Impact book

The Impact of the International Livestock Research Institute


Providing the first evidence-based global estimates of the many scientific, economic, policy, and capacity development impacts of livestock research in and for developing countries, this volume is an indispensable guide and reference for veterinarians, animal and forage scientists, and anyone working for the equitable and sustainable development of the world's poorer agricultural economies.

Livestock is one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors, with most growth occurring in developing countries. For more than four and a half decades one global centre has been mandated to conduct research on leveraging the benefits and mitigating the costs of livestock production in poor countries.

This book focuses on the achievements, failures and impacts of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and its predecessors, the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) and the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD). The scientific and economic impacts of tropical livestock research detailed in this work reveal valuable lessons for reducing world hunger, poverty and environmental degradation.

Describing the impacts of smallholder livestock systems on the global environment, the book also covers animal genetics, production, health and disease control, and livestock-related land management, public policy and economics, all with useful pointers for future livestock-for-development research.


McIntire, J. and Grace, D. (eds). 2020. The impact of the International Livestock Research Institute. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI and Wallingford, UK: CABI.


Iain Wright

Iain Wright

Deputy director general research and development–Integrated Sciences

This book, written by more than 70 authors, is a unique testimony to the impact of ILRI and its predecessors and the dedication of thousands of researchers over a 45-year period. The book contains a vast amount of information spread across more than 700 pages. While each chapter is a rich and detailed source of information on a given topic, each chapter begins with a short executive summary giving the reader an overview of the scientific, development and capacity development impacts of the work described, hopefully whetting appetites to read more. As the world faces new challenges related to food and nutrition security, climate change, environmental degradation and the sustainable and equitable transformation of our food systems, we hope this book provides an insight into how livestock research and agricultural research more generally can contribute to that transformation in the coming years.

Jimmy Smith

Jimmy Smith

Director general

This unique book documents 45 years of impacts of livestock research in regions of the developing world, particularly in Africa and Asia. ILRI’s broad portfolio of research for livestock development covers livestock health, feed, genetics, trade, marketing and consumption, the gender aspects of livestock systems, and the impacts of livestock on the natural resource base. It is our hope that this record—with its many examples of the wealth of scientific and public goods emanating from long-term intellectual and financial livestock research investments and partnerships—helps others to build on this legacy to create more sustainable as well as equitable livestock systems in future years.

Peter Doherty

Peter Doherty

ILRI staff and partners work for more equitable, broad-based and sustainable livestock development to help close great disparities in global economic and nutritional well-being and human and environmental health. Some big ideas are presented here, along with some approaches that were tested and then let go; there are both success and failure stories, as is only proper in such a record. And there are breakthroughs and scientific and development impacts to laud, including developing-world solutions for developing-world problems. This volume can serve as a reference and resource for all interested in the role of livestock in agricultural transformation and sustainable development.


Book summary

This book focuses on achievements, failures and impacts of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and its predecessors, the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) and the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD). Scientific review of impacts and research more than an institutional history. Each chapters focuses on: what were the research problems? How relevant were those problems? What were the principal scientific achievements? What were the principal development achievements? What were the principal capacity development achievements?

Book summary

Table of contents

<p>The international community invested more than US$1.8 billion in global livestock research from 1975 to 2018. Most of this investment has been publicly financed in one institution – what is now the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) – and most of that investment has been in sub-Saharan Africa. The impact of ILRI research is therefore an important subject, given the size of the investments, the effects of livestock production and consumption on income, wealth, the environment and health, both human and animal, and the potential benefits of research for production costs, consumer welfare and the environment.</p>

<p>This introduction traces the creation, evolution and achievements of ILRI and its predecessors as background to the thematic chapters that explore impacts in specific scientific fields. The chapter begins by introducing the scale of the livestock research problem in sub-Saharan Africa in the mid-1970s at the time of the creation of ILRI’s predecessors, the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) and the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD) and the subsequent changes in demography, land use and input use as they affected ruminant livestock production and productivity.</p>

<p>The chapter then describes the history of the international livestock research institutions in subSaharan Africa, focusing on ILRI (1995–present), ILCA (1974–1994) and ILRAD (1973–1994), with some reference to the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and other international institutions. In describing that history, it discusses their research priorities, budgets, institutional evolution and achievements from 1975 to 2015. It then frames the thematic parts of the book, which evaluate ILRI’s scientific and development impacts.</p>

Five challenges informed the historical choices of research priorities in livestock genetics and breeding at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The first challenge was to develop vaccines against two protozoan parasites causing African animal trypanosomiasis and theileriosis (East Coast fever), which led to novel work on cattle genetics. The second challenge, related to the first, was the need to understand trypanotolerance, the genetic ability of some animals to tolerate infection with the trypanosome parasite that causes trypanosomiasis in cattle. The third challenge, which came much later, was understanding the genetics of environmental adaptive attributes (especially diseases and climate challenges) in African livestock and their potential contribution to improving livestock productivity. The fourth challenge, on which ILRI’s predecessor, the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), began work in 1992, was exploiting the potential of the genetic diversity of indigenous African livestock (ILCA, 1992). The fifth challenge was amassing research data on the comparative performance of breeds and genotypes (purebreds and cross-breds) in different production environments to inform cross-breeding programmes.

  • Genetic research ➤ created unprecedented levels of awareness of the unique potential of African and Asian livestock, an awakening that led to improved conservation and use of indigenous animals.
  • Genetics and genome mapping ➤ helped to unravel the history of African and Asian livestock and to identify new opportunities in dairy and poultry businesses.
  • Advanced reproductive technologies ➤ generated the first cloned African indigenous transgenic livestock, a Boran bull.

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African animal trypanosomiasis (AAT, also known as ‘animal African trypanosomiasis’) is a serious disease of the tropics and subtropics,adv ersely affecting cattle production as animals suffer from loss of condition, emaciation and anaemia, resulting in reduced meat and milk production and draught power for agricultural production. Cattle mortality can reach 50–100% within months of exposure. The disease is caused by parasites that live in the host blood plasma, body tissue and interstitial fluids. Trypanosomes are transmitted to the host by a vector, the tsetse fly. The parasite replicates within the tsetse fly and is transmitted through saliva when the fly feeds on the animals. While this disease predominantly occurs in sub-Saharan Africa, it has also been found in South America, where one AAT agent (Trypanosoma vivax) has been established and tabanids (biting flies) act as the mechanical vector. The most rigorous calculation of the cost of AAT in sub-Saharan Africa dates from the late 1990s (Kristjanson et al., 1999). Kristjanson estimated the annual cost to be US$1.3 billion, excluding losses from potential output in regions where trypanosomes prevent livestock production and excluding the costs of foregone power and manure output.

Animal trypanosomiasis can be managed by three strategies: (i) vector control/eradication; (ii) use of trypanocides; and (iii) use of trypanotolerant breeds of cattle (see Chapter 3, this volume). Vector control includes reducing the tsetse fly population with traps and insecticides, and in areas with a high population of trypanosome infected tsetse, animals are prophylactically administered antiparasitic drugs. To date, there is no AAT vaccine available, as discussed below.

Laboratory work ➤ established the first methods for cultivating bloodstream stages of the trypanosome parasite, which causes sleeping sickness, opening up research in many fields over the next decades.

Molecular work ➤ established that development of a conventional vaccine against the trypanosome parasite was unlikely due to its elaborate genetics, which were then used as models for gene expression research.

Immunology work ➤ led to the world’s most advanced understanding of the bovine immune system and its response to parasites.

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African animal trypanosomiasis (AAT) occurs where the tsetse fly vector exists in sub-Saharan Africa, between the latitudes 15°N and 29°S (Randolph et al., 2003). It affects ruminants, camels, horses and pigs, and constrains cattle production over an area variously estimated to be between 8 and 10 million km2 in Africa. Around 67 million cattle live in tsetse-infested areas out of a total of 253 million in Africa1. In some situations, around one in 20 of the cattle at risk die each year, and the productivity of the survivors in terms of draught power, milk production, growth and birth rate are lowered by 10–40% (Swallow, 2000). Estimated total losses due to trypanosomiasis range widely depending on the methods used, assumptions made and types of losses estimated (ILRAD, 1994; Budd, 1999; Kristjanson et al., 1999; Swallow, 2000). The upper range of published estimates would make annual losses from trypanosomiasis equal to one-third of the estimated livestock gross domestic product in sub-Saharan Africa.

The disease is complex, involving three species of parasite, namely Trypanosoma congolense, T. vivax and T. brucei. T. vivax can also be transmitted mechanically by biting flies, and thus is also found in parts of Africa free or cleared of tsetse and in parts of Central and South America. Two related parasites, T. brucei subsp. gambiense and T. brucei rhodesiense, cause human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness. While HAT is generally considered a disease of people, livestock and wildlife act as reservoirs for T. b. rhodienense and possibly for T. b. gambiense, complicating the control of HAT. Knowledge of the biology of tsetse and trypanosomiasis was greatly advanced by Mulligan and Potts (1970) and by Maudlin et al. (2004).

Trypanosomes have the ability to undergo antigenic variation (Cross, 1975), enabling host invasion and allowing them to establish persistent infections. In addition, each species comprises an unknown number of strains, all capable of elaborating a different repertoire of variable antigen types. Hence, no vaccine is currently available (the problem of antigenic variation and the history of vaccine development are discussed in Chapter 2, this volume).

The initial mission of the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Disease (ILRAD) was to tackle AAT and East Coast fever, two of the most serious intractable African livestock diseases. As a result, a large body of research on AAT was conducted over 30  years: genetics, breeding and immunology research are discussed in Chapters 1, 2 and 4 of this volume, respectively. This chapter reviews the earlier field work of ILRAD followed by that of International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) after 1994 in East and West Africa, including the engagement of those institutions with regional and global initiatives.

African animal trypanosomiasis, commonly called sleeping sickness, ➤ is arguably the single most important disease of the single most important livestock species (cattle) in Africa, creating annual losses as high as one-third of the continent’s livestock GDP.

Trypanosomiasis research ➤ promoted use of cattle breeds that tolerate infection with the causative parasite, community-based control of the tsetse fly vector of the parasite, and rational drug use to reduce parasite resistance to trypanocides.

Field research on trypanosomiasis ➤ determined that rational use of curative and preventive trypanocidal drugs is the most sustainable and scalable control option.

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African animal trypanosomiasis (AAT, also known as ‘animal African trypanosomiasis’) is a parasitic disease caused by flagellated protozoans belonging to the family Trypanosomatidae, genus Trypanosoma, section Salivaria. The parasites are transmitted by biting flies known as tsetse flies (family Glossinidae, genus Glossina), which inhabit much of tropical and subtropical Africa. The parasites live in the blood plasma, body tissue and fluids of their host. In tropical Africa, AAT constitutes a major obstacle to the development of animal production, causing major economic losses as the animals suffer from loss of condition, emaciation and anaemia, resulting in reduced meat and milk production and draught power. While the annual cost of the disease varies among agroecological zones, mortality in cattle can reach a rate of 50–100% within months of exposure and there are substantial losses from the exclusion of cattle from regions where the disease prevents cattle production and from the loss of animal draught power in areas where mixed farming is feasible.

Theileriosis, commonly known as East Coast fever (ECF), is another parasitic disease. Fatal to cattle, this disease is also caused by a protozoan parasite, Theileria parva. The disease occurs in 12 countries in eastern, central and southern Africa, where the tick vectors of this parasite are found. ECF causes major economic losses by affecting both dairy cattle and young Zebu cattle in pastoralist systems and ranches. It is among the most serious constraints to cattle productivity in the countries where it is found. Some of the direct losses due to ECF include cattle mortality, the stunting of calves and reduced milk production. Indirect losses include the lack of adoption of more productive breeds of cattle and the costs associated with ECF prevention and control. ECF affects households by reducing the milk supply, depleting assets and reducing incomes, all of which are detrimental to household food and nutritional security. The classic form of ECF control has been to spray acaricides to kill the ticks. Beginning in the 1970s, and advancing over the years, an immunization procedure was developed against ECF, which involved inoculation with live T. parva sporozoite forms and simultaneous treatment with a dose of the antibiotic oxytetracycline. The development of a vaccine to protect cattle against ECF was one of the founding aims of the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD), a forerunner of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Bovine immunology and immunoparasitology ➤ developed a comprehensive suite of monoclonal antibodies and other tools to better define the bovine immune system.

Bovine immunology and immunoparasitology ➤ identified the mechanisms of immunity that kill protozoan parasites or limit their growth and led to refinement and use of an infection-and-treatment method for immunizing cattle against East Coast fever.

Veterinary immunology tools and outputs ➤ elucidated some components and functions of the bovine system before their discovery in mice or humans and showed the way forward for human malarial vaccine research.

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The effectiveness of detecting and controlling animal diseases is dependent on a solid understanding of their dynamics and impacts through scientifically sound qualitative and quantitative methods by trained personnel. Veterinary epidemiology is the systematic characterization and explanation of patterns of animal diseases and the use of this information in the resolution of animal and human health problems. This discipline exploits an increasing inventory of tools for effective data gathering, assembly and analysis, modelling and reporting, all targeted at decision making by producers, governments and international development agencies. Furthermore, the integration of epidemiology with agricultural economics and other social sciences provides a uniquely effective tool for evaluating disease as a constraint to broader development agendas, for assessing the absolute and relative economic importance of diseases, and for evaluating the costs and benefits of alternative intervention options, at different levels ranging from farm to national to global. Furthermore, veterinary epidemiological and economic impact sciences are key components in a number of the global grand challenges relating to disease control, climate change and food security. 

Integration of veterinary epidemiology and agricultural economics ➤ provided reliable assessments of tropical livestock disease burdens and their impacts on broader development agendas.

Veterinary epidemiology ➤ provided reliable assessments of the costs and benefits of implementing different methods of controlling tropical livestock diseases.

Veterinary epidemiological and economic impact sciences ➤ increased understanding of infection dynamics and generated a wealth of methodologies and approaches that have since been applied in every corner of the world.

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East Coast fever (ECF) is a fatal bovine disease caused by the protozoan parasite Theileria parva. The disease occurs in 16 countries in eastern, central and southern Africa where the vector, the brown ear tick (Rhipicephalus appendiculatus), is found. ECF causes major economic losses by affecting both dairy cows and young Zebu cattle in pastoralist systems and ranches. It is among the most serious constraints to cattle productivity in the countries in which it is found.

The costs of ECF include both direct and indirect losses. Direct losses are due to cattle deaths, the stunting of calves, reduced milk production in survivors, and the costs of preventing and controlling the disease. Indirect losses include the lack of adoption of more productive breeds of cattle and the avoidance of areas of high infection risks. ECF affects households by reducing milk supplies, depleting assets and reducing incomes, all of which harm household food and nutritional security.

ECF has been controlled predominantly through acaricide application, but this treatment is expensive and not always successful. An alternative option is for farmers to keep local breeds of cattle, which tend to be more disease resistant but less productive than exotic breeds. It is widely accepted that vaccination is the most attractive control option, and the development of a vaccine to protect cattle against ECF was one of the founding aims of the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD).

At about the time of ILRAD’s establishment in 1973, a vaccination procedure was being developed at the East African Veterinary Research Organization (EAVRO) at Muguga, Kenya. The infection-and-treatment method (ITM) is an immunization procedure against ECF. It involves inoculation of live sporozoites of T. parva, usually in the form of a semi-purified homogenate of T. parva-infected ticks, combined with simultaneous treatment with a dose of a long-acting formulation of the antibiotic oxytetracycline. Whilst safe and very effective when administered correctly, production and delivery of this live ECF vaccine is complicated, expensive and time consuming, and at the time of ILRAD’s founding, there were doubts as to whether such a procedure was commercially viable

East Coast fever research ➤ played pivotal roles in reducing the lethal cattle disease East Coast fever in the 12 African countries where it is endemic and in producing a commercial ‘live’ vaccine against the disease.

East Coast fever research ➤ enabled immunization of hundreds of thousands of cattle at risk of East Coast fever among Africa’s poor pastoral herders and dairy farmers.

East Coast fever research ➤ sequenced the genome of the causative parasite—only the second apicomplexan protozoan ever to be sequenced—which was an essential step in enabling the screening of parasite antigens of potential use in vaccines.

