he said can be prevented by established good practices that cut the transmission cycle. He talked about feeds and feeding challenges and suggested that the current pig genepool needs to be improved: “Without proper genetics we will remain with stunted pigs” as well as pigs unable to resist prevalent diseases. He also touched on issues around food and environmental safety and pig waste management.

Finally, he reflected on the project design itself. It is timely he said, it builds on the past few years work, and it will build capacities. He called on partners present to make sure that results of research in the five focus districts need to be ‘augmented’ so they reach all of Uganda’s 111 districts. He also called on participants not to forget women’s roles in pig production – men need to grow their own pigs and not just sell the pigs produced by women!

After this rousing call to action by Dr. Rutebarika, participants spent the first day reviewing the initial set of results and interventions (mainly derived from the SPVCD project), and validating project choices, priorities and impact pathways to address feed, genetics, health, market, and food safety constraints. The second day was spent in detailed planning for the coming 12 months.
See presentations from the workshop:


Filed under: Africa, ASF, ASSP, CRP37, East Africa, Livestock, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains Tagged: Irish Aid

East and Southern Africa drylands learning event on community based adaptation and resilience

The impacts of climate change are threatening the livelihoods of already vulnerable pastoralist, agro pastoralist and farming communities in East and Southern African drylands. In order to meet the scale and magnitude of these challenges, where extreme events and recurrent drought will be ongoing features, actors in development, adaptation, disaster risk management, social protection and humanitarian action are recognizing the need to focus on achieving resilient outcomes.

Community based adaptation (CBA) to climate change is providing valuable practical approaches and evidence of use for drylands related programmes and policy decisions.

Aim of the learning event
Bringing together stakeholders from a diverse range of disciplines working with dryland communities across East and Southern Africa, the aim of the event is to facilitate learning from experiences and evidence on climate change adaptation, in particular CBA, and resilience. Participants will co-generate new insights on the links between CBA and achieving resilient development.

The conference will explore:

  1. What is the added value that CBA practical experience brings to achieving resilience in dryland communities?
  2. How are climate change and related responses exacerbating the entrenched drivers of differential vulnerability among communities living in drylands? What are the barriers and drivers to change?
  3. What would an integrated and coherent approach to achieving resilience in vulnerable dryland communities look like?

CARE Ethiopia will host the event together with CARE’s Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP), the CGIAR Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security programme (CCAFS) and the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE).

Target audience: Practitioners working with drylands issues (government, non-government and donors) and researchers, who have knowledge and experiences to share on adaptation and resilience in drylands. Policy makers concerned with East and Southern African drylands are also welcome to register.

Participation will be dependent on the relevance of information shared in the registration form.

Location: ILRI complex, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Date: 1–4 September, 2014

Download the full concept note here

Express your interest to participate: download the registration form here and email it to alp@careclimatechange.org

Deadline for registration: June 10 at midnight (GMT + 3)

Filed under: Climate Change, CRP7, Drylands, East Africa, Ethiopia, Event, Livelihoods, Pastoralism, Resilience, Southern Africa Tagged: ALP, CARE, CBA, CCAFS, ICIPE

FeedSeed project trains forage seed entrepreneurs in Ethiopia

Trainees learning to plant forage seeds

Millions of poor livestock keepers depend on the availability of forages and fodder to feed their livestock throughout the year. In Ethiopia, and elsewhere, a critical constraint to the wide availability of animal feed or forage is the lack of profitable and sustainable forage seed companies.

The ‘FeedSeed’ project at the International Livestock Research Institute is working with national public and private partners to help create a sustainable forage seed supply system in Ethiopia. The idea is to help local entrepreneurs start up forage seed businesses, mainly by establishing a public business incubator that can provide training and mentoring to the entrepreneurs. Once going, these enterprises will produce and sell quality seeds to the wider farming community, increasing livestock productivity and raising incomes of livestock farmers.

From 7-11 April 2014, the project organized a technical and business skills development training course for potential forage seed entrepreneurs.

Hosted by project partners the Ethiopian Meat and Dairy Industry Development Institute (EMDIDI), the course assisted project business clients (farmers, private companies and cooperatives) to start up or expand forage seed businesses and ensure a good return on investment. The training covered both technical and business skills and also business development topics which were identified by the trainees during the pre-training assessment. Trainees also visited Eden Field Agri Seed Enterprise – another project partner – to better understand the business environment.

The project on ‘piloting climate-adaptive forage seed systems in Ethiopia (FeedSeed)’ is funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Intenationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Filed under: Africa, Animal Feeding, ASSP, Capacity Strengthening, CRP7, East Africa, Ethiopia, Event, Feeds, Forages, ILRI, Seeds Tagged: BMZ, FeedSeed, GIZ

ILRI streamlines modular trainings for graduate fellows

CapDev training module on data management

The Capacity Development unit has produced new training guidelines for graduate fellow researchers at ILRI (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

New training guidelines for graduate fellow researchers at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) are now in place.

The new guidelines were revised in November 2013 by ILRI’s Capacity Development (CapDev) unit after an assessment of the training needs of ILRI graduate fellows and the need for trainings that continuously enhance the research capacity of fellows.

Through the graduate fellowship program, ILRI has over the years provided opportunities to thousands of young scientists and graduate fellows from National Agricultural Research Organizations (NARS), universities and other institutions in Africa and other parts of the world. These researchers carry out research-for-development (R4D) activities within ILRI projects, have access to ILRI’s cutting-edge research facilities and are mentored by ILRI scientists, while at the same time, the fellows contribute to ILRI’s research for better and more sustainable use of livestock.

