CRP 3.7 News

Local government authorities in Tanzania commit to support continued growth of producer groups created by the MoreMilkiT Project

While at the global level, many agricultural research for development actors have identified the need to embrace inclusive partnerships, effective linkages and stakeholder engagement as key in transforming value chains and improving productivity, commitments need to be translated into tangible products and services that can achieve impact at scale. One of such commitments has been demonstrated in an International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) – led research for development project working in the CGIAR research program on Livestock and Fish.

MoreMilkiT handing over of community development plans, Tanzania

Ernest Mkongo, Assistant Regional Administrative Secretary, Morogoro region displaying a document containing group profiles, community development plans and results from producer organizations’ assessment (photo credit: ILRI/Dorine Odongo)

Over the past four years, ILRI together with other partners- including Tanzania Dairy Board, Faida MaLi, Sokoine University of Agriculture and Heifer International- have been implementing a project that aims to improve dairy-dependent livelihoods in Tanzania. The project, MoreMilkiT, has piloted the development of scalable value chain approaches to achieve inclusive growth and reduced poverty and vulnerability among resource-poor smallholder dairy households in selected rural areas in Tanga and Morogoro regions of Tanzania.

One of MoreMilkiT’s objective is to develop dairy market hubs that deliver demand-led inputs and services, by mobilizing cattle keepers to form producer groups to facilitate business-oriented collective action, directly linked to a set of inputs and output service providers. Under MoreMilkiT’s partnerships, 30 farmer groups (comprising a total of 1832 dairy farmers -982 Females, 850 Males)   were established in Lushoto, Bumbuli, Handeni, Kilosa and Mvomero districts. These groups were further facilitated to develop community development plans which were aimed at facilitating the groups’ development by themselves or through external support. After a year of capacity building and facilitating market linkages, the producer groups were evaluated to assess their sustainability and identify the extent to which they require further support.

With the groups well established and their development plans available, stakeholders agreed that it is now time for the local government authorities to take a more leading role in supporting them, rather than an external donor project. Therefore, on 14-18 November 2016, the MoreMilkiT project officially handed over these producer group development plans, group profiles and results from a recently concluded producer organizations sustainability assessment, to the local government authorities in the project areas. Other ongoing or new Maziwa Zaidi projects may also continue to engage the groups in research for development activities.

While speaking to the project team during the handing over exercise, Zena Said, Tanga Regional Administrative Secretary, expressed her appreciation at MoreMilkIT’s approach and highlighted that the government is happy to work with the producer groups particularly under the newly enacted policy which aimed to engage and facilitate producer groups by allocating 5% of regional government revenue towards funding women and youth groups. She also confirmed that her office ‘will continue monitoring the districts to ensure they support the producer organisations’
The assistant administrative secretary in Morogoro region, Ernest Mkongo, expressed his delight at the project’s approach of providing feedback to stakeholders and the desire to engage local governments for sustainability of its initiatives.
The community development plans and feedback from the producer organizations assessment exercise were well received by both the local government authorities and the group members.

A member of ‘Wami Sokoine group’ in Mvomero district expressed her appreciation of the initiative, noting ‘this was the only project that has come back to give feedback to the community’

MoreMilkiT handing over of community development plans, Tanzania

Farmers from Bumbuli district in Tanzania looking at their community development plans (Photo credit: ILRI/Dorine Odongo)

While the groups were excited to receive feedback on the community development plans and the assessment results, limited access to artificial insemination services, limited access to improved breeds and lack of access to adequate feeds and forages repeatedly emerged as key challenges that continue that the farmers hoped would be overcome in the continued engagement with local government authorities and other stakeholders

The local government leadership expressed its appreciation of the handing over exercise, acknowledging that now they had an entry point in incorporating farmers’ viewpoints in preparation of budgets and work plans for the coming financial years.

Filed under: Africa, agriculture, Cattle, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, ILRI, LGI, Partnership, Project, Tanzania, Value Chains

Transforming cassava peel waste to quality feeds fast-tracked by private sector in Nigeria

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Ibadan, Nigeria, recently developed a technology to process fresh cassava peels into high quality cassava peel products with better shelf life and nutrient profiles acceptable to the feed industry.

The activity is an outcome of a multi-centre CGIAR collaboration including ILRI, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Potato Center (CIP) and several CGIAR research programs: Roots, Tubers and Banana, Humidtropics and Livestock and Fish.

The three critical stages of successful technology generation – technology development and refinement, technology pilot testing and validation and finally technology commercialization for the cassava peel processing technology began in late 2014. Through this technology around 50 million tons of peels that are currently being wasted each year and treated as environmental nuisance will become a tradable livestock feed commodity. It has the potential to add around 15 million tons of quality feed creating a USD 2 billion a year industry in Africa, immensely helping the livestock sector besides other multiple benefits like creating employment and incomes for the cassava processors mostly women in the unorganized sector along the value chain and cleaning of the environment.

The main factors contributing to the rapid development of this technology are that the processes involved are quite simple, using machinery and techniques that cassava processors are already aware of, and wide dissemination through multiple media and visits of the potential entrepreneurs to the ILRI pilot processing plant at Ibadan.

Apart from these, creating markets for the processed peels was the most critical factor to create the market pull. This was achieved by partnering with industry partners, including Amo farms, one of the largest poultry integrators in Nigeria, which participated in multiple feeding trials. The trials created the necessary confidence in the industry on the nutritive quality of the products and created a huge demand for the product.

