CRP 3.7 News

Bringing piggery to the fore: ILRI partners with private sector to train 150 smallholder pig producers in Uganda

Pig farmer Capacity building in Masaka, Uganda
Daniel Joloba of Enterprise Uganda facilitates a training session on group leadership and governance (photo credit: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Pig production is a major source of livelihood to over 1.1 million households in Uganda. The pig is revered by many smallholder farmers because of its high productivity and lower capital and labour intensity as compared to other livestock species; most pig farmers highlight the ease with which the pig can be converted to  cash to meet urgent domestic financial needs such as school fees and inputs for crop production.

The numerous benefits of this enterprise notwithstanding, piggery continues to be looked down upon in most smallholder communities in Uganda. Pigs are commonly kept in the backyards, fed mainly on food scraps and farm residue and not considered as a business worth its salt. Worse still, many production and marketing challenges abound; farm inputs and services (like extension) are costly, feeds expensive and in many cases substandard, and markets unreliable.

The Livestock and Fish pig value chain program in Uganda through the Irish Aid-funded MorePORK project is piloting a pig business hub model that is expected to enhance access of pig farmer to business development services as well as technical support to participating farmers. At the centre of the hub shall be collective marketing by farmers that will enable them to negotiate better prices for their pigs and an array of auxiliary farm input and service enterprises that they will be able to access on a check-off arrangement.

To be able to optimize the benefit of this hub though, there ought to be a shift in the smallholder farmers’ knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding pig production to embrace this enterprise as a profitable business. Several business capacity gaps have been identified such as poor record keeping, financial planning and management.

It is to this end that the MorePORK project has engaged Enterprise Uganda, a specialist in capacity building for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to conduct a series of entrepreneurship and business management trainings that will benefit 150 pig farmers in Kabonera and Kyanamukaaka subcounties of Masaka District.

Starting July till December 2015, the trainings target leaders and members of nine pig producer groups and shall comprise the following packages;

  1. Sensitization and awareness of target beneficiaries;
  2. Business diagnostic
  3. Entrepreneurship training and attitudinal reorientation
  4. Farming as a business
  5. Savings and investment
  6. Mentoring and counselling for group leaders and individuals members
  7. Business leadership and governance
  8. Business linkage development between the Kyanamukaaka-Kabonera hub and any other interested pig processors and/or bulk buyers.

The trainings are expected to catalyse the intensification of pig production by both individual farmers and the primary producer groups. Specific focus shall be placed on youth and women who will create a vibrant network of a new breed of highly motivated entrepreneurs ready to start and expand their agribusiness enterprises. These will collectively participate in the business activities of the hub and share in its benefits.

Filed under: Africa, Capacity Strengthening, CapDev, CRP37, East Africa, ILRI, LGI, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains

Participatory epidemiology and gender training in Ethiopia to overcome animal diseases

ILRI Communications:

Livestock and Fish small ruminant program in Ethiopia organizes training on animal diseases epidemiology and gender.

Originally posted on Africa RISING:

Group photo

From 15-19 June 2015, the Livestock and Fish research program and Africa RISING held a training course in Addis Ababa on participatory epidemiology and gender.


Infectious diseases have a huge impact on productivity in smallholder livestock systems and repeatedly come up as major constraints in household surveys.

In Ethiopia this is not only true for Africa RISING sites, but has been mentioned in sites of different project or programs where ILRI has been involved.

To better understand what these main livestock disease constraints are, how they affect different members of households, and how much men and women farmers know about their transmission, a training on participatory epidemiology and gender was put together by ILRI and ICARDA staff.

The training targeted veterinarians and researchers at the national agricultural research institutes affiliated with the Livestock and Fish CRP program sites and with sites of the Africa RISING project. This…

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Filed under: CRP37

How theories of change contribute to Livestock and Fish research monitoring

Theories of change have become part of the landscape of CGIAR research programs – also the program on Livestock and Fish.

Livestock and Fish is a complex program characterized by multiple projects spread over a vast geography currently covering nine countries (value chains).

Its delivery of research and development outcomes depends on the creation of pro-poor technological innovations (product lines) and strategic collaboration with a diverse set of actors (researchers, development actors, governments and donors) to facilitate uptake of the innovations at scale.

Recognizing the program’s complexity, a different sort of results-oriented monitoring and evaluation framework is required.

In this report, Keith Child and colleagues share  the program’s experience with a theory of change (ToC) approach to monitoring and evaluation.

Download the report

Filed under: CGIAR, CRP37, Fish, ILRI, Impact Assessment, Livestock, Livestock-Fish, Report, Research

Livestock and Fish program signs partnership agreement with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Jimmy Smith signs the agreement; Livestock and Fish director Tom Randolph look on

Recently, ILRI director general Jimmy Smith signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement between the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish.

According to program director Tom Randolph, this is a key milestone in the evolution of the program, adding strong academic expertise to the existing livestock and fish research for development partnership.


The agreement was earlier signed by SLU’s Vice-Chancellor Lisa Sennerby Forsse.

SLU Vice-Chancellor Lisa Sennerby Forsse with Professor Ulf Magnusson


In the coming two years SLU will contribute with expertise in the area of heard health but also investigate the possibilities of deepening the cooperation in the areas of animal genetics and feed and forages.

More on the SLU Global web site

Filed under: Animal Health, CGIAR, CRP37, Directorate, Feeds, Forages, ILRI, Partnership, SLU

Livestock and Fish announces 2 CGIAR-US universities linkages projects

As in previous years, USAID has provided $US 107,800 to promote linkages between the livestock and fish research program and United States universities.

The program’s management team selected two projects to receive funding in 2015:

1. Exploring spin-off technologies from second generation biofuel research investments for up-grading ligno-cellulosic matter for feed

The project is led by Michael Blϋmmel (ILRI) working with Farzaneh Teymouri (Michigan Biotechnology Institute).

