CRP 3.7 News

Uganda pig feed trials shows benefits of local feed solutions

Pig feed trials - diet formulationPig feed trials _ animal weighing
Research assistants chopping jackfruit (left) and weighing a feed trial pig (right) at Kamuzinda Farm, Uganda (photo credit: ILRI/Natalie Carter).

Pig production in Uganda is on the rise. The number of pigs in the country stood at 3.2 million in 2011 (based on a livestock census) from about 200,000 thirty years ago. A rise in the country’s population and incomes has triggered an upsurge in pork consumption. The per capita pork consumption of Uganda was 3.4 kg per person per annum in 2011, the highest in the East Africa region. Most of the pork consumed in the country is supplied by smallholder producers in over 1 million households, with women playing a central role in pig farming.

These figures, however, disguise challenges in the sector including diseases and parasites, unreliable markets, inadequate extension services and most importantly, poor quality and unavailability of pig feeds.

A 2013 value chain assessment conducted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) showed that irrespective of the pig system practiced, feed accounts for 60-80% of the total cost of production. Farmers frequently use crop residues, green fodder and kitchen leftovers to reduce feeding costs and in many cases supplement these with commercial or home-mixed concentrates.

Worse still, many pig farmers operate independently and are not organized into collective associations which lowers their bargaining power when purchasing feeds and when selling live animals. Additionally, the currently unregulated feed processing sector has given rise to a number of unscrupulous feed traders who produce substandard feed and use either extraneous bulking material (such as sawdust) or sell infested feed at prohibitive prices.

As part of a research intervention aimed to alleviate the feed crunch for smallholder pig producers, the University of Guelph’s Department of Population Medicine, in partnership with ILRI, started a feed trial in Kamuzinda Farm in Uganda’s Masaka District.

Led by Natalie Carter, a PhD candidate and an ILRI/University Guelph joint appointee, the six-month study tested novel pig diets using locally available crop residues and feedstuffs to determine the difference (if any) in the average daily gain (ADG) in weight of pigs fed on a silage-based ration, or a ration using local feedstuffs and if these differ from ADG of pigs fed commercial feed. Furthermore, the pilot sought to:

  • determine if feed efficiency differs by diet type
  • determine if ADG differs by breed
  • determine if ADG differs by sex
  • determine the volume of water consumed per day by local and crossbreed pigs

Pig feed trials, Kamuzinda
Natalie Carter with Joseph Serwadda and a pig trader (photo credit: ILRI).

Feed formulation
Uganda has two main rain seasons (March to June) and (September to December) during which food crops are grown and fodder for livestock is more readily available. For the rest of the year, farmers’ reliance on locally available fodder and crop residue for their pigs leaves them vulnerable.

To cater for the seasonal variation, Carter and the project team formulated two diets, a diet based on locally available resources and a silage-based diet. The local diet was based on fresh locally available ingredients (forages, fruit) and purchased feeds (fish, cottonseed, maize bran) developed with nutrient requirements suitable for crossbred pigs (implying that the local breeds would be fed higher nutrient levels than they require). These ingredients are readily available during the rainy/wet seasons.

The second diet was based on ensiled sweet potato vines and tubers (ratio 70% vines to 30% tubers to reflect work done in Kenya by ILRI’s Ben Lukuyu with nutrient requirements suitable for crossbred pigs. The vines and tubers were purchased from the local growers in Masaka and Luwero districts.

The two feed diets were then tested on 90 pigs, half of which were the local pig breed and the other half, crossbreed pigs.

Preliminary results revealed that though pigs fed on commercial feeds (off-the shelf, pre-packaged feed) performed better, there was considerable weight gain among the pigs fed on the locally formulated diets (local and silage diets). The feed trial further confirmed that low-cost balanced diets can be developed to meet the nutrient requirements of pigs on smallholder farms. The findings will help many Ugandan smallholder farmers who struggle with finding the right quantity and quality of feed for their pigs.

More information:

Filed under: Animal Feeding, CGIAR, CRP37, East Africa, Feeds, Intensification, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains

A review of environmental impact assessment frameworks for livestock production systems

This study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, reviews the currently available tools for and approaches to assessing the environmental impacts of livestock production systems.

The demand for food from animal sources is expected to double by 2050, driven by population growth, urbanization and rising incomes. Demand in developing countries will account for the major part of the increase in both production and consumption of animal products.

As a result, competition for land and water is likely to be fierce, with potentially profound outcomes for both the environment and food security. Furthermore, it will be imperative to limit agricultural expansion into vulnerable ecosystems to avoid irreversible changes in the resilience of agroecosystems. Thus, a large part of the demand must be met by the “sustainable intensification” of agriculture.

There are many frameworks and methods for evaluating the environmental sustainability of farm systems. However, few of these initiatives are concerned solely with livestock systems, and these tend to focus on one or two areas rather than address all potential livestock-related environmental impacts.

Hence, to fully capture these impacts, a multidimensional framework is needed to underpin environmental impact assessments of livestock production, and of livestock value chains.

The authors aim to identify the key parameters included in sustainability or impact assessment methods, and whether these parameters differ between different sectors and objectives. The study concludes with recommendations on what features are necessary for developing a successful and comprehensive environmental assessment framework for livestock production.

Download the report

Filed under: Cattle, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, Environment, ILRI, Livestock, LSE, Research, Systems Analysis, Tanzania, Targeting

Stakeholders meet to develop Forages for Africa program

Participants of the Forages for Africa meeting

On 26-29 Jan 2015, a “Forages for Africa” meeting was held at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University in the UK. The meeting, organised by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and IBERS brought together partners around the Forages for Africa initiative. Participants included researchers from Colombia, the UK, and Central and East African countries, and key sponsors and donors.

The Forages for Africa program responds to the increasing demand for meat and dairy produce in East Africa by enhancing livestock productivity. It aims to introduce well-adapted tropical forages into crop-livestock farming systems and thereby enhance the quality, volume and availability of livestock feeds. It will ensure that the introduction of new farming methods is culturally sensitive and adaptable, particularly in respect to the role of women in small-holder farming.

The long-term impacts of these activities include:

  • increasing smallholder farm incomes by offering farmers enhanced productivity and competitive products at market
  • improving environmental health through both animal and human consumption of enhanced products
  • regeneration of degraded land by means of progressive and sensitive introduction of forage species

The development of the Forages for Africa program has been well-received in principle by a range of national and international organisations but until now, no formal request for funding has been made.

Feeds and forages are important and have a direct impact in the entire livestock production system. They can increase the quality and quantity of meat and dairy produce and affect the amount of methane emitted from ruminants. The Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program feeds and forages flagship aims to address the various animal feed and forages challenges in specific target countries.

From the Livestock and Fish Program, Tom Randolph, program director, Amos Omore, value chain coordinator for Tanzania, Michael Peters, CIAT representative for the Livestock and Fish program whose mandate is on forage research and An Notenbaert, Systems Analysis for Sustainable Innovations Flagship leader as well as one of the workshop organizers, participated at the event. ILRI’s Jean Hanson and Sita Ghimire (ILRI-BecA) also participated at the event.

Filed under: Africa, Animal Feeding, CIAT, CRP37, Feeds, ILRI

Linking farmers to value chains in Uganda

Originally written by Jo Cadilhon in the Humidtropics blog:

Mukono pig farmer Regina Nasamba and her children

Last week (3-6 March 2015) the Humidtropics, Dryland Systems and Aquatic Agricultural Systems CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) met in Ibadan, Nigeria for the International Conference on Integrated Systems Research. The purpose of these three ‘systems’ CRPs is to identify and make the most of the complex intertwined nature of the agricultural production, marketing, and natural resources management systems to contribute to reducing poverty, improving incomes, nutrition and the status of women and other marginalized groups in humid tropical, drylands and aquatic ecosystems.

The preliminary results from my own systems research in the humid tropics of Uganda came out too late to be submitted to the conference but they also demonstrate the integrated nature of the agrifood system. Together with my agricultural economist colleague Emily Ouma from the Uganda office of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and local partners from Shoreline Services Limited, we have been undertaking research into the factors influencing the successful inclusion of small farmers in modern value chains around the Lake Victoria Basin area in Uganda. This research is being funded by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) as part of a research grant on inclusive value chains.

Taking a marketing perspective to the problem, we surveyed a total of 300 farmers in the Lake Victoria Basin of Uganda producing either cooking banana (the staple food for that part of the country), pigs (Ugandans are the biggest consumers of pork meat in all Sub-saharan Africa as measured by quantity eaten per person per year) or aquaculture fish (a growing enterprise for smallholder farmers with appropriate land and water resources).

The farmers’ sample was divided equally into farmers who are producing for an identified customer on the one hand and farmers who try to sell their produce whenever they need to and to whomever they find willing to purchase it on the other hand. Our preliminary findings identify the factors that have an impact on whether farmers are linked to an identified value chain or not.

Read the full article

Filed under: CGIAR, CRP12, CRP37, East Africa, Livestock-Fish, Pigs, Systems Analysis, Uganda, Value Chains

Livestock and Fish Program 2015 review and planning meeting goes virtual

This week, the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish is holding a virtual review and planning workshop. Initially conceived as a single conference, this has been rendered into an online format that will operate across time zones.

Part 1 happens this week deals with a review of the Livestock and Fish program work, of the context within which it operates, of opinions relating to key design features, and recommendations for research questions, approaches, model changes and theories of change.

Part 2 will happen later, and will deal with the first stage generation of ideas for Phase 2 of the program, and specific planning for the completion of the proposal preparation and submission.

Tom Randolph introduces the meeting:


Filed under: CRP37

Influencing policy on the pig sector and broader livestock sector policies in Vietnam

The International Livestock Research Institute’s projects in Vietnam are contributing to influencing policy on the pig sector and broader livestock sector policies in Vietnam in a number of ways. Below are some examples:

  1. Recommendations contributed to the draft ntional strategy on animal breeding development (PM’s Decree 10/2008 QD-TTg)

In the first draft of the strategy, the Department of Livestock Production (DLP) paid most attention to large scale farms and considered that as the only solution to develop the livestock sector with higher productivity and better disease control. The Center for Agricultural Policy/Institute for Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (CAP/IPSARD) together with ILRI, in the project Improving the Competitiveness of Pig Producers in an Adjusting Vietnam Market, developed a Vietnam pig sector modeling (VPM) showing that smallholder pig producers still play important roles in domestic supply of pigs in the next 10 years. Based on evidence generated by the project, such as income elasticity and market share, as well as the consumer demand and preference of products from the traditional and small-scale pig production, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development leaders paid greater attention on smallholder pig producers. The latest Decision 50/2014/QD-TTg issued by the Prime Minister on 4 September 2014 expressed government support to strengthen the efficiency of smallholder pig producers during 2015-2020.

  1. Contributions to the annual ‘Agricultural Outlook’ conference organized by CAP/IPSARD

Various ILRI products have been used in the annual Agricultural Outlook Conference, organized by CAP/IPSARD since 2007. The Outlook Conference gathers policy makers, researchers, international donors and representatives of agribusiness, farmers and local authorities. In the Outlook Conference, CAP/IPSARD and ILRI provided research results on the forecast of per capita demand of pork, income elasticity and consumer preference, especially in case of animal disease and their policy implications to improve efficiency and quality of the pig value chain in Vietnam.

  1. Improving the Competitiveness of Pig Producers in an Adjusting Vietnam Market policy brief

The policy brief provided policy guidance based on empirical evidence on the key strengths and weaknesses of Vietnam pig production, with details on two main types of production systems i.e. modern and traditional. Policy recommendations from the project results focused on three key aspects: efficient and bio-secured production system, “cluster” model for distribution and marketing system, and upgrading value chain to improve market accessibility of smallholder pig producers in Vietnam.

  1. Restructuring plan of the livestock sector toward 2030 (Decision No 984/QD-BNN-CN)

The CAP/IPSARD’s team contributed to the preparation of the restructuring plan of Vietnam’s livestock sector. Key findings of the updated Vietnam pig sector modeling (VPM) contributed significantly in the proposed policy in the plan, specifically the main finding on smallholder pig producers still being an important supply source in the pig sector and would receive policies (such as in food safety and pork quality issues) the policies to reduce animal feed price (e.g. increase planned area of maize, prompt to spread GMO maize species) would also help to improve efficiency of pig production of both large and small farms. Supporting policy to create the technological changes in the traditional and small-scale pig sector will also help to reduce prices, maintain market shares, and have pro-poor impacts.

Contributed by Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, vice director of IPSARD (IPSARD has partnered with ILRI on various projects).

Filed under: CRP37, ILRI, Pigs, Southeast Asia, Value Chains, Vietnam

Linking small dairy producers to dynamic markets: Three business models from Kenya

In November last year, the Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program commissioned an external evaluation of its value chain approach. One of the evaluators’ main concerns was that Livestock and Fish researchers had spent their time analysing how the livestock and fish value chains were working from an economics perspective but little work had been done on characterizing successful business models for farmer’s group organization and value chain governance, which are more likely to lead to more meat, milk and fish by and for the poor.

Livestock and Fish has started taking this business development angle with research on existing dairy hubs in the Tanzania value chains. This post aims to keep the ball rolling on this topic of business models for linking smallholder livestock farmers to dynamic markets by an overview of three dairy marketing business models that I visited last year in Kenya.

There was a flurry of dairy knowledge sharing events in Kenya late last year. The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) organized the African Dairy Value Chain Seminar from 21 to 23 September. This was followed by the Annual dairy conference of the East and Southern Africa Dairy Association (ESADA) from 24 to 26 September. And from 27 to 29 October, more dairy experiences were shared at the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture.