The CapDev unit plays a leading role in the training and development of graduate fellows by carrying out training needs assessments, and designing and facilitating crosscutting training programs to continuously enhance the research skills of these fellows.

CapDev has developed a series of modular courses for graduate fellows in collaboration with ILRI’s research methods group, and communication team. These modules include trainings in conducting literature reviews, designing research studies, managing and analysing data, and a module on presentation skills that helps students in effectively sharing their research findings.

The ‘bite-sized’ trainings are shorter, use less printed material and are more memorable. On average, each session is delivered within 3-4 hours and 2 sessions are carried out every month followed by additional one-to-one mentoring and assignments.

A total of 8 such sessions were delivered between September and December 2013.

The benefits of the modular training approach include:

  • Training opportunities at the ILRI campus, which minimise absences from work and give graduate fellows flexibility in choosing courses.
  • Courses are performance-based and are tailored to the real needs of graduate fellows.
  • Use of ILRI staff capacities and internal expertise helps to better integrate theory and practice resulting in better learning. Those trained share their experiences in future modules.
  • The modules are designed creatively with highly interactive and participative sessions and are relatively easy to adapt to different training contexts.
  • Graduate fellows have the opportunity to network with others fellows in different research programs as well as with ILRI colleagues delivering these trainings.

‘When I came to ILRI as a graduate fellow in August 2011, we did not have regular interaction and learning together. It was more like a walk through the jungle called “research”. The modular trainings have improved interaction among fellows and our scientific skills. Bravo CapDev!’– Jerome Wendoh, MSc fellow with Animal Biosciences.

Looking ahead in 2014

‘In 2014, the CapDev unit together with the RMG group and other ILRI units, plans to build on the successes from the 2013 modular trainings. This will include identifying the gaps and training priorities for the year in consultation with fellows, research managers and ILRI mentors,’ said Joyce Maru, a capacity development officer at ILRI.

Future modules may blend modular training, e-learning opportunities, effective mentorship support, and evidence and assessment to further enrich the fellows’ learning experience at ILRI. The blended learning approach will differentiate learning styles and allow flexibility and convenience for fellows to choose when and how they want to learn.

Measuring impact 

The CapDev unit is also looking for ways of evaluating trainings that goes beyond knowing the numbers of those trained.

‘It’s not sufficient to know how many people were trained, how they liked it and what they learned; we want to know if they are applying what they’ve learnt, and the quality of the training and mentorship they receive’ says Maru. ‘Also, we want to know how ILRI projects are improved as a result.’

Towards this end, CapDev will implement the ILRI graduate fellowship monitoring and evaluation policy, which clarifies the rationale for graduate training at ILRI and describes how training outcomes will be assessed across various training programs.

For more information on ILRI graduate fellowships visit http://ilri.org/CapDev.

View a CapDev PowerPoint on ‘presentation skills for graduate fellows’:  http://www.slideshare.net/ILRI/presenting-with-impactpotx-33886558

This article was written by Joyce Maru, a capacity development officer at ILRI.

Filed under: Article, Capacity Strengthening, CapDev, East Africa, Kenya Tagged: Graduate fellowships, Joyce Maru, Modular trainings

White gold: Experts assess dairy opportunities in East Africa and Ethiopia

Earlier this April, the Inter-Agency Donor Group on pro-poor livestock research and development (IADG) held a Dairy Expert Consultation in Uganda. The three-day event (1–3 April 2014) in Masaka-Mbarara gathered over 50 dairy experts from six East African countries and beyond.

ILRI’s Isabelle Baltenweck was part of the facilitation team.

The expert consultation was held to find ways to better coordinate investments in East Africa’s dairy sector development, specifically by providing opportunity for stakeholders to reflect on the finding of a recent study carried out on behalf of IADG. The experts were also asked to set and prioritize actions to capitalize on opportunities presented by the East African dairy sector. The roles of various partners in these endeavours (public and private sectors, farmer groups, civil society actors and knowledge institutes) was discussed as well.

The study and the consultation were a follow up to the 14th IADG Annual Meeting on pro-poor livestock research and development in May 2013, which recommended better coordination by development agencies on dairy development in East Africa.

The consultation offered the experts an opportunity to exchange views on current issues in the region’s dairy sector. Presentation of results of the study, White Gold: Opportunities for Dairy Sector Development Collaboration in East Africa, by the lead consultant, Nathaniel Makoni, kicked off discussions on key issues in dairy sector development in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

See the presentation:

The roles of small scale and other types of traders were discussed at length, with some participants acknowledging their role in providing a market to smallholders and affordable milk to poor consumers, while other advocating for a cold chain value chain providing only processed products. A visit to a cooperative and a trader near Mbarara provided the opportunity to assess the relevance of the 2 approaches, with most participants agreeing that context is everything and donors should support relevant approaches so as to progressively upgrade the value chain in an inclusive manner.

Ways to increase the participation of women in dairy value chains was also a recurring issue. To increase the profile of dairy farmers, it was suggested to organize a competition for ‘best woman farmer of the year’, with women applying at local level and ending up in a national then regional (EA) competition. Using farm visits and innovative ways to get people to assess candidates, this could benefit the winners as well as the entire dairy industry through awareness creation and profiling of role models.

The experts reached agreement on important actions to be pursued by different actors and in different ways.

