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Migration and self-protection against climate change: A case study of samburu county, Kenya

Our latest outputs -

Migration and self-protection against climate change: A case study of samburu county, Kenya Ng’ang’a, S.K.; Bulte, E.H.; Giller, K.E.; McIntire, J.M.; Rufino, M.C. Climate change will affect the livelihoods of pastoralists in arid and semi-arid lands. Using data on agro-pastoral households from northern Kenya, we explore whether migration of household members enhances adoption of agricultural innovations that aim to provide protection against weather shocks. Specifically, we seek to test whether migration and adaptation are complementary mechanisms to protect the household against adverse shocks, or whether they are substitutes. Do remittances relax capital constraints and facilitate the uptake of adaptive measures, or do they render adaptation superfluous? Our data provide suggestive evidence that remittances from migrant household members may relax capital constraints, and that remittances are an important mechanism linking migration to adoption, enabling the uptake of new technologies that involve change in activities or high costs. Specifically, migrant households adopt more adaptive measures (promoting self-protection), and we document some support for the hypothesis that this is especially the case for high-cost adaptations such as the purchasing of drought tolerant livestock. These findings suggest that migration and local innovation are complementary rather than substitutive mechanisms of self-protection for pastoral households in the semi-arid lands of northern Kenya. Households who have at least one member who has migrated are able to overcome barriers to employ high-cost agricultural innovations–through using remittances received—thus enhancing their self-protection against climate change related shocks.

Long-term assessment of soil and water conservation measures (Fanya-juu terraces) on soil organic matter in South Eastern Kenya

Our latest outputs -

Long-term assessment of soil and water conservation measures (Fanya-juu terraces) on soil organic matter in South Eastern Kenya Saiz, G.; Wandera, F.M.; Pelster, D.E.; Ngetich, W.; Okalebo, J.R.; Rufino, M.C.; Butterbach-Bahl, K. A comprehensive assessment of soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics in semi-arid agrosystems implementing soil and water conservation (SWC) measures is still lacking despite their extent, ecological and economic significance. Therefore, we assessed the long-term impact of a commonly used SWC technique (Fanya-juu terracing) on SOM-related properties in South Eastern Kenya. A soil sampling campaign was conducted in a replicated stratified random manner on three land uses that had been continuously managed for over 30 years. Samples were analyzed for organic carbon and nitrogen contents, δ13C, δ15N, pH and texture. Compared to sites implementing conventional agriculture, the establishment of SWC structures in this erosion-prone landscape resulted in the recovery of SOM levels comparable to those observed in neighboring semi-natural ecosystems. Sites under conventional agriculture practices contained 20 Mg C ha− 1 (0.85 m), while sites with SWC measures and those hosting semi-natural vegetation stored above a third more. There were significant differences in soil C/N ratios as well as in δ13C and δ15N values between SWC cultivation practices classified according to the presence or absence of trees. The presence of woody vegetation in sites with SWC structures had a strong impact on the spatial variability of SOM-related properties. There was also a significant negative relationship between δ15N values and C/N ratios across the different land uses. Our findings indicate the existence of contrasting SOM dynamics caused by vegetation-related effects, and provide suggestions for enhancing SOM storage in agricultural sites implementing SWC measures.

Managing frame diversity in environmental participatory processes – Example from the Fogera woreda in Ethiopia

Animal science for sustainable productivity program:Outputs -

Managing frame diversity in environmental participatory processes – Example from the Fogera woreda in Ethiopia Hassenforder, E.; Brugnach, M.; Cullen, B.; Ferrand, N.; Barreteau, O.; Daniell, K.A.; Pittock, J. Many participatory processes fail to generate social change and collaborative outcomes. This failure can partly be explained by how divergent stakeholders' frames are handled. This paper builds on the framing and participation literature to explain how facilitators can manage frame diversity and foster collaborative outcomes. It suggests two pragmatic steps: identifying frames and managing frames. The two steps are applied to a participatory process for natural resource management in Fogera, Ethiopia. Effectiveness of facilitators’ strategies to manage frame diversity in the Fogera case is discussed. Two main elements challenging effectiveness are identified: counter-strategies used by facilitators and most-powerful stakeholders, and the constraining factors knowledge, champions and frame sponsorship. We argue that these elements need to be taken into account by participatory process facilitators when managing frame diversity.

Livestock wealth and social capital as insurance against climate risk: A case study of Samburu County in Kenya

Our latest outputs -

Livestock wealth and social capital as insurance against climate risk: A case study of Samburu County in Kenya Ng’ang’a, S.K.; Bulte, E.H.; Giller, K.E.; Ndiwa, N.N.; Kifugo, S.C.; McIntire, J.M.; Herrero, M.; Rufino, M.C. We use data from 500 households in Samburu County (Kenya) to explore how natural environment and market accessibility affect coping and adaptation strategies of pastoralists. In particular, we ask whether households accumulate livestock wealth and invest in structural and cognitive social capital to protect themselves against climate risks. We find weak evidence that households accumulate livestock wealth in response to living in a drier environment, and no evidence that households invest in either structural or cognitive social capital as insurance against climate risks. However, coping strategies vary across social groups. For example, while rainfall does not robustly affect cognitive social capital (trust)—we find that the “poor” and “financially-integrated” households (i.e., those who have relatively good access to credit and capacity to save money) show greater mutual trust in drier environments. The results from this study can be used for priority setting by policy makers and development agencies for programs aimed at safeguarding household livelihoods in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs).

Managing frame diversity in environmental participatory processes – Example from the Fogera woreda in Ethiopia

Our latest outputs -

Managing frame diversity in environmental participatory processes – Example from the Fogera woreda in Ethiopia Hassenforder, E.; Brugnach, M.; Cullen, B.; Ferrand, N.; Barreteau, O.; Daniell, K.A.; Pittock, J. Many participatory processes fail to generate social change and collaborative outcomes. This failure can partly be explained by how divergent stakeholders' frames are handled. This paper builds on the framing and participation literature to explain how facilitators can manage frame diversity and foster collaborative outcomes. It suggests two pragmatic steps: identifying frames and managing frames. The two steps are applied to a participatory process for natural resource management in Fogera, Ethiopia. Effectiveness of facilitators’ strategies to manage frame diversity in the Fogera case is discussed. Two main elements challenging effectiveness are identified: counter-strategies used by facilitators and most-powerful stakeholders, and the constraining factors knowledge, champions and frame sponsorship. We argue that these elements need to be taken into account by participatory process facilitators when managing frame diversity.

Discussion paper: Qualitative methods for gender research in agricultural development

CRP 2: program news -

For gender research, qualitative methods can be particularly helpful in illuminating how men and women view their lives. The new PIM/IFPRI discussion paper by Deborah Rubin describes the use of qualitative approaches to illuminate gender relations in agricultural development research and project implementation.

Drawing on literature about social science methods and linking it to recent examples of qualitative methods employed in research and development projects, the paper argues for greater precision in key concepts of gender research, starting with sex and gender. From the many possible qualitative methods used in development work, the paper focuses on several common observational (both direct and participatory) and interview techniques, the latter including key informant and group interviews and focus group discussions. Researchers use various techniques to gather different types of information, for example, mapping techniques to understand men’s and women’s different types of knowledge about their environment and eliciting in-depth information on a single topic with key informants. In a brief discussion of the analysis of qualitative data, the paper notes that informant responses are not “the truth” but need to be assessed against other sources of data. Finally, there is a short discussion of how qualitative data have been used in comparative work. The paper concludes that the results of good qualitative research on gender relations can help identify the locally specific pathways needed to achieve gender-transformative development approaches.

Visit this page to access the paper>>

This work was undertaken as part of, and funded by, the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM), led by IFPRI. 

Featured image: UN Women/Gaganjit Singh Chandok, Flickr 

Review of sheep crossbreeding in Ethiopia

CRP 3.7 News -

The objective of this paper is to examine whether or not sheep crossbreeding is a feasible option to improve indigenous sheep breeds in developing countries using Ethiopian case as example.

The paper reviewed and discussed the history of exotic breed introduction, research, and development efforts in crossbreeding and performance of crossbreds under on-station and on-farm management.

Earlier, in Ethiopia, the choice of breed for crossbreeding overlooked interests and preferences of farmers mainly for physical appearance. More recently the introduction of Awassi sheep considered their preference. Performance evaluation results from the on-station and on-farm (mainly based on Awassi pilot crossbreeding villages) showed that crossbreds often outperformed their local contemporaries. Thus comparisons of pure local sheep and crossbreds among those breeds produced in some areas indicated a good outcome of this type of crossbreeding. However, the performance of crossbred sheep varied by location and depended on management and exotic inheritance levels. For most programs, no comprehensive data were available to do on-farm comparisons of herd productivity and cost-benefits or to evaluate the sustainability of the programs.

Regardless of location, farmers participating in crossbreeding often showed keen interest in crossbreeding, mainly due to the fast growth, larger body size of crossbreds resulting in higher market prices as compared to their local sheep breeds. Ram multiplication and dissemination from the government farms were found inefficient. The predominant practice of a ubiquitous dissemination and selling of breeding rams to individual farmer dilute the efforts of crossbreeding and prevents generating the benefits expected from crossbreeding programs. Furthermore, indiscriminate crossbreeding without prior analysis of suitability of crossbreds for a given production environment and without clear breeding objectives presents a potential threat to better adapted indigenous breeds.

Crossbreeding programs require strong research and development support from public service and non-governmental institutions for sustainable design, optimization, and implementation in clearly defined production environments.

View the open access article:

Getachew, T., Haile, A., Wurzinger, M., Rischkowsky, B., Gizaw, S., Abebe, A. and Sölkner, J. 2016. Review of sheep crossbreeding based on exotic sires and among indigenous breeds in the tropics: An Ethiopian perspective. African Journal of Agricultural Research 11(11):901-911. http://dx.doi.org/10.5897/AJAR2013.10626


Filed under: Animal Breeding, Article, ASSP, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, Genetics, ICARDA, ILRI, Indigenous breeds, Livestock, Research, Sheep, Small Ruminants, Value Chains

Out of Africa genetics: How the giraffe got its long neck (and other biological curiosities and exuberances)

Clippings -

 

Slide1

Just So Story? Positive deviance? Unnatural selection? Reverse engineering?
Spectacular workaround? Giraffe genome hack? Fit for purpose? (What purpose, exactly?):
Above and below, images from ‘How the giraffe got its long neck’,
by Class 7 of the Good Shepherd Primary School, Eastern Cape, South Africa (via The Open University).

The scientist

Morris Agaba is a molecular geneticist who spent many years in Nairobi, Kenya, first at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and then at the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-ILRI (BecA-ILRI) Hub. For the last five years, Agaba has been associated with the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), in Arusha, northern Tanzania, where he now works full-time as a professor.

NM-AIST is one in a network of pan-African institutions of science and technology. The brainchild of the late Nelson Mandela, these institutions are training and developing the next generation of African scientists and engineers to impact profoundly the continent’s development.

Agaba was born and raised northwestern Uganda, where his time was split, he says, between school, raising chickens, growing food crops (potatoes, millet, maize, beans ground nuts and simsim [sesame]), and forays into the bush to collect honey, trap termites and observe nature. A practicing bee farmer and passionate walker till today, Agaba has always actively involved himself in supporting and mentoring a new generation of African scientists.

With long stints spent in Uganda, England, Japan, Scotland, Kenya and now Tanzania, the trajectory of Agaba’s cultural as well as research interests has proved perhaps more tangential than that of most biological scientists, themselves well known for their intellectual digressions. After graduating from Makerere University, in Uganda, he received a doctoral degree in molecular genetics from Brunel University, in London, followed by research fellowships at the Japan Livestock Technology Association, in Tokyo, and the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling, in Scotland. His core scientific expertise is experimental research to understand basic biological processes and to develop tools for Africa’s livestock breeders and resources for other researchers. His work draws largely from veterinary, biochemistry and molecular sciences. His past studies included host-pathogen interactions, livestock nutritional genetics and hereditary disorders, and the molecular genetics of livestock breeding. In Nairobi, he investigated the genetics of disease resistance in African cattle and harnessed the genetic diversity of African goats to improve smallholder productivity. Among his other investigative enthusiasms are that of substituting fibre-rich energy foods for grains in chicken feed and advancing understanding of the genetics of the wild relatives of domesticated livestock.

Slide2

The science Agaba’s newest passion is the molecular genetics of the giraffe, specifically the genes responsible for the animal’s impossibly long neck and legs—and the highly adaptive cardiovascular system this animal has evolved to manage its formidable biological obstacles.

From the abstract of a new paper on the giraffe genome by Agaba and colleagues
‘The origins of giraffe’s imposing stature and associated cardiovascular adaptations are unknown. Okapi, which lacks these unique features, is giraffe’s closest relative and provides a useful comparison, to identify genetic variation underlying giraffe’s long neck and cardiovascular system. The genomes of giraffe and okapi were sequenced, and through comparative analyses genes and pathways were identified that exhibit unique genetic changes and likely contribute to giraffe’s unique features. . . .’

From the introduction to the paper
‘The origin of giraffe’s iconic long neck and legs, which combine to elevate its stature to the tallest terrestrial animal, has intrigued mankind throughout recorded history and became a focal point of conflicting evolutionary theories proposed by Lamarck and Darwin. Giraffe’s unique anatomy imposes considerable existential challenges and three systems bear the greatest burden: the cardiovascular system to maintain blood pressure homeostasis, the musculoskeletal system to support a vertically elongated body mass and the nervous system to rapidly relay signalling over long neural networks. . . .

‘Here we sequenced the genomes of the Masai giraffe and okapi, and through comparative analysis with other eutherians [sic] mammals, 70 genes were identified that exhibit multiple signs of adaptation (MSA) in giraffe. Several of these genes encode well-known regulators of skeletal, cardiovascular and neural development, and are likely to contribute to giraffe’s unique characteristics.’

The conclusion of the discussion section of the paper

Among mammals, giraffe has some of the most challenging physiological and structural problems imposed by its towering height. The solutions to these challenges, in particular related to its turbocharged circulatory system, may be instructive for treatment of cardiovascular disease and hypertension in humans. The New Yorker

The following, culled from a recent article in the New Yorker, provides further context for Ababa’s new giraffe genomic findings, including earlier more offbeat, speculative, efforts in this field.

Slide3

‘For centuries, the giraffe’s unusual anatomy has confused and intrigued human observers. The animal’s long neck is most baffling of all.

‘It’s difficult to know what to make of the giraffe. It shuffles like a camel (right legs forward, then left legs) but runs like a rabbit (hind legs forward, then front legs). Its distinctive aroma repulses many ticks but enchants certain people. It bellows, hisses, and moans in the wild, and in captivity it hums in the dark. It naps with its head aloft but sleeps like a swan, with its head on its haunches. . . . Not until the seventeenth century did the English, who fixated on the giraffe’s camel-ish shape and leopard-ish coloring, stop calling it a camelopard. . . .

‘And then there’s that neck. Why is it so long? Unlike the swan and the ostrich, which have a surplus of neck bones, the giraffe has seven cervical vertebrae, the standard count for a mammal. But each one is eleven inches in length. A human’s entire spine, by comparison, is about two feet from top to bottom, not much longer than a giraffe’s tongue. . . . The French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck held that a giraffe was merely an antelope whose progenitors had strained their necks toward higher and higher branches for food.

Slide4

‘Charles Darwin gave barely a thought to the neck problem—it didn’t appear in his magnum opus, “On the Origin of Species,” until the sixth edition—but he favored a similar, if more scientifically rigorous, explanation. In periods of drought, he suggested, when all the other animals on the savannah were scrounging at eye level, Giraffa sprouted the evolutionary equivalent of an EZ Reacher, which gave it access to a private larder in the succulent crowns of the acacia trees, a privilege it passed on to its offspring. . . .

So under nature with the nascent giraffe, the individuals which were the highest browsers and were able, during dearths, to reach even an inch or two above the others, will often have been preserved . . . . By this process long-continued . . . combined no doubt in a most important manner with the inherited effects of increased use of parts, it seems to me almost certain that any ordinary hoofed quadruped might be converted into a giraffe.
— Charles Darwin, Origin of the Species, 1859

‘The theory was accepted as gospel for decades, until researchers noticed two problems. First, no other quadrupeds underwent such a conversion: the giraffe remained the lankiest thing around. And second, the animal grazed with its neck horizontal about half the time, feeding on the same bushes and shrubs as everyone else. (As Edgar Williams notes in his book “Giraffe,” the animal is a born topiarist, “giving a manicured appearance to the savannah.”)

‘Another popular theory involved sexual selection. . . . Yet another theory, less widely accepted than the first two, posits that the giraffe’s long neck is compensation for its long legs. (You try bending down to drink on those things.) The neck’s true provenance is perhaps some combination of these theories. As Darwin wrote, “The preservation of each species can rarely be determined by any one advantage, but by the union of all, great and small.”

Slide6

‘A new paper, published today in the journal Nature Communications, addresses the issue from a genetic perspective. The lead authors of the study—Morris Agaba, of the Nelson Mandela African Institute for Science and Technology, in Tanzania; and Douglas Cavener, of Pennsylvania State University—seem less interested in why the giraffe’s neck is so long than in how and when it got that way, a question they investigate by comparing the giraffe’s genome to that of its closest living relative, the okapi. . . . [Okapi look like a cross between a zebra and a deer, but they belong to the same family as giraffes.]

‘Agaba, Cavener, and their colleagues estimate that the two species diverged about eleven and a half million years ago, fairly recently on the evolutionary time scale. By cross-referencing the animals’ genomes, the researchers were able to focus on seventy giraffe genes that show unique signs of adaptation. Fully two-thirds of these DNA snippets control aspects of development and physiology.

‘Consider, for a moment, the biomechanical quandaries involved in being a giraffe. To get blood from your heart to your brain, a vertical distance of at least six feet, requires blood pressure two and a half times higher than a human’s. Every time you bend down for a drink, spreading your front legs a little in order to get lower, the blood rushes to your head and you risk stroke. Every time you straighten up, the blood rushes back and you risk fainting. And when you’re standing, gravity causes fluid to pool in your lower extremities, which makes them swell.

Slide7

‘The giraffe manages these handicaps with a suite of anatomical innovations. Its heart is “turbocharged,” according to Agaba and Cavener, small in proportion to the animal’s over-all size but with tremendously thick walls. The veins, arteries, and capillaries are rugged, too, behaving as a kind of dampening system to prevent the blood from sloshing around willy-nilly. And the giraffe’s skin, tough and tight-fitting, performs the same task as a compression stocking. . . . The adaptations are also neurological. . . . And, if the prospect of swallowing food down such a long neck is startling, recall that giraffes are ruminants, and that whatever goes down must also come up. Their esophageal muscles are correspondingly strong.

‘The seventy genes that Agaba and Cavener’s group examined doubtless play a role in many of these adaptations, regulating which regions of the embryonic giraffe’s skeleton expand and how much, and instructing the developing vascular and nervous systems how to compensate. . . . The team is unveiling a new initiative, the Giraffe Genome Project, to continue their inquiries. In the meantime, the camel-like, rabbit-like, swan-like, ostrich-like giraffe will remain one of nature’s curiosities, its neck swaying faintly as it shuffles across the savannah.’

Read the whole article, How the giraffe got its neck, by Anthony Lydgate, New Yorker, 17 May 2016.

The quote
I had time after time watched the progression across the plain of the giraffe, in their queer, inimitable, vegetative gracefulness, as if it were not a herd of animals but a family of rare, long-stemmed, speckled gigantic flowers slowly advancing.
— Isak Dineson, Out of Africa, 1936 The paper

Read the research paper, Giraffe genome sequence reveals clues to its unique morphology and physiology, by Morris Agaba, Edson Ishengoma, Webb Miller, Barbara McGrath, Chelsea Hudson, Oscar Bedoya Reina, Aakrosh Ratan, Rico Burhans, Rayan Chikhi, Paul Medvedev, Craig Praul, Lan Wu-Cavener, Brendan Wood, Heather Robertson, Linda Penfold and Douglas Cavener, Nature Communications, 17 May 2016.


Filed under: ABS, Africa, Article, BecA, Genetics, ILRI, Wildlife Tagged: Giraffe, Morris Agaba, New Yorker

Sustainable livestock, sustainable lives: Livestock’s role in global health, equity and environment

Spotlight from ILRI news -

16LGA_Ad_SustainableLIVESTOCKSustainableLIVES

The following joint communiqué was released in Paris today, 26 May 2016, at a side media event at the General Assembly of the World Organisation for Animal Health.

An alliance of leading organizations in global livestock issues launches an advocacy brief today, aiming to bring the often overlooked sector to the forefront of solutions to global development challenges such as food security, health, economic growth and climate change.

The Livestock Global Alliance unites the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and World Bank Group (WB).

16LGA_Ad_GetTheFULLstory

Livestock account for over a quarter of the protein and 13% of the calories we consume. More than 1.3 billion people (approx. 18% of the global population) depend on livestock for their livelihood. The sector accounts for an average of 40% of agricultural GDP of developing nations, a percentage that is growing and already reaches 60% in some poor countries. Despite its enormous contribution to food security and economic growth, the sector remains underfunded, receiving less than 3% of official development assistance by OECD country members.

‘Livestock is so much more than meat, milk and eggs’, comments David Nabarro, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change.

Livestock generate incomes for small-scale farmers to send their children to school and access health care.

Livestock act as insurance against unexpected production losses and is the basis of resilience.

Livestock’s role in national economies and as a potent force for sustainable development must not be overlooked any longer.

Livestock will play a key role for meeting the Zero Hunger challenge.
—David Nabarro

16LGA_Ad_FortifyDiets

The Alliance highlights the huge potential that exists to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the livestock sector if greater investment and collaboration between actors is prioritized. For example, it is estimated that greenhouse gas emissions from livestock supply chains in many regions could be reduced by 20–30% by implementing better livestock practices.

‘We have barely scratched the surface of what the livestock sector is capable of in terms of improving the livelihoods for small-scale producers and family farmers, and, more broadly, of becoming safer, fairer and more sustainable’, comments François Le Gall, Adviser at the World Bank, and Chair of the Livestock Global Alliance. ‘Improved grazing and feeding practices, for example, as well as using livestock waste for renewable energy and fertilizer, could help us meet sustainable development and climate goals. Working with many others, we’re uniting efforts to turn livestock’s potential into reality.’

There is a huge diversity of livestock production systems, enterprises and consumption patterns all over the world. To harness livestock for the greatest good for people and the planet, it is essential to grasp this diversity in livestock practices, which require tailored interventions to achieve lasting development outcomes. On the other hand, there are some interventions of universal value, from which all countries can benefit.

16LGA_Ad_SustainableFutures

Areas for action in the livestock sector will be highlighted at the Paris event; examples include:

  • For grazing systems: Improve access to markets and related infrastructure, access to services, advice and information and, in pastoral systems, improve herd mobility, foster community engagement in sustainable management of natural resources
  • For mixed crop-and-livestock smallholder systems: Improve access to services, advice and information; increase efficiency and sustainability of natural resources management; strengthen collective actions and gender equity
  • For industrial livestock systems: Provide regulatory and market-based instruments designed to further increase efficiency, reduce negative impacts and to drive innovation for safer and more humane production

In coming months, the Alliance will continue to work closely with other organizations on collaborative initiatives supporting each of its three pillars: health, equity, and environment.

For further information, visit the website of the Livestock Global Alliance, where this communiqué is posted, along with an advocacy brief, a short animated film and other research-based information materials.


Sustainable livestock, sustainable lives: Livestock’s role in global health, equity and environment

News from ILRI -

16LGA_Ad_SustainableLIVESTOCKSustainableLIVES

The following joint communiqué was released in Paris today, 26 May 2016, at a side media event at the General Assembly of the World Organisation for Animal Health.

An alliance of leading organizations in global livestock issues launches an advocacy brief today, aiming to bring the often overlooked sector to the forefront of solutions to global development challenges such as food security, health, economic growth and climate change.

The Livestock Global Alliance unites the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and World Bank Group (WB).

16LGA_Ad_GetTheFULLstory

Livestock account for over a quarter of the protein and 13% of the calories we consume. More than 1.3 billion people (approx. 18% of the global population) depend on livestock for their livelihood. The sector accounts for an average of 40% of agricultural GDP of developing nations, a percentage that is growing and already reaches 60% in some poor countries. Despite its enormous contribution to food security and economic growth, the sector remains underfunded, receiving less than 3% of official development assistance by OECD country members.

‘Livestock is so much more than meat, milk and eggs’, comments David Nabarro, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change.

Livestock generate incomes for small-scale farmers to send their children to school and access health care.

Livestock act as insurance against unexpected production losses and is the basis of resilience.

Livestock’s role in national economies and as a potent force for sustainable development must not be overlooked any longer.

Livestock will play a key role for meeting the Zero Hunger challenge.
—David Nabarro

16LGA_Ad_FortifyDiets

The Alliance highlights the huge potential that exists to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the livestock sector if greater investment and collaboration between actors is prioritized. For example, it is estimated that greenhouse gas emissions from livestock supply chains in many regions could be reduced by 20–30% by implementing better livestock practices.

‘We have barely scratched the surface of what the livestock sector is capable of in terms of improving the livelihoods for small-scale producers and family farmers, and, more broadly, of becoming safer, fairer and more sustainable’, comments François Le Gall, Adviser at the World Bank, and Chair of the Livestock Global Alliance. ‘Improved grazing and feeding practices, for example, as well as using livestock waste for renewable energy and fertilizer, could help us meet sustainable development and climate goals. Working with many others, we’re uniting efforts to turn livestock’s potential into reality.’

There is a huge diversity of livestock production systems, enterprises and consumption patterns all over the world. To harness livestock for the greatest good for people and the planet, it is essential to grasp this diversity in livestock practices, which require tailored interventions to achieve lasting development outcomes. On the other hand, there are some interventions of universal value, from which all countries can benefit.

16LGA_Ad_SustainableFutures

Areas for action in the livestock sector will be highlighted at the Paris event; examples include:

  • For grazing systems: Improve access to markets and related infrastructure, access to services, advice and information and, in pastoral systems, improve herd mobility, foster community engagement in sustainable management of natural resources
  • For mixed crop-and-livestock smallholder systems: Improve access to services, advice and information; increase efficiency and sustainability of natural resources management; strengthen collective actions and gender equity
  • For industrial livestock systems: Provide regulatory and market-based instruments designed to further increase efficiency, reduce negative impacts and to drive innovation for safer and more humane production

In coming months, the Alliance will continue to work closely with other organizations on collaborative initiatives supporting each of its three pillars: health, equity, and environment.

For further information, visit the website of the Livestock Global Alliance, where this communiqué is posted, along with an advocacy brief, a short animated film and other research-based information materials.


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