It aims to utilize spin-offs the multi-billion dollar investment into second generation bio-fuel technologies  to upgrade ligno-cellulosic biomass for animal feeding. Specific objectives are:

  • Conduct an in depth review of process steps in second generation biofuel technologies potentially useful for animal feeding namely
    • Optimization of collection and transportation high volume –low density biomass
    • Pre-treatments to make ligno-cellulosic biomass more accessible to enzymatic hydrolysis
    • Identify steps that (while having no impact on ethanol production) could jeopardize use of treated ligno-cellulosic biomass in the production of animal source foods
  • Test one second generation biofuel technology already identified as potentially useful under laboratory conditions
  • Collect, prioritize and synthesize material for the preparation of a larger scale proposal to upgrade ligno-cellulosic biomass for animal feeding.

2.Use of Point of Care technology to enhance disease diagnosis in the smallholder pig value chain in Uganda

The project is led by Michel Dione (ILRI) working with Thomas Graham (Veterinarians Without Borders), Corrie Brown (University of Georgia) and local collaborators Michael Apamaku (Uganda National Agricultural Research Organization), Charles Masembe (Makerere University) and Rose Ademun (Uganda National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre).

The project will pilot and validate animal health and disease diagnostic tools that are easy to perform and inexpensive to better determine the burden of disease along the pig value chain in Uganda and provide sustainable mechanisms for continuing surveillance and enhancing animal and human health. It will work with  inexpensive and robust cell-phone based technologies for ELISA interpretation and parasite identification that have been developed by Veterinarians Without Borders and the University of Georgia. They have used fluorescent polarization assays for Brucella diagnostic work in Iganga and have available assays for tuberculosis and classical swine fever which are inexpensive ($1/test) rapid (minutes/test) systems that are easily applied at the community level using battery operated devices and uploaded through a cell phone or WiFi based system.

Filed under: Animal Diseases, Animal Feeding, Animal Health, Feeds, ILRI, Research, Value Chains

Policy incoherence in smallholder dairying in Bihar, India

Fodder for dairy cattle in Bihar

Smallholder dairying plays an important role in the socioeconomic development of Bihar state in India.

While several organizations exist for dairy development in Bihar and there is an increase in investments and interventions in this sector during the last one decade, these are yet to contribute to increasing milk productivity.

A new paper maps the existing innovation capacity of the smallholder dairy sector through an analysis of patterns of interaction among the various actors and identifies the major institutions and policies that currently constrain development of improved capacity for innovation.

The paper argues the need for addressing the policy incoherence in the smallholder dairy sector in Bihar through
organization of a multi-stakeholder policy working group which focuses on ways of addressing policy gaps, enhances
capacities for policy implementation and facilitates policy learning.

Download the report

Filed under: Animal Feeding, Asia, Cattle, CRP37, Dairying, ILRI, India, Policy, South Asia, Value Chains

Livestock and Fish getting to grips with small ruminant diseases in Ethiopia

Taking sheep for disease testing in Bako, Ethiopia

Mrs Diriba and her family live in a small village in the Horro woreda, in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Like many other highland sheep farmers, they worry a lot about the poor growth, particularly about losing animals to infectious diseases. Poor reproductive performance and high lamb mortality are huge problems for sheep farmers.

Reducing the prevalence of diseases would greatly improve their lives. Enough to encourage Mrs Diriba and her daughter to walk their sheep to a meeting point where they would be met by researchers from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Herd Health team, the Bako Agricultural Research Center, and a University of Addis Ababa MSc student funded by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

After waiting for the researchers to take blood samples from two rams and two ewes, Mrs Diriba patiently answered questions on a range of issues, including animal husbandry, feeding, clinical signs in animals, and health problems of family members.

To understand which pathogens affect productivity, particularly reproduction, and to determine how common these are in sheep, the researchers have collected serum samples from sheep from 120 households in three districts in Ethiopia, Horro, Bonga and Menz. Approximately half of these households have been participating in community-based breeding programs managed by ICARDA/ILRI in the Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program.

Testing sheep for diseases in Bako, Ethiopia

Clinical assessments undertaken during sample collections showed high prevalence of respiratory diseases and diarrhea in young animals, including acute cases typical of Pasteurellosis, and severe cases of liver fluke. The collected samples are now being tested for a range of pathogens. As farmers regularly handle breeding animals, the laboratory analysis also includes testing for a range of zoonotic diseases such as brucellosis, toxoplasmosis and chlamydia.

The findings of this study will help develop a health program for breeding animals and target future interventions in sites of Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program in Ethiopia. This will help ensure the sheep and goats of famers like Mrs Diriba are in better health in the future and contribute to better lives through livestock.

Post by Barbara Wieland with Mourad Rekik, Barbara Rischkowsky, Aynalem Haile, Azeb Gebretensay

Filed under: Africa, Animal Diseases, Animal Health, ASSP, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, ICARDA, ILRI, Sheep, Small Ruminants, Value Chains

Forages, sustainable intensification, and food security in the tropics

Improved forages in Vietnam, for boosted beef production. Image: CIAT

Small-scale livestock farming in the tropics can become more intensive yet sustainable if more and better forage is used to feed the animals being reared.

This could benefit farming endeavours in rural South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, and see a move away from the increased reliance on grain-based feeds, say scientists at CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture) and Thomas Rudel of Rutgers University in Springer’s journal Ambio.

Rudel and his associates at CIAT argue that the “LivestockPlus” program could be a way forward by increasing the use of forages to feed livestock, which is often reared on small farms, in the tropics. Its agricultural research and extension efforts help to intensify in sustainable ways the management of forage grasses and legumes, shrubs, trees, and animals.