The largest dairy opportunities in the region were seen to be producing much larger quantities of milk, improving milk quality, reducing transaction costs to lower consumer prices and the promotion of milk consumption by governments and industry bodies. The challenges to be overcome to take advantage of these opportunities were viewed as the following.

  1. Increase the availability and quality of feed and fodder to increase milk production and dairy productivity in the region. Public-sector roles include research, development and enforcement of regulations and certification. Private-sector roles include expansion of feed businesses, fodder farming and trade and linking with processors and farmers to shape extension. Farmers should be able to view feed and fodder cropping as business opportunities.
  2. Address other production-related factors including (a) quality of milk from cow to consumer, (b) access to land for producing feed and fodder, (c) breeding (increase the availability of crossbred heifers and the effectiveness of the public and private artificial insemination services), and (d) animal and human health threatened by zoonoses such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, and food and mouth disease.
  3. Enable large-scale farms to play a bigger role in linking smallholders to commercial value chains as nucleus farms that provide inputs (like heifers and feed) and services (like bulking and extension); see inclusion of smallholders as a chain-wide necessity (bulk supply and livelihood) in which processors, input suppliers, governments and NGOs all have roles to play; provide adequate incentives for smallholder inclusion and growth.
  4. Acknowledge informal marketing (cottage industry, licensed traders, petty traders, etc.) for its crucial role in an environment characterized by wide market diversity, weak chain links, lack of infrastructure (roads and electricity), and sub-optimal enforcement of regulations. The licensing of informal traders is a hotly debated issue. Privatization, (self-) regulation and enforcement are needed to improve input- and output markets, including feed quality, veterinary services and milk quality assurance. The role of cooperatives and the governance and management of cooperatives was seen as crucial from a business perspective.
  5. Develop markets through, for example, school milk feeding programs and milk consumption campaigns, but especially through product diversification that increases demand. Prices may decrease when milk quality improves, milk losses decline and processing capacity is utilized. Increases in milk consumption are also expected to come naturally with urbanization and rising middle classes with disposable income observed in cities across the region.
  6. Increase women and youth participation in the value chain and increase the benefits they derive from participation (e.g. in starting dairy farms, assisting farmers in fodder production, milk transportation and testing). Other key sustainability concerns were profitability and shared value along the dairy value chain and the ecological footprint of dairy (manure management and water issues are growing concerns).
  7. Develop capacity at different levels, from practical training to graduate, from input supply and farming to processing and retail, from farm/firm to value chain services at sector level; include the development of capacity to supply industry data on different levels, such as farm/business, value chain/market and sector.

All these areas would profit from a better balance between public funding (by national and international governments) and private investments. Donor agencies were advised to improve their coordination with national governments and to avoid funding that distorts markets, such as provision of equipment or temporary management capacity.

The above summary is based on a communiqué prepared by Jan van der Lee, of the Centre for Development Innovation at Wageningen UR, The Netherlands: jan.vanderlee@wur.nl

Read an earlier posting: East African dairy: Donors and stakeholders meet this week in Uganda to better coordinate their development work, 1 Apr 2014.

Filed under: Africa, Animal Products, Dairying, East Africa, LGI, Livestock Tagged: IADG

Beyond fetching water for livestock: A gendered sustainable livelihood framework to assess livestock water productivity

A sourcebook from the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food, entitled ‘Addressing Water, Food and Poverty Problems Together—Methods, Tools and Lessons’ presents more than 50 articles on how to improve ecological and social resilience. One of the articles looks at ‘A gendered sustainable livelihood framework to assess livestock water productivity‘.

Livestock keeping can be a pathway out of poverty. However, livestock production systems are complex. In this system, men and women have specific roles and responsibilities and are benefiting differently. This system also varies between countries, cultures and ecosystems.

To understand this diversity and the different roles of men and women in livestock production systems, a Gendered Sustainable Livelihood Framework (GSLF) is useful. The framework is based on the Sustainable Livestock Framework (SLF), and includes the assessment of livestock utilization by gender, distribution of inputs and outputs, as well as the governing arrangements for livestock production. Emphasis is put on gendered access and control over productive assets of poor livestock farmers.

Read the sourcebook article ‘Beyond fetching water for livestock: A gendered sustainable livelihood framework to assess livestock water productivity

Read the full sourcebook at: http://waterandfood.org/sourcebook/

More on the Nile Basin Development Challenge project in Ethiopia

Filed under: CRP5, East Africa, Ethiopia, Gender, Livestock-Water, Nile, NRM, Women Tagged: CPWF, waterandfood

Of cows, camels and ‘charity insurance’ on Kenya’s Somali frontier–The Economist

Takaful insurance policy holder in Wajir, northern Kenya

Bashir Ibrahim Mohamed, Takaful Insurance of Africa policy holder. Ibrahim is the father of Hassan Bashir, the CEO of TIA (photo credit: ILRI/Riccardo Gangale).

‘As well as a cheque for $700, a knowing look passed between Hassan Bashir and Bashir Mohamed, his 80-year-old father. A payment at a ceremony for herders in Wajir, a town near Kenya’s border with Somalia, settled an argument dating back to 1997, when the son moved into the insurance business.

Mr Bashir, born into a cattle-herding Somali family in the rugged north-east of Kenya, was told that his career choice was not only odd but un-Islamic. Many imams say that sharia law does not sanction conventional insurance, deeming it to contain elements of gambling.

‘Despite being proud of his earning power, Mr Bashir found his father would not touch the money. He would not even accept the cash to go on the haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. “He did not know anything about insurance,” said the son. “He just knew it was wrong.”