With the favourable developments in place like abundant low-cost and year-round availability of cassava peels, appropriate and simple technology to process the peels, strong demand from the feed industry due to the high prices of traditional feed ingredients, entrepreneurs seized this opportunity to commercialize the technology.

The first major success of commercialization came through selection of Niji Foods, a cassava processing firm, to set up three cassava peel processing units with financial assistance from USAID. Selection of the technology and the willingness of Niji foods to fund 50% of the investments testifies to the financial viability of the technology and its relevance to the regional needs.

Under this agreement, Niji Foods and ILRI will train up to 750 women and staff involved in cassava peel mash processing and business management providing long term employment and hand over partial ownership to at least 3 women’s groups.

Additionally, Durante fish feeds, the largest fish feed manufacturer in Nigeria send some staff to be trained on cassava peels processing at the ILRI Ibadan pilot demonstration unit. They are now setting up a pilot processing unit investing their resources to use the processed cassava peels as feed ingredients in livestock and fish on commercial lines.

Further away, the technology is being commercialized in Benue and Kogi states through processing plants set up through the efforts of Synergos Development Innovations, Nigeria with technical assistance from ILRI.

Although the six upcoming units (3 by Niji foods, one by Durante, and one each in Benue and Kogi state) are a small step in exploiting the vast potential, success of these units will create necessary confidence among other entrepreneurs and the feed industry to establish more units benefitting the cassava processors, feed industry and the environment.

The Nigerian environment ministry also announced plans to establish six more processing plants, while ILRI has received enquiries from entrepreneurs in Nigeria, Ghana, India, Malawi and South Africa.

Story by: Anadan Samireddypalle

More on this story:

Cassava processors visit ILRI cassava peel processing unit in Nigeria

All flesh is grass (except in Nigeria, where it might be cassava peel)


Watch a film about this new technology: Adding value through existing technologies, 2015.

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Filed under: Africa, Animal Feeding, ASSP, CGIAR, CIP, CRP12, CRP34, CRP37, Feeds, IITA, ILRI, Nigeria, West Africa

Towards coenurosis control: Practical training on dogs faecal examination techniques in Ethiopia

By Biruk Alemu and Barbara Wieland

Small ruminants grazing

Sheep in Yabello, Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Camille Hanotte).

Past research in the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish sites in Ethiopia, conducted jointly by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and national research and development partners, has highlighted the importance of coenurosis in small ruminant production.

This parasitic disease causes circling and eventually death in affected small ruminants. Dogs play an important role in the disease’s transmission cycle as the adult parasite resides in dogs intestines producing eggs which are excreted on pastures and then ingested by sheep and goats during grazing.

While there is no coenurosis treatment available for small ruminants, its transmission cycle can be interrupted by preventing and controlling the parasite burden in dogs.

ILRI and the Livestock and Fish program partners are implementing a community-based coenurosis control program which includes deworming of dogs in southern Ethiopia. The aim is to reduce the incidence of the disease in small ruminants and strengthen smallholder livestock systems to withstand the impact of coenurosis and support farmers to produce healthy animals and products for sale and consumption. The intervention will also assess the effect of anthelminthics on Taenia spp. and other intestinal parasites with zoonotic importance in dogs and will improve the overall health of dogs.

A practical laboratory training was conducted 8-9 September 2016 at Addis Ababa University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture in Debre Zeit for national research partners who are carrying out faecal examinations in the coenurosis control program.

 Training on faecal examination techniques in Ethiopia

Trainees examining intestinal parasite eggs from a dog (photo credit: ILRI/Biruk Alemu).

Twelve participants from different agricultural offices and research centres in the country were trained on:

  • Use of safe procedures of restraining dogs and taking faecal samples
  • Different faecal examination techniques for both cestodes and roundworms of dogs
  • Identification of eggs and adult intestinal parasites of dogs with clinical and zoonotic importance
  • Demonstration of faecal culturing and larvae recovery procedures

As a result of the training, researchers can now implement the coprological survey of dogs faeces to estimate the baseline for multiple parasite burden and to evaluate the reduction of intestinal worm burden after deworming of dogs with Praziquantel.

Initial training sessions for communities on the transmission cycle of coenurosis and options of control where held in four kebeles in Borena Zone. As part of these activities, boiled and crushed maize was used to make baits with praziquantel which were then given to dogs. Following the pilot testing, a bigger community awareness-raising campaign is ongoing to foster community involvement in the program especially in dog deworming. Smallholder farmers participated in collecting dog faecal samples and have visited the research centre in Yabello for a training where they had an opportunity to see the parasite eggs through the microscope.

The activity was funded through the Livestock and Fish and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded Improving the Performance of Pro-Poor Sheep and Goat Value Chains for Enhanced Livelihoods, Food and Nutrition Security in Ethiopia (SmaRT) project.

See a related poster

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

Improved forages can boost milk production in East Africa

Climate smart brachiaria grass in Tanzania (Credit: Georgina Smith / CIAT)

New varieties of high-quality, drought-resistant forage grasses could boost milk production by 40 percent and generate millions of dollars in economic benefits for struggling East African dairy farmers, according to a new analysis by experts at CIAT.

“Farmers could benefit more from surging consumer demand for livestock products in East Africa,” said Dr. Steven Prager, a senior scientist at the Center. “Our research shows that brachiaria grasses could be the cornerstone of productive and resilient livestock systems that quickly provide more milk and money for small-scale dairy farmers.”

Prager is co-author of the new CIAT study that assessed benefits that could accrue to East African dairy producers from adopting new varieties of a pasture grass called brachiaria. The grasses were developed by CIAT plant breeders to survive harsh growing conditions, while providing considerable nutritional benefits for livestock.

The CIAT analysis focused on the additional milk and money they could deliver for an estimated two million small-scale dairy farmers across Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. It found that investing in forage quality – and in getting new forages to farmers – can be a low risk investment likely to generate benefits in the order of tens of millions of dollars.

Read the full news item on the CIAT website


Filed under: Africa, Animal Feeding, BecA, CIAT, CRP2, CRP37, East Africa, Feeds, Forages, ILRI, Research

Advancing the gender agenda in small ruminant value chains in Ethiopia

A recent gender capacity assessment study by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) revealed that low or lack of gender capacities among research and development practitioners is one of the bottlenecks in the development of gendered livestock value chains in Ethiopia. This has implications on the ability of the different partners in the CGIAR research program on Livestock and Fish to effectively and efficiently perform functions, solve problems, and set and achieve objectives in a gender responsive manner.

The assessment covered three research and three development partners, and evaluated six core gender capacities that are required to enable the design and implementation of gender responsive interventions. The assessment evaluated existing capacities against the desired capacities, to generate an understanding of capacity assets and needs that can serve as input for formulating a response strategy to addresses the capacity gaps, and optimize existing capacities that are already strong and well founded. This kind of assessment also helps set the baseline for continuous monitoring and evaluation of progress against relevant indicators, and create a solid foundation for long-term planning, implementation and sustainable results.

Overall, on a scale of 1-5, the gender capacities of the research and development partners was low, particularly, the capacity to conduct gender analysis and strategic planning, and use of innovative gender responsive approaches.


Figure 1 Organizational and individual gender capacities of research and development partners

The assessment findings was shared with the partners involved in the study, who  appreciated its importance and noted that it provided the much needed motivation to engage in activities that could help them develop their own gender capacity. The capacity assessment exercise also helped the partners to developed action points constituting priority gender core capacities, activities to enhance the capacities, desired capacity level, responsible body, indicators and expected results. A Gender Capacity Development Committee (GCDC) has been set up by respective partners to rollout these initiatives.

Using this information, ILRI and ICARDA gender teams in collaboration with Transition International have developed a tailor-made Gender Capacity Development strategy, organized in a series of four training workshops, complemented by coaching. The first training workshop on Gendered Value Chain Analysis starts today in Addis Ababa.  This workshop will be attended by the GCDC members, regional gender focal persons and heads of the respective organizations that were assessed. Participants will be exposed to the concepts of gender and value chain analysis, gender analytical frameworks, basic tools to conduct gendered value chain analysis and approaches to achieve balanced participation among others.

This activity in Ethiopia is supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded SmaRT Ethiopia Project – Improving the Performance of Pro-Poor Sheep and Goat Value Chains for Enhanced Livelihoods, Food and Nutrition Security in Ethiopia

Additional sources of information

Brief: Gender capacity assessment and development methodology and tools: The case of Ethiopia

Feedback report: Gender capacity assessment feedback and validation report for the small ruminant value chain in Ethiopia

Blog post: Scaling-up of gender capacity assessment and development in Ethiopia

Guide: Gender capacity assessment and development guide

Blog post by Wole Kinati (ICARDA) and Annet Abenakyo Mulema (ILRI)

Filed under: Africa, ASSP, Capacity Development, Capacity Strengthening, CGIAR, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, Gender, Goats, ICARDA, ILRI, Livestock, Research, Sheep, Small Ruminants, Value Chains, Women

Community gender profiles help target small ruminant value chain interventions in Ethiopia

A women pastoralist milks her goat

Men undertake a few tasks, while women engage in multiple activities, illustrating the complexity of their roles. Borana, Ethiopia

The design of research and development interventions in Ethiopia has long been hampered by a lack of gender disaggregated data. Working to overcome these data shortages, a participatory rural appraisal (PRA) exercise was undertaken in 2015 and 2016 into the gender characteristics of the small ruminant value chain sites in five regions of Ethiopia, one of the value chains of the CGIAR Livestock and Fish research program. The assessment helped guide development of gender profiles of 14 peasant associations in seven woredas (districts) in southern, western and eastern Ethiopia.

Separate focus discussion groups were organized with 366 men, women, girls and boys in Horro, Atsbi, Menz and Doyogena districts, characterized by crop–livestock mixed farming systems; and Yabello, Abergelle, and Shinelle districts, representing agro-pastoralist and pastoralist farming systems. Gender analysis and PRA tools were employed, such as daily activity clocks, access to and control over resources profile and seasonal calendars.

This brief, Community gender profiles across livestock production systems in Ethiopia found that differences in gender roles in livestock production are not only observed across regions, but also across farming systems. Men undertake a few tasks, while women engage in multiple activities, illustrating the complexity of their roles. Women are primarily responsible for dairy-related and small ruminant management activities across sites, particularly in the drier areas. Perceptions of gender in terms access to and control over resources were also found to vary from location to location, even among individuals of the same sex.

The authors, Wole Kinati of International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas and Annet Mulema of International Livestock Research Institute, suggest that interventions aimed at improving livestock production in general and small ruminant production in particular are more likely to help increase women’s incomes and enhance their economic decision-making position. Moreover, taking into account the context specific perceptions of men and women regarding gender issues, the authors recommend the introduction of innovations reducing women’s workload, freeing up their time to engage in economic activities and community affairs, helping improve their control over benefits and income. They also highlighted the important of understanding the cultural norms that govern the gender relations with each community.

Download the brief

The activity was funded through the Livestock and Fish and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded Improving the Performance of Pro-Poor Sheep and Goat Value Chains for Enhanced Livelihoods, Food and Nutrition Security in Ethiopia (SmaRT) project.

Filed under: Africa, ASSP, CRP37, Ethiopia, Gender, ICARDA, ILRI, Livestock, Research, Targeting, Value Chains, Women

MoreMilkiT producer groups review shows steady progress towards sustainability in Tanzania

The MoreMilkiT project recently reviewed the sustainability of dairy producer groups working with the project in Morogoro and Tanga.

The producer organizations sustainability assessment was carried out in July and August 2016 to gauge the level of sustainability and existing gaps in 30 producer groups. These groups were equipped, in 2014, by the project team with skills on how to manage group and dairy businesses based on their site-specific plans.Chart on MoreMilkiT project site score

Six key dimensions associated with sustainable smallholder dairy producers organizations in East Africa—financial health, access to dairy inputs and services, relationship with external environment, member loyalty, effective and transparent leadership and management and engagement with the output market—were assessed.

Preliminary results showed that 57% of the sites assessed are ‘least advanced’ and are at ‘stage one’, meaning they lack revenue generating activities and do not collectively sell milk. As a result, these groups, which are in the extensive production systems of Mvomero and Kilosa districts, did not score on financial health and engagement with output markets. To advance to ‘stage two’, they need to improve in all sustainability dimensions, especially by developing income generating activities using member’s contributions.

But various (nine) groups were in stage two across project sites. These were generating profits from lending to each other and providing inputs. These groups have good leadership practices but they need to improve on engagement with the milk markets, financial health, access to inputs and services and effective leadership, areas in which they each scored below 50%.

Two groups from Ubiri and Mbuzii in Lushoto District benefited from MilkIT feeds interventions and are in ‘stage three’, evidenced by improved fodder and access to inputs and services. To move to stage four, the next (higher) level of sustainability, they need to start selling milk collectively. The most advanced groups were in Viti and Mwangoi also in Lushoto District. They scored above average in all dimensions and require minimal external support.

A chart showing dimension averages on MoreMilkiT project districtsElected group officials, extension officers linked to the group, district livestock officers and farmer representatives were involved in the assessment, which used a tool adopted from the East Africa Dairy Development project. The review also identified other opportunities for increasing sustainability and these will later be shared with the groups prior to the handover exercise of the producer groups.

MoreMilkiT is piloting the dairy market hub approach to facilitate market linkage and collective action among smallholder producers in Tanzania and is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The Sokoine University of Agriculture, Faida MaLi, Heifer International and Tanzania Dairy Board are partners in the Irish Aid-funded project.

Filed under: Africa, Animal Feeding, Animal Products, Capacity Development, Cattle, CGIAR, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, ILRI, Livestock, Research, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains

Gender integration in livestock and fish research

Between 2012 and 2016, the Livestock and Fish program’s Gender Initiative supported an integrated approach to gender in its technical research.

Today in Cali, Colombia, the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network Annual Meeting launches a book about these experiences, showing that attention to gender equality and an understanding of gender dynamics leads to better science, more effective interventions and more inclusive development.

More information on the Cali event

The Book and supporting materials will be online in November 2016

Filed under: Books and Chapters, CGIAR, CIAT, Gender, ICARDA, ILRI, LGI, Research, Value Chains, Women, WorldFish

Livestock and Fish Genetics flagship synthesises key lessons for next phase

As the first phase of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish comes to an end (a Livestock CRP will start in January 2017), each of the program’s flagships is taking time to tease out key lessons that help inform the second phase of the program.


Livestock & Fish Genetics synthesis workshop participants (photo credit: ILRI/L.Njeri)

The Animal Genetics flagship held a synthesis writeshop 10–11 October in Nairobi, Kenya, which was attended by 20 scientists from the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dryland Areas (ICARDA), WorldFish, Wageningen UR, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), including the past three flagship program leaders.

Over the two days, the participants mapped 56 projects that focused partly or entirely on animal genetics and were part of the Livestock and Fish body of work; they also identified nearly 100 key achievements of the program, which were mapped onto four activity clusters (assessments, new and improved breeds, delivery and use, and breakthrough technologies).

Based on these achievements, participants then collectively identified possible topics for briefs and eventually settled on six.

  • Lessons on breeding programs  (taking into account institutional, capacity and policy issues);
  • Development, application and assessment of novel genetic tools;
  • Incentives for livestock recording;
  • Delivery of improved genetics;
  • Use of value chains for improving genetics:
    • Lessons on the process of establishing value chains
    • The value chain approach: a tool for focusing genetic interventions

By the end of the writeshop, four of the six briefs were about 90% drafted and the remaining two halfway completed.

The briefs, which are expected to be finalised by mid-November, will inform phase two of the Livestock research program.

Read notes of the meeting at:

Filed under: ABS, Animal Breeding, BioSciences, CRP37, Genetics, ICARDA, ILRI, Livestock, Research, SLU, Value Chains, WorldFish

Integrating gender analysis to understand dual-purpose cattle breeding practices in Nicaragua

Dual purpose cattle production in mixed farming systems of Nicaragua is predominantly based on permanent grazing of naturalized grasslands, introduced pastures and crop residues. Milk production and animal offtake rates are low.

Information to guide gender responsive interventions to improve livestock production is being generated through a collaborative project by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the National Agrarian University of Nicaragua (UNA), and the University of Natural Resources and life Sciences in Austria (BOKU).

This poster, produced for the Tropentag 2016 conference, shares findings from an evaluation of the impacts of intra-household gender influences on breed choice, productivity and the adoption of breeding technologies in central Nicaragua.

Filed under: ABS, Animal Breeding, Cattle, Central America, CGIAR, CIAT, CRP37, Dairying, Gender, ILRI, Latin America, Livestock, Nicaragua, Value Chains, Women

Sustainable milk and beef production in Nicaragua: actions and opportunities for an inclusive value chain

In Nicaragua the cattle sector accounts for 36% of agricultural exports and presents an important opportunity for smallholder farmer livelihoods. But current extensive dual-purpose (milk and beef) cattle production leads to soil degradation, deforestation, high levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of product, and a shift of the agricultural frontier towards the vulnerable Caribbean region.

The CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish is implementing activities to make the dual-purpose cattle value chain more efficient, competitive and inclusive, with a specific focus on gender equality.

This poster, produced for the Tropentag 2016 conference, show how Livestock and Fish feed and forages work has improved the productivity of forage-based livestock production (up to 100% in terms of kg milk/ha), increased carbon accumulation and at the same time reduced its ecological footprint (by over 50% in terms of GHG emissions per unit of product) as part of LivestockPlus.

Filed under: Cattle, Central America, CGIAR, CIAT, Climate Change, CRP37, Dairying, Forages, Latin America, Livestock, Livestock-Fish, Nicaragua, Value Chains

Community-based livestock breeding programs focus of Tropentag 2016 workshop

On 19 September 2016, the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, the International Livestock Research Institute and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas host a workshop on community-based breeding at the Tropentag 2016 conference.

The workshop will examine alternative ‘community-based breeding programs as pathways to the genetic improvement of livestock in tropics. These approaches typically involve participation of local communities/farmers in defining breeding goals, designing breeding strategies and implementing genetic improvement programs.

Download a recent evaluation of community-based sheep breeding programs in Ethiopia. Read a brief on this work.

Filed under: ABS, Animal Breeding, CGIAR, CRP37, Ethiopia, Genetics, ICARDA, ILRI, Indigenous breeds, Kenya, Livestock, Value Chains

Feeding innovation – lessons from India and Tanzania

The milkIT (enhancing dairy-based livelihoods in India and Tanzania through feed innovation) project aimed to contribute to improved dairy-derived livelihoods in India and Tanzania via intensification of smallholder production focusing on enhancement of feeds and feeding using innovation and value chain approaches.

Financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the project was organized around three sets of interventions:

  1. Diagnostic activities designed to help target interventions to real issues and constraints at community level
  2. Delivery of solutions – technical as well as institutional, to address challenges and needs
  3. Preparing for scale – engaging with other institutions, building partnerships and promoting wider uptake of the solutions and the approaches employed in the project
    . . . all devised and delivered through innovation platforms at different scales.

As part of project synthesis activities, three animated videos were produced around each of these three messages. Watch the short videos:

  1. Working out how to improve livestock feeding: The FEAST feed assessment tool (
  2. Smallholder dairying: better marketing or better feeding – which comes first? (
  3. Innovation platforms for dairy development in India and Tanzania (


More about the milkIT project


Filed under: Africa, Animal Feeding, Asia, ASSP, Cattle, CRP37, Dairying, Feeds, Forages, ILRI, India, Livestock, Research, South Asia, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains

The occurrence of bacterial and viral pathogens in smallholder pig production systems in Uganda

This week’s Joint International Conference of the Association of Institutions for Tropical Veterinary Medicine and the Society of Tropical Veterinary Medicine featured a poster on the occurrence of selected bacterial and viral pathogens in smallholder pig production systems in Uganda by Michel Dione (ILRI), Charles Masembe (Makerere University), Joyce Akol (Makerere University), Joseph Kungu (National Livestock Resources Research Institute, Uganda), Winfred Amia (ILRI) and Barbara Wieland (ILRI).

Smallholder pig production plays a big role in the livelihoods of several communities in Uganda. Pigs potentially harbour several pathogens, most of which might be insidious. In order to check for presence and determine the level of bacterial and viral pathogens in smallholder pig herds in two districts (Masaka and Lira) of high pig population in Uganda, a survey was undertaken between June and July 2015. These pathogens were purposively selected based on one of the following criteria: good marker for biosecurity at farm, or pathogen which provokes clinical signs that resemble to those that were described by farmers in their swine herds during a previous study in the same locations.

In total 320 clinically healthy pig herds were selected from 32 villages, with 10 herds per village. In each herd, a maximum of 3 pigs were included in the study resulting in 623 serum samples. The samples were subjected to antibody serology for eight pathogens using commercial ELISA kits. In addition data was collected on potential risk factors, biosecurity knowledge and practices, as well as husbandry practices of pig farmers.

Streptococcus suis and Leptospira spp. were highly prevalent in most herds with animal level prevalence of 83.3% (CI95: 74.1-89.7) and 70.6(61.1-79.6) respectively. Additionally, high prevalence was found for Porcine circovirus type 2 with 43.7% (CI95: 34.08-54.3), Actinobacillus pleuro-pneumoniae 23.0% (CI: 15.0-33.40, Mycoplasma hyopneumonia 15.4% (CI95: 8.6-23.5), Influenza A 5.8% (CI95:2.2-12.6) and Porcine parvovirus 4.5 % (1.6-11.3). Significant differences were observed in prevalences of infected animals between districts with Streptococcus suis being higher in Masaka (P=0.016) and Mycoplasma hyopneumonia, Influenza A, and Porcine circovirus type 2 being higher in Lira (P=0.00, P=0.00, P=0.03 respectively). Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus 1.3% (CI95: 1.6-11.3) and Aujeszky’s disease virus 0.2% (CI95: 0.0-03.6) were less common.

The observed patterns of multiple infections, the related risk factors, biosecurity perceptions and practices of farmers provide important entry points to improve the current production systems and thus contribute towards reducing the economic impact of commonly occurring pig pathogens. These pathogens, which might be silent killers, are under diagnosed given the fact that the disease of focus of farmers is African swine fever, which they know most about. The findings of this study constitute baseline data to measure impact of future interventions aiming to reduce disease burden. This is the first report in Uganda examining occurrence of this range of pathogens of economic and public health importance in pigs. Follow up investigations are needed to characterise the most commonly pathogenic serotypes and genotypes of the above pathogens, and study the dynamics and impact of these pathogens in current smallholder pig production systems.

Filed under: Africa, Agri-Health, Animal Health, ASSP, CRP37, East Africa, ILRI, Livestock, Pigs, Research, Uganda, Value Chains

Value chain actors’ practices associated with the spread of African swine fever disease in smallholder pig systems in Uganda

This week’s Joint International Conference of the Association of Institutions for Tropical Veterinary Medicine and the Society of Tropical Veterinary Medicine featured a presentation on value chain actors’ practices associated with the spread of African swine fever disease in smallholder pig systems in Uganda by Michel Dione, Emily Ouma, Felix Opio, Peter Lule, Brian Kawuma and Danilo Pezo (ILRI).

A study was undertaken to assess the perception of smallholder pig value chain actors on the risk of exposure of their pigs to African swine fever, as well as practices associated with the spread of the disease in the pig value chain. Data was collected through 17 focus group discussions and two key informant interview sessions. Participarory Rural Appraisal tools such as listing, group consencus, ranking, proportional pilling and pairwise matrix were used to collect data from 145 value chain actors including pig producers, traders, butchers, consumers, health and feeds input suppliers and support services; and 36 key informants including, district veterinary officers, area veterinarians, commercial and production officers, sub-county police officers, leaders from pig farmer cooperatives and community youths, and representatives of NGOs and other services working in the pig sector.

Results from this study revealed that the transportation, slaughter and collection/bulking nodes were perceived as being the highest risk nodes in the spread of the virus due to the practices of traders, brokers and butchers, the main actors operating there. All value chain actors are aware of the disease and its consequences to the value chain, but agreed that biosecurity measures were generally poorly implemented at all nodes of the value chain. As for the causes, they pointed to several factors, such as inadequate knowledge of actors of pig husbandry practices and mechanisms for the spread of the disease, poor enforcement of regulations on disease control, and low capacities to implement biosecurity measures, among others.

The majority of recommendations to control and prevent ASF, as suggested by the actors themselves, targeted producers, mostly with actions related to farm hygiene and pig movement during outbreaks seasons. Although traders, butchers and veterinary practitioners accepted that they play an important role in the spread of the virus, they did not perceive themselves as key actors in the control of the disease; instead, they believed that it was farmers who should adopt biosecurity measures on their farms because they keep the pigs.

The recommendations by actors to control ASF included: the establishment of collective centres for live pigs, capacity building of value chain actors on disease control, the issuance and enforcement of by-laws on live pig movements and establishment of operational outbreak reporting mechanism at district level. This study suggests that interventions designed to control ASF through biosecurity measures should focus their efforts on at post-farm nodes mainly the trading node.


Filed under: Africa, Agri-Health, Animal Diseases, Animal Health, ASF, ASSP, CRP37, East Africa, ILRI, LGI, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains

Tropentag workshop: Empowering livestock and fish smallholders through multi-stakeholder platforms and value chains

On 19 September 2016, ’empowering livestock and fish smallholders through multi-stakeholder platforms and value chains’  is the focus of a Livestock and Fish research program workshop at the Tropentag 2016 conference.

Guided by the Tropentag theme ‘Solidarity in a competing world’, the workshop will synthesize experiences and lessons of the program and its partners, focusing on food security, livelihoods and empowerment towards a fairer, more sustainable world.

Since 2012, CGIAR Livestock and Fish program partners have worked in a solution-driven approach to agricultural research for development. This combines technical upstream interventions in animal health, animal feeding and animal genetics with multi-stakeholder interventions with communities and along value chains. Special attention is given to inclusive value chain development, by and for the poor, targeting women and people facing environmental and public health issues.

Drawing on experiences from several ‘value chain’ countries as well as livestock and fish technical specialists, the workshop aims to critically examine the novel model for agricultural research for development AR4D) that the program tested, drawing tentative lessons to improve the model and recommendations for AR4D more generally.

Participants, who do not need to be livestock or fish specialists, will be able to interrogate and challenge the approach in relation to their own experience, directly interacting with researchers who implemented the model and influencing future work of the institutions involved.


Filed under: CGIAR, CIAT, CRP37, ICARDA, ILRI, Livestock, Research, Value Chains, WorldFish

Engendering security in fisheries and aquaculture: WorldFish systematic review and Indonesia experiences

On 3-7 August 2016, the Asian Fisheries Society in collaboration with 11th Asian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum (11th AFAF) organized the 6th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF6) in Bangkok, Thailand. There were six people who represented WorldFish, Cynthia McDougall, Alexander Kaminski, Afrina Choudhury, Surendran Rajaratnam, Helen Teioli, and Safina Naznin. Three others who presented their work in partnership with WorldFish were Irna Sari, Kaniz Fatema and Sanjida Huque.

The symposium started with a training workshop to introduce participants to approaches in theorizing gender that would enable them formulate theoretically grounded research questions focused on gender in fisheries and aquaculture.

The theme of the symposium this year was “Engendering security in fisheries and aquaculture” and the presentations delivered highlighted the multiple facets of security for people involved in fisheries and aquaculture. It went well beyond food security to include issues that impact women and men differently such as drought and other natural or climate change-related disasters and also those that benefit women and men differently. Updates from around the globe showed some similarities on the important roles women play and position they hold in the fisheries and aquaculture sector that often go unrecognized.

The livestock and fish program sponsored two presentations to this year’s symposium. The first was a paper highlighting the findings regarding women’s empowerment in aquaculture, based on two case studies from Indonesia: shrimp farming in Barru district and homestead milkfish processing in Sidoarjo district.

The case studies form half of a larger study being undertaken by WorldFish and the FAO entitled Women’s Empowerment in Aquaculture Production Systems in Asia: Comparative Case Studies and Synthesis from Bangladesh and Indonesia. The findings signaled that while women predominated in homestead milkfish processing businesses, shrimp farming operations are almost entirely run by male farmers. While the engagement in aquaculture has generated benefits, most notably income, it has also been accompanied by some negative outcomes, in particular for the women who stretched gender boundaries to engage as shrimp farm operators.  Women’s lower participation in shrimp farming, and outcomes in these nodes were shaped by social and gender norms, financial resources and access to land and ponds, human and social capital including networks, and spousal (family) support. The findings emphasized the need for the government, NGOs and other actors involved in aquaculture programs to engage with fundamental barriers identified in the study. The two-case study will be available online electronically by the end of 2016.

The second presentation elucidated the preliminary findings of a systematic literature review on gender and aquaculture. The review is being undertaken in response to the need for clarity on strengths, gaps and patterns in gender knowledge and analysis in the landscape of existing aquaculture literature. Focusing on 7 countries —Egypt, Zambia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia— the work places the program’s contributions in the larger landscape and will lay the groundwork for the FISH CRP.

Preliminary findings identified a significant imbalance in the quantity of literature addressing gender, with Bangladesh having the most number of papers produced (both as journal articles and grey literature), and Egypt having the least (and only grey literature were found on Egypt).  Focusing on content of the literature, key emerging similarities from across the countries included: i) similar patterns in gendered divisions of labour (men tending to dominate production, and women tending to be most involved in processing and market fish); ii) women across all countries facing challenges in accessing key assets and resources; and, iii) women having similar constraining factors (limited time due to household responsibilities; unequal ownership and access to land, capital and other resources; limited access to market and mobility; lack of education, knowledge and skills; and inadequate access to extension services.).



Filed under: Africa, Aquaculture, Asia, Bangladesh, CRP37, Egypt, Fish, Gender, Indonesia, Research, Value Chains, Women, WorldFish

Participatory epidemiology and household survey assesses role of gender in tackling diseases in small ruminants

ILRI veterinarian Barbara Wieland and Annet Mulema

Participatory epidemiology and gender study workshop, Addis Ababa in June 2016 (photo credit: ILRI/Camille Hanotte).

From 15 -19 June 2016, a result dissemination workshop was held in Ethiopia to share findings of studies which used participatory tools and household surveys to understand disease constraints and gender roles in small ruminant management.

Organized by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the three-day workshop brought together 40 veterinary stakeholders, including veterinarians and National agricultural research center directors and officers) from four regions in Ethiopia–Oromia, Tigray, Amhara and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ (SNNP).

The overall scope of the workshop was to highlight the importance of small ruminant diseases in Ethiopia and why considering gender in animal health management is crucial. Using participatory epidemiology tools and a household survey combined with serum sample collection, the researchers found that farmers consider respiratory diseases the key health constraint in small ruminant production. A close second came diseases resulting in neurological clinical signs, such as coenurosis, a parasitic disease leading to circling in affected animals due to cysts in the brain.

Results showed that because men and women are responsible for different animals and animal husbandry activities (such as feeding, slaughtering and taking the sick animals to the veterinarian) they are knowledgeable about some diseases and less knowledgeable about others. The studies found that despite the differences in household roles, both men and women noticed symptoms of neurological and respiratory diseases in their live animals and were very articulate in describing the clinical signs. Also men and women reported similar observations of disease in carcasses of slaughtered animals. But overall, both men and women farmers, had very low awareness of zoonotic diseases. In some areas with recent anthrax cases, farmers were conversant about the disease, while in other areas tapeworm and rabies were mentioned.

‘It is clear that Ethiopian smallholder farmers have the knowledge to understand that the symptoms they notice in their are caused by diseases,’ said Barbara Wieland, a veterinarian at ILRI. ‘But we found that only 46% of farmers had heard about zoonotic disease beforehand.’ Wieland coordinated the Ethiopian research team that carried out the study.

According to participants, teaching farmers about zoonotic pathogens and their transmission is one way of closing the knowledge gap to help farmers understand how to prevent, better detect and treat zoonotic diseases.

On the last day of the workshop, participants discussed possible interventions to address the key challenges identified. The ultimate aim is to to reduce disease within livestock herds to increase their productivity and, consequently, improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers in Ethiopia.

This participatory epidemiology and gender (PEG) activity was conducted jointly by the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded SmaRT project – Improving the Performance of Pro-Poor Sheep and Goat Value Chains for Enhanced Livelihoods, Food and Nutrition Security in Ethiopia. It was implemented by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and ILRI, and by the Africa RISING project.

Download the research report

Read a related article in the Africa RISING blog.

Blog post by Camille Hanotte

Filed under: Africa, Animal Diseases, Animal Health, ASSP, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, Gender, Goats, ICARDA, ILRI, Livestock, Report, Research, Sheep, Small Ruminants, Women

Preventing small ruminant diseases through education in Ethiopia

Teaching villagers about the cycle of coenurosisCrucial to preventing animal diseases is helping farmers understand how certain diseases spread. Researchers at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have developed an information poster and leaflet about the parasitic disease coenurosis which affects sheep an goats.

The poster and leaflet to be distributed in villages and local animal health centres around Ethiopia, highlights the causes of coenurosis and what farmers can do to prevent the spread of this parasite. ILRI hopes that by reducing the spread of this disease, it will increase the health of their small ruminants.

Download the poster

Download the leaflet

Story by Camille Hanotte

This activity was conducted jointly by the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded SmaRT project – Improving the Performance of Pro-Poor Sheep and Goat Value Chains for Enhanced Livelihoods, Food and Nutrition Security in Ethiopia.

Filed under: Agri-Health, Animal Diseases, Animal Health, ASSP, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, Goats, ILRI, Livestock, Research, Sheep, Small Ruminants, Value Chains

Livestock and Fish science leadership promotes the development of Nicaragua’s livestock sector

DSCF2040 (Large)

Martin Mena, L&F Research Assistant, talks about practical considerations for better pasture management at the “First International Congress on Challenges and Opportunities to Increase National Livestock Productivity” in Managua, Nicaragua. Photo: Rein van der Hoek/CIAT

To share experiences that will increase the productivity of Nicaragua’s livestock sector and improve the quality and efficiency of the country’s cattle production, the Nicaraguan Institute for Agricultural Technology (INTA) organized the “First International Congress on Challenges and Opportunities to Increase National Livestock Productivity” in Managua, Nicaragua. Highlighting the collaboration of CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish (L&F) within the model of collaboration based on alliances, dialogue, and consensus promoted by the country’s public sector, members of CIAT’s forages team presented the Program’s contributions to the development of the region’s livestock sector.

Michael Peters, leader of the Tropical Forages program at CIAT, was a panelist in a thematic round table titled “The best and most efficient sustainable meat and milk cattle production systems to increase national productivity,” and in the central conference “Productive and technological systems responding to international market demands for livestock products.”

In both spaces, he shared CIAT’s experience with LivestockPlus, a strategic initiative that promotes the transformation of traditional cattle production systems, often characterized by considerable negative environmental impacts, towards systems with greater productive, economic, and environmental benefits, based on forage integration for the sustainable intensification of livestock production.

During this exchange, researchers shared results on topics related to climate change mitigation and adaptation. These included the potential for carbon sequestration in soils and improved pasture systems, the residual effect of biological nitrification inhibition (BNI) with improved Brachiaria humidicola pastures in silvopastoral systems, and increasing the productivity of growing cattle in improved pasture systems, be they monocultures, associated with herbaceous legumes, or silvopastoral systems.

Rein van der Hoek, L&F coordinator in Nicaragua, and Martin Mena, L&F research assistant, gave a talk titled “Practical considerations for better pasture management” to an audience which included over 400 small and medium Nicaraguan cattle farmers.

The discussion focused on the main deficiencies in traditional pasture management systems, detailing how these lead to lower productivity and degradation in cattle farms. At the same time, the team provided practical recommendations regarding adequate germplasm selection for various climate and soil conditions, improved pasture management based on intensity of use, and the need to transform traditional monoculture pasture systems into sustainable systems that include herbaceous legumes, shrubs, and other tree species in silvopastoral systems.

The Program’s participation in this exchange highlighted its leadership alongside Nicaragua’s government to support the development of this priority sector. The conference also discussed topics such as the production of cash and staple crops alongside cattle production, as well as the use of organic fertilizers and improved seeds and pastures alongside genetic improvement of cattle to increase yields.

Filed under: Animal Feeding, Cattle, Central America, CIAT, Climate Change, CRP37, Dairying, Feeds, Forages, Nicaragua