All three events also involved field trips to meet stakeholders in the Kenyan dairy value chains. So in the course of one month, I was able to hear about three different dairy business models linking smallholder dairy farmers to dynamic markets. I felt all three were successful to foster market access. This blog post summarizes the lessons I have learned from these three quick field visits in terms of 1) models for smallholder inclusion into value chains, 2) encouraging investment into dairy value chains, and 3) gender roles and empowerment in African dairy value chains.

Lower Eastern Dairy Association

Youth milking on a dairy farm in Machakos, Kenya

Youth milking on a dairy farm in Machakos, Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Brad Collis)

This is an alliance of 18 dairy cooperatives and farmers’ associations covering the three Southeastern Kenyan counties of Machakos, Kitui and Makueni. The alliance was initiated in 2013 and represents around 2500 individual dairy farmers in Machakos and Makueni counties. They wanted to develop a network of milk collection and processing centres closer to their farms and a market outlet which they could control, rather than relying only on the collection networks of the large dairies to distribute the 10000 litres of milk they currently produce every day. The County Government of Machakos is supporting this initiative and helping the farmers to organize themselves, get trained on technical and managerial skills, and facilitating a multi-stakeholder dairy innovation platform to connect them with input suppliers and other interested parties of the dairy value chains. By recruiting more producers in the three counties, the Association has the potential to supply 40000 litres of milk per day, thus becoming an important institutional player in the region’s dairy market.

Eldoville Dairies Ltd

African Dairy Value Chain Seminar field visit

Lucy Karuga (left) the proprietor of Eldoville farm (photo credit: ILRI/Dorine Odongo)

Founded in 1985 in the Karen District of Nairobi by Mrs Lucy Karuga to add value to the milk produced on the family farm, Eldoville Dairies Ltd has now focused its business on the processing of milk. It transforms up to 5000 litres of milk per day into high-value individual-portion size butter, cheese and yoghurts for international-standard hotels and airline catering service providers. The fresh milk is sourced from 1000 smallholder dairy farmers rearing three to four Friesian or Ayrshire cows per farm, mainly located in Nyandarua, 160 km from Nairobi. At the time of the field visit, the farmers deliver the milk to the Ol Joro Orok collection centre where it is chilled before being transported to the Karen processing plant. Because the focus of the company is on processed products, it takes great care to make sure its suppliers deliver milk with above-average protein and fat content.

Ol Kalou Dairy Public Limited Company

 Ol Kalou Dairy Plant

The main building at the Ol Kalou Dairy Plant (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu)

After an initial investment in 2005 by Heifer International, this dairy collection enterprise located in Nyandarua District has been funded by the investments of private shareholders. The Ol Kalou dairy currently operates two collection centres (capacities 27000 and 35000L/day) and chills the milk of 6000 suppliers, mosty smallholders. The dairy also provides technical support and services to its farmer-suppliers to maintain milk quality. Its main customer is the large-scale Daima dairy located 150 km away in Nairobi. Milk prices paid to suppliers vary with market rate but are on average 38 Kenyan shillings per litre. Farmers pay milk transporters KES 3/L for the transport service to the dairy.

Lessons learned linking Kenyan smallholder dairy farmers to dynamic markets

  Lower Eastern Dairy Association Eldoville Dairies Ltd Ol Kalou Dairy PLC Smallholder inclusion Members of the Association are 18 primary dairy cooperatives and farmers’ associations, thus including smallholder dairy farmers who are the majority of the 2 500 individual cooperative members. Supplies milk from a network of 1 000 carefully selected farmers who raise their dairy cows on pastures, thus increasing the fat and protein content of the milk.Pays premium price of KES 43/L of milk.Provides training on feed and farm management to maintain suppliers’ milk quality. Majority of 6 000 suppliers are smallholder farmers.Provides technical support and training to suppliers to help maintain milk quality.The company is investing into more collection centres so as to source milk from more smallholders. Encouraging investment The Association’s business plan has attracted funding from the Machakos County Government who has bought a pasteurizer for the Association and is encouraging farmers to invest collectively with the help of private banks to materialize their business plan. Continued demand in the niche market of high-value processed milk products for hotels and catering services has led Eldoville Dairies Ltd to invest in a processing factory located in the dairy production area 160 km away from Nairobi and due to start operating in 2015. Some shareholders of the company are suppliers but there are also non-farming investors who come from the local community around Ol Kalou. Although the latter now live in Nairobi or even abroad, they have invested in the dairy to help develop their local community.The customer Daima Dairy has helped the Ol Kalou dairy invest in refrigeration tanks. Gender roles and empowerment 1/3 of the seats on the Association’s executive committee are reserved for women. The company’s general manager is a woman who pays specific attention to the gender balance in her workforce. At the start of the venture, men were the official suppliers of the dairy although women were tending to the cows on the farms.Now half of suppliers are women, four board members out of 13 are women and many women in the community are self-employed as milk collectors. Contact for further information Mr Joshua Wambua, Manager, Lower Eastern Dairy Cooperative Association jshwambua [a] Mrs Lucy Karuga, Founder and General Manager, Eldoville Dairies Ltd lucy [a] Mr John Kamau, Extension Manager, Ol Kalou Dairy kimkamaa [a]

I constructed this table from the information gathered from very rapid field visits. Further research is needed to gather more evidence of the performance of these three models.

Which model is best adapted to which configuration of farmers’ groups, distance to market, agro-ecological zone? Which model would be the strongest in the face of possible fluctuations in fodder availability and market prices? Which model is easier to set up and operate for the smallholders and their value chain partners? How can women and other marginalized groups be given a more prominent role in decision making in these models?

This is the type of research that scientists involved in the Livestock and Fish dairy value chains of India and Tanzania could be implementing to address the recommendation from the external evaluation on its value chain approach. Collaboration on this with researchers working in the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets is likely to be fruitful to help groups of dairy farmers and their value chain partners choose the most appropriate business model for their operations.

Jo Cadilhon, Senior Agricultural Economist, Policy, Trade and Value Chains Program, ILRI

Filed under: Africa, CRP2, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, Innovation Systems, Kenya, Markets, Opinion Piece, PTVC, Value Chains, Women

Capacity development for sustainable food security: Role of public private partnerships

Dairy farmer girl in Punjab, India

Capacity development and public private partnership are hailed as global policy priorities in the draft sustainable development goals outcome document and the UN secretary general’s synthesis report provides guidance on what sustainable development should look like and what world leaders must do over the next 15 years to achieve it. After two years of crafting the ‘what’, the year ahead must focus on how to get it done.

Feeding the world’s growing population in a sustainable and inclusive way with good quality food is one of the main goals of the value chains approach-based CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish.

Malnutrition affects one in two people globally including 162 million children under the age of five who are stunted (i.e. have low height for age) and two billion people who are deficient in one or more micronutrients. The task of securing food and nutrition worldwide is multidisciplinary and access to food, food distribution and food production are equally important and cannot succeed independently.

In much of the world, investments in food security are mainly channeled through national policies and centralized negotiations, but priorities could be better set, and decisions made, within a more participatory democratic approach of public private dialogue between elected representatives, grassroots civil society, youth, women, farmers, herders and traders and other players.

Experiences from the corporate sector reveal that 50-70% of partnerships fail prematurely. While partners often have goals in common, they also have individual objectives that do not necessarily complement one another. In addition, partners may have a variety of capacity-related differences, conflicting priorities and interests that present obstacles to effective collaboration (The Broker Online, 2014).  This can result in ineffective or even failed interventions, which can be avoided and addressed by first carrying out pro-poor public private partnership assessments such as those being developed and tested by the Livestock and Fish program in Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Integrating multiple perspectives early in the process of identifying context and priorities is essential for successful collaborative arrangements and interventions. Also, to extend services to the poor, governments and partners need to adopt pro-poor policies and put in place regulatory regimes to effectively and consistently coordinate and oversee the achievement of poverty alleviation targets, whether delivery is by the public or the private sector.

Governments, in close consultations with stakeholders should define these targets, make necessary regulatory changes and build them into contracts with appropriate incentives for private operators and other non-state providers to meet service delivery targets to improve value chains and enforce penalties for failure (UNDP/PPPSD, Visser and Brandes, 2011).

Another area for government engagement is in providing an enabling business environment for creating business incubators and networks. Governments should not only be a source of regulation and policy formation, but also encourage judicial reform and procedural justice in administrative processes (such as property rights).Where private institutions are weak, governments should encourage and assist businesses in preparing for complying with global accreditation standards. Investments should be geared towards improving financial literacy of entrepreneurs, their ability to draft business plans should complement business training and specific technical support to engineer growth in value chains and unreliable supply chains should be firstly assessed and supported.

Governments cannot deliver a sustainable future alone. The (corporate) private sector has an important role to play in accelerating innovation and diffusing technologies.

Private sector involvement should not focus exclusively on the big agribusinesses, but should also invest in smaller-scale, less sophisticated methods of delivering added value that suit small agricultural and women-led businesses (SMEs) such as storage, transport, tools, processing equipment, ICT services, micro-finance and knowledge transfers, and which focus on geographical integration processes to stimulate efficient food distribution.

According to the African Development Bank, the majority of SMEs in Africa operate informally, with nine out of 10 rural and urban workers in Africa engaged in informal businesses. While formalization can help weed out businesses with little growth prospects and the small firms that have the potential to raise their productivity and number of employees, the reality is complex. SMEs often face the choice between complying with high regulations and incurring costs,which threaten their viability or remaining informal, which in turn, prevents them from being eligible for credit and makes them vulnerable to corrupt public authorities.

Access to finance remains one of the biggest challenges for SME growth. More flexible finance models such as private equity, credit lines and collateral registries allow entrepreneurs to take risks and tap into new funding opportunities, in addition to traditional bank lending. Pairing business management capacity development interventions with designing investment plans is key to foster local enterprise growth. Investing in SMEs could lead to a giant leap for economies but much remains unclear about where to invest and how investments in SMEs (and to those with innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit) could be more effective in triggering increased productivity, better employment opportunities and higher skilled work. Linked to this also is data and information management to support decision-making for value chain sustainability and accountability that includes the citizenry and which clearly identifies commitments, roles and responsibilities of all the stakeholders.

Improving value chains performance is high on the agenda of Livestock and Fish country value chain programs. public-private partnerships, as a collaborative interface, are (formalized) multi stakeholder approaches that identify stakeholders with a significant interest in value chain programing, allowing for mutual trust building and understanding to accommodate different roles, responsibilities, interests, joint design and co-delivery of research for development work.

Partnerships are not ends in themselves; they are parts of a chain leading to development of sustained capacity to deliver in and across five flagship projects of Livestock and Fish. In the longer term their success builds on the engagement and (capacity) strengthening of organizations and actors in education, training, consultancy and research who have a crucial role in sustainable development. This systemic, long-term perspective ensures focus not only on strengthening the transformational capacity today, but incorporates actions that seek to endow a capacity to continue to adapt, grow and innovate for tomorrow’s challenges.

Insufficient technical capacities to engineer growth in value chains and unreliable supply chains have been two key reasons for limited successes in SME promotion by (African) governments. Especially in the start-up phase of SMEs, public organizations can assist public private partnership arrangements in facilitating knowledge for the design of complementary production systems, adaptation and innovation of technologies and regulation of supply chains. Incorporating SMEs into large businesses, completely or in parts of their value and supply chains offers opportunities for them to benefit from corporate training by the parent company.

Business and capacity development services facilitate SMEs growth by:

  • Pairing of financial support, advice in drafting business plans, assessing market access and business operations is crucial to ensure that business growth is not hampered by a lack of expertise or resources;
  • Supporting cooperation between the private sector, research organizations and higher educational and training institutions in curriculum design and delivery and labour market placement to counteract mismatch of skills required.
  • Establishing cooperation with local institutions for technical vocational and educational training to stimulate more direct private sector engagement. Successful entrepreneurs can provide inputs to curricula, hold guest lecturer positions and offer internship opportunities to students;
  • Co-designing innovative educational practices, such as automated education services via mobile technology or massive open online courses (MOOCs) can bridge gaps in access to education and quality teaching. But MOOCs in particular have high entry barriers, ranging from insufficient Internet access to language barriers and lack of prior knowledge. A shift from broad-based training to targeted support for talented individuals (champions) with entrepreneurial spirit may be more useful (The Broker Online, 2014).
  • Innovative and cost-effective alternatives for SME learning and training can be barter systems or workers’ associations that provide trainings for informal businesses. Digital business networks can provide another low-cost option for SMEs to increase their capacities and establish relations with other businesses.

Follow me on twitter @DianaBrandes

Filed under: Capacity Development, Capacity Strengthening, CapDev, CRP37, Ethiopia, Food Security, ILRI, Partnership, Tanzania, Value Chains

Reviews highlight successes and challenges of Tanzania dairy innovation platforms

Dairy innovation platform members in Ubiri village, Lushoto

Dairy innovation platform members in Ubiri village, Lushoto, Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Niels Teufel).

Recent reviews of capacity building training of dairy innovation platforms in Tanga and Morogoro in Tanzania highlight key opportunities and challenges in improving dairy production in the country.

The reports assess the outcomes of training programs held in December 2014 and January 2015, targeting dairy innovation platform leaders in the two regions to enhance their capacity and understanding of the functioning and usefulness of innovation platforms established by MilkIT, one of the projects under ‘Maziwa Zaidi’, the Tanzania dairy value chain development program.

Executive committee members of eight village innovation platforms established under the project in four districts in Morogoro and Tanga regions were trained.

According to the review, challenges such as access to veterinary services and inputs can be addressed if innovation platforms are elevated beyond the village, to the district to make them attractive to a more diverse group of value chain actors. Most platforms consist mainly of producers because they are based at the village level, widening their scope could potentially help them incorporate more players such as researchers, extension officers, farmer organizations, private enterprises, NGOs and policymakers.

Successes were reported in Kilosa District where the platform in Mbwade has addressed water challenges by digging two wells after linking its work with an iWASH initiative. This platform has succeeded in creating ownership among members who contribute to meet costs of running the platform. Elsewhere, the Twatwatwa platform, also in Kilosa, has successfully worked with stakeholders to build wells and water troughs to provide household and livestock water needs. This platform has also included women in its operations and given them leadership positions and is improving extension services and reducing land conflicts between farmers and livestock keepers by being involved in grazing land demarcation initiatives.

To make the platforms sustainable, the reports say, members need to have access to financial services, which can be achieved by attracting actors in the finance sector and members should be trained as para-veterinary extensions to, in the short-term, address unavailability of veterinary services in most areas. The report also calls for support to the platforms to help them exploit existing markets to increase milk production through, for example, setting up of more milk collection centres.  Maziwa Zaidi projects should continue training and monitoring the platforms and ensuring clear exit strategies for long-term sustainability of the dairy platforms.

Read the full reports for Morogoro and Tanga.

Filed under: Africa, Animal Feeding, ASSP, Capacity Strengthening, Cattle, CRP37, Dairying, Feeds, ILRI, Innovation Systems, Livestock, Research, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains

Fish value chain assessment in Bangladesh paves the way for future interventions

A woman showing fish caught from pond in Khulna, Bangladesh. Photo by M. Yousuf Tushar. April 16, 2014 WorldFish scientists and partners have commenced a fish value chain assessment and social and gender analysis of some of Bangladesh’s most important farmed fish species for poor consumers and producers: tilapia, rohu carp, silver carp and mola.

The field assessment with smallholder fish farmers is being implemented in six communities across three districts in the southwest of Bangladesh, where aquaculture is a major source of livelihood, income, and food and nutrition security.

The project will use a new set of value chain assessment tools, which integrate in-depth gender and social analysis. This approach will enable the future design of potentially gender transformative “best-bet” interventions that enhance fish value chains and improve the participation of and benefits accruing to women.

During the first phase of the assessment, four-day focus group discussions will be held with separate groups of men and women fish producers. Later in the year other value chain actors, such as fish retailers, will be included in the assessment to gradually build a complete picture of the sector.

After the data collection stage, the focus group transcripts will be analyzed with the goal of identifying opportunities for improvement through gender integrated best-bet interventions in the tilapia, rohu, silver carp and mola value chains.

In addition a manual will be developed describing the tested tools as well as the process for data analysis and formulation of best-bets. The manual will be made publicly accessible as a tool for wider use outside the program.

The assessment is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish’s research for development interventions in Bangladesh to strengthen the aquaculture sector, increase incomes especially among poor value chain actors, and provide affordable, safe and nutritious fish for the country’s poor and vulnerable consumers.


Filed under: Aquaculture, Asia, Bangladesh, CRP37, Fish, Research, South Asia, Value Chains

Refining the Livestock and Fish Ethiopia small ruminants value chain change pathway

On 9-12 February 2015, the Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program organized a Theory of Change (ToC) training workshop in Nairobi in order to increase the understanding of the Theory of Change and start implementation of a pilot ToC-based Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) approach. Tanzania smallholder dairy and Ethiopia small ruminants value chains were selected to implement the pilot approach and change pathways for projects in these value chains.

After the Nairobi training workshop, a follow-up workshop was held in Ethiopia on 3-4 March 2015 and was facilitated by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team . The follow-up workshop objectives were to:

  1. Arrive at a common understanding of the Theory of Change approach, especially for scientists and partners who were not at the Nairobi workshop
  2. Revisit and review the change pathway developed for the Ethiopia small ruminants value chains
  3. Validate and refine the change pathway developed for the Ethiopia small ruminants value chains

Workshop participants included both value chains scientists and other actors/partners.

On the first day of the workshop, I gave a recap of the Theory of Change concept and approach, highlighting clear distinctions between ToC and several other MEL methods. I specifically stressed that Theory of Change was an approach and not a tool for monitoring and evaluation.

Barbara Rischkowsky, the Ethiopia small ruminant country coordinator then gave a brief background review of all stakeholder engagements that have been aimed at developing a value chain change pathway and how these previous actions had contributed to the current change pathway. She then guided participants through the current program change story highlighting what the program does with other actors/partners, the key short term changes and intermediate term changes needed to achieve the vision.

Workshop participants were then divided into 2 groups to review the change pathway developed in Nairobi. The review process required focusing on the value chain vision, re-examining the contextual factors associated with the change story, re-assessing the program’s sphere of influence, identifying important missing actors/partners and assessing how these actors will change for the vision to be achieved. The validation process also involved critical examinations of expected changes and eliminating gaps (“leaps of faith”). A lot of new information was generated in the process. The first day ended with a discussion on how generated ideas would be integrated in the change pathway.

The second day started with combining changes from the two working groups to develop a final and agreed upon value chains change pathway, identifying key assumptions associated with the change pathway and developing key evaluation questions associated with the changes. Michael Kidoido, M&E scientist with the MEL team provided a brief review of how to formulate assumptions. With the assumptions for short term changes in place, the team then focused on developing a template for designing evaluation questions and planning data collection methods and tools. A generic format for doing this was agreed upon. By the end of the second day, the change pathway below was agreed upon.

Livestock and Fish Ethiopia small ruminant value chain generic change pathway diagram

It was agreed that Michael and I should continue working on the change pathway, further developing and refining the assumptions and suggesting key evaluation questions. A meeting with a smaller group of the participants to discuss data collection methodologies associated with implementing the baselines was also scheduled.

Keith Child, MEL team impact assessment and learning scientists

Filed under: Africa, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, ICARDA, ILRI, Impact Assessment, LGI, Livestock, Small Ruminants, Targeting

New biogas plant improves waste management in Kampala pig abattoir

Danilo Pezo of ILRI engages project staff and partners at the handover of a biogas plant at Wambizzi (photo credit: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Wambizzi, the only pig abattoir in Uganda is located in Nalukolongo, west of Kampala city and handles up to 150 pigs a day. It supplies a large proportion of the pork consumed in the city. But the facility has long been dogged by environmental issues stemming from poor waste management and excessive use of firewood for heating. Until recently, waste from the facility was dumped into a stream that flows through the neighbourhood or incinerated in a waste pit attracting the ire of neighbours and city authorities.

‘We have had a couple of run-ins with the Kampala Capital City authorities because of complaints about our waste disposal in the stream and the stench polluting the environment,’ says Justine Nabukeera, an executive committee member of the Wambizzi Pig Cooperative Society which manages the abattoir.

But things are changing. Projects led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partners are improving waste management at the Wambizzi abattoir as part of wider efforts to improve pig production and pork marketing in the country.

On 25 February 2015, a newly-constructed biogas plant was handed over to the Wambizzi cooperative as one of the outputs of the smallholder pig value chain projects in Uganda. Construction of the plant was funded by Irish Aid through the ‘More Pork For and By the Poor’ project and by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) through the Safe Food, Fair Food project, both or which are implemented by ILRI in collaboration with Makerere University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity. The plant was constructed by Green Heat, a private contractor in Uganda.


Newly constructed biogas digesters at Wambizzi Pig Cooperative society abattoir will produce gas for heating (photo credit: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

The biogas plant comprises three flexible balloon digesters with a capacity of 10 cubic metres each. These transform waste (blood, dung, water and animal parts) from the pig slaughterhouse into methane gas that is then used for heating the water required for scalding the pig carcasses. The effluent produced from the digesters is being assessed for its value as an organic fertilizer for crops like maize, rice and beans.

According to the managers of the abattoir, reduced use of firewood is one of the immediate benefits of having the biogas plant. The facility previously spent between UGS 10,000 and 20,000 (USD4 – 8) daily on firewood for heating water, which sometimes went higher in times of firewood scarcity or during crackdowns on illegal timber sales.

‘It is much easier to heat water now because we have this plant,’ says Thomas Kasule, a treasurer at the cooperative, ‘and the gas also heats water faster which saves time and costs almost nothing.’

Read about the process of constructing the abattoir in this related blog article.

More on City abattoir gets biogas plant.

Filed under: Agri-Health, Article, CRP37, East Africa, Food Safety, FSZ, ILRI, LGI, Livestock-Fish, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains

Improving fish health management in Egypt

Hatchery workers harvest Abbassa nile tilapia from a hatchery in Egypt. Photo by Heba El-Begawi, 2013 Already the tenth largest aquaculture producer in the world, Egypt is striving to intensify the country’s production of farmed fish, particularly tilapia, to meet growing demand.

Tilapia currently represents more the 70% of the total aquaculture production in the country and is an affordable source of food and nutrition for Egypt’s poor.

Despite its rapid growth and success, over the last five years the aquaculture sector has experienced increasing challenges with competition for water. Reuse of agricultural water for fish culture, intensification and possibly changes in weather, have led to significant increases in the number of fish mortalities reported by farmers.

This has led to considerable economic losses and is in turn affecting the quantity, quality and prices of fish in the market.

Fish diseases are challenging to prevent and control, and the resulting poor performance of farms is having a negative impact on investment and expansion of the aquaculture sector. There is an urgent need to clearly understand the causative agents and risk factors for such unusual mortalities in order to develop risk reduction interventions in the form of better management practices.

To help address the issue, WorldFish hosted a seminar on “Fish Health Management”, organized in partnership with the feed company Skretting, on 16 December 2014 at WorldFish’s Abbassa Research Center in Sharkia, Egypt.

The meeting brought together more than one hundred participants including fish farmers, hatchery owners, aquaculture experts, researchers, consultants and equipment suppliers.

In his opening speech, WorldFish Egypt Country Director, Dr. Gamal el Naggar explained how since 1998 WorldFish research and training activities have played an important role in contributing to the success and development of the Egyptian aquaculture sector.

Around 1,600 scientists and development professionals have been trained at the Abbassa facility since 1998, and during 2012-2014 WorldFish facilitated the training of around 2,000 fish farmers on best management practices.

The training project also produced a series of Best Management Practice videos that teach farmers the importance of pond preparation, feed management, water management, fish health care, and postharvest treatments – all of which are essential for culturing productive and healthy fish.

Mr. Ayman Rostom, Skretting Egypt General Manager, presented the history of Skretting emerging as an international fish feed producer, while Dr. Arjen Roem, Skretting’s Technical Manager for Africa, gave two presentations emphasizing the importance of best management practices for fish health management, and the role of supplemented diets in reducing fish stress and enhancing performance in ponds.

Recognizing the importance of this emerging challenge, WorldFish is working together with public and private sector partners and increasing its research focus on fish health, not only in Egypt but across it’s program countries where fish is a staple source of food, nutrition and income.

The seminar was organized as part of the Improving Employment and Income through Development of Egypt’s Aquaculture Sector project, which is part of the CGIAR Research Project on Livestock and Fish.

For more information on the technical presentations by Skretting, please contact: Arjen Roem (

Filed under: Africa, Animal Health, Aquaculture, CRP37, Egypt, Fish, Middle East, North Africa, Research, Value Chains, WorldFish

Guiding the Livestock and Fish gender capacity assessment and development process

 GenderIn 2014, the International Livestock Research Institution (ILRI) undertook a survey with partners in targeted Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program value chains in four countries (Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Nicaragua) to ascertain their gaps in gender capacity related to integrating gender into agricultural programming. In all four countries, the primary obstacles to integrating gender included lack of financial resources, lack of staff training and lack of appropriate gender tools. The results from the survey motivated the Livestock and Fish Program to commission a more systematic gender capacity assessment.

The  gender capacity assessment and development guide for the CGIAR research program on livestock and fish has now been published.

The objective of the gender capacity assessment and development guide is to guide the process of analyzing the current gender capacities against desired future gender capacities of the program’s partners in four value chain countries (Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Nicaragua), and to subsequently design tailor-made capacity development interventions per country.

Gender capacity assessment (CA) is a key step because it:

  1. Identifies gender capacity gaps along the value chain
  2. Fosters a discussion around priorities for actions in the context of specific impact pathways
  3. Identifies opportunities for investments and leveraging capacity development activities with partners
  4. Provides a starting point for the formulation of a gender capacity development responses
  5. Establishes baselines and indicators for capturing learning, measuring, monitoring, and evaluating progress in capacity development
  6. Supports comparative analyses of gender capacities across value chains and countries

The results of the assessments should lead to the formulation of capacity development responses so as to increase the ability of the different Livestock and Fish Program partners to effectively and efficiently perform functions, solve problems, and set and achieve objectives in a gender responsive manner.

The guide aims to facilitate gender capacity assessment and development of ILRI’s research and developmental partners who currently support joint delivery of outputs of the Livestock and Fish Program or who could be potentially involved.

The guide which has been developed with Transition International and the International Livestock Research Institution (ILRI).

Download the guide

Filed under: Capacity Development, Capacity Strengthening, CRP37, Gender, Value Chains

ILRI’s experience with the Crop and Goat Project in Tanzania from a gender perspective

This paper synthesises ILRI’s experience with the Crop and Goat Project (CGP) in Tanzania from a gender perspective.

Some findings were identified which are worthwhile pursuing in future similar projects. For example, access to and control over assets and the products and proceeds gained from them increased the independence of male and female household members as they can now make decisions with little dependence on resources of others.

The project has also been able to positively improve some of the key domains of gender empowerment, i.e. asset ownership, decisions-making ability and authority, independence, improved sense of worth, willingness and ability to question one’s status and capacity to negotiate relationships and change labour patterns.

Furthermore, the use of gender analysis in design, implementation and evaluation stages helped in providing an
understanding of the complexity of gender relations and labour organization and how they shape household strategies and power dynamics, and subsequently the differential impact of the project on different members of a household.

Finally, the various project activities have helped to clarify the need for new participatory approaches, i.e.
empowerment framework and pathway, to define a multi-level empowerment conceptual framework including a
carefully determined targeting strategy (like working with women’s and special interest groups and youth, but also
ensuring the engagement with men and boys), set empowerment goals, translate the framework and goals into a
pathway, identify indicators of change, and assess success of projects in enhancing change, all in a participatory fashion.

Download the paper

More outputs from this project

Filed under: Africa, Crop-Livestock, CRP37, Dairying, Gender, Goats, ILRI, LGI, Livestock, Research, Small Ruminants, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains, Women

Dairy hubs in Tanzania: Ensuring smallholder farmers participate in the value chain

A cow is milked in Tanga, Tanzania.

Faustina Akyoo, a small-scale dairy farmer in Tanga, Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

Smallholder farmers in Tanzania are straining to keep up with a fast-moving dairy industry to avoid being marginalized by changes in competition patterns, consumer preferences and markets requirements. In 2014, Roselynne Muchichu completed a master’s thesis looking at the ‘sustainability of dairy development in Tanzania: adoption of a participatory market chain approach system.’ It looked at factors that would facilitate or impede adoption of the dairy hub model by farmers, input providers and milk traders and recommended interventions to ensure increased participation by small-scale actors in the dairy value chain.

The Tanzania government, in partnership with the Irish government-funded ‘MoreMilkIT’ dairy development program, is aiming to implement dairy market hubs in the country to increase milk production to meet an increasing demand. The program brings together Sokoine University of Agriculture, Faida Mali, Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI), Heifer International, Tanzania Dairy Board, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and other partners.

By targeting rural producers who predominantly sell milk to rural consumers and commercial rural producers who sell milk to urban consumers, the project will set up dairy hubs in Kilosa, Mvomero, Handeni and Lushoto districts to improve informal markets and market actors’ capacity to upgrade value chains contributing to higher quality and safer dairy products for consumers.

Muchichu’s study evaluated factors influencing adoption of the dairy hub model by assessing patterns of its use by dairy chain actors in Tanzania. Ninety-six participants (65 input providers and 31 traders) from the three districts took part in the study, which analysed the adoption, construct measures, attitudes and opinions of respondents.

She found that market dynamics are key in influencing adoption of dairy hubs. Value chain actors are more likely to favour dairy hubs if these help resolve problems of access to markets, address storage and transport challenges and increase access to credit for producers. Traders are motivated by incentives such as sales volume, payment guarantee and business networks, while incentives such as sales volume, payment guarantee and improved access to larger markets were found to attract input providers to the program, though there is uncertainty on whether perceived access to larger markets will sustain their participation in the hubs, considering increased profits may not be realized immediately.

Her findings indicate that the participation of smallholder farmers in markets can contribute to higher output and income growth, which in turn can enhance food security, poverty reduction efforts and overall economic development. Business development approaches should be aimed at all value chain actors, including smallholder farmers so they are able to tackle market factors to strengthen the links in the value chain.

She also recommends that engagement approaches likely to influence high participation of smallholders, input providers and the private sector be used to increase ownership in the program and ensure its sustainability. The study also calls for collective action towards liberalizing output and input markets, access to services, market information and new technologies.

The success of the country’s dairy sector, she says, also depends on how well challenges such as poor infrastructure, overlapping government and private sector roles, land tenure and use, agricultural extension and innovation are addressed to ensure smallholders benefit.

Download her thesis.

Related articles

Tanzania Dairy Development Forum improves dairy management by widely sharing information

Building a dairy innovation platform: Lessons from Tanzania

Dairy Development Forum established to further more inclusive dairy development in Tanzania

Filed under: Cattle, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, ILRI, Integrated Sciences, LGI, Livestock, Markets, Report, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains

Workshop explores the future of fish in Bangladesh

Aquaculture projects in Khulna, Bangladesh. Photo by Mike Lusmore/Duckrabbit, 2012.

Aquaculture projects in Khulna, Bangladesh. Photo by Mike Lusmore/Duckrabbit, 2012.

Fish is a staple food and key source of nutrition and income for the people of Bangladesh, whose population will reach more than 185 million by 2030.

This growing demand for fish will place unique stresses on Bangladesh’s ‘fish food system’, which covers three distinct sources – inland fisheries, aquaculture and marine capture fisheries.

To develop future scenarios of the country’s fish food system, a two-day workshop (31 January – 1 February 2015) organized by the Department of Fisheries Bangladesh and WorldFish brought together experts across diverse fields including fisheries, aquaculture, nutrition, gender and trade.

“The Future of Fish in Bangladesh” workshop explored how the supply, demand and trade of fish may change over the next 10 to 20 years based on observed trends and drivers of change, such as sea level rise and population growth.

The scenarios developed by participants will contribute to the analysis of future supply and demand for fish products, and the role of fish in food and nutrition security in Bangladesh.

This analysis will be undertaken through two key WorldFish projects that facilitated the event.

Part of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, the ‘Aquaculture and the poor: improving fish production, consumption and nutrition linkages’ project aims to secure the supplies of, and access to, farmed fish for vulnerable consumers – particularly women and children.

Funded by GIZ, the project will generate gendered fish consumption patterns and communicate to key stakeholders the technological, institutional and policy innovations that support the sustainable and equitable development of fish value chains.

The USAID-funded Enhanced Costal Fisheries (ECOFISHBD) project, part of the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems, will improve the resilience and governance of estuarine ecosystems and the livelihoods of communities that depend on Hilsa fisheries – the largest single species contributor to fisheries production in Bangladesh.

Increasing the availability and affordability of animal source foods, including fish, for poor consumers in the developing world is a core focus the Livestock and Fish program. This is particularly important for the people of Bangladesh, of whom more than 30% live below the poverty line.


Filed under: Aquaculture, Asia, Bangladesh, CGIAR, CRP13, CRP37, Fish, Research, South Asia, Value Chains, WorldFish

Livestock and Fish Independent External Evaluation holds inception meeting in Kenya

The CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish evaluation teamThe Livestock and Fish program’s external evaluation, managed by the Independent Evaluation Arrangement (IEA), kicked off with an inception meeting in Kenya from 1-7 February. The evaluation team is composed of experts with a broad range of experience. The team is led by Brian Perry, a veterinarian and epidemiologist and includes: an expert on livestock policy (Anni Mc Leod), animal genetics and organizational development (Ed Rege), social, institutional and policy aspects of livestock development (John Morton), fish genetics and aquaculture (Rex Dunham), animal nutrition (Peter Udén) and governance and management (Felix von Sury).

The evaluation team was joined by Rachel Bedouin, head of IEA and Sophie Zimm, IEA evaluation analyst, which began with an internal meeting outside of Nairobi to discuss the inception report and together develop the approach and methodology of the evaluation. Afterwards they spent three days at the ILRI campus, where they met with ILRI senior management as well as Livestock and Fish program management unit and research leaders. The meetings at ILRI provided an opportunity for getting a better overview of the program, and assisted in refining the scope and methods to address the specific aspects of the CGIAR Research Program.

The team is scheduled to finalize the inception report by mid-March, to be followed by the inquiry phase (scheduled to be completed by end of August), which will include field visits, documentation review, interviews and a survey of Livestock and Fish researchers. The evaluation will review the overall portfolio of the program in addition to selected case studies and in-depth analysis of important aspects of the program.

For more information on the evaluation visit: Independent Evaluation Arrangement or contact Sophie Zimm (sophie.zimm(at)

 Article contributed by Keith Child and Sophie Zimm

You can learn more about the Livestock and Fish program Independent External Evaluation(IEA) on the Livestock and Fish Independent External Evaluation page or follow my blog posts on the Livestock and Fish website.

Filed under: CGIAR, CRP37, Impact Assessment, LGI

Developing a monitoring and evaluation process for the Livestock and Fish program

A Theory of Change (ToC) training workshop was held on 9-12 February 2015 in Nairobi. The workshop aimed to ensure a common understanding of theories of change and how they can be used for planning, critical reflection and accountability in the Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program. It also aimed to develop change pathways for projects in the smallholder dairy value chain in Tanzania and the small ruminants value chain in Ethiopia.

The workshop was attended by the Livestock and Fish program team members working on the technology flagships (Animal Health, Genetics, and Feeds and Forages) and the Systems Analysis for Sustainable Innovations flagship.

Tom Randolph, Livestock and Fish program director, said that the workshop would be useful in helping the program develop a Monitoring and Evaluation system that says how we should be evaluated, how we deliver our development outcomes and get a coherent monitoring and evaluation system. He stressed the importance of capturing program learning and using this to systematically challenge and improve the program’s work. It is important for us to test our research in order to identify the best practices, Randolph added.

The first day of the workshop was focused on the conceptual overview of what ToC is, and how it differs from and complements existing planning systems, as well as monitoring and evaluation processes. Days 2 and 3 focused primarily on the application of the concepts to develop the first four stages of the theory of change process for pilot countries (Tanzania and Uganda).

The Theory of Change process for planning and accountability

Day 4 was for the pilot teams to further refine their Theory of Change plans and set up a protocol to set dedicated baselines for future monitoring and critical reflection.

Participant feedback about the workshop included:

  • “understanding the difference between outputs and changes for real people and perhaps thinking critically about our role in contributing to changes for people”
  • “Putting emphasis on continual self questioning and reflection and moving away from focus on activities”
  • “great facilitation – lively workshop”

Plans going forward

The next steps will be preparation for piloting the Ethiopia and Tanzania value chains and to implement a pilot process for the Animal Health, Genetics, Feeds and Forages and the System for Sustainable Intervention flagships.

With contributions from Isabel Vogel and Maureen O’Flynn, workshop facilitators

Filed under: CRP37, Impact Assessment, Targeting, Value Chains

How the Livestock and Fish program selects project sites in its focus countries

Site Selection in Bihar, India

Catherine Pfeifer (right) with stakeholders during a CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish site selection process in Bihar, India (photo credit: ILRI).

The CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, which is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), has been implementing improved site selection procedures to better determine, and focus, its activities for impact in the next 10 years. In 2014, two sites were selected in each of the three value chain countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso and India.

We spoke to Catherine Pfeifer, a spatial analyst in ILRI’s Livestock Systems and Environment Program, about the approaches used.

According to Pfeifer, the approach of selecting project sites is very effective because it brings together ‘the right constellation of partners’ demands and willingness to contribute.’ It also ensures that ‘we go to the right locations and that stakeholders are enthusiastic about the start of project activities.’ It also helps in targeting the dissemination of research outcomes, she said.

The procedure, which is applied in the same way in all the 9 value chains in the program’s target countries, generally follows three steps (see how Ethiopia did it; and Vietnam).

In step one, the ILRI geographic information system (GIS) team looks at the data and evaluates where livestock keepers and livestock consumers are and maps out their status in terms of poorer, less poor, more livestock and less livestock. This information differentiates domains, from which the domains containing poor households with livestock are selected to meet the Livestock and Fish program’s objective of ‘more meat, milk and fish by and for the poor’.

Step two involves organizing stakeholder workshops where the different stakeholders identify other variables to consider in selecting the sites. They define their areas of concern for a more holistic starting point. This stage captures, through a participatory process, information that the global data sets may not be capable of mapping. This step also aid in ‘buying in’ stakeholder involvement and forging partnerships. Issues such as the level of social capital are also identified at this stage.

Site Selection in Burkina Faso

Stakeholders ranking sites during a site selection process in Burkina Faso for the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish (photo credit: ILRI/Catherine Pfeifer).

All the potential sites are then ranked. In Burkina Faso, for example, the stakeholders were given a matrix of potential sites, the criteria they had defined themselves and a park of a hundred sweets. The group was asked to decide where to put the sweets and to, in the process, negotiate. The entries with the highest number of sweets were considered more important.

‘Numbers will never be able to tell as much as a stories. The more you zoom in on maps, the more data becomes irrelevant and stories become important’

However, stakeholders also have their own dynamics that affect their choices or rankings. To address this, step three involves groundtruthing. This is a cross-checking step where the site selection team goes into the fields to select the three to five most promising sites depending on how many they need in a country. During these visits, they talk to individuals in the community and collect data to make the selection context and environment specific.

‘In the face of all these, a concern arises on how much weight to give stakeholders, how to involve them and the need for science and diversity in carrying out assessment and it is a thin line,’ admits Pfeifer. ‘To address these concerns, Pfeifer says researchers need to ‘balance between the qualitative and quantitative data they obtain’.

The qualitative data gives context to the quantitative data because, by themselves, ‘numbers will never tell as much as stories.When you scale down in maps at the global scale, the more you zoom in the more data becomes irrelevant and stories become important.’

Pfeifer further mentions that although this site selection procedure may appear to ignore the science, it embraces diversity and creates room for wider stakeholder involvement. For example in India, the program ended up with two sites in the same agro-ecological zone in neighbouring districts, but with very different livestock value chains.

Related stories

Filed under: Africa, Asia, Burkina Faso, CRP37, ILRI, India, Integrated Sciences, Interview, LSE, Research, Systems Analysis, Targeting, Value Chains, West Africa