‘His family’s disapproval persuaded Mr Bashir to set up Takaful, Kenya’s first sharia-compliant insurance company. It offers mutual or “charity insurance”, whereby the insurer acts as an agent, charging a set fee rather than un-Islamic interest. But Mr Bashir would not stop at insuring his community’s cars, homes and businesses; he wanted to solve their biggest problem, the loss of livestock to drought.

Camels herded to water in Wajir, northern Kenya

Camels at a water point near Wajir, northern Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Riccardo Gangale).

‘That proved harder. Insuring animals who range with semi-nomadic herders across some of the harshest terrain on earth had defeated all previous efforts. Eventually he came across the work of a Kenyan economist, Andrew Mude of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), based in Nairobi.

‘Mr Mude has developed an insurance model that uses satellite images to assess the impact of drought on the vegetation that camels, cows and goats need to survive. . . .

This model “insures the grass, not the animal”, says Mr Mude.. . .

‘Persuading seasoned Somali herders who have been husbanding their animals the same way for centuries to pay insurance premiums has not been easy. Mr Bashir has bent the ear of local imams and sheikhs and brought in Islamic scholars. Meanwhile donors, including Britain and Australia, whose aid agencies fund ILRI, have stumped up more money to get the word out around Wajir. . . .’

Jimmy Smith (left) and DFID's Lisa Phillips, at the Wajir insurance payouts

Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Lisa Phillips, of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) at a ceremony for payment vouchers to eligible participants, Takaful Insurance of Africa policy holders at the Red Cross Hall, in Wajir, northern Kenya, in Mar 2014 (photo credit: ILRI/Riccardo Gangale).

ILRI works in collaboration with a wide array of partners in this program that include the government of the Republic of Kenya, Cornell University and the Index Insurance Innovation Initiative (I4), among many others.

ILRI and partners want to see livestock insurance available throughout East Africa, where an estimated 70 million people live in drylands, many of them making their living by herding animals. In Kenya alone, the pastoral livestock sector is estimated to be worth at least USD5 billion. The eight-nation Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) estimates that over 90 percent of the meat consumed in East Africa comes from pastoral herds.

So far, about 4,000 pastoralists in northern Kenya, not all of them Muslim, have bought IBLI contracts since the project launched in 2010, an indication that there is both interest in and demand for livestock insurance.

Watch a 4-minute film by The Economist on the insurance payout in Wajir: The Economist video on livestock insurance payouts in Wajir, Kenya

Read the whole article in The Economist: A new kind of insurance may protect herders against drought, 19 Apr 2014 (print edition).

Read ILRI’s news release about this event: Africa’s first ‘Islamic-compliant’ livestock insurance pays 100 herders in Kenya’s remote drylands of Wajir for drought-related livestock losses, 25 Mar 2014.

See other photos of this event.

Read other news clippings about this event:
Shelter from the storm (literally): As remote herders get drought-related insurance payments, the heaven’s open, 5 Apr 2014
Africa’s first Islamic insurance for herders, 2 Apr 2014
Takaful, ILRI payout ‘sharia-compliant’ insurance to drought-suffering livestock herders in Wajir, 28 Mar 2014

Filed under: Australia, CRP11, Drought, Drylands, East Africa, Event, ILRI, ILRIComms, Insurance, Integrated Sciences, Kenya, Launch, LGI, PA, UK Tagged: Andrew Mude, Economist, Hassan Bashir, IBLT, Takaful Insurance

Shelter from the storm (literally): As remote herders get drought-related insurance payments, the heaven’s open

Livestock market in Wajir

Livestock market in Wajir, where Kenya’s remote, never-before-insured livestock herders are getting their first protection from drought (photo credit: ILRI/Riccardo Gangale).

‘It was almost inevitable that the day chosen to make the first drought insurance payments in Wajir, in the arid north-east of Kenya, would be the same day the rains came.

‘Herders who lost sheep, cattle and camels in the scorching first quarter of the year sheltered from the storm in an airless hall waiting for the cheques from an innovative new scheme that seeks to break the drought-and-bust cycle blighting pastoralists across the Horn of Africa.

‘No one among the weathered ranks of Somali herders thought a day of rain was a sign of easier seasons to come. “Drought is always going to come,” said the county governor, Ahmed Abdullahi Mohamad. “If you have rains for two years you know that in the third year they will fail. The question is how we build the systems to deal with drought.”

This is a question that has hung over Andrew Mude, a Kenyan economist, for the past six years. Working with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in the capital, Nairobi, he has brought to bear satellite technology and 30 years of data on drought and herd losses in quest of a solution. . . .

‘This kind of ambition has attracted donors such as the UK and Australia, which have been willing to commit funds to educating herders about the benefits of insurance. Lisa Phillips, head of the UK Department for International Development in Kenya, who attended the payout ceremony, believes it is worth taking a punt on schemes that have the potential to break through ingrained poverty. “It’s cheaper than providing humanitarian assistance (after a drought),” she said. “We’re building resilience now to avoid spending loads of money later.”‘

Read the whole article by Daniel Howden in the Guardian‘s Global Development Blog: Kenya’s drought insurance scheme shelters herders from financial storm, 4 Apr 2014.

Read more about this insurance scheme and recent payout below.

ILRI Clippings Blog
Times Live (South Africa): Space tech provides Africa’s first Islamic insurance for herders, 1 Apr 2014

Business Daily (Kenya): Takaful, ILRI payout ‘sharia-compliant’ insurance to drought-suffering livestock herders in Wajir, 28 Mar 2014

Business Daily (Kenya): Pastoralists bank on index insurance to reduce losses, 26 Mar 2014

Watch a 2-minute video clip from Al Jazeera about the Wajir payout
New insurance scheme protects Kenyan farmers, 26 Mar 2014

Watch a 5-minute filmed interview by Roger Thurow on IBLI
Roger Thurow of the Chicago Council, interviews ILRI’s Andrew Mude, of IBLI, at the World Food Prize ceremonies in Iowa in Oct 2012, a Feed the Future Greenroom Interview, posted 28 Dec 2012.

Read ILRI’s press release about this on the ILRI News Blog
Africa’s first ‘Islamic-compliant’ livestock insurance pays 100 herders in Kenya’s remote drylands of Wajir for drought-related livestock losses, 25 Mar 2014

Visit related sites

ILRI website


BASIS: Assets and Market Assets

Index Insurance Innovation Initiative (I4)

Filed under: CRP11, CRP7, Drought, Drylands, East Africa, Event, ILRI, ILRIComms, Insurance, Kenya, Launch, LGI, PA, Pastoralism Tagged: Australia, DFID, Guardian's Global Development Blog, IBLT, Takaful, UK

Kenya is hotspot for alfatoxin-related deaths–Report

‘The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has commissioned a research project that will ascertain the levels of aflatoxins in the milk consumed in Kenya.

‘Kenyans consume more than 145 litres of milk per person annually increasing the risks associated with milk-related aflatoxins.

Because of the higher milk consumption, especially by young children, pregnant and nursing women, Kenyans are likely to be more at risk from aflatoxin-contaminated milk than other Africans,’ said Johanna Lindahl, a food safety researcher at ILRI.

‘The research will determine the risks posed to such different groups of people by exposure to aflatoxin-contaminated milk. The project has been funded by the government of Finland.

‘Aflatoxin poisoning is produced by fungi Aspergillus, which infests grains such as maize and sorghum that have been badly stored under high moisture content. Consequently, the resultant contaminated feed leads to poisons getting into milk.

The presence of these toxins in food can harm human health and can be lethal in high doses. Kenya is among the world’s hotspots for aflatoxin-related deaths. . . .

‘Research conducted between February 2006 and March 2007 by the Department of Public Health Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Nairobi indicated high levels of aflatoxin B1 and M1 in samples of commercial feeds and milk respectively. . . .

‘In conclusion, the researchers, E. Kangeth’e and K. Langa’t, observed that there was the need to create awareness and establish routine monitoring of animal feeds and milk to reduce animal and consequently human response.’

Read the whole article by Mwangi Mumero in African Farming and Food ProcessingILRI research project to address milk poisoning in Kenya, 25 Feb 2014.

Read other news about this project
ILRI News Blog: ‘Bio-control’=effective control of aflatoxins poisoning Kenya’s staple food crops, 13 Feb 2014
ILRI News Blog: Dairy feed to reduce aflatoxin contamination in Kenya’s milk, 11 Feb 2014
ILRI News Blog: Australia-funded research fights aflatoxin contamination in East African foods, 6 Feb 2014
ILRI News Blog: Reducing aflatoxins in Kenya’s food chains: Filmed highlights from an ILRI media briefing, 18 Dec 2013
SciDevNet: Fungus strains, new tools ‘could help fight aflatoxins’, 6 Dec 2013
IRIN: How to stop a deadly fungus affecting billions, 25 Nov 2013
Daily Nation: Scientists develop research platform to fight aflatoxin, 25 Nov 2013

ILRI Media Briefs
Strengthening regional research capacity to improve food safety, ILRI Media Briefing 7, Nov 2013
Biological control of aflatoxins: Outcompeting harmful aflatoxin producers, ILRI Media Briefing 6, Nov 2013
Safer food through risk reduction of mycotoxins within the feed-dairy chain in Kenya—MyDairy, ILRI Media Briefing 5

IFPRI -2020-Agriculture for Nutrition and Health Briefs
Read a series of 19 briefs released Nov 2013 by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and its 2020 Vision initiative jointly with the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Health and Nutrition (A4NH), which is led by IFPRI, with a component on Agriculture-Associated Diseases led by Delia Grace, of ILRI. Grace co-edited the series of briefs, co-authored the overview (Tackling Aflatoxins) and wrote the brief on Animals and Aflatoxins. Two other ILRI scientists, Jagger Harvey and Benoit Gnonlonfin, of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-ILRI Hub, in Nairobi, Kenya, are two of the authors of the brief on Improving Diagnostics for Aflatoxin Detection.

Full list
1. Tackling Aflatoxins: An Overview of Challenges and Solutions
by Laurian Unnevehr and Delia Grace (ILRI)

2. Aflatoxicosis: Evidence from Kenya
by Abigael Obura

3. Aflatoxin Exposure and Chronic Human Diseases: Estimates of Burden of Disease
by Felicia Wu

4. Child Stunting and Aflatoxins
by Jef L Leroy

5. Animals and Aflatoxins
by Delia Grace (ILRI)

6. Managing Mycotoxin Risks in the Food Industry: The Global Food Security Link
by David Crean

7. Farmer Perceptions of Aflatoxins: Implications for Intervention in Kenya
by Sophie Walker and Bryn Davies

8. Market-led Aflatoxin Interventions: Smallholder Groundnut Value Chains in Malawi
by Andrew Emmott

9. Aflatoxin Management in the World Food Programme through P4P Local Procurement
by Stéphane Méaux, Eleni Pantiora and Sheryl Schneider

10. Reducing Aflatoxins in Africa’s Crops: Experiences from the Aflacontrol Project
by Clare Narrod

11. Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions to Reduce Aflatoxin Risk
by Felicia Wu

12. Trade Impacts of Aflatoxin Standards
by Devesh Roy

13. Codex Standards: A Global Tool for Aflatoxin Management
by Renata Clarke and Vittorio Fattori

14. The Role of Risk Assessment in Guiding Aflatoxin Policy
by Delia Grace (ILRI) and Laurian Unnevehr

15. Mobilizing Political Support: Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa
by Amare Ayalew, Wezi Chunga and Winta Sintayehu

16. Biological Controls for Aflatoxin Reduction
by Ranajit Bandyopadhyay and Peter J Cotty

17. Managing Aflatoxin Contamination of Maize: Developing Host Resistance
by George Mahuku, Marilyn L Warburton, Dan Makumbi and Felix San Vicente

18. Reducing Aflatoxins in Groundnuts through Integrated Management and Biocontrol
by Farid Waliyar, Moses Osiru, Hari Kishan Sudini and Samuel Njoroge

19. Improving Diagnostics for Aflatoxin Detection
by Jagger Harvey (BecA-ILRI Hub), Benoit Gnonlonfin (BecA-ILRI Hub), Mary Fletcher, Glen Fox, Stephen Trowell, Amalia Berna, Rebecca Nelson and Ross Darnell

Filed under: CRP4, East Africa, Feeds, Food Safety, Food Safety Zoonoses, Health (human), ILRI, ILRIComms, Integrated Sciences, Kenya, PA, Project Tagged: aflatoxins, African Farming and Food Processing, Finland

Africa’s first Islamic insurance for herders

Takaful CEO Hassan Bashir in front of the new Takaful Insurance of Africa branch in Wajir

The son of a camel herder, Takaful CEO Hassan Bashir knows how tough traditional life in Kenya’s arid north is, where pastoralists rely on livestock herds surviving boom and bust cycles of drought (photo credit: ILRI/Riccardo Gangale).

‘[Hassan] Bashir is also an astute entrepreneur, developing Africa’s first livestock insurance scheme to make payouts compliant with Islamic law, by bringing together Muslim scholars and number-crunching agricultural experts using NASA weather satellites.

‘”I’ve come from the community, and I understand its needs,” said Bashir, a sharp-suited businessman respectfully greeting elders dressed in traditional flowing robes in his hometown of Wajir, where goats and donkeys wander the dusty streets.

‘Bashir, 48, set up Takaful Insurance of Africa three years ago, which unlike ordinary insurance schemes prohibited by Islam, takes only a management fee from clients.

‘”It is a fair and ethical way to protect pastoralist’s livestock assets from natural hazards,” said Bashir, whose 80-year old father was one of the first to receive a payout this week for his herd of 50 cows.

‘Payments are assessed not according to deaths of individual animals as it would be impossible to provide proof, but according to an index drawn up by experts at the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), using satellites to measure vegetation coverage and thus the severity of drought.

The company is named after the Islamic concept of takaful, in which risks are shared among the community, rather than insurance where policy holders effectively gamble risks against the company.

Any surplus money after payments are made is distributed equally to remaining policy holders.

‘”It is a cooperative welfare basket for the community,” Bashir added, who was inspired to switch from regular insurance broking to the Islamic system after “hot discussions” with his family who refused his “unethical” money.

‘”I wanted to do something to develop the people here,” he said.

‘In 2011, fierce drought here in northeastern Kenya decimated herds with a devastating impact, and spiralled into famine in nearby war-torn Somalia.

‘Like elsewhere in the Horn of Africa, vast numbers of livestock are kept as a form of savings account. But these living investments face natural hazards. . . .

Takaful made the first payouts this week in Wajir to 100 policyholders. . . .

‘But the economic potential is also huge: here in Wajir country, a scrubland region where most live in traditional huts, government estimates value livestock at some $550 million (400 million euros).

Across Kenya, the pastoral livestock sector is valued at around $5 billion (3.5 billion euros).

‘Organisers — backed by some $6 million (4.5 million euros) from Australia, Britain and the European Commission — hope it can strengthen the ability of fragile communities across the region to cope during droughts, and reduce reliance on food aid.

‘”It is an innovative product with the possibility to replicate it elsewhere in Kenya and other nations,” Dominique Davoux from the European Commission said.

‘With few of the semi-nomadic people holding bank accounts, insurance premiums are even payable via mobile telephone money transfers using text messages.

‘Across the Horn of Africa, over 70 million people live in pastoralist areas, regional governments estimate, supplying some 90 percent of all meat.

The ILRI-designed system is already being taken up by insurers in other northern Kenyan regions and southern Ethiopia, totalling some 4,000 policyholders, with numbers growing. . . .

Read the whole article in Times Live (SouthAfrica) by the South Africa Press Association (Sapa)/Agence France Presse (AFP): Space tech provides Africa’s first Islamic insurance for herders, 1 Apr 2014


Filed under: CRP11, CRP7, Drought, Drylands, East Africa, Event, ILRI, ILRIComms, Insurance, Kenya, Launch, LGI, LSE, PA, Pastoralism Tagged: AFP, Australia, European Commission, IBLT, SAPA, Takaful, Times Live (South Africa), UK

East African dairy: Donors and stakeholders meet this week in Uganda to better coordinate their development work

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) visit to project sites, June 2011

ILRI scientist Steve Staal (in blue) and Gregg Bevier (right) of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), take a close look at a cowshed typical of Kenya’s smallholder dairy sector (photo credit: BMGF/Lee Klejtnot).