News item: Food for thought: Use more forages in livestock farming

Full article: LivestockPlus: Forages, sustainable intensification, and food security in the tropics

Filed under: Animal Feeding, Article, CIAT, CRP37, Feeds, Forages

ILRI review assesses dairy development successes and failures in Tanzania

Delivering milk to a collection centre in Tanga, Tanzania.
A farmer delivers milk at a collection centre in Tanga, Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

Despite having 22 million cattle and having the second largest cattle population in Africa, most of the milk in Tanzania is sold and consumed with limited or no value addition because of high production, processing costs and poor infrastructure.

The most outstanding characterization of the dairy sector in the country is that most milk is sold in informal markets which are highly fragmented. Currently, there are about 70 privately owned milk processing units utilizing only about 30% of their processing capacity with less than a thousand litres a day on average.

In 2014, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) carried out a ‘Review of successes and failures of dairy value chain development interventions in Tanzania’, to identify the best interventions and strategies to pilot that are pro-poor, gender-sensitive and environmentally sustainable.

Dairy stakeholders including experts, policy makers, researchers, farmers and processors were interviewed to determine the successes or failures of past dairy development in terms of inclusiveness, timeframe of innovative interventions and other measures aimed at poverty reduction.

Overall, the review concludes that dairy interventions in the country so far have been successful but there is still a long way to go in ensuring competitiveness and inclusiveness.

Areas that require attention include creation of a supportive regulatory framework for business to thrive, research on feeds especially to overcome scarcity in dry seasons and establishing a suitable model for improving access to inputs and services especially for breeding and health and credit services. Building farmer groups to work together to exploit economies of scale and learn from each other will help cut production costs and enable them to access services.

The review also called for interventions that can be used to grow the dairy sector which includes formulation of a dairy development master plan with a long term vision to guide the sector.

The review was carried out as part of the ‘More Milk in Tanzania’ project funded by Irish Aid and delivered in close collaboration with Sokoine University of Agriculture, Heifer International, Faida Mali and the Tanzania Dairy Board.

Filed under: Africa, CRP37, East Africa, ILRI, LGI, Livestock, Markets, Research, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains

A progress review of the smallholder pig value chain project in Uganda

Pig in Mukono, Uganda
The Livestock and Fish program in Uganda targets smallholder pig value chains in five districts (photo: ILRI/Danilo Pezo).

When the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish set out to transform the pig value chain in Uganda in early 2012, it was hard to conceive how much could be achieved within five years.

For a start, the policy environment in the country was not very favourable: The national Livestock Development Strategy and Implementation Plan drawn by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries did not consider the pig industry as a priority. The social landscape was quite prejudicial against pork consumption and the media often reported half-truths relating pork consumption to disease, psychological disorders and other undesirable health conditions.

Three years on, after much dedicated research, public and private-sector partner engagement and practical interventions along the pig value chain, the program’s initiatives have started to bear fruit. The Smallholder Pig Value Chain Development (SPVCD) project helped producers address feed constraints by formulating pig feeds using locally available feed resources and improving pig health by designing protocols to control Africa Swine Fever. The associated Safe Food, Fair Food project improved pork safety through research on prevalence and control of the Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) and training of farmers, slaughterers and pork inspectors.

To improve market access for farmers, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and its local partners have championed the formation and registration of seven pig farmers’ cooperative societies that help farmers to collectively market their pigs and jointly access inputs and services. A feasibility study on the set up of a pig business hub in Kabonera-Kyanamukaaka sub county of Masaka District was carried out to find ways to improve access to affordable pig business inputs and services for the smallholder producers and enhance business opportunities for other value chain actors like input service providers, transporters and pig traders.

At the slaughter node of the value chain, the SPVCD project has undertaken a feasibility study for the setup of a centralized pig abattoir in Masaka District and a business plan for this facility. Elsewhere, the Irish Aid-funded More Pork project has facilitated the setup of a biogas plant at Wambizzi Pig Cooperative, the only formal centralized pig abattoir in the country, as a pilot study on waste management at the slaughter node.

The multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) initiated in 2014 by ILRI in partnership with SNV continue to gather momentum. Having identified feed constraints as the major impediment to pig production across the country, the interim committee of the national MSP has engaged the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industy and Fisheries to advocate revision of the feeds policy to strengthen the enforcement of quality standards of pig feeds.

To extend local capacities, ILRI and its local partners have developed a series of training manuals for the pig value chain that addresses information and knowledge gaps on different aspects of pig husbandry. The seven modules cover:

  • pig feeding
  • parasite control
  • boar management
  • African swine fever control
  • pig management
  • marketing and institutional strengthening, and
  • pig business planning and financial management.

Both the public and private sectors in Uganda are gradually embracing the pig value chain as a vehicle for social and economic transformation. At a recent value chain strategic implementation and planning meeting, held 14-15 May 2015, it was revealed that Fresh Cuts, a commercial meat processor, is to set up a separate pork production and processing line to meet the growing demand for pork products in the country.

The Uganda government is reviewing its development strategy to incorporate piggery among it priority enterprises for investment. The National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) for instance, has included pig husbandry among its research priorities and at the district level, pigs are now considered among the top priority livestock species alongside cattle and poultry. In Masaka District, the local government has partnered with the Chinese government and 55 entrepreneurs to boost livestock value addition particularly in pork processing.

The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Makerere University has restructured its curriculum to ensure that all agriculture students are taught livestock (including pigs) for the entire four-year degree course. Development organizations like ADINA Foundation in Lira and Devenish Nutrition in Hoima are implementing piggery projects with the latter setting up a pig breeding centre to supply smallholder farmers with proven breeding animals.

All this effort came together at the recent planning meeting where stakeholder envisioned their joint efforts leading to ‘an efficient, all inclusive and sustainable pig value chain for safe and affordable products, contributing equitably to improved livelihoods in Uganda’.

More on Uganda pig value chain development

Filed under: CRP37, East Africa, Livestock, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains

Improved small ruminant value chains in Ethiopia focus of new Livestock and Fish project

Smallholder family with sheep in Doyogena

In April this year, the International Agricultural Research for Development agreed to co-finance a three year project to improve the performance of pro-poor sheep and goat value chains for enhanced livelihoods, food and nutrition security in Ethiopia.

