New Bio-Innovate Program is good news for bio-scientists in ‘bio-rich’ eastern Africa

A new program called Bio-Innovate, which stands for ‘Bioresources Innovations Network for Eastern Africa Development,’ is being launched tomorrow (Wednesday 16 March 2011) at the Nairobi, Kenya, campus of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), Bio-Innovate offers competitive funding for biosciences and innovations in six countries of eastern Africa through a Bioresources Innovation Fund. The program accepts applications for regional, multi-disciplinary innovation projects in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

More than 80 people—including scientists, policymakers, development practitioners and staff from private companies, donor agencies and diplomatic missions—are expected to participate. They represent national agricultural research organizations and universities, national councils for science and technology, regional bodies and international organizations from within and outside the region.

We interviewed two of the key people, Seyoum Leta, Bio-Innovate’s program manager, and Gabrielle Persley, senior advisor to ILRI’s director general, to tell us what Bio-Innovate is all about. Watch these short interviews below.

And follow the launch tomorrow on the web using the search term #BioInnAfrica2011.

Bio-Innovate Bean Technology Consortium

Seyoum Leta, Bio-Innovate program manager, is interviewed in the following brief films.

Film 1—Bio-Innovate: Addressing the missing link between research and innovation
East Africa has never had the facilities, funding or skilled manpower to undertake agricultural science on a scale that could move from research all the way to new technologies for farmers. Bio-Innovate is a new program aiming to provide that ‘missing link’. It will tackle the big regional problems such as climate change results, and environmental degradation, by the application of bio-sciences, with the direct aim of helping small-scale farmers.

Film 2Over 3 million farmers could benefit from the first projects of a new initiative
Small-scale farmers in 6 East African countries will be the first in the region to benefit from the new Bio-Innovate program. The first projects in the scheme will tackle challenges like the development of more productive varieties of staple crops, and waste re-cycling. Over the next 5 years, the numbers of projects will expand, using Bio-Innovate’s promotion of improvements in policy frameworks, its networks of scientists and research organizations, and the novel links it is building with private sector companies.

Film 3Launching a unique African-based and African-led program on innovations and policy analysis in eastern Africa
16 March 2011 is the official launch date for Bio-Innovate, a unique regional agricultural research initiative that is Africa based, Africa led and focuses on innovations for farmers.

Gabrielle Persley, Senior Advisor to the Director General

Gabrielle Persley, senior advisor to ILRI’s director general, is interviewed in the following brief films.

Film 4New phase of African Bio-Innovate Program will soon deliver solutions to farmers
Bio-Innovate is building on a previous project that trained 20 regionally recruited bioscientists to PhD level. Now the new program plans to move from research outputs into partnerships with private sector players and other delivery mechanisms. The real focus and the success of Bio-Innovate will be delivery of products to African farmers.

Film 5New science program makes use of facilities and expertise at the first biosciences hub in Africa
The choice of location for the headquarters of Bio-Innovate depended on access to the best bioscience facilities and expertise in the region. The Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) Hub, at the ILRI Nairobi campus, provides a vibrant biosciences research platform for advanced research into crops and livestock.

Film 6Bioscience support plus field trials will lead to the development of practical technologies for farmers
Core elements of the work of the Bio-Innovate projects will be done in the field. Through building partnerships within the participating countries, national research programs and the local private sector, evaluation of potential products in the field and scaling up can be targeted to local needs.

Film 7Large African bioscience-based agricultural project targets key famine-type foods and environments
Funding of USD10 million over 5 years will allow projects sponsored by Bio-Innovate to reach the critical mass of financial, agricultural and research resources needed to tackle large-scale regional challenges such as climate change and environmental degradation. In this way Bio-Innovate will help improve food supplies and incomes for small-scale farmers.

‘Unlocking the value of the cow’: New project to identify the best breeds for East Africa’s small-scale dairy producers

woman and cows

A small-scale dairy farmer with her cows in Uganda. A new three-year project will identify and make available appropriate dairy cows for smallholders in East Africa to help them increase their milk yields (photo credit: EADD).

A new project identifying appropriate dairy breeds for small-scale farmers in East Africa, and making these breeds more available in the region, was launched in February 2011 at the Nairobi campus of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The Dairy Genetics East Africa project—a partnership between ILRI; the University of New England, in Australia; and PICOTEAM, a consultancy group facilitating change processes—will help smallholders obtain the most appropriate cows for their farms so as to increase their milk yields and improve their livelihoods.

Speaking to dairy stakeholders from Kenya, including officials from Kenya’s Ministry of Livestock Development, the East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) project and other dairy industry development partners, at the launch on 9 February 2011, Okeyo Mwai, a researcher and the project’s coordinator at ILRI, explained that even though smallholder dairying is booming in parts of East Africa, such as in Kenya’s central region and the north and southern Rift Valley areas, where farmers have adopted improved animal breeds and intensified milk production, many more smallholders lack research-based knowledge about which dairy breeds are best suited for their farms and production systems and information about where to obtain them. According to Mwai, ‘Kenya’s dairy sector currently does not have a clear “breeding strategy.”’ That means that many poor smallholders are unable to take advantage of breeds that best suit their situations.

In the absence of appropriate breeding strategies and the ready supply of appropriate replacement stock, farmers face an unpredictable, unreliable and often costly replacement processes. Many are forced to replace their animals from their existing animals or from their neighbours. Others go to large-scale commercial farms and end up ‘upgrading’ to the main commercial dairy breeds even where these don’t suit their farms.

This project will determine the breed composition of cows currently kept in the project areas, the breeds smallholders prefer and the reasons for their preferences, and which breeds perform best under specific conditions. ‘This information will help us assess the relative fit of the various breeds to different production systems,’ says Ed Rege, a team leader at PICO. ‘We’ll then develop partnerships and business models with the private sector to breed, multiply and continuously supply the best-performing dairy breeds to farmers at affordable prices.’

The project will be implemented in five sites in western Kenya and three sites in Uganda. The first phase of the project will start with gathering information to assess the relative performance of breeds in the sites, setting up partnerships with other stakeholders in dairy development in the region and developing business models that will be carried out the later (phase 2 and 3) stages of the project.

In the first phase, project staff will collect information on about 3000 cows based on two monthly farm visits made over a period of 18 months. Field agents will compile information on the performance of the cows vis-vis farm-level inputs for a cost-benefit analysis of the different breeds. The agents will also collect information on farmer-perceived risks associated with different breeds, on means of livelihoods of the farmers, on any gender-specific preferences for certain breeds, and on farmer use of the various breeding services available and their costs.

The breed compositions will be obtained using advanced genotyping technology, which will be led by John Gibson, the project’s principal investigator, who is based at Australia’s University of New England. This information will be combined with cow and household data to identify the most appropriate breeds for various dairy production systems and household circumstances.

‘This project will harness the diverse expertise of the key partners, and combine the latest technologies with tried and tested methods of engaging with the community, to answer critical questions much more rapidly and accurately than has been possible in the past,’ said Gibson, who formerly worked at ILRI as a livestock geneticist.

Participants in the meeting expressed their support for the project, noting its focus on cattle genetic improvement—an area that has received inadequate research attention in the region. Alex Kirui, country director of the non-governmental organization Heifer International, said the project’s focus on ‘giving farmers the right breed for given circumstances’ is an essential requirement if the dairy industry is to be competitive enough to meet the high and increasing regional demand for fresh milk and other dairy products. Moses Nyabila, regional director for the East Africa Dairy Development Project, said the project would ‘unlock the value of the cow, which is a key asset for smallholder farmers.’

Results from the project’s first phase will guide future dairy pilot studies in East Africa and will inform a comparative study of the South Asian dairy industry.

The project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It started in September 2010 and is scheduled to end early in 2013.

For more information visit: http://www.ilri.org/node/598

View presentations from the meeting

Market opportunities for poor Ugandan livestock farmers mapped for first time

Map Showing Economic Opportunities for Poor Livestock Farmers in Uganda

This map from Mapping a Better Future combines poverty rates with milk production data and shows only the poverty rates for administrative areas with milk surplus. By knowing which areas display both high poverty rate and milk surplus, Uganda’s leaders can better provide market opportunities for poorer dairy farmers and target infrastructure investments.

The percentage of the population living below the poverty line is shown from
>dark green (lowest) to > light green (low) to > beige (medium) to > tan (high) to > dark brown (highest).
Gray areas = no data
White areas = outside milk surplus area
Diagonal blue lines = major national parks and wildlife reserves (over 50,000 ha)

To see the original of this and other maps, go here.

A new
 set of maps illustrating possible market 
opportunities for Uganda’s livestock farmers living 
in poverty is being unveiled today. The maps compare for the first time
 2005 poverty levels with livestock data from the 
2002 population and housing census and the 2008 
national livestock census.

‘Seven out of ten households in Uganda own 
livestock, making it an integral part of Ugandans’ 
diet, culture and income,’ said Hon. Hope R.
Mwesigye, Ugandan Minister of Agriculture, 
Animal Industry and Fisheries and co-author of 
Mapping a Better Future: Spatial Analysis and 
Pro-Poor Livestock Strategies in Uganda. ‘The
 maps are meant to guide the government’s future 
investments to reduce poverty while strengthening
the livestock sector.’

Hon. Syda N.M. Bbumba, Uganda Minister of
 Finance, Planning and Economic Development, 
said, ‘Examining the spatial relationships between 
poverty, livestock systems, location of livestock 
services such as dairy cooling plants, and livestock 
disease hotspots can provide new evidence-based 
information to help craft more effective 
investments and poverty reduction efforts.
While Uganda’s total agricultural output has declined, livestock figures have increased dramatically in the last 
decade due to strong domestic and regional demand for livestock products, according to the report.
‘Increased livestock production carries both economic opportunities for Ugandans and greater risk for 
transmission of animal diseases,’ said Nicholas Kauta, Commissioner of Livestock Health and Entomology at 
the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. ‘The maps included in this report will help
Uganda’s leaders understand market opportunities and, at the same time, target at-risk areas for disease 
outbreaks with appropriate health intervention plans.’
For instance, maps showing milk surplus and deficit areas can highlight geographic differences in market 
opportunities for poor dairy farmers. According to the maps in the report, about 3.5 million people live in 
sub-counties identified as producing more milk than their residents consume, and approximately 0.8 million
poor people live in areas where the demand for milk is greater than supply. This information can help 
policymakers, dairy researchers and development agencies gauge market opportunities and invest in 
infrastructure where it is needed the most.
‘By combining social data and livestock information and analyzing the map overlays, decision-makers from 
different sectors can work together to identify solutions to complex problems facing communities such as 
diseases that affect both people and livestock,’ said Norbert Henninger, senior associate at the World Resources Institute and co-author 
of the report.
John B. Male-Mukasa, executive director of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, said, ‘Uganda’s government 
acknowledges the importance of livestock to the nation’s economic development and food security, and as 
part of its 2010–2015 National Development Plan, it plans to invest in improved livestock breeds, water
infrastructure and livestock land management. The maps in this report will be useful in identifying the 
regions where investment is needed most dearly.’
Mapping a Better Future is the third installment in a series of publications using maps and spatial analysis to 
reduce poverty in Uganda, following two previous reports that targeted wetlands and water and sanitation.

Download the publication here.

The following institutions were involved in the production of this publication.
The Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries provides an 
enabling environment in which a profitable, competitive, dynamic and sustainable agricultural and agro-industrial 
sector can develop.
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics is the principal data-collecting, -processing, -analyzing, and -
disseminating agency responsible for coordinating and supervising the National Statistical System.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to 
defeat hunger. Besides acting as a neutral forum to negotiate agreements and debate policy, FAO is also a
 source of knowledge and information.
The International Livestock Research Institute works at the crossroads of livestock and 
poverty, bringing high-quality science and capacity-building to bear on poverty reduction and sustainable 
development.
The World Resources Institute is an environmental think tank that goes beyond research to 
find practical ways to protect the earth and improve people’s lives.

New film makes a case for conserving East Africa’s elegant long-horned Ankole cattle

The genetic diversity of African livestock is increasingly under threat as indigenous livestock varieties are cross-bred, or slowly replaced, with exotic breeds that produce more milk and meat. Exotic livestock varieties are, however, less resistant to African environmental and climatic challenges and are also less resistant to endemic diseases like trypanosomosis (called ‘sleeping sickness’ in people).

The following 3-minute film highlights an initiative supported by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Uganda that is working to conserve purebred Ankole cattle, a breed native in eastern Africa and relied upon by farmers in at least four countries.

In the film, Daniel Semambo, Director of Uganda’s National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank, outlines the issues facing many developing countries as they try to improve their livestock productivity and at the same time they try to stem losses of their native livestock breeds and genes.

Three ways to tackle Napier grass diseases in East Africa

An ASARECA-funded Napier grass smut and stunt resistance project held its final workshop on 2 and 3 June 2010 at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It gathered 30 participants from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, UK, and Ethiopia.

During the workshop, participants shared three main ways to tackle these diseases that attack an important feed for cattle: One is to identify alternative forage species. The second is to raise awareness of the disease and better management methods among farmers. The third is to control the vectors causing the diseases or to breed disease-resistant grasses.

It all started in 2007, when ASARECA – the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa, the International Livestock Research Institute, Rothamsted Research, Kenya Agriculture Research Institute, National Agricultural Research Organisation (Uganda) and the National Biological Control Programme (Tanzania) launched a three year project to examine the problems.

The project brought together scientists from national and international institutes to find ways to halt the spread of the diseases that affect Napier grass – an important feed source for dairy cattle in the region.

The project aimed to determine the extent of the disease problem in areas where smallholder dairy is important, to collect Napier grass clones that farmers select as more resistant to the diseases and to identify best management practices used by farmers to reduce the impact of the diseases.

With the vision and financial support of ASARECA, this project has characterized Napier grass clones, developed diagnostic techniques for use in the region, and formed local partnerships to share information and management practices.

During the two day meeting, participants set out different approaches to fight the disease. One is to identify other alternative forage species.

“Before we were growing Guatemala grass, says Peter Ddaki, workshop participant and farmer in Kitenga, Uganda. It was less tasty and hard to cut but we could go back to it because if this disease is not fought, we go to poverty”. “It is true violence to me”, he adds. “From my cows, I have three things: urine, milk and manure. Well, they have all reduced. My suggestion to researchers is to think about Guatemala grass or other forages in case Napier grass dies away.”

Jolly Kabirizi, senior researcher at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) and project partner from Uganda is one of several researchers in the region looking more closely at other forages, such as the Brachiaria hybrid cv Mulato, and investigating feeding with crop residues. Jean Hanson, ILRI Forage diversity team leader, explains: “In this project we made the choice to focus on Napier grass and looked for a disease resistant variety of the same species because it is very difficult to find anything as productive as Napier and for farmers to change to other grasses for cut and carry systems. Guatemala grass does not have the same palatability as Napier grass, and Brachiara Mulato produces less biomass. We also carried on with research on Napier because its dissemination with cuttings is much easier than with the other grasses.”

Another approach is to raise awareness among farmers. Presentations showed that in the districts where the diseases were studied, over 80% of the farmers are now aware of the disease symptoms and adopt recommended best management practices. The incidence and severity of stunt especially, is really dropping (decline of 20 to 40% in Uganda and Kenya, more in Tanzania where it is an emerging disease) even though there is still a need to raise awareness to avoid spreading the disease. As Peter Ddaki puts it “don’t leave supervision of your garden to children or people who don’t know about the disease; use clean material when planting, or stunt will wipe out your entire crop.”

In Uganda, manure application seems to be the most effective control measure as it reduces Napier stunt incidence but also improves fodder yield. Similarly, in Tanzania and Kenya, a critical research area is the development of Integrated Pest Management.

A third approach is to look at the causes of the diseases and find ways to control the vectors or to breed disease-resistant grasses. Scientists from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Charles Midega and Evans Obura explained the importance of analyzing the biology of the disease and its vector. “Kenya is so far the only country where we identified a leafhopper vector (Maiestas (=Recilia) banda) transmitting Napier stunt disease”, says Evans Obura, Doctoral research fellow with ICIPE, “there could be other insects. We are at the moment working on identifying a phytoplasma (cause of the disease) resistant Napier grass cultivar and also studying the genetic diversity of Recilia banda in eastern Africa.”

But as Charles Midega pointed out: “if the resistant variety has high levels of resistance to the vector, where will the vector move to in the future? Food crops? And will food crops such as maize and millet be susceptible to phytoplasma?” This scary thought triggered numerous comments in the discussions.

On a positive note, Margaret Mulaa, senior researcher at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), has identified 28 clones that are not showing symptoms and appear disease resistant in the field in an area of high stunt incidence. These still need to be tested by farmers to confirm their yields and disease resistance before further distribution.

Fishbowl session at the Napier Grass diseases workshop Besides presentations, the workshop used participatory methods such as Fish Bowls and World cafes to encourage discussions. Facilitated with brio by Julius Nyangaga and Nadia Manning-Thomas, these lively sessions were sometimes new to participants and much appreciated. They particularly helped the project team interact with decision makers and regional stakeholders.

It was clear from the group discussions that the project created awareness, trained scientists, mentored graduate students, plus identified materials and set up efficient networks.

Alexandra Jorge, Coordinator of the Global Public Goods Project, commented on the progress made in the three year project: “It is amazing to see the amount of knowledge people have accumulated when you compare the first meeting I attended in 2007 and this one! I also notice the ownership and commitment participants feel about their work” and she adds “I was impressed with how much people involved did at all levels in only three years…”

In her closing remarks, Sarah Mubiru from ASARECA shared a story illustrating the power of collaboration: In her story, a man brought to God asks to see Hell and Heaven. In Hell, people have bowls of soup but spoons that are too long to drink with or eat from. In Heaven, people with the same bowls and long spoons feed each other. The first results in chaos, the second in harmony.

She said that ASARECA similarly prides itself on its partnerships, carrying out fruitful partner-based research that improves livelihoods. ASARECA funds projects that “work locally” and have regional impact through linkages and dissemination.

She concluded that this project has achieved that goal with strong national teams addressing local issues, working together across the region to support each other and using the website to make the project results available world wide.

These sentiments were reflected by ILRI Theme Director Shirley Tarawali: “The strong collaborative nature of this project will hopefully last after the end of the project”.

More:

View presentations, posters, reports and outputs from the workshop and the project

Read an article by Nadia Manning-Thomas on the knowledge sharing processes used in the workshop

Visit the project website

View photos from the workshop

Overcoming the Napier grass disease threat to East African dairy farmers

Also called elephant grass, Napier grass is planted on farms across East Africa as a source of feed for dairy cows. Farmers cut the grass for their livestock, carrying it home for stall feeding.

It is the most important forage grass in the region, constituting 40 to 80% of forages used by smallholder dairy farmers. In Kenya, half a million smallholder dairy producers rely on Napier grass to feed their cows. In Uganda, 90% of farmers rely entirely on Napier grass as fodder for their improved dairy cattle.

The livelihoods of these farmers are threatened by outbreaks of stunt and smut diseases affecting the Napier grass. To tackle the threat, the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) funded a three-year project to determine the extent of the disease problem, to collect disease-resistant Napier grass clones identified by farmers, and to identify best management practices used by farmers to mitigate the impact of the diseases.

After three years researching the problem in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, project researchers from the International Livestock Research Institute, Rothamsted Research, the Kenya Agriculture Research Institute, the National Agricultural Research Organisation (Uganda) and the National Biological Control Programme (Tanzania) will meet with colleagues from the region to share results and recommendations, promote good practices and draw other scientists into the project.

The workshop will be held at ILRI Ethiopia from 1 to 3 June, 2010.

More information:

Project website

Project outputs

Project news item from Kenya

East Coast fever vaccine comes to market in eastern and southern Africa

As the board of trustees of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) meets in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week, reviewing ILRI’s animal health research among other work, an ILRI vaccine project is highlighted in a new publication, DFID Research 2009–2010: Providing research evidence that enables poverty reduction. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation both support the Global Alliance in Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed), which works to convert existing or near-market technologies into livestock medicines and vaccines for use in developing countries. The notable success of this strategy in 2009, says DFID, is an East Coast fever vaccine produced by ILRI. East Coast fever is a tick-transmitted disease that kills one cow every 30 seconds in eastern, central and southern Africa, where it threatens some 25 million cattle in 11 countries and is now putting at risk a further 10 million animals in new regions, such as southern Sudan, where the disease has been spreading at a rate of more than 30 kilometres a year. The disease is a major cattle killer. In herds kept by the pastoralist Maasai, it kills 20–50% of all unvaccinated calves, which makes it difficult and often impossible for the herders to plan for the future or to improve their livestock enterprises. A vaccine for East Coast fever could save over a million cattle and up to £170 million a year in the 11 countries where the disease is now endemic. An experimental vaccine against East Coast fever, which makes use of live but weakened parasites, has existed for more than three decades, with batches mass produced in ILRI’s Nairobi laboratories. Although constrained by the need for a ‘cold chain’ to keep the ‘live’ vaccine viable, field use of this vaccine in Tanzania and elsewhere has proved it to be highly effective and in demand by poor livestock keepers, who are paying for the vaccine to keep their animals alive. GALVmed has worked with ILRI and private companies, such as VetAgro Tanzania Ltd., to make East Coast fever vaccine available to the livestock keepers who need it most and to scale up production in future. With £16.5 million provided by DFID and the BMGF, GALVmed began working on the registration and commercial distribution and delivery of a new batch of the vaccine produced by ILRI. The vaccine was successfully registered in 2009 in Malawi and Kenya, with Tanzania and Uganda expected to follow soon. If it is approved in Uganda, it will be the first veterinary vaccine formally registered in that country. GALVmed is now working to establish viable commercial production and delivery systems, aiming that by the end of 2011, all aspects of the production and delivery of East Coast fever vaccine are in private hands.

Livestock use of water in Nile Basin: Huge opportunities to use water resources more effectively

Principal investigators undertaking research on livestock use of water in the Nile River Basin met at ILRI in Ethiopia on 11 and 12 November 2009.

Representatives from Sudan’s Agricultural Economics and Policy Research Center, Makerere University in Kampala, and the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research shared experiences of promising technologies and policy innovations that can enable millions of poor livestock keepers and farmers to enhance food production and livelihoods and reverse land degradation throughout vast Nile region.

Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda are very different countries but together they exemplify the major and diverse cropping and livestock keeping practices found in the Nile region. Rainfed crop and livestock production are dominant, but irrigation is locally important.

In all cases, the researchers concluded that there are huge opportunities to use water resources more effectively and productive for agricultural production. The key appears to be integrated inter-institutional collaboration with coherent policy aimed at increasing livestock water productivity through use of water efficient animal feeds, water conservation, adoption of state-of-the-art and available animal science knowledge.

Application of off-the-shelf science based outputs potentially enables environmentally sustainable increases in food production, improved domestic water, and better livelihoods. Much of the water required to achieve these benefits can come from rainfall that currently does not enter the Nile’s lakes and water course and does not sustain the natural environment. In other words, this is water for which there is often relatively little competition among diverse water users.

The researchers are synthesizing results from investigation undertaken in the basin.

It was supported by the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (www.waterandfood.org).

Report by Don Peden, ILRI

Evolution of Uganda’s dairy systems: Popular zero-grazing dairying does not suit all


Evolution of Uganda's dairy systems

What’s needed is to make better use of cow manure to fertilize the country’s impoverished soils.

Is Uganda outgrowing its popular zero-grazing dairy model? Reports from a recent research study suggest that Ugandan policymakers may want to revisit their policies supporting the country’s booming dairy sector to sustain increasing yields of smallholder mixed crop-and-dairy production over the long term.

Before the 1980s, milk production in Uganda occurred largely in two contrasting production systems. There were the large, mostly government-owned, commercial dairy farms located in the wetter parts of the country on which exotic and cross-bred dairy cattle were kept and grazed on natural pastures. Then there were the pastoralists, who kept large numbers of local cattle under traditional management systems in the drier eastern and northeastern parts of the country.

From the mid-1980s, development agencies in Uganda began introducing zero-grazing systems, in which high-yielding genetically improved cows (pure or cross-bred with local cattle) are kept in stalls and fed with fodder cut and carried to them daily. These more ‘intensive’ dairy systems were promoted among Ugandan farmers along with training on managing dairy breeds and growing fodder. This gave many smallholders an incentive to buy exotic dairy cows or to upgrade their indigenous cows by cross-breeding them with exotic stock. Some of Uganda’s small farmers adopted strict zero-grazing practices while others combined grazing paddocks with stall feeding, a hybrid dairy production system that came to be known as ‘semi-intensive’.

As a result, there has been a steady increase over the last two decades in the numbers of improved dairy cows in Uganda’s national herd with concomitant  increases in national milk production yields, smallholder contributions to national milk production, dairy’s contribution to the national economy, and per capita milk consumption.

Ugandan dairy support
Sixteen years ago, in 1992, the government launched a ‘Milk Master Plan’ to improve (simultaneously) rural incomes, farm living standards, national self-sufficiency in milk production, and yields of surplus milk for export. With the liberation of the sub-sector in 1993, when the government’s monopoly on milk processing was broken, many medium and small-scale private milk processors emerged on the scene. To realize the objectives of its ‘Milk Master Plan’, Uganda in 1998 established a Dairy Development Authority.

With the rapid rise of dairying among smallholder farmers, people began to question whether intensification was the best option for Ugandan farmers and whether these mixed dairy-crop production systems could be sustained.

To respond to these concerns, an in-depth study funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) was carried out between 2001 and 2005 by the Ugandan National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO), Makerere University, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences (DIAS).

The study, focusing on dairy economics and nutrient cycling, was carried out in three districts—Mbarara, in southwestern of Uganda; Masaka, in southern Uganda; and Jinja, in the southeast, which is much smaller than the other two districts but with the highest human population.

Results of the research study indicate that Uganda may be ‘outgrowing’ its successful, and ever popular, zero-grazing model. The results show that Uganda’s booming dairy farming is profitable regardless of the level of ‘intensification’ that farmers employ through use of feeds and other inputs. This finding suggests is that a high-input / highly intensified production system like Uganda’s popular and heavily policy-supported ‘zero grazing’ system is not necessarily the best option for all of the country’s small-scale crop-and-dairy farmers. Even the country’s most progressive dairy farmers, who have adopted zero-grazing en masse, may want to revisit their choice of production system to sustain their crop as well as dairy production over the long term.

Another finding of the study is that all of Uganda’s dairy farmers, whether intensive, semi-intensive or agro-pastoral, tend to under-use their animal manure as organic fertilizer for their crop fields. The study found the quality of the soils on Uganda’s mixed dairy-crop farms already below a level considered critical for crop production and continuing to drop. This deteriorating situation is fast eroding the long-term sustainability of these farming systems; if nothing is done, food insecurity and poverty in the country are likely to worsen. This is despite these farmers having adequate amounts of manure from their dairy cows to use as fertilizing soil amendments. It is likely that Uganda’s dairy farmers are under-using their livestock manure to fertilize their crop soils because they lack the labour needed to save, transport and apply the manure.

RESEARCH RECOMMENDATION:• This study revealed how surprisingly little research can yet tell us about the advantages and disadvantages of African farmers applying livestock manure as fertilizer on their mixed-production farms. We still lack, for example, sufficient comparative data on its effects on small-farm economics, nutrient cycling, practicability, and labour trade-offs.

• We don’t yet know enough about these matters to recommend best-practice manure management and application methods for Uganda’s many small dairy producers. We ought to. We need to research manure management in the context of Africa’s complex small farming systems so that we can offer the continent’s farmers recommendations validated by research.

Download the Research Report: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/257

Download the Research Brief: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/3808

Partners:

Ugandan National Agriculture Oragnization (NARO)
Makerere University
Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences (DIAS)

Further Information Contact:
Isabelle Baltenweck
Scientist
International Livestock Research Institute
Nairobi, Kenya
Email:
i.baltenweck@cgiar.org
Telephone: +254 (20) 422 3000

OR

Sarah Mubiru
National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO)
Kampala, Uganda
Email:
smubiru@naro-ug.org

Collective action on food crisis

“Food Needs to Move!” Especially across national borders.
“The levers to solve this problem are in our own hands.”—Joseph Karugia

Collective action on food crisis

New research showing how the global food price crisis is playing out in 17 countries of eastern and central Africa was presented at a roundtable discussion in Nairobi 22 July 2008.

The research results show that the regional food situation differs significantly from the global one, largely because of this region’s exceptional diversity. That regional diversity provides these countries with opportunities to turn the volatile global and local food situations to their advantage.

By integrating markets and simplifying trade within the region, policymakers can efficiently link areas with food deficits to areas with food surpluses. This integration will help the region’s small farmers get better prices for their crops and livestock while also helping the region’s urban consumers get reliable year-round access to staple food items.

The July Roundtable on the Global Food Crisis was organized by the Kenya country offices of the World Bank and World Food Program and the Nairobi-headquartered International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Fifty key decision-makers in agricultural and rural development met on ILRI’s campus to discuss interventions that governments, development agencies, research organizations and nongovernmental organizations could make to help poor people cope with the rising prices of staple foods.

Joseph Karugia, a Kenyan agricultural economist, provided an overview of the regional food situation. Karugia coordinates a Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System for Eastern and Central Africa (ReSAKSS-ECA). His review was based on a study led by the region’s leading agricultural research group, the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA). Under pressure by policymakers needing to take action to address the food price crisis, a team of 26 researchers within ASARECA and several centres supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) that work in this region, including ILRI, with study activities coordinated by ReSAKSS-ECA, conceived and executed the study together and with speed.

“Our regional food prices have generally risen much slower than global ones,” Karugia said. Even the countries within the region are being affected differently by the global food prices, largely because of their different “food baskets”. Kenya’s main staple is maize, but in Uganda it’s plantain, in Ethiopia it’s teff and in Rwanda it’s beans. Those countries that deal in non-traded commodities are buffered from the rising prices of globally traded staples. “Rice and wheat,” Karugia said, “two hugely important staples globally, are relatively trivial in this region. Moreover, most of the region’s maize needs are met outside the global markets because most people in the region obtain their maize in locally, in informal as well as formal markets.”

One result is that while the food price index (FPI) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which captures trends in major food commodities, rose by 56% between March 2007 and March 2008, the FPI increases in this region were all below 40% and in most cases significantly lower. The FPI increased by 39% in Ethiopia, 20% in Burundi and Kenya, and just 11% in Tanzania. In several other countries in the region, including Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia, the increase was less than 10%.

It’s not only the staples of these neighbouring countries that differ. Their climate and rainfall patterns differ, and consequently their planting and harvest times differ, too.

These within-region variations give policymakers a powerful lever for transforming a global food crisis into a regional opportunity for farm producers and urban consumers alike.


“The spatial and temporal distribution of production and staggered harvesting
in the countries of eastern and southern Africa offer large opportunities for trade.”

By integrating the region’s food markets and simplifying its food trade regulations, Karugia said, the region could link up food-deficit to food-surplus areas and thus provide its citizens with staples in an given season. A truly integrated regional market would provide farmers with remunerative prices and alternative reliable markets for their produce while also providing urban consumers and rural net buyers of food with a variety of reasonably priced food staples throughout the year.

Most of the trade in food in this region is informal. It is wasteful not because it is informal but rather because of the many obstacles the informal traders have to face. Karugia explains: “At the border between Kenya and Uganda, trucks laden with sacks of grain and other food staples are unloaded, reloaded onto bicycles, bicycled across the border to be reloaded onto trucks on the other side. This is not an efficient way to move food!”

It would be a shame, Karugia said, quoting the economist Paul Romer, for the eastern and southern Africa region “to waste a good crisis”. “This global food price crisis provides the 19 countries of eastern and southern Africa with a golden opportunity to promote agricultural-led development through increased domestic production, regional trade and integration.”

The ASARECA research presented at this roundtable discussion was a demonstration of this new networked science. Diverse scientists from ReSAKSS-ECA, ASARECA and the CGIAR worked together for months amassing data from country and regional organizations and consulting with key experts and partners within governments, policy think tanks, research institutions, emergency relief agencies and the private sector. Although their individual perspectives on, and interpretations of, the data they collected vary considerably, the research group reached consensus on several points.

The poor in this region are spending 40 to 70% of their income on buying food.
The poor are being hit hardest by the rise in food prices, especially the rural net buyers of food.
Contrary to popular belief, most of the farming households in the rural areas are net buyers rather than net producers of food if price rather than volume of food is considered. Poverty forces them to sell their grain and other crops at harvest time, when prices are at their lowest, and to buy grain again, several months later, when the households run out of the staple, often at two to three times the price at which they sold their grain.
Prices of agricultural inputs are increasing across the 17 countries of the region. (The price of fertilizer rose 200% in Kenya in the last year.)
Yields of staple food crops are stagnating or decreasing in 17 of the 19 countries of Eastern and Central Africa (only Egypt and Mauritius are increasing their yields) because farming is moving onto increasingly marginal agricultural lands, causing yield aggregates to fall.

One other salient fact leaped out of the data—the region cannot continue to spend less than 10% (and in some cases as low as 2%) of its national budgets in a sector that provides 25% of the region’s gross domestic product, 75% of its citizen’s livelihoods, and food for 100% of its people. ‘We have neglected our agriculture, our farmers and our food markets for decades,” says Karugia. “This is the result.”

Karugia and his many colleagues in this multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary, and multi-commodity project asked themselves one central question: What levers can we pull to take advantage of the higher food prices? The two conventional answers—increase farm production and control consumer demand—were deemed by the group to be too slow to be useful. This regional group of scientists concluded that a regional strategy for exploiting the food price hikes offered the best opportunities for the most numbers of people: “Exploit the regional diversity by facilitating regional trade”.

Priority actions for such a regional strategy would include the following:
Markets: Remove export bans, eliminate non-trade barriers, simplify trade regulations and upgrade infrastructure along the region’s main trade corridors.
Farmers: Reduce the high cost of fertilizer and other agricultural inputs and facilitate their trade, widen use of best-bet agricultural technologies, pilot innovative risk-management strategies such as index-based insurance schemes.
Institutions: Strengthen market information and intelligence as well as frameworks for preparedness, response and learning.

Addressing these issues in these ways, with evidence-based policy options, is thus feasible, say the study team, and should lead to lowering the prices of food staples while also raising farm productivity and agricultural livelihoods.

In summing up the day’s roundtable discussion, host Carlos Seré, who is ILRI’s director general, said that it’s not only food we should be moving within the region but also the agricultural technologies that allow greater and more sustainable food production. The current food price crisis also has that silver lining: “When you have high food prices, you can move those technologies for improved food production. And you can get attention for neglected alternative crops, such as cassava chips for livestock feed. Which become viable as the price of grain staples rise.”

“This is something happening now,” Seré said. “We need smart interventions that target the region’s poor consumers and farmers alike. We need to get fertilizers into the region’s high potential farming areas. The key thing is to work with markets—to arbitrage across countries and across the region. We must reduce trade barriers within the region, which will greatly improve the efficiency of its markets.”

“We must also think through new crop portfolios for this region,” he continued. “How, for example, could we continue to support maize production in Kenya without penalizing those farmers pursuing a more diversified system that includes sorghum or millet?”

Seré concluded: “Climate and other fast-evolving changes affecting developing-country food production will make our problems worse in future. Finding the institutional frameworks for addressing these problems in collective action is our challenge.”

Welcome address by ILRI director general Carlos Seré

In welcoming participants to the roundtable forum, ILRI director general Carlos Seré said: “Global analysis of the food situation is relatively simple. We need to bring the discussion and analysis down to regional levels to increase the specificity, the granularity, of our information.” . . . Read more
Read profile of Carlos Seré

Interview with Ravi Prabhu, a member of the study team and coordinator of a CGIAR initiative called Collective Action for Eastern and Southern Africa

Let’s take a look at what we heard today from Joseph Karugia and his ASARECA, ReSAKSS-ECG and CGIAR team.

We heard that have opportunities to exploit regional food heterogeneity, capacities and systems that we are not doing a good job of exploiting . . . Read more


The latest version of the ASARECA Food Crisis Report is available: http://www.asareca.org/resources/reports/resp2food_pr_main.pdf

Further Information Contact:

Joseph Karugia
Coordinater, ReSAKSS-ECA
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
Nairobi, KENYA
Email: j.karugia@cgiar.org
Telephone: +254 (20) 422 3016

Evolution of poverty and inequality in Uganda

According to a new report, poverty in Uganda has reduced in more than 80 percent of the rural sub-counties though this reduction has been least in the Northern region.

Nature, Distribution and Evolution of Poverty and Inequality in Uganda, describes and summarizes the trends in poverty and inequality in Uganda over the period 1992-2002. The report is the culmination of a two-year research project conducted by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), World Resources Institute in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), with technical assistance from the World Bank and with financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation. These new poverty measures can be used to help target, design and implement pro-poor development strategies that are both effective and inclusive.

This report presents information using the most recent data from the National Population and Housing Census of 2002 and the National Household Survey of 2002/3 and examines the changes in poverty over the period 1992-2002 as well as providing estimates of Ugandan poverty and inequality at the district, county and sub-county levels. The new estimates of well-being presented in this report are based on statistical techniques that combine existing survey and census datasets. Within sub-counties, poverty and inequality measures are computed for rural and urban communities. The report also demonstrates how poverty maps can be combined with other indicators of well-being to better understand the phenomenon of poverty. The results from the analysis of changes in poverty levels for 1992–2002 show that rural and urban areas with low initial poverty rates also experienced significant decreases in the absolute number of poor people by 2002.

The analysis of this publication makes use of the information from the 2002 population and Housing Census and the 2002/3 Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS). It builds on the previous work presented in the publication ‘Where are the poor? Mapping patterns of well-being in Uganda 1992-1999‘ which presented poverty estimates for each administrative district and county in Uganda. Building on and improving upon previous work, this analysis utilizes the most recent available data and investigates the potential for improving service and development targeting by complementing the new poverty information with geographical infrastructural and service information for key sectors of the economy, an important concern in a growing country like Uganda.

‘The Government of Uganda had for many days been allocating resources to districts and communities with limited experiential basis for the decisions to target for example income inequality. Although this disbursement of funds was meant to reduce poverty and improve project implementation, there was a risk of achieving limited success, partly due to the lack of information. To that end, the poverty maps could go a long way in helping to make informed decisions. There is also need for government and policy makers as well as development partners, to rely on empirical indicators for targeting resources,’ says the Executive Director of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, John B. Male –Mukasa.

The aim of this research is to support implementation of the Poverty Eradication Action Plan by providing information that can improve design and targeting of specific poverty interventions and assist in crafting better targeted programmes that help the poor in Uganda meet their basic consumptions needs.

How have poverty levels changed over the decade, if at all?

The highest drops in poverty in rural areas between 1992 and 1999 were in Central and parts of western regions, but the new analysis show that poverty has reduced in more than 80 percent of the rural sub-counties of Uganda, the report provides critical indicators for evidence-based pro-poor policy making and key benchmarks for measuring the progress made by the government of Uganda. A comparison of national poverty levels for 1992 and 2002 points towards an improvement in welfare over the decade, with the national poverty rate falling from 56% in 1992 to 39% in 2002. Between 1992 and 2002, estimated poverty incidence shows a marked decline in both urban and rural areas. In urban areas the incidence of poverty decreases by 16 percentage points compared to 18 percentage points in rural areas. Urban poverty was more concentrated in the Northern and Western regions in 2002 relative to the Central and Eastern regions. The absolute number of poor people increased in the Northern and Western regions by 130% and 112.5% respectively. In contrast, in the Central and Eastern regions, the absolute number of poor people declined by 62% and 45% respectively. The Northern Region had the highest urban poverty incidence in 1992 (50%) and 2002 (38%). It also had the highest poverty increment between 1992 and 2002. Central Region, with relatively low urban poverty incidence in 1992 (19%) and 2002 (17%), demonstrated the highest reduction in poverty incidence over the same period.

In the rural areas, the situation is slightly different with more poor people concentrated in the Northern and Eastern regions than in the Central and Western regions. The absolute number of poor people increased in the Northern and Eastern regions by 48% and 14% respectively. Conversely, in Central and Western regions, the absolute number of rural poor declined by 32% and 14% respectively. As is the case in the urban areas, Northern Region, with the highest poverty incidence in 1992 (75%) and 2002 (66%) also had the highest increase in absolute number of poor between 1992 and 2002. Similarly, in Central Region with relatively low poverty incidence in 1992 (54%) and in 2002 (27%), we see the highest poverty reduction over the same period.

The results from the analysis of changes in poverty levels for 1992–2002 show that rural and urban areas with low initial poverty rates also experienced significant decreases in the absolute number of poor people by 2002. Areas with high initial poverty rates instead witnessed increased absolute numbers of poor people by 2002.

Download the book: http://mahider.ilri.org/handle/10568/1542

Data for the changes in poverty can be obtained on request from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS )and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Snapshot: Uganda

Uganda, located in eastern Africa, has an estimated population of 25.3 million and an annual population growth rate of 2.7%. The country has been plagued by an on-going 20-year-old war in the north between the government and rebel fighters. The rebels have become notorious for their crimes against civilians and for the abduction and murder of children. This has resulted in about 20,000 displaced persons, many of whom live in government ‘internally displaced’ camps. Over a million women and children have been affected. Children too afraid to sleep at night for fear of being abducted by rebels during their dawn raids on villages leave their homes each evening. They have become known as the ‘night commuters’ of northern Uganda – traveling from their villages to the safety of towns to avoid capture. Of recent, some progress has been made in terms of return of peace to the region. Currently, the LRA rebels and government are engaged in peace talks aimed at ending the 20 year civil war.

Although this paints a bleak picture, Uganda as a whole has made great strides, taking advantage of significant growth in the 1990s and is considered a model of development in Africa. Crippling inflation rates have been brought under control and GDP growth has been impressive, at 7.9% in 1999 and with a projected growth rate of 6.2% in 2005. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, contributing over 32% of GDP and employing over 80% of the work force. Uganda’s principal export is coffee, along with fish, fish products, cotton and tea.

Despite Uganda’s progress and concerted poverty reduction efforts, poverty is still widespread, with an estimated 31% (in 2005/06) of the population living below the national poverty line. The latest figures show the average life expectancy of a Ugandan is 43 years (47 years in 1990), infant mortality is 83 per 1000 live births, and under-5 mortality is 141 per 1000 children. The annual number of births is 1.3 million, but an estimated 184,000 children under 5 die each year.

(Data sources: World Bank; UNICEF.)

Poultry maps prepared for fight against bird flu: Higher resolution maps urgently needed

Africa is now fighting bird flu literally in its backyards. Seven countries have now confirmed they have the deadly H5N1 virus in their poultry populations.

These are Nigeria, Egypt, Niger, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Sudan and Côte d'Ivoire. Egypt has reported Africa's first cases of human infections, (13 to date) which have killed five people.

Worldwide, bird flu has hit 46 countries, killed 115 people, caused some 200 million birds to be killed at a cost of around 20 billion US dollars, and ruined the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers whose livelihoods depend on poultry keeping.

From 2003 to 2005 the virus was reported in 15 countries. But in the first four months of this year, it moved rapidly to 31 new countries, with major outbreaks in Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Gaza, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar and India as well as the seven African states.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to improve veterinary services that, in many of the affected countries, have been under-resourced for decades.

Dr David Nabarro, the UN's chief coordinator for avian influenza underscored the importance of using veterinary services to fight bird flu and the world's other emerging diseases of a communicable kind, '70 percent of which come from animals', he said.

What ILRI is doing to help its neighbours and partners fight bird flu
Like many of its partner organizations in livestock research for development, the Africa-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has been pooling its resources to contribute to the fight against this deadly disease. An internal task force is working on a number of fronts.

Several ILRI staff members sit on national avian influenza task forces set up in ILRI's hosting countries of Kenya and Ethiopia and are advising on the design of research support to control efforts in Nigeria. (Kenya's preparedness plan is considered one of the best in the developing world.) These ILRI staff are providing their veterinary and research expertise to advise on surveillance, monitoring diagnosis and control programs established to prevent or control the disease in poultry.

ILRI scientists are also preparing studies intended to generate practical information for immediate use by authorities, veterinarians and the public. These studies will compare different control strategies and assess their impacts on the poor and assist governments to prepare action plans for surveillance, control and containment of outbreaks. In longer term research, ILRI and its partners have proposed exploring the genetic make-up of chickens to unravel attributes influencing infection and transmission of the highly pathogenic form of avian influenza in various breeds.

Bird flu consultation to be held in Nairobi
In addition, ILRI and its sister Future Harvest Centre, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), are convening a consultation of interested partners from the international research community to explore ways in which research can support efforts to control highly pathogenic avian influenza. This scientific consultation will focus on the needs of developing countries and their poor populations of poultry keepers, sellers and consumers. The meeting will be held at ILRI's Nairobi headquarters, probably in early June (dates will be confirmed shortly).

Participants at the meeting will respond to requests ILRI, IFPRI and other research institutions are receiving from donor organizations. Donors want to know how to target their bird flu research investments so as ensure that those investments support effective control of the disease while minimizing the negative impacts on the poor. ILRI is also assembling a team to undertake a rapid appraisal of past experiences in controlling bird flu. Because implementing conventional response strategies against bird flu in many developing countries can be problematical and may place particular hardship on the poor, many of whom rely on poultry for their livelihoods, this rapid research study aims to synthesize lessons learned and identify strategies that may offer more 'nuanced' means of controlling the disease while protecting the livelihoods of the poor.

Poultry maps are prepared for the battle against bird flu


Global livestock maps

In 2002, ILRI produced livestock density maps (see Mapping Poverty and Livestock in the Developing World by Thornton et al., ILRI, 2002) derived from new analyses locating major populations of poor people (including poor livestock keepers), assessing how these populations are likely to change over the next half century, and showing estimated populations of different types of livestock around the world.

African and global chicken maps
In recent weeks, using data sets provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), ILRI prepared Africa and global maps of chicken densities. These maps are being used to determine areas under greatest threat and to help those countries already afflicted to target their disease control efforts.

Although the FAO-derived maps are based on the world's best information, they should be treated as indicative only; we caution against their over-interpretation (see Background Information below). This kind of macro-level analysis, while useful as a starting point, hides enormous variability, and thus can be dangerous if relied upon as a sole source of information. Ultimately, the fight against bird flu in Africa has to be conducted at much higher resolutions of basic information. (For an editorial on our lack of sufficient information, see Nature's Dreams of flu data. As the Nature editorial puts it, 'We have better data on galaxies 10 billion light years away than on human cases of avian flu in China or Vietnam.')

As ILRI agricultural systems analyst Philip Thornton, who headed ILRI's global livestock and poverty mapping project, says, 'The collation, maintenance and dissemination of baseline data is seldom supported in the agriculture sector. But in many ways, this data work is crucial to agricultural development and poverty alleviation. Information on livestock numbers and breeds in our African livestock databases is remarkably poor. Moreover, it seems clear that bird densities have to be assessed at relatively high resolution, given the heterogeneity involved.'

The maps do illustrate, however, the wide extent of 'backyard' chicken keeping in Africa—and thus the likely ubiquitous nature of any adverse impacts on the poor stemming from the appearance of bird flu or programs implemented to control it. The African and global chicken maps underscore the need to vastly upscale efforts to collect and improve our baseline information on poultry keeping. Indeed, the poverty of our information on poultry keeping in Africa is one of the biggest challenges facing agencies committed to fighting the new scourge.


 

Global Chicken Density


The chicken density map for Africa, below, represents a snapshot of chicken distribution for the mid- to late 1990s at sub-national level. The white areas on the map represent areas that have no reported livestock numbers available. Despite limited data, this map gives an indication of the enormous threat bird lu poses to sub-Saharan Africa.


 

Africa Poultry Map

Uganda poultry map
With 2002 household data from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, ILRI produced in March 2006 high-resolution poultry maps for Uganda. The maps give important details on densities of local chickens, exotic chickens, ducks, geese and guinea fowl. Most local chickens are reared in the northeastern region and there is a high density of exotic chickens around major urban centres—Kampala, Jinja, Entebbe, Masaka, Mpigi and Mbarara—where demand has outstripped supply of local chickens. To view the Uganda maps, see ILRI's previous Top Story, Bird Maps for Uganda.

 


ILRI Top Story, 4 April 2006