In its wisdom, an Inter-Agency Donor Group (IADG) on pro-poor livestock research and development agreed in 2013 to explore ways to better coordinate their investments in dairy development in East Africa.

The Netherlands, one of the IADG members, offered to take the lead in this and organized a study on commercializing dairy value chains in six countries — Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Results of the study are being discussed this week (1–3 Apr 2014) in an expert consultation being held in Uganda with stakeholders in the region’s dairy development, including policymakers, industry players and representatives from farm organizations, development agencies and research institutions.

Isabelle Baltenweck, an agricultural economist from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which is based in two of the targeted countries (ILRI is headquartered in Kenya and had a principal campus in Ethiopia), is a member of a ‘guiding group’ for this donor dairy collaboration project. Together, the members of the guiding group comprise a veritable ‘who’s who’ among donor agencies investing in East Africa’s agricultural development, representing, in addition to ILRI, the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Netherlands Government, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), of Wageningen UR (a university and research centre in the Netherlands that focusses on healthy food and living environment), serves as secretary to the guiding group.

This week’s consultation will prioritize actions to capitalize on the (big) development opportunities offered by this region’s booming dairy sector, and determine the roles best played by different actors among relevant donor agencies and within the public and private sectors.

This 2.5-day consultation is taking place in Mbarara, in Uganda’s southwestern region, where the discussions are being interspersed with visits to a ghee processing farm and a cultural dairy centre in addition to a dairy breeding centre and a few dairy farms, milk collection centres and cooperatives and milk processing plants.

This consultation is being organized by CDI, the Netherlands Embassy in Uganda, and local development partners from Agribusiness Initiative (aBi) Trust (a multi-donor entity founded by the governments of Denmark and Uganda), the BMGF-funded East African Dairy Development Project (EADD), GIZ and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV).

We will link here to news of the final study report, which will be made public some time after the conference closes.

Filed under: Burundi, Cattle, Dairying, East Africa, Ethiopia, Event, ILRI, ILRIComms, Kenya, LGI, PA, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Value Chains Tagged: aBi Trust, ACIAR, ASARECA, BMGF, EADD, FAO, GIZ, IFAD, Isabelle Baltenweck, SNV, USAID, Wageningen

Uganda: Where a pig in the backyard is a piggybank for one million households–and rising

Curious pig in Uganda raised for sale

This curious pig in Kiboga District, Uganda, will be sold in about 2 months and generate between 100,000 to 150,000 Ugandan shillings (USD40) for the household (photo credit: ILRI/Kristina Rösel).

‘Uganda is the leading consumer of pork in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

‘Over 2.3 million pigs are kept by one million households in Uganda for consumption, says the institute which further indicates that the majority of pigs are kept by women in smallholder households.

‘Pig rearing has become a popular and a lucrative venture in Uganda over the last 30 years.

The institute, which works to improve food security and reduce poverty in developing countries, says the local pig population has climbed from 190,000 to over 2.3 million in the three decades. . . .

Researchers from ILRI – whose headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya – are conducting two projects in Uganda.

‘The projects are targeted at presenting more efficient ways of raising pigs, safer ways of handling and selling pork, and ways to increase access to pig markets by poor farmers.’

More information from ILRI about this project
‘Pig farming is widely practiced in all regions of Uganda with high concentrations around the Central region. Unlike other key agricultural enterprises, pig farming has experienced fundamental improvement in the number of pigs reared and households that rear at least one pig over the last three decades. This has been possible despite the limited government support to the pig subsector and the fact that pigs are not considered among the 20 priority sub-programs of the country’s Agricultural Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP). This notwithstanding, about 17.8% (i.e. 1.1 millions) of all households own at least one pig in Uganda. The number of pigs increased from 0.19 million in 1980 to 3.2 million in 2008.

‘The current daily consumption of pigs (pigs slaughtered per day) in Kampala city alone is estimated to be between 300 and 500. These include about 75-80 pigs that are slaughtered at the main pig abattoir of Wambizi cooperative society in Nalukolongo in Kampala city. The per capita consumption of pork is 3.4 kg/person/year, the highest in the region. This level of consumption is reported to have increased 10 times more than it used to be 30 years ago. The market for pig products along the pig value chain is however disorganized, has many value chain actors, and many service providers, whose activities are not well coordinated. . . .

‘The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) through its Kampala based office is implementing an IFAD funded Smallholder Pig Value Chains Development (SPVCD) project in Uganda. The main objective of the SPVCD project is to improve livelihoods, incomes, and assets of smallholder pig producers, particularly women. . . . This report documents potential best-bet interventions (BBI) that can be tested in pilot research areas for the SPVCD project.’— Read more in this report: Successes and failures of institutional innovations to improve access to services, input and output markets for smallholder pig production systems and value chains in Uganda, published by ILRI Aug 2013.

Read the whole news article in New Vision (Uganda): Uganda ‘top pork consumer in sub-Saharan Africa’, 29 Mar 2014.

Watch a short (2:40-minute) ILRI photofilm on its smallholder pig value chains research in Uganda: Smallholder pig farming in Uganda: A day in the life of a research for development project,

View slide presentations by Uganda-based ILRI research project manager Danilo Pezo: Smallholder pig value chains in Uganda, Jun 2013, and  Smallholder pig value chain development in Uganda, Mar 2012.

Filed under: ASSP, CRP37, CRP4, East Africa, Food Safety, Food Safety Zoonoses, ILRI, ILRIComms, PA, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains Tagged: New Vision (Uganda)

Takaful, ILRI payout ‘sharia-compliant’ insurance to drought-suffering livestock herders in Wajir

A beneficiary of Takaful insurance in Wajir

Shamsa Kosar, a beneficiary of Takaful livestock insurance payouts made in Wajir, northern Kenya, in March 2014. This novel insurance was made possible by an ILRI index-based livestock insurance research project in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Riccardo Gangale).

‘Takaful Insurance will pay livestock farmers about Sh500,000 for losses incurred during the December to March dry season.

‘The farmers, 30 women and 71 men from Wajir County, are the first to be compensated after they took up the Shariah-compliant Index-Based Livestock Takaful (IBLT) cover in August 2013. . . .

‘The insurer said its focus is to make the Shariah-based policy more popular.

Our goal is to show pastoralists that they can use a fair and ethical business model to protect their assets from a natural hazard of keeping livestock in East Africa,” said Takaful Insurance chief executive Hassan Bashir.

‘Takaful makes revenues through management fees and pays out any surpluses made.

‘The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which was part of the team that designed the policy, also said that the popularity of the package is the priority at the moment.

This payout is critical for building confidence in the concept of insurance for drought-prone regions of East Africa where life revolves around livestock and droughts can bring disaster,” said Andrew Mude who leads the IBLI programme at ILRI.

‘ILRI estimates that livestock farmers in northern Kenya have cows, goats and sheep worth Sh46 billion. Cornell University and the Index Insurance Innovation Initiative (I4) at the University of California at Davis are the other partners in the project.

‘The World Bank has also shown interest in the livestock industry. The lender has set aside a Sh6.7 billion grant for building infrastructure meant to reduce risks for Kenyan livestock farmers. The bank estimates that the Eastern Africa region has a livestock population of between 12 to 22 million.’

Read the whole article at Business Daily (Kenya): Insurer to compensate livestock farmers​, 24 Mar 2014

Read other news clippings:
Business Daily (Kenya): Pastoralists bank on index insurance to reduce losses, 26 Mar 2014

Watch a 2-minute video clip from Al Jazeera about the payout, New insurance scheme protects Kenyan farmers, 26 Mar 2014

Read ILRI’s press release about this on the ILRI News Blog:
Africa’s first ‘Islamic-compliant’ livestock insurance pays 100 herders in Kenya’s remote drylands of Wajir for drought-related livestock losses, 25 Mar 2014

Filed under: CRP7, Drought, Drylands, East Africa, Event, ILRI, ILRIComms, Insurance, Kenya, Launch, LGI, PA, Pastoralism Tagged: Andrew Mude, Business Daily, Cornell University, IBLI, IBLT, Index Insurance Innovation Initiative, Takaful Insurance, World Bank

Are aflatoxins contaminating the milk you’re drinking in Kenya? New research to find out

Kenyan boy drinking milk

‘The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has commissioned research to ascertain the levels of aflatoxins in the milk consumed in Kenya.

Studies say every Kenyan consumes over 145 litres annually – higher than other Africans – increasing the risk of milk-related aflatoxins.

‘“Because of the higher milk consumption, especially by young children, pregnant and nursing women, Kenyans are likely to be more at risk from aflatoxin-contaminated milk than other Africans,” says Johanna Lindahl, a food safety researcher at ILRI.

‘This research will determine the risks by exposure to aflatoxin-contaminated milk. The project is funded by the Government of Finland.

‘Aflatoxin poisoning is produced by fungi Aspergillus that infests grain such as maize and sorghum that are badly stored under higher moisture content. Consequently, the resultant contaminated feed lead to poisons getting to milk.


‘Presence of these toxins in food that can harm human health and be lethal in high doses.

Kenya, in East Africa, is one of the world’s hotspots for aflatoxin-related deaths . . . .

Read the whole article by Mwangi Mumero in The People (Kenya): Kenyans could be drinking poisoned milk, 20 Feb 2014.

Read other articles about aflatoxin research on the ILRI News Blog:

‘Biocontrol’=effective control of aflatoxins poisoning Kenya’s staple food crops, 13 Feb 2014

Dairy feed project to reduce aflatoxin contamination in Kenya’s milk, 11 Feb 2014

Australian-funded research fights aflatoxin contamination in East African foods, 6 Feb 2014

Reducing aflatoxins in Kenya’s food chains: Filmed highlights from an ILRI media briefing, 19 Dec 2013

Fighting aflatoxins: CGIAR scientists Delia Grace and John McDermott describe the disease threats and options for better control, 8 Nov 2013

Filed under: Cattle, CRP4, Dairying, Disease Control, East Africa, Feeds, Food Safety, Food Safety Zoonoses, Health (human), ILRI, ILRIComms, Kenya, PA, Value Chains Tagged: aflatoxins, Johanna Lindahl, The People (Kenya)

Review of sheep research and development projects in Ethiopia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download the full report

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

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

ILRI Bioscience strategic meeting in Kapiti

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

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

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

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

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

Nadhem Mtimet

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

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

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

Julie M Ojango

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

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

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

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

Photo captions:

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

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

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

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