CRP 3.7 News

Taking stock and looking ahead: Livestock and Fish further develops dairy value chain work in India

Originally posted on ILRI Asia:

The CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish recently reviewed its current projects and activities in India and set plans for 2016 and beyond.

At a review and planning meeting held 24-26 September 2015 at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi City in Uttar Pradesh, progress of the Livestock and Fish dairy value chain work in India was assessed.

L&F India planning meeting

    ILRI’s Alok Jha and Steve Staal with Banaras Hindu University officials at the Livestock and Fish India planning meeting (photo credit: ILRI).

The Livestock and Fish program, which is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), seeks to improve the livelihoods of smallholder dairy farmers in India by developing value chains, improving access to markets, and conducting training sessions on efficient dairy production methods.

The first day of the meeting started with an inaugural session attended by ILRI and BHU staff and students, where Steve Staal, East and Southeast…

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Filed under: CRP37

Addressing Egypt’s aquaculture challenges

Critical problems, including water quality and disease prevention, in the $1.5 billion Egyptian aquaculture industry were addressed in a meeting of key stakeholders in Cairo last week.

The second plenary meeting of the Egyptian Aquaculture Innovation Platform, organized by WorldFish, addressed concerns affecting the industry and set out a series of action items in order to move towards a country-wide aquaculture plan.

Read the full article

Filed under: Aquaculture, CRP37, Egypt, Fish, Innovation Systems, Middle East, North Africa, Value Chains, WorldFish

Livestock and Fish 2014 report on progress and results

The Livestock and Fish program’s third annual ‘performance monitoring report‘ provides insights into its progress, results and challenges in the past year.

In its third year in 2014, the program maintained its steady output of research results from its technology platforms to support sustainable livestock and aquaculture intensification, and began reviewing the lessons learned so far in implementing its value chain approach for enhancing impact.

Upstream, new capacity to support research on fish health and feeds has created exciting opportunities for synergies on technical research across the species reflected in a presentation at a fish health meeting and interactions to align the development of processes and procedures in the repository and data system between WorldFish with those at ILRI.

The genetics team succeeded in securing major funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for two new projects on dairy and chicken genetics that seek to demonstrate how new advances and tools in genomics can deliver better-suited breeds to farmers in a shorter time frame.

Downstream, activities were successfully initiated in the Bangladesh aquaculture value chain, strongly complementing the existing work of the Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) CRP. In the better-established sites in Ethiopia, Uganda, Egypt and Tanzania, effort shifted from a focus on assessment to testing of technological and institutional innovations. A CRP-commissioned external evaluation of the program’s value chain approach endorsed the value of the approach and progress achieved, and offered guidance on addressing many of the challenges that remain to fully realize the potential of the approach.

The program has continued to address the challenges cited in the 2013 report, namely adaptively managing the under-resourced components in the ambitious plan of work described in the program proposal, nurturing interdisciplinarity—including mainstreaming gender dimensions—as part of the value chain approach, and establishing a monitoring and evaluation system based on the program’s Theory of Change and appropriate for research-for-development.

To improve integration both across disciplines and between the discovery and delivery components, three of the CRP Themes (Value Chain Development; Targeting Sustainable Innovation; Gender & Learning) were re-organized into two Flagships: Systems Analysis for Sustainable Intensification and Value Chain Transformation & Scaling. This new structure enhances integration of the various cross-cutting, mainly social science activities to work more closely together within the Systems Analysis Flagship, while giving more emphasis to the role of the value chain teams and their engagement with development partners as the Value Chain Flagship. The new Flagships were prepared during 2014 and came into effect in January 2015.

Download the report

See also this update on some highlights in 2014

Filed under: CRP37

Uganda pig farmers trained in biosecurity measures to control African swine fever

Training on Biosecurity_Lira_Uganda

A facilitator prepares disinfectant for use in a footbath to control African swine fever (photo credit: ILRI/Michel Dione).

During the rapid value chain assessment of the smallholder pig value chain in Uganda, African swine fever (ASF) was identified as one of the major constraints to pig production. ASF is endemic in Uganda with outbreaks occurring annually. Farmers who are affected by these outbreaks usually face big economic losses as their pigs die en masse. There is neither a vaccine nor a cure for the disease at the moment. The project has identified proper application of biosecurity measures by farmers and other value chain actors as one of the best ways of controlling the disease. But there is inadequate knowledge farmers and other value chain actors on transmission of the disease and its appropriate control measures.

To fill this gap, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partners developed a trainers manual for smallholder farmers in order to increase their knowledge of biosecurity practices. To further test the effectiveness of this training package on change in smallholder farmers’ knowledge and practices, a Randomized Control Trial study was implemented in Masaka and Lira districts. It is against this background that pig farmers in the treatment groups participating in the study were trained. During the training, participatory tools were used including group discussions, case studies and demonstration, brainstorming, session stories and practical/observations. Eight hundred farmers in Masaka and 356 farmers in Lira were enrolled in the activity. Refresher training is planned for January 2016 with the same farmers.

Biosecurity training against ASF in Uganda

A training session on control of spread of African swine fever in Lira, Uganda (photo credit: ILRI/Michel Dione).

Prior to the training of farmers, ILRI organized a two-day training of extension staff to equip them with knowledge of the training package and delivery methods that will be used to train the pig farmers. In addition, technicians from other institutions including CHAIN Uganda, Voluntary Efforts for Development Concerns (VEDCO), Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MUZARDI) and ADINA Farm that work with ILRI and pig farmer in implementing project activities, participated in the training.

Five male and five female extension officers were trained in both districts to carry out the training. The technicians from CHAIN, VEDCO and MUZARDI will train farmers as part of the RTB-Endure sub project on the use of sweetpotato silage as a pig feed. This initiative is a collaboration between the International Potato Centre (CIP), ILRI and ADINA farm and targets farmers who are involved in their projects in Lira District.

Filed under: Africa, Animal Diseases, Animal Health, ASF, Capacity Development, Capacity Strengthening, CRP37, East Africa, FSZ, ILRI, LGI, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains

Uganda butchers trained through partnership with Veterinarians Without Borders

Training of pork butchers in Uganda by VWB

Participants of the butcher training by Veterinarians Without Borders and ILRI (photo credit: ILRI/Michel Dione). 

To a good number of Ugandans, pork is a delicacy; consumed in various forms, this meat is revered for both its taste and nutritive value. In fact a research study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reveals that the per capita consumption of pork in Uganda is about 3.4 kg per year, the highest in East Africa. To date, more pork than beef is consumed in Uganda. Kampala, the Ugandan capital has the highest number of ‘pork joints’ in the country –establishments where pork prepared in different forms (deep-fried, roasted or barbecued) is served.

All is not rosy however; numerous capacity and structural constraints at the slaughter and trade nodes of the pig value chain continuously pose a risk to the quality of pork in most parts of Uganda. For instance, the country has only one centralized pork slaughterhouse at the Wambizzi pig cooperative society in Kampala that supplies the bulk of the pork consumed in the city and its suburbs.

For the other towns, most of the pork supplies originate from backyards where pigs are slaughtered on makeshift slabs or on the ground; to put it mildly, the pork handling and waste disposal leaves a lot to be desired. Furthermore, efforts by the government to ensure that proper pork handling and hygiene standards are upheld through inspection of pork butcheries and pig slaughter places have been further watered down by capacity and knowledge gaps among pork butchers and traders.

To counter some of these challenges, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has partnered with Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB), Mukono Local Government and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) to train pork butchers in Mukono District on pork hygiene, carcass handling and biosecurity practices.

The training was conducted on 18 and 19 August 2015. Ahead of this training, four veterinary medicine students from Michigan State University and one from Makerere University, all working for VWB, made a preliminary visit to the project sites to collect field data throughout Masaka, Mukono and peri-urban areas around Kampala that would be used to aid the design of a training manual for pork butchers in Uganda. The manual comprises an overview of the One Health Initiative, proper post-mortem exam techniques, common endemic and zoonotic diseases of importance to pork butchers in Uganda, important hygiene and sanitation protocols, and biosecurity practices.

Among the places that the VWB team visited were three pork butcheries and a private slaughter slab in Masaka District where they observed the traders’ efforts at hygienic handling through use of concrete slaughter slabs and hot water, however, there still were challenges in waste management as indicated by the poor drainage systems. In addition the pork at the butcheries was not adequately shielded from dust and flies which further degraded its quality. The VWB team made an extra effort to refurbish an old pork butchery, transforming it into a model low-cost outlet that will serve as a point of reference for butchers seeking to construct better outlets that conform to both safety and sanitary standards as approved by the district authorities.

Training of pork butchers Uganda

Demonstration of standard pig slaughtering during the training (photo credit: ILRI/Michel Dione).

Forty seven butchers from the Mukono municipality, where most pork from the district is consumed, participated in the training that aimed at equipping butchers with the best practices in pig slaughtering, pork handling and biosecurity.

On day one, the training covered hygiene and sanitation at the slaughter slab; personal hygiene; carcass handling and biosecurity for the control of African swine fever. On day two, practical slaughter techniques to enhance hygiene, carcass handling, and biosecurity practices were organized at a slaughter place, where a demonstration was done to show butchers how hygiene and biosecurity can be improved at slaughter slabs.

A biosecurity package containing nylon cutting board, a basin, a bottle of JIK disinfectant, brush and serviettes was given to butchers. To monitor changes in knowledge and practices of butchers after the training, a knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) survey was undertaken with butchers prior the training. Also, all butcheries of the municipality were geo-referenced for follow up and monitoring of practices.

Participants expressed willingness to from an association and requested support from the local government and other development institutions in the district to support the process.

Filed under: Africa, Animal Products, Capacity Development, Capacity Strengthening, CRP37, East Africa, ILRI, LGI, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains

Gender integration in aquaculture research and technology in Bangladesh

This working paper from WorldFish assesses how gender has been integrated within aquaculture technology interventions in Bangladesh. It draws out existing knowledge, identifies research gaps, and selects practices to build upon–as well as practices to move away from. The paper aims to contribute to the development of aquaculture technology dissemination methodologies that strengthen and underpin women’s participation in aquaculture. Download the working paper
Filed under: Aquaculture, Asia, Bangladesh, CRP13, CRP37, Fish, Gender, South Asia, Value Chains, Women, WorldFish

Pig value chains in Uganda – farmer case stories

Pig production is a major source of livelihoods for over 1.1 million households in Uganda. Mainly kept by smallholder farmers under backyard systems, the pig is preferred because it grows fast, and eats leftover food and crop residues. In recent years, the Livestock and Fish program has worked in Uganda with partners to improve the livelihoods, incomes and assets of smallholder pig producers, particularly women, in a sustainable manner, by increasing productivity, reducing risk, and improving market access in pig value chains (more on this project).

Meet some of the farmers involved in the program:

Madrine Nabayinda, 29 lives with her mother in Kagezi village, Kabonera sub-county of Masaka district.

She started pig farming in June 2014 with 20 two- month-old piglets using money she got from crop harvest sales and labour she provided off-farm.

She was driven by the need to better her financial condition from dependence to self-reliance. Her farm has grown to 15 sows, one boar and 45 piglets.

Madrine was one of the pig farmers trained by the project on utilisation of planted forage as a feeding option for pigs. She planted five forage species; Mulato, Lablab, Canavalia, Clitoria and Mulberry grown on a total acreage of about 0.5 acres and harvest close to 100kgs every two weeks. The rest of the five-acre plot of land is occupied by the family house and their crop farm where maize, sweetpotato, coffee, cassava, bananas and beans are grown.

She says that the fodder has offered her some relief to the feed challenge. When the price of commercial feed rises, she cuts back on the quantities she buys and uses more of the planted forages supplemented by a bit of the purchased feed. During the rainy season, the forage grows faster and she often sees no need to buy commercial feed. In her opinion, Mulato seem more resilient and tolerant to harsh conditions like dry spells and is indeed preferred by pigs to the other forage species. She plans to increase the acreage of planted forages to over an acre because she believes it will solve her pig feed dilemma.

Kabonera Sub County where Madrine lives has had recurrent outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF). This highly fatal disease in domestic pigs is feared by many farmers because of its high mortality rate, with the potential to wipe out an entire herd within days. Madrine shares this fear and has taken all necessary precautions within her means borrowing lessons she learnt from the training on biosecurity measures for the prevention of ASF, which was conducted for over 800 farmers in Masaka district.

Using old tin roofing materials, she has constructed a fence around her sties to keep out unauthorized visitors and restrict entry by stray animals. Additionally she utilizes a foot bath whereby all visitors to the farm must step in a trough containing disinfectant to minimize chances of pathogen transmission into her pig farm.

Madrine is quite optimistic that if the current pig market challenges are streamlined she will scale new heights of pig production to become a model large scale pig producer.

Margaret Ddungu has reared pigs for over 15 years starting with one sow and no sty. She now has 9 sows, a boar and 8 piglets that she keeps in a wooden sty. At 50, she seems not to have lost any of her youthful energy going by the speed at which she feeds her pigs. Her husband helps out with the dairy enterprise, chopping fodder for their 2 heifers while Margaret tends to the pigs. Their three sons are away at school.

Her pigs have been good to her, from the pig sales; she’s been able to raise school fees for her sons and money for her daily domestic needs. The couple is unable to find cheap labour and therefore tend to their crop farm where they grow coffee, bananas, maize and cassava. The farm provides food for the household and extra income when the crops are sold off at the time of harvest.

Her first contact with ILRI was in 2013 when she participated in the value chain assessment. Her most pressing challenge was access to quality and affordable feeds for her pigs. Her pigs were fed largely on crop residues, kitchen swill and sometimes maize bran that she bought when she had extra cash.

She participated in a training organized by CIAT and ILRI where she was taught how to plant forage on her farm. Among the varieties she planted were Canavalia brasiliensis, Clitoria ternatea, Lablab purpureus, Brachiaria Mulato and Mulberry.

Unfortunately, her forage garden was adversely affected by recent dry spells. All was not lost though, the more resilient species like Mulato and lablab survived.

“My pigs love the forage, but seem to prefer Mulato. I have been able to save on my expenses for feeds by a third of the previous cost” Margaret says.

She adds that her pigs are growing faster than before she started feeding them on the forage. She plans to increase the land allocation to planted forages to a whole acre.

Kato Muwonge, 49 has kept pigs for the past 23 years. To him pig keeping is more of a business, it is a lifestyle.

Though he started off with tethering, he later upgraded to intensive pig rearing in sties after getting training by the government-led National Agricultural Advisory Services in 2003.

He currently keeps 6 pigs as part of his 5 acre-large farmland. He also engages in crop farming and grows sweetpotato, cassava, bananas, coffee, paw paw and avocado.

The pig enterprise has provided money for his children’s school fees and he was able to start a poultry farm and retail shop for his wife out of the pig sales.

Kato has faced numerous challenges: In 2001 his farm was hit by African swine fever that wiped out his entire herd. He resumed pig keeping in 2003. He is also challenged by the scarcity and poor quality of pig feeds. He finds feeding both costly and time-consuming because it takes time to locate a reliable feed stockist as many retailers in the neighbourhood sell adulterated feed. He also lacks proper housing for his pigs. The one-acre plot of land that he owns is split between his crop farm, residential house, poultry enterprise and the pig farm.

To feed his animals, he joined training courses by ILRI and partners on feed formulation using locally available feed resources, planting and utilization of forages as well as making sweetpotato silage. He planted Mulato, Lablab, Canavalia, Clitoria and Mulberry on a 40ft x 50ft plot of land. Mulato and Lablab leaves seem to be preferred by his pigs while he often disguises the rest of the forage species with sweetpotato vines and other crop residues.

Muwonge has also made sweetpotato silage by compounding and ensiling sweetpotato vines and tubers, cassava, pawpaws and avocado. These different formulations and planted fodder have enabled him spend less on commercial feeds.

“Initially, I fed each pig on 3 kg of maize bran per day, now with the different forages and silage I use between 1.5 and 2kg of maize bran per pig per day. I save about Ugs. 5,400 on feeding per day,” he says.

Kato is vice chairperson of the Kabonera-Kyanamukaaka pig farmers’ cooperative society. It is piloting a pig business hub in Kabonera Sub County where they hope to collectively sell their pigs and jointly purchase farm inputs and services. The group has already embarked on joint purchase of brewers’ waste as an option for their pig feeds.

Though very optimistic about this enterprise, Kato seeks support for proper pig housing and water harvesting technology to solve his farm’s water problem.

More news and updates from the Uganda projects

Reports and outputs from the Uganda projects

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

Livestock and Fish pig value chain activities in Uganda

A smallholder pig farmer tends to her animal

Pig production is a major source of livelihoods for over 1.1 million households in Uganda. Mainly kept by smallholder farmers under backyard systems, the pig is preferred because it grows fast, and eats leftover food and crop residues.

It can generally convert poor resources into a high-value animal-source food for sale or home consumption. For many farmers, the pig is a living bank because it can easily be sold for cash to meet domestic financial needs such as school fees and it provides financial capital required to grow crops.

Uganda’s per capita consumption of pork is the highest in East Africa at 3.4 kg per capita per year. However, growth of the pig value chain is limited by various production, marketing, policy and institutional constraints.

In recent years, the Livestock and Fish program has worked in Uganda with partners to overcome these constraints. This work has been supported by the European Commission, the International Fund for International Development and Irish Aid.

The program’s work in Uganda seeks to improve the livelihoods, incomes and assets of smallholder pig producers, particularly women, in a sustainable manner, by increasing productivity, reducing risk, and improving market access in pig value chains. The initial  EC-IFAD funded (2011-2013) project was implemented in three districts – Kamuli, Mukono and Masaka A follow-on (2014-2016) Irish Aid funded project builds on the results with two additional districts, Lira and Hoima. Both projects have been implemented in collaboration with the “Safe Food Fair Food” (SFFF) project on pork safety and zoonoses.

Activities implemented by the project include:

  • Situational analysis. The study analyzed past trends; current status and the likely future directions in pig value chains in Uganda; and identified the underlying challenges and opportunities faced by different actors in the smallholder pig production value chains at national and regional levels.
  • Outcome mapping. A 2012 workshop identified partner commitment to the project and designed implementation strategies to cause desired behavioural changes in the three selected districts.
  • Assessing value chains. A toolkit to analyze the pig value chain in Uganda was developed and 1,400 pig farmers from 35 villages in the three districts were surveyed. The toolkit has been implemented to an additional 1,550 pig farmers from 18 villages in Lira and Hoima districts. The study characterized the smallholder pig systems, the role of pigs in people’s livelihoods, gender roles and decision making, as well as perceptions on food safety, nutrition and zoonoses. The study helped to identify constraints and potential entry points to improve the value chain.
  • Benchmarking. The pig value chains benchmarking surveys in the three districts highlighted the different players, identified information gaps regarding value chain performance, identified constraints along the value chains, and obtained baseline information for monitoring outcomes arising from interventions. A total of 863 pig value chain actors including feed and drug stockists, farmers, breeding boar service providers, pig traders, pork retailers, and village veterinary service providers were covered.
  • Assessing animal health and pork safety. The project sampled sera, blood and faeces from 1,200 pigs and 90 village boars to determine the prevalence of and risks associated with the main diseases and zoonoses that affects pigs in Uganda, i.e., African swine fever (ASF), porcine cysticercosis as well as internal and external parasites. A biobank of pig specimens including blood, serum and faeces was established for further study.
  • Characterizing local feed resources. To compile information on the nutritive value of locally-used feeds and to test the quality of commercial feeds and feed ingredients, 220 samples of different local feed resources were analyzed. This showed a wide variation in quality of feed ingredients often leading to sub-standard diets. Further, knowledge gaps were researched and field studies with pig farmers assessed the integration of forages in crop-pig production systems. This confirmed that forages (“weeds”, legumes and grasses) are important components in pig feeding systems so improved forages have been introduced and, so far, about 120 pig farmers have planted small plots of improved forages.
  • Developing training modules. Seven training modules covering key capacity constraints identified in the value chain were developed and serve as the curriculum of courses run by various extension and other service providers such as Pig Production and Marketing Uganda Ltd.
  • Assessing capacity building outcomes of implementation of biosecurity protocols for ASF control. The study aims to identify hotspots for ASF transmission and spread along the pig value chain, as well as feasible biosecurity measures for disease prevention. Randomized Controlled Trials are being undertaken with around 2,000 smallholder farmers.
  • Improving waste management. With the SFFF project, the only urban pig slaughterhouse in Uganda is piloting ways to make better, and safer, use of abattoir waste. These include a biogas digester, studies on energy demand, and assessments of the use of the biodigester on pork safety.
  • Assessing the feasibility of pig business hubs and a model pig abattoir. Two consultants were hired to design a centralized slaughter facility and the development of a business plan for the operation of the abattoir as a private-public partnership. One of the consultants is also carrying out scoping and feasibility studies as well as necessary baseline activities to pilot test a pig business hub that will improve market linkages and business development services for the Kabonera-Kyanamukaka pig farmers cooperative.
  • Establishing multi-stakeholder platforms. National and regional platforms were established in 2014 to foster and support collective participation of all pig value chain actors and stakeholders in resolving various production, marketing and policy constraints in the pig industry. Having identified feed as the main constraint, the platforms are lobbying the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to revise the feeds policy to enforce quality standards of pig feeds.
  • Predicting live weight of animals. A study to develop body weight prediction equations based on various body measurements showed that live weight can be accurately estimated using two or more pig body measurements. That estimation tool will empower pig farmers by providing them with an accurate estimate for the animal live weight and giving them better bargaining power when selling their pigs. The next steps are to develop an App for farmers to get the estimates from an ICT provider, and to develop equations relating live weight with carcass weight, as traders estimate the latter while bargaining with farmers.
  • Assessing consumer access to pork and animal source foods, and intra-household control of resources for enhancing food and nutrition security: In collaboration with Agriculture for Nutrition and Health CGIAR Research Program, a household survey covering 600 households was carried out to identify consumer constraints in accessing animal source foods and intra household control of resources. The evidence from this study will be used to identify nutrition related interventions for improving food and nutrition security.

More news and updates from the Uganda projects

Reports and outputs from the Uganda projects

Filed under: Africa, ASSP, CRP37, CRP4, East Africa, Food Safety, ILRI, LGI, Livestock, Pigs, Uganda, Value Chains

Mapping the Tanzanian dairy industry: Farming systems, infrastructure and natural resources

Community members in Lushoto carrying out participatory mapping

With a concerted effort to improve livelihoods through the Tanzanian dairy industry, there is a need to understand the current state of the industry and related environmental resources, and how these may change as the industry develops.

In a series of workshops, industry stakeholders recently gathered to map the location of dairy farming systems, prominent farms, dairy industry infrastructure and natural resources. Stakeholders then worked through scenarios of how the industry could develop over a 10 year time horizon – mapping the associated changes.

These workshops are detailed in two documents, one focused on the Tanga region and another focused on Morogoro and surrounding districts, with translations available in Kiswahili. The maps have been made publicly available through the ILRI geoportal.

Story by Simon Fraval

Related articles:

Filed under: Africa, ASSP, Cattle, CRP37, Dairying, Environment, ILRI, Impact Assessment, Livestock, Research, Southern Africa, Systems Analysis, Tanzania, Targeting

Livestock and Fish research-for-development highlights in 2014

In 2014, Paula Kantor was a key member of the program’s gender team, researching gender-transformative approaches in livestock and fish value chains. She tragically lost her life in Afghanistan in 2015.

From 2012-2014, the CGIAR Livestock and Fish Research Program was structured in six Themes, three of which support the principal technology drivers of productivity and intensification in livestock and aquaculture systems: Animal health, animal genetics and feeds and forages.

The other Themes (gender, learning and impact; targeting sustainable interventions; value chain development, ) apply a mix of biological and social science to address key dimensions associated with pro-poor value chain development and intensification and ensuring more effective agricultural research-for-development that translates into impact.

Looking back  to 2014– and across the whole program portfolio – we identified three main activity areas were we worked. We also launched an important cross-cutting  ‘gender initiative’ to help our researchers make their interventions gender-equitable.

  1. Tools were developed to support livestock and fish value chain diagnosis and interventions, including: Establishing a feed and forages technology platform; developing toolkits supporting livestock and fish value chain (VC) assessment; and testing cell-phone technologies to capture livestock performance information and provide feedback to key actors.

The several platforms, tools, and approaches: 1) helped generate rigorous situation and demand assessments, 2) guided technology development and intervention priorities and decision making by different actors and 3) gave public access to data, toolkits and models for wider use.

These activities resulted in: Wider access to simple tools to assess and prioritize feed resources, test phenotypes for feed and fodder quality traits and establish price–quality relationships for a wide range of feeds and forages; a set of publicly-accessible tools and approaches for VC assessment and benchmarking, animal – source food participatory rural assessment and gender value chain analysis; and a method for farmers to collect and access real time data on their cattle’s performance, informing their decision making on the future genetic improvement of their animals. The toolkits were the basis for consistent and comparable cross-country VC assessment and intervention prioritization in nine countries; they are also being promoted and taken up beyond CGIAR by VC practitioners and service providers.

  1. Science and technology solutions to livestock and fish challenges were discovered, including: generating evidence linking livestock and fish investments with poverty reduction; developing an improved diagnostic test for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) disease of cattle and a model to control it; controlling outbreaks of African Swine fever (ASF) in Uganda; analyzing genomic and quantitative genetics of livestock resources in East Africa; increasing feed and forage quantity and quality with reduced and even positive environmental footprints; and making better use of available feed resources.

The evidence published in World Development shows that there is a link between poverty aquaculture investments and poverty reduction. This is important as aquaculture was previously considered by some people as unlikely to benefit those with low incomes because of a tendency to produce large, high value fish.

The other activities are significant milestones in addressing either animal health, feed or genetics challenges identified in one or other of the program’s nine target value chains: The work on CBPP led to reagents being tested to perform in a range of field-based diagnostic formats as well as performance requirements for tools to control the disease. This is important as the reagents are a necessary first step to develop an improved, commercially available diagnostic test, which itself is essential to control the disease. The ASF work in Uganda led to a list of key factors to avoid and use to control ASF outbreaks as well as training and other materials that are being used to sensitize farmers and other value chain actors to adopt evidence-based biosecurity measures and create incentives to report suspected cases.

The genomics is generating data and guidance to help match best dairy cattle breeds for given production environments. The feeds and forages work identified new food-feed and forage cultivars to improve livestock productivity and reduce feed costs without additional land and water requirements and with reduced biological nitrification inhibition. The work on feed and forage options that increase intake of on-farm feed resources, reduce feed wastage and increase mill production is an important step in matching feed processing options with on-farm needs and available infrastructure.

These activities resulted in: Wider access to simple tools to assess and prioritize feed resources, test phenotypes for feed and fodder quality traits and establish price–quality relationships for a wide range of feeds; a set of publicly-accessible tools and approaches for VC assessment and benchmarking, animal-source food participatory rural assessment and gender value chain analysis; and a method for farmers to collect and access real time data on their cattle’s performance, informing their decision making on the future genetic improvement of their animals.

  1. Livestock and fish research interventions were delivered in development settings, including: Identifying and testing best bet practices in fish production and marketing in Egypt; identifying critical animal source food policy bottlenecks with stakeholders in Tanzania and Uganda; and delivering disease-free breeding stock to shrimp farmers in Bangladesh.

These activities comprised: Technologies, capacity building, group formation interventions to support informal women fish retailers in Egypt where an improved strain of Nile tilapia has been adopted by at least 1200 fish farms, six women retailer groups are functioning, and 2000 farmers and pond workers were trained on best management practices; national alliance building and establishment of platforms assisting stakeholders identify and address critical bottlenecks (such as the Tanzania Dairy Development Platform, Uganda Pig Producers Association platform); and delivery of 449 million White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV)-free shrimp post larvae (tested by polymerase chain reaction – PCR) to Bangladeshi farmers through shrimp hatcheries and traders (and advised 50000 farmers on ways to prevent WSSV and the need to stock tested post larvae).

Some results? In Egypt, the program disseminated a genetically-improved strain of Tilapia, provided training for and by private sector partners and developed a business case for similar interventions in other countries; the policy work in Tanzania and Uganda is important as it helps build political acceptance that increasing livestock and fish productivity and achieving better-performing value chains can be accomplished through investment in actions supporting smallholders and small-scale entrepreneurs; in Bangladesh, the disease control activities led to policy change with the Department of Fisheries with the Department of Fisheries making it mandatory for all shrimp hatcheries to only supply healthy seed to farmers.

  1. Gender analysis was linked to action: The study “From gender analysis to transforming gender norms: using empowerment pathways to enhance gender equity and food security in Tanzania” analyzed the impact of a crop and goat intervention on household gender relations among participating livestock keepers and agriculturalists.

Findings show that the introduction of the dairy goats increased the workload of women and children, had positive impacts on the independence and perceived food security of both women and men, and increased women’s decision-making. However, these changes were limited in depth and scope, and did not question or challenge normative perceptions of gender-based roles. The study suggests the adoption of participatory and transformative approaches to gender analysis that builds empowerment pathways from the ground up while simultaneously working to influence the social environment in which movement along those pathways can be realized. The study is an important step in establishing an evidence base supporting CGIAR gender research on gender transformative approaches (GTA).

Recognizing that the Program was giving insufficient attention to gender, it initiated a gender action plan for gender mainstreaming. Working with specialists from Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Themes assessed mainstreaming opportunities, held a writeshop to introduce livestock researchers to gender mainstreaming concepts, and established a group of ‘Gender Fellows’ interested to integrate gender analysis and perspectives in their own research.

See updates on our work in each country

Download publications and other products of our research

Filed under: CRP37, Fish, ILRI, Livestock, Livestock-Fish, Research

Livestock and Fish program evaluation reviews successes in Vietnam and seeks new research opportunities

L&F Vietnam external evaluation

The evaluation team visited parts of the pork value chain as part of their review of the achievements of the program since its commencement in Vietnam in 2012 (photo credit: ILRI).

This year, the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish is undergoing an independent external evaluation to assess the phase one implementation of the program.

As part of the review, the evaluation team visited the Livestock and Fish value chains development research sites in the North Central Coast and the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The evaluation team was led by Anni McLeod, a livestock policy expert, and included Julie Fitzpatrick, an animal health expert. Vietnam is one of nine focus countries of the five flagship areas of the Livestock and Fish program, which is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

The evaluation team met with ILRI partners in Vietnam on 29 June to discuss achievements of the program since its commencement in Vietnam in 2012. Field visits to two sites in Vietnam—Ea Kar District in Dak Lak Province and Dien Chau District, Nghe An Province—took place from 30 June to 2 July. Hanoi-based ILRI scientists Lucy Lapar, Fred Unger and Thinh Nguyen, accompanied the evaluation team. A feedback meeting after the field visits with the evaluation team and ILRI was held on 3 July in Hanoi at the ILRI office where Steve Staal and Hung Nguyen were also present.

Role of native pigs in the Central Highlands

The Central Highlands, including Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces, is a relatively new ILRI site, where the development of indigenous pig production is being explored as an area of focus in Livestock and Fish.

Traditionally and historically, in Dak Lak, pigs are raised as free-range livestock, but this practice has been criticized for causing environmental damage and spreading diseases, some of them zoonoses, and local policy has instituted the ban of free-grazing pigs. As a response, smallholder farmers have made the switch to raising indigenous pigs that are stall fed with cut-and-carry feeds. But this new setup is costly, making native pig production less profitable.

ILRI was advised by the evaluation team to undertake a comprehensive study on potential indigenous pig markets inside and outside Dak Lak province, as a basis for sustainably developing an indigenous pig production system and market in the region. A scoping study recently completed by ILRI with Vietnamese collaborators in Tay Nguyen University shows there is a potentially large market for indigenous pigs (e.g. Soc), which are used for specialty dishes in urban centers like Ho Chi Minh City and Buon Ma Thuot in Dak Lak (note: reference link to L&F wiki for this technical report here).

In Dak Lak, the team also visited Truong Xuan cooperative—a successful business model engaged in wild pig production (a crossbreed of imported wild boar from Thailand and wild sow or indigenous sow (e.g., Soc) from Vietnam). This Dak Lak-based cooperative has 100 member households and is expanding to Dak Nong province.

Ethnic minorities are involved in wild pig production in the area, and their success can be attributed to selling 50% of their pigs and meat products to other provinces. Cooperative members are also expected to comply with strict methods on pig raising and slaughtering to ensure food safety.

Thriving pig production in the North Central Coast region

The evaluation team with ILRI staff then moved north to Nghe An Province, in the North Central Coast region, where two communes in Dien Chau District, namely, Dien Tho and Dien Trung, were visited. In these communes, pig production plays an important role, accounting for around 40% of total GDP.

The evaluation team met with heads of the commune, animal health team and slaughterhouse and farmers applying ‘Vietnamese good animal husbandry practices (VietGAHP)’, a set of guidelines for best practices in pig production that has been rolled out to selected provinces in the country under a Livestock Competitiveness and Food Safety Project (LIFSAP).

As part of LIFSAP, wet markets and small and medium slaughterhouses have also been upgraded and ILRI is organizing a survey of pig producers to evaluate VietGAHP as a potential best-bet intervention under the Livestock and Fish project.

The evaluation team also met with two representatives from Nghe An Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), who expressed interest in collaborating with ILRI in assessing the effectiveness of the first phase of LIFSAP.

The DARD team acknowledged ILRI’s role in helping change perceptions of the local authority on the role of small-scale pig production through the ILRI-led pig sector studies in Nghe An, and said they are exploring using workshops/meetings to further disseminate these research findings.

The Vietpigs blog has more details on Livestock and Fish value chains research in Vietnam.

Filed under: CRP37, ILRI, Impact Assessment, Livestock, Livestock-Fish, Pigs, Research, Southeast Asia, Value Chains, Vietnam

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