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Transboundary animal diseases (TADs) are highly contagious epidemics with the potential for very rapid spread, causing serious economic and sometimes public health consequences while threatening farmers’ livelihoods. TADs often cause high morbidity and mortality in susceptible animal populations. Some TADs are also emerging infectious diseases, food-borne diseases and/or zoonoses: these are covered in other chapters. This chapter covers those high-impact, highly contagious animal diseases, such as foot-and mouth disease (FMD), that do not infect humans but do affect food and nutrition security and trade that the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has been working on since the 1990s. These are: African swine fever (ASF), mycoplasma disease (both contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP), peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and Newcastle disease (ND). Other TADs, which were to a lesser degree the focus of ILRI research, are briefly mentioned (including FMD, classical swine fever (CSF) and rinderpest).

Diagnostics and molecular epidemiology ➤ investigated African swine fever, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, and peste des petits ruminants in addition to making strategic inputs to foot-and-mouth disease, classical swine fever, Newcastle disease and other transboundary diseases.

Diagnostics and molecular epidemiology ➤ advanced diagnosis and vaccine development and construction of biological components using synthetic biology to identify vaccine candidates for contagious bovine and caprine pleuropneumonias, African swine fever and peste des petits ruminants.

Diagnostics and molecular epidemiology ➤ generated a thermostable vaccine under production in Africa that will play a major global role in protecting sheep and goats against peste des petits ruminants because the vaccine does not require a cold chain.

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Zoonoses are diseases that are transmissible between humans and animals through either direct contact or by way of food, water or the environment. Around 60% of all human diseases and around 75% of emerging human infectious diseases are zoonotic. Zoonoses have high impacts on human health, livelihoods, animals and ecosystems. The first global syntheses on the impacts of zoonotic diseases, led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), estimated that in the least-developed countries, 20% of human sickness and death was due to zoonoses or diseases that had recently jumped species from animals to people (Grace et  al., 2012a). Zoonoses sicken several billion people each year and kill millions, mostly in low- and middle-income countries. While estimates of the historical burden of zoonoses are lacking, the World Bank has estimated that emerging zoonoses cost around US$7 billion a year (World Bank, 2012).

Some zoonoses are considered neglected, classical or endemic, and others as new or emerging. Neglected zoonoses are mostly controlled or eradicated from high-income countries but impose a large burden on low- and middleincome countries. Emerging zoonoses are a global threat, but most of the economic burden falls on high-income countries. Disease categories are to some extent overlapping, and a disease may be endemic in one place and emerging in another. Many zoonoses, both neglected and emerging, are food-borne; these are discussed in Chapter 9 (this volume). This chapter focuses on zoonoses that are not transmitted primarily through food.

‘Zoonotic’ diseases, transmissible between humans and animals, ➤ make up around 60% of all human infectious diseases and 75% of emerging human infectious diseases.

Zoonoses research ➤ estimated that diseases transmitted from animals, including livestock, sicken several billion people each year and kill millions, mostly in lower income countries.

Veterinary and One Health approaches ➤ estimated the burden and risk factors for neglected as well as emerging zoonoses, identified their drivers and developed strategies for reducing those risks.

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‘Is our food safe?’ is a fundamental concern of consumers. Moreover, as populations urbanize and food systems develop, concerns about food safety grow. The emergence of food safety science responds to those concerns.

Food safety science – drawing on health, agriculture, technology, marketing and psychology – emerged as a separate discipline in the latter half of the last century. Food safety is relevant to domestic and international markets and involves private and public sectors as well as civil society. Recent evidence suggests that the health burden of food-borne disease (FBD) is comparable to that of three major diseases – malaria, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and tuberculosis. Most of the unsafe food health burden is due to contaminated fresh foods purchased from informal markets. Livestock products – milk, meat, offal and eggs – are especially risky. As our understanding of the importance of FBD, and its complicated links with livestock development, has increased, so too has research conducted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and other research organizations in this area.

Veterinary epidemiologists ➤ elevated the importance of food safety and food safety science in low-to middle-income countries, where the health burden of food-borne disease is (shockingly) comparable to that of malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Veterinary epidemiologists ➤ determined that the unsafe food health burden in developing countries is due largely to contaminated fresh foods purchased from informal markets, with livestock products–milk, meat, offal and eggs–as especially risky.

Veterinary epidemiologists ➤ focused on food safety in the ‘informal markets’ of developing countries, becoming the lead researchers globally in this emerging area.

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Ticks are bloodsucking external parasites. They are responsible for decreased productivity due to blood loss from the host animal and ‘tick worry’, the irritation resulting from their feeding activity. Other negative effects include the injection of toxins, transmission of endemic and emerging diseases (such as heartwater, African swine fever and Congo-Crimean haemorrhagic fever) and tickassociated disease (such as dermatophilosis). Tick-borne pathogens affect 80% of the world’s cattle population and are ubiquitous in the tropics and subtropics. Countering these negative effects requires expensive control measures. Global costs associated with ticks and tick-transmitted pathogens in cattle alone were estimated years ago at above US$13.9 billion and US$18.7 billion, respectively (de Castro, 1997) and costs have doubtless increased in this century. Climate change and transboundary trade in livestock have recently begun to drive ticks into new areas where animals have less resistance to both ticks and tick-borne diseases. In Africa, ticks and tickborne disease appear at the top of several rankings of important livestock diseases; notably, diseases transmitted by parasites, such as trypanosomiasis and East Coast fever (ECF), ranked high in International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) prioritizations of livestock disease across regions and production systems of sub-Saharan Africa (Perry et al., 2002).

The most common control methods are the use of genetically resistant animals and the application of acaricides. Acaricides may be applied through dips, sprays or pour-on formulations as well as intra-ruminal boluses, ear tags and footbaths. Resistance to acaricides is the ability in a strain of ticks to tolerate doses of acaricides that would prove lethal to most individuals in a normal population of the same species, and this is a major and growing problem. An anti-tick vaccine is commercially available for only a single tick species. Pasture management also has a role in integrated control.

Tick-borne pathogens ➤ affect 80% of the world’s cattle population, are ubiquitous in the tropics and subtropics, and are hugely expensive to control.

The Tick Unit ➤ advanced tick biology, tick population dynamics, and the impacts of ticks and tick control using chemicals, as well as development and deployment of an East Coast fever vaccine.

Tick research ➤ advanced understanding of ‘endemic stability’, when rates of infection are sufficient to maintain a level of acquired immunity that minimizes clinical disease in a population, a concept that has since been applied more broadly in veterinary and human health.

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Sub-Saharan Africa rangelands are vital to the livestock economy of the subcontinent. They cover roughly 9 million km2 or about 40% of the areas with potential for livestock production. The majority of African livestock – chiefly cattle, sheep, goats, camels and donkeys – live on rangelands at some point during the annual production cycles. Most of the range is managed by mobile groups who constitute perhaps one-fifth of poor livestock owners in sub-Saharan Africa. Grazing areas have limited vegetative production because of low and variable rainfall – they receive less than 600 mm annual rainfall – shallow and eroded soils, and inadequate forage due to reduction and fragmentation of the rangeland areas resulting from cropland and urban expansions. For all these reasons, it has been difficult to make sustained improvements in range productivity, even under controlled management, despite several decades of research and development interventions.

Most of Africa’s cattle, sheep, goats and camels ➤ live on rangelands at some point, where they are managed by mobile herders who make up some one-fifth of Africa’s poor livestock owners.

Rangeland ecology ➤ has elucidated and defended the economic and biological rationale of extensive pastoralism, which often co-exists with, and benefits, wildlife, thereby helping to preserve pastoral livelihoods and landscapes as well as biodiversity, carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services provided by rangelands.

Range and climate change science ➤ greatly refined estimates of the effects of grazing regimes on animal and rangeland performance and estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from range animals, plants, soils, water and infrastructure.

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Managing biological diversity has long been recognized as an essential component of crop improvement to ensure a pool of genetic material for selection and breeding for current and future needs arising from agricultural development, population growth and growing food demand. Tropical and subtropical forage genetic resources are particularly important because with few tropical forage breeding programmes of limited species coverage, forage germplasm remains the basis for selection and development of new feeds. With increasing demands for feeds for livestock intensification, rapid rates of genetic erosion of forage diversity in many regions and the need to select new higher-yielding and better-adapted genotypes, the in-trust forage collections held in the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) now part of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT after the first mention of CIAT and the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) are crucial. The knowledge generated from research on