The project is led by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) partnering with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR).

The project emerged from recent work by ICARDA and partners to identify the key opportunities to transform small ruminant value chains in the country.

The project will improve livelihoods and assets, particularly of women, through increased incomes, reduced risk and improved market access in selected sheep and goat meat value chains. It will do this by testing appropriate approaches and strategies to increase herd productivity, producers’ income, and meat production.

The four project components are:

  1. Analysis of sheep and goat value chain performance, governance and institutional frameworks.
  2. Design, implementation and evaluation of technology and institutional intervention and integrated intervention packages to improve value chain performance.
  3. Facilitation of an enabling environment for value chain transformation and for upscaling interventions.
  4. Design and implementation of data and knowledge management systems and a communication strategy to document and share evidence, outputs and lessons as a basis for upscaling.

By the end of the three year period, the project will have produced the following outcomes:

  • Sheep and goat value chain performance, governance and institutional frameworks in Ethiopia understood and policy-makers made aware of constraints for sectoral growth and of gaps in institutional support
  • First set of interventions adopted by target producers, both women and men, and ready for up-scaling through a network of development partners developed by the project.
  • Dissemination of evidence and lessons learned and feasibility study on the possibility of up-scaling the interventions.

The project will be launched with partners on 8 June 2015.

More information

Barbara Rischkowsky, ICARDA, b.rischkowsky [AT]

Updates from the program in Ethiopia

Program updates on small ruminant value chain development


Filed under: Africa, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, Goats, ICARDA, Livestock, Sheep, Small Ruminants, Value Chains

Setting priorities and plans for the Livestock and Fish smallholder pig value chain program in Uganda

ILRI Uganda Strategic Implementation and Planning Meeting

Participants discuss ideas and plans to improve the value chain project

Last week (14 and 15 May), key actors and stakeholders working in the smallholder pig value chain value chain met up in Kampala to review progress and set out plans and priorities.  Discussions were organized around the program’s five flagship activities.

The introductions revealed a good mix of participants from national and local government, research, academia, the private sector, extension and service delivery groups, advisory and training institutes, NGOs, slaughterhouse and processing as well as farmer organizations.

Self-review session at the ILRI Uganda pig value chain planning meeting

Contributing to the collective review process

A participatory self-review of the past 15 months generated a graphic representation of the program’s various activities, results and products in the past year.

Some of the highlights included:

  • Implementation of the Irish Aid support ‘more pork in Uganda’ project, expanding the existing project to two new districts.
  • Completion of the IFAD-supported Uganda smallholder pig value chain development project.
  • Launch of a new project on silage from sweetpotato to overcome seasonal feed shortages (with the CGIAR research program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas).
  • Development and production of 7 pig production training manuals (with various public and private partners).
  • Animal health diagnosis and biosecurity work, especially on ASF
  • Carried out feed assessments in four districts and associated forage trials.
  • Published various reports and articles on the insights gained by project staff and partners.
  • Supported Masaka district develop a business plan for a new slaughterhouse to be owned by local farmer associations (see a presentation).
  • Set up and facilitated the operations of 3 district and one national multi-stakeholder pig platforms.
  • Carried out a gender capacity assessment of local implementing partners.

Before moving into planning, outgoing ILRI country representative Danilo Pezo gave an update on the conclusions and recommendations of the external review team that visited the country last year (see presentation). No major changes of course were called for but several specific recommendations around capacity development and entrepreneurship, partner capacities and policy linkages, among others, are being addressed. Participants identified several very promising country-level developments in terms of new projects and greater attention by (local) government and research to the sector.

The planning itself took up much of the remaining time and involved all participants in a rapid ‘visioning’ of the whole program in 2023 followed by in-depth planning of the coming few years work. As the pig and pork sector grows and as the program and other partners attract attention to the sector, it is clear that several very urgent interventions need to be made to 1) ensure year-round feed-security for pigs, 2) deliver appropriate genetic support and artificial insemination services to farmers, 3) upgrade slaughter facilities, 4) address the wider pig health challenges (beyond ASF), 5) address potential health, waste and environment risks in the sector, 6) reinforce the fod security, nutritional and income generation potential of pig rearing for women, and 7) upgrade business and other capacities in the pig innovation system.

The workshop concluded with installation of a national steering committee for the pig value chain program and launch of the seven training manuals.

The steering committee members are:  Nicholas Kauta (Ministry of Agriculture), Loyce Okedi (NaLIRRI), Henry Nsereko (VEDCO), Lawrence Mayega (Masaka Local government) and Denis Mpaire (Makerere University). This team will be expected to help push the the policy agenda for the pig value chain at the national level and work hand in glove with the pig Multistakeholder platforms in elevating the visibility and voice of the pig value chain and its actors.

Finally, Brian Kawuma introduced the training modules; they are:


This work has been anchored around two value chain transformation projects funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (2012-2014) and Irish Aid (2014-2016), a dedicated food safety project funded by the German government and various other specialized projects looking at animal feeds and forages and animal diseases – especially African swine fever (ASF). See more updates.

Filed under: Africa, ASSP, CGIAR, CRP37, East Africa, ILRI, LGI, Livestock, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains

Livestock and Fish pays tribute to the gender transformative work of Paula Kantor

Paula Kantor (Worldfish) planning Livestock and Fish flagship research

Paula Kantor at the 2014 Livestock and Fish program review meeting

The tragic loss of Paul Kantor during a terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday 13 May have left many of her colleagues in the development world and friends with great sadness.

Paula who joined CIMMYT in February 2015 as a senior scientist (gender and development specialist), was leading CIMMYT’s ambitious new project to empower and improve the livelihoods of women, men and youth in wheat-based systems of Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Pakistan.

Prior to joining CIMMYT, she worked with WorldFish from 2012 and was the WorldFish gender flagship focal point for the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish. Paula passionately supported the Livestock and Fish gender strategy on gender transformative approaches. Her passion and commitment to integrate gender and positively transform the aquaculture value chains to benefit poor men and women in these value chains will be remembered by all who interacted and worked with her.

Paula was absolutely the epitome of a CGIAR scientist through her commitment to excellence in her science and her commitment and patience to improving the quality and meaningfulness of the work done with her colleagues and partners. And what a delightful person. This is a huge loss for us, and I can’t begin to imagine what it is for her circle of family and friends. Tom Randolph, Livestock and Fish Program director.

Her commitment to improving the livelihoods of women in some of the world’s most impoverished regions will be her legacy. Paula’s passing is a loss to the whole development community. Stephen Hall, WorldFish director general.

Energy, commitment and integrity are words that only begin to describe the astute gender and development expert and colleague that Paula was. She was one of a kind and will be sorely missed by those who were fortunate enough to have known her. Maureen Miruka, CARE USA and Livestock and Fish Science and Partnership Advisory Committee member.

Paula brought to the Livestock and Fish gender team the excitement and wisdom of a versed scholar committed to researching gender issues with and for poor farmers. She was committed to improving rural livelihoods while enhancing social and gender equity, dignity, and justice. She practiced these principles in her daily interactions with colleagues. She listened and appreciated opinions, discussed and advanced them to co-create new spaces for social transformation. To those of us who worked with her, Paula provided inspiration, mentorship and friendship. We miss her greatly in our work and life. Alessandra Galie, ILRI social scientist.

Our deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues on the loss of a great person.

Filed under: CRP37, Gender, Livestock-Fish, Women, WorldFish

New Livestock and Fish project focuses on chickens in Africa

This week, chick geneticists and researchers are meeting in Addis Ababa to set out plans and deliverables for the African Chicken Genetic Gains project. ACGG is a research-for-development partnership project working in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania.

It aims to develop public-private partnerships that will contribute improve chicken productivity to benefit smallholders. The project will test and disseminate improved breeds of chickens likely to suit the needs of farmers in low-input systems.

More …

Filed under: ABS, Africa, Animal Breeding, Chickens, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, Genetics, ILRI, Indigenous breeds, Nigeria, Poultry, Southern Africa, Tanzania, West Africa

Value chain development entry points for Tanzania’s dairy sector


Zero grazing farming in Magore village, Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI).

The livestock sector in Tanzania contributed about 6% of the country’s total GDP in 2006. But despite its importance in the country’s economy, the sector faces a myriad of constraints. The dairy market is poorly organized and is characterized by individual small-scale farmers who sell milk directly to market in small quantities and many of them lack the bargaining power associated with economies of scale.

Low access to inputs and services including breeding, feed and animal health are also key constraints. Additionally, the dairy market is unpredictable due to price fluctuations associated with seasonality of milk supply. Most farmers prefer to sell their milk to restaurants and neighbouring households which offer higher prices while the several milk collection centres in the country operate below installed capacities averaging only 30% utilization annually.

Attempts to improve dairy development in the country have fail to address these constraints because most of the approaches used are not pro-poor and do not target pre-commercial producers due to lack of evidence on the most efficient approach. Appropriate organizational models are needed to improve access to inputs and services and market access for farmers to improve their income and achieve food and nutritional security both for the producer households and for poor consumers.

The More Milk in Tanzania (MoreMilkiT) project that is funded by Irish Aid in support of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish (locally referred to as ‘Maziwa Zaidi’) is helping to address these knowledge gaps. The project is implemented by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Sokoine University of Agriculture, Faida Mali, the Tanzania Dairy Board and Heifer International.

A ‘Rapid appraisal of dairy value chains in Morogoro and Tanga regions in Tanzania’ has identified key entry points for beginning to address the above constraints through focus group discussions. It was conducted across eight villages in Kilosa and Mvomero districts in Morogoro region and in Mvomero and Lushoto districts in Tanga region.

According to the study, in extensive systems, livestock keeping is the most important source of livelihood for farmers followed by crop production and vice versa for intensive and semi-intensive systems. Pastoralists in extensive production systems have relatively good knowledge of animal diseases from oral tradition unlike their counterparts in semi-intensive and intensive systems. In the intensive and semi-intensive systems, gender roles are shared between men and women, whereas in the extensive system there is a clear division of gender roles with women spending many hours managing livestock.

Feed shortage was a common complaint as a result of scarcity of land and water and also because farmers lack knowledge in feed conservation. The study revealed that lack of knowledge on the farmers’ part is a major hindrance to the success of the dairy sector. For example, farmers need training on fodder production and using concentrates by-products of sugarcane (molasses) and rice milling (husks) which are currently not being fully utilized as animal feed.

Also, there is little knowledge on human diseases sourced from animals. Some farmers thought drinking raw milk is safe and could not link consuming raw milk to any zoonotic diseases. The study also found that women make decisions on spending income from milk sales but important decisions related to livestock are jointly made. Most farmers use bulls for breeding and there is need for training on artificial insemination (AI) to improve the quality of livestock.

The report also calls for more awareness to enlighten farmers on the benefits of collective action as a mechanism for enjoying improved access to credit services, inputs and output markets.

These constraints are now being pursued through more in-depth studies under the MoreMilkIT and other Maziwa Zaidi projects including piloting of best-bet interventions and monitoring of related outcomes.

Download the report

Filed under: Africa, ASSP, Cattle, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, ILRI, Livestock, Livestock-Fish, Markets, Report, Research, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains, Women

Livestock and Fish introduction to environmental risk analysis in aquaculture report

The report provides a brief and generalized introduction to the specific steps of an environmental risk analysis. This publication is based on materials covered and outputs generated during the workshop on Risk Assessment Methodologies and Tools for Aquaculture in Sub-Saharan Africa, which was jointly held by WorldFish and FAO in Siavonga, Zambia on 28 June–2 July 2010 with funding from FOA and the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish.

The workshop was delivered as a training exercise to 17 participants from seven sub-Saharan countries and was designed to highlight current methodologies and tools available for environmental risk analysis in aquaculture development.

A key focus of the workshop was to encourage participants to consider hypothetical but realistic scenarios and to discuss issues relevant to evaluating the environmental risks of a given activity or scenario.

Read the WorldFish post and download the report: Risk analysis in aquaculture: A step-by-step introduction with worked examples

Filed under: Aquaculture, WorldFish

Planning for Livestock and Fish Phase 2: A virtual review and discussion

In March, a CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish phase 2 planning workshop was conducted through a two part process. Initially conceived as a single event, it was rendered into an online format that operated across wide ranging time zones. Download the full report.

This Part 1 event reviewed the program’s work, of the context within which it operates, of opinions relating to key design features, and offered recommendations for research questions, program approaches, model changes and modifications to the theories of change. It worked around two scenario possibilities, namely that Livestock and Fish would continue in much the same form as phase 1, or that it would expand to assume a global animal science agenda. Part 2 will generate first stage ideas for Phase 2 CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, and make specific plans for the completion of the proposal preparation and submission.

Over 4 days, a series of presentations were made and discussed by participants. Comments from each day’s discussions were summarized and made available as a contribution to the next days’ discussions. As such then, conversations seeded new conversations. The figure below shows the workshop flow.
CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish phase2 planning workshop process flow
For each stage of the process, a summary document was prepared to capture the findings of discussions.

 Review of findings
Following presentations on the Livestock and Fish program work in phase 1, a review of global
development livestock trends and an examination of some key questions, the following observations about the program were made.

Participation: For interventions to be effective, they must be relevant and resonate well with the people Livestock and Fish program are trying to work for and with. The program is not adequately engaging value chain actors or the poor and does need to work better with the poor to understand their demands. The program must better engage with issues of power, inclusivity and governance; use participatory research approaches that build on experiential learning, and engage with relationship networks.

Impact: There is not much impact data so far and it is not clear whether the program is having any impact. The program needs to better measure progress and results. A decent monitoring, evaluation and learning framework is imperative, bearing in mind that it takes considerable time to generate interventions, let alone assess them.

Capacity: For any change intervention to persist, the value chain system must be capable of sustaining such change. At the start of any intervention process, it is important to assess the capacity that is present, where it lies in the system, and the extent to which change is thus enabled or constrained.

Collaboration: Future program design must structure closer linkages between flagships, and between flagships and value chains. Some excellent results have been seen through collaboration with other CRPs, and this needs to be expanded particularly with system CRPs. In value chains, private sector actors play important roles and L&F should be deliberate in seeking common agendas and synergy with them.

Holistic approaches: Research needs to more holistic. Starting from analysis and foresight, our practice must cut across disciplines across flagships.

Technology: There is an imperative to produce more food and biomass. The program is well positioned to support this. Good examples of our technological success so far include B. Humidicola, a tropical grass, O. Niloticus L. Abassa, CLEANED and a range of tools. We must not only seek to invent new technology but research ways to improve access to existing technology.

Policy: Research must better engage with policy processes. Currently, this is not happening.

Nutrition: The nutritional impact of the program’s research should be better understood and deliberate. Work to understand nutrition should use demographic and consumption data, and explore how ASFs are prepared in homes.

Scale: Systems transformation is much more than optimizing production and efficiency. The program needs to think about scale from the beginning of the technology generation process, look for scaling potential early on, and build knowledge alliances with development partners to foster scale.

Value chains – A systems approach: Research through value chains has been effective, and should continue. However the program’s research has not sufficiently explored system wide issues.

Theories of change: Livestock and Fish will need different change pathways for intensification and resilience. However there is concern that such pathways assume predictability and linearity.

Comparative analysis: The way that Systems Analysis for Sustainable Innovations (SASI) and Value Chain Transformation and Scaling (VCTS) are structured does not enable comparison and learning across value chains, and this is not happening. A coherent agenda should be defined.

Demand orientation: Livestock and Fish research needs to be more demand driven. There is considerable demand for quick solutions, yet our centre supply driven focus is mainly on long term solutions. While both are important, we need to find a better balance. One way to better meet demand is to research ways of quickly using existing solutions for quick wins.

Knowledge and data: ICT offers great opportunity to get better real time data, build two-way communication between data sources and users, and access the insight of other people.

Business models: Livestock and Fish research needs to be better embedded within business models if it is to be sustainable. Business cases are needed to show how impact is achieved, to better sell research work to donors and to engage private sector interest.

Critical mass: The program has achieved it best results in value chains where it has leveraged bilateral resources. It some places, it has been difficult to secure bilateral funds.

Research versus development: The boundary between development and our research is not as clear as it should be, and this has had implications on the way in which we have related and set priorities.

By the poor; for the poor: When considering the poor, we must include value chain actors who are not producers, recognize the considerable diversity between poor groups, and that men and women have very different needs. While smallholders remain important, benefits vary across both access to better food and income.

The bigger agenda: There is more that Livestock and Fish can do beyond value chain development. It needs to consider work to improve resilience, minimize loss, improve the environment and promote social equity. For resilience programming, Livestock and Fish will need different frameworks beyond value chains that encompass environmental risk and ecological scarcity.

Power: Dialogue processes for change happen through existing structures and power relationships, and power holders sanction those that break norms. The program should research ways of changing power relationships so that development interventions intervene with a consciousness of power, and be empowering.

The environment: Livestock and Fish needs a robust response to criticism that livestock has a bad effect on environment. The program can engage as an honest broker without being negative or defensive, and frame discussion around planetary boundaries. Its work should address and mitigate negative environmental impacts and convert these into positive impacts.

Intensification: has been a good driver for the program, and the value chain approach has been a good way to do this; but this needs to be better balanced with improved environmental sustainability. What is the right measurement for intensification – by land area, by livestock unit or by the unit of other input?

Focus: The nature and level focus and its contribution to results is an assumption that needs to be researched. In this regard, the program should consider focusing on several species in some countries. There is argument to reduce levels of focus, for too much focus could lead to delivery of results for only a few people. Rather than limiting the number of countries, the program could engage on the basis of ability to work in them, perhaps indicated by the availability of bilateral funding.

Two scenarios were considered for phase 2. For the first scenario, Livestock and Fish would continue in much the same form as it has done in phase 1, with a strong focus on smallholder intensification in a limited number of value chains. For the second scenario, Livestock and Fish would expand to assume a global animal science agenda. For each scenario, four sets of recommendations were made for:

  • Key research areas
  • Promising research to development approaches
  • Proposed changes to the research program model, and
  • Adjustments to the theory of change.

Read more from the workshop report (insert link) that covers part 1 of the process. We anticipate that part 2 will occur after the Consortium Office release of guidelines for Phase 2 planning for all CRPs.

Article contributed by Stuart Worsley

Filed under: CRP37, Livestock-Fish

Livestock and Fish program leadership changes

Animal Health

The Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program will be changing its Animal Health Flagship leadership assignment this August. Phil Toye, the current Animal Health Flagship leader will be retiring in August and Barbara Wieland, ILRI team leader herd health,  will take up the leadership assignment.

In this capacity wieland will also take on the role of internal focal point for ILRI’s Livestock and Fish Animal Health Flagship work. Phil will remain as leader and focal point until his retirement, with Barbara acting as leader-designate until then and so will be actively involved in helping to lead the planning process for the future research agenda under the Flagship. Barbara will be responsible for leading strategy development, activity planning and reporting across the centers. She will help to identify and lead partnership and proposal development at the program level.


In the Genetics Flagship, Okeyo Mwai has handed over the ILRI focal point leadership responsibility to Karen Marshall. Mwai, will be giving his full attention to ensuring successful implementation of ILRI’s new Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)-funded project work. Marshall will be providing the program’s perspective to researchers and program leaders responsible for developing work plans and budget, monitors implementation, compiles program reporting, helps identify and lead partnership and proposal development.

Phil and Okeyo have played an important role in initiating and leading the Livestock and Fish Animal Health and Genetics agenda respectively.

Filed under: Animal Health, Components, CRP37, Genetics

Livestock and Fish value chain flagship: Achieving transformation and scale


Artworks by Piet Mondrian: (left) Composition in Blue, Gray and Pink, 1913, and (right) Composition VII, 1913.

In late-March, the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish held a virtual review and planning meeting to take stock of progress since 2012, examine the wider science and development environment and devise plans and deliverables for the coming years. The discussions were organized around each of the five research and technology ‘flagships’ of the program, examining strengths, weaknesses and desired results.

The Value Chain Transformation and Scaling Flagship of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish works to works to enable innovations for the transformation and scaling of selected livestock value chains in developing countries

What does that transformation look like?

New and enduring forms of inclusive participation, governance and power relations and efficient resource use allow pre-commercial actors and poor consumers to generate, and benefit from, more and better-quality milk, meat, fish and eggs.

New and existing knowledge, used in new ways, says this flagship’s leader, Acho Okike, can help communities and countries upgrade their pig, dairy, small ruminant and fish value chains. ‘Generating this new knowledge is at the business end of this flagship’s work.’

This flagship work is based on learning. As smallholder-oriented innovations in feeds and forages, animal health and animal genetics are deployed within the Livestock and Fish value chains, this flagship explores who uses these innovations and how and how much and to what effect, as well as what constrains adoption of the innovations. The flagship provides ‘safe spaces’ for innovation — idea incubators and small grants — that support entrepreneurs as they test their innovations. Capacity development and gender mainstreaming work hand in hand.

This flagship has ambitions to build a new ‘learning’ model. In a rapidly changing world, where new knowledge, understanding and skills are continuously required, what does a forward-looking learning model look like?

  • One that is agile, responding to changing demands, capacities and knowledge in real-time
  • One that allows learning-by-doing in short cycles
  • One that is transferable and scalable
  • One whose impacts are measurable
Partnership strategy

While scanning widely and engaging in numerous tactical collaborations, particular attention is being given to establishing the foundation for selected strategic partnerships, both globally and within the selected value chains.

Operational partnerships
ILRI and the three other CGIAR centres collaborating in the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish — the Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the World Fish Center (WorldFish) — have worked in close partnership for two years to deploy appropriate research within nine country-level livestock value chains. In addition, these four CGIAR centres work with other CGIAR research programs, such as those on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS); Humidtropics (HT); Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM); and Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB).

Research partnerships
Partnership negotiations are progressing with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen UR). This flagship also works directly with value chain actors and research partners in the program’s focus countries. For example, Livestock and Fish has established strategic partnerships in Tanzania with Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) and the Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI) and in Vietnam with Nong Lam University, in Ho Chi Minh City, and Tay Nguyen University, in Dak Lak.

Development partnerships
This flagship has also entered development partnerships with international non-governmental organizations such as the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) and CARE International. Partnerships have also been formed with local development actors such as Volunteer Efforts for Development (VEDCO), SNV, the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), BRAC and the Africa Institute for Strategic Services and Development (AFRISA), in Uganda; SNV, Land O’Lakes and Heifer International in Tanzania; and CARE, in Egypt. Livestock and Fish works closely with the Tanzania Dairy Board to support it in its stewardship of the national Dairy Development Forum in Tanzania. In Bangladesh, collaboration with Save the Children provides nutrition training to households involved in aquaculture training. And the program will continue working with private-sector actors Skretting, Aller Aqua and MAKRO and local private hatcheries to improve business skills among commercial farmers in Egypt; and with DOW AgroSciences, in the USA, to support the breeding of improved Brachiaria grasses.

In the coming two years, the program will extend its development partnerships in value chain sites by establishing multi-stakeholder learning and action platforms that form the basis of joint action in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Mali and Nicaragua and will continue to form new tactical partnerships in Egypt, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam.

Virtual discussion

The virtual discussion held in late March 2015 focused on the following topics, as summarized by Stuart Worsley, head of development partnerships for the Livestock and Fish program.

Engaging policymakers and the private sector
Participants pointed to a need to document how they’re interacting with policymakers, what the lessons are, and at what levels they need to engage. All agreed on need to increase public-private partnerships, probably with the support of partner organizations.

Examples of scaling
Examples of scaling include the proposed transfer of fish value chain work going on in Egypt to Ghana. In Bangladesh, better nutritional security among the rural and urban poor has been linked to improved small-scale fish production. And in Tanzania, a Dairy Development Forum is supporting dairy innovations platforms by providing training and widely sharing information.

Is value chain thinking counter to entrepreneurship?
Discussants asked themselves if they needed to rethink the way they look at value chains — to think more ‘out of the box’ to transform systems. Perhaps there’s something about traditional value chain thinking that runs counter to entrepreneurial thinking? Perhaps more than designing steps within predetermined pathways, what’s needed is to learn how to deal better with unpredictability.

Cross learning
The genetics flagship team is helping to bring down disciplinary silos. For example, it has developed upstream technologies based on the needs of specific value chains (e.g. cold-chain-free artificial insemination) and is working directly in value chains, such as those in Vietnam and Uganda, to assess genetic issues and test interventions. One of the most important research contributions this flagship can make, it was noted, is to take a comparative approach to learning across value chains with the same commodity focus, such as pigs in Vietnam and Uganda. Such cross-learning not only helps to generate international public goods but also to avoid duplication of work. It was noted that it would be useful to compare the roles of the different livestock species targeted in Livestock and Fish value chains to determine which have most potential for empowering poor women or improving gender equity.

Expanding the value chains
The question was raised as to whether Livestock and Fish should consider expanding the systems portfolio to include smallholder beef cattle and poultry. This would require developing a convincing business case of (1) the potential for developing inclusive beef and poultry value chains that address national food security and (2) the opportunities for Livestock and Fish to make significant research contributions to these value chains.

More from this flagship

Reports and products from this flagship

Filed under: CRP37, Livestock-Fish, Value Chains, Women

Uganda pig value chain project partners with private sector to boost access to advisory services

Pig farmers training in Matugga_farm visit
Pig farmers’ training course participants visiting a pig farm (photo credit: ILRI/Danilo Pezo).

Advisory services are an important inputs in livestock production. In Uganda, these services were in the past provided mostly by government through the local government extension departments in districts and through the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS). Structural bottlenecks and inadequate funding of the sector, however, have created gaps in extension and advisory service delivery as many smallholder farmers have little or no access to information on production and marketing. Though available in some areas of the country, private extension services are expensive and beyond the reach of many small-scale pig producers.

Although private players and NGOs such as Volunteer Efforts for Development Concern (VEDCO) and World Vision have made interventions in extension service delivery in order to increase productivity, control disease risks and mitigate negative environmental impacts, particularly in water sources, there still remains an unmet need for advisory services among pig farmers at the grass roots.

To address this information gap, the Smallholder Pig Value Chain Development (SPVCD) in Uganda project, which is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), has established partnerships with private sector organizations to offer advisory services through trainings for pig farmers and persons interested in taking up piggery as a business.

Since 2012, Pig Production and Marketing (PPM) Uganda, Limited has cut a niche in the promotion of pig production and marketing through building the capacity of pig farmers engaged in both small and medium-scale production. The training courses offered by PPM are demand driven and farmers willingly pay a small fee for the two-day training.

Recently, ILRI collaborated with PPM on a training course on piggery management for small and medium-scale farmers. The training, which was held in Matugga in Wakiso District, central Uganda on 27-28 February 2015, attracted 93 participants (17 females and 76 males) who were mainly pig farmers and people interested in starting up piggeries as an enterprise.

The ILRI-Uganda team contributed to the training program, and three staff (Danilo Pezo, Peter Lule and Joseph Kungu) made presentations based on the recently developed SPVCD training modules.

Pig farmers training in Matugga_Kees Van der Braak
Kees Van der Braak  explaining how to assess business efficiency in pig farming (photo credit: ILRI/Danilo Pezo).

In his opening remarks, Pezo, the SPVCD project leader, described the efforts ILRI and partners are making towards improving the livelihoods, incomes and assets of smallholder pig producers, particularly women, in a sustainable manner, through increased productivity, reduced risk and enhanced access in pig value chains. He also gave a presentation on ‘The strategic use of local feed resources in pig feeding’.

Joseph Kungu, an ILRI graduate fellow and researcher at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) discussed topics related to pig herd health management and pork safety while Peter Lule, a research technician at ILRI, facilitated the event. Other speakers at the training included consultants Kees van de Braak (the Netherlands) and Marc Thyssen (Belgium) who are both affiliated to Breeds, Feeds and Meat Limited, Uganda.

In a related development, the Daily Monitor, a leading newspaper in Uganda, is partnering with Pig Production and Marketing Uganda Ltd to offer a pig farming clinic on 30 May 2015 in Matuga (Wakiso). In the past two years the newspaper has organized clinics on dairy and goat production, and has, this year, decided to organize a clinic focused on new techniques to improve pig production, including the preparation of sweet potato silage for pig feeding, control of parasites and biosecurity measures to control African Swine fever. These topics are part of the ILRI training modules on pig production.

ILRI staff and partners have been invited to make presentations on feeding, animal health and management in this year’s clinic. The event offers an opportunity for making use of training materials developed by the SPVCD in collaboration with national partners and to get feedback from farmers on their relevance.

The set of pig production manuals includes modules on:

Filed under: ASSP, Capacity Development, Capacity Strengthening, CRP37, East Africa, Extension, ILRI, Livestock-Fish, Partnership, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains