Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), gave a keynote presentation this week at a three-day Africa Livestock Conference and Exhibition (ALiCE2013), which came to a close today at Safari Park Hotel, in Nairobi, Kenya.
In 20 minutes, Smith made a powerful case for making significant investments in Africa’s livestock sector, which is growing rapidly. Such investments can, he said, ensure that livestock enterprises on the continent are economically profitable, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable. By making such investments now, he said, we can ensure that indigenous livestock enterprises are not shut out of the rapidly increasing livestock markets by imports of animal-source foods.
- The global livestock sector is growing rapidly.
- The global livestock sector is growing in developing—not developed—world countries.
- The developing world is where the livestock sector will continue to grow for the next decades.
- The livestock sector continues to receive significant under-investment; we must transform that.
- Growth in the global livestock sector is demand-led—driven largely by rising demand from rising numbers of consumers with rising incomes.
- In most developing countries, animal-source foods are both produced and consumed in the countries of origin, so most attention should be paid to within-country/-region livestock trade rather than international trade.
- In Africa and other developing regions, most milk, meat and eggs are produced by smallholders and family farmers; researchers, policymakers, development workers and business people should thus focus their attention on Africa’s small-scale livestock keepers and herders.
- Enabling environments, market access, rural infrastructure, risk-based approaches to food safety, livestock research and delivery services will all be needed.
- The question—and opportunity—for those working for Africa’s development is:
Can we act now, together and coherently, to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the smallholder livestock sector so that it becomes a major instrument for reducing poverty, feeding and nourishing people and protecting the environment?
Some of the series of slides Jimmy Smith presented to make this case for a vibrant African smallholder livestock sector are posted below. Go here to view the whole slide presentation online: Opportunities for a sustainable and competitive livestock sector in Africa, Jun 2013.
And be sure to check out this earlier post on the same subject: We would love to know what you think: Please use the comment box that follows this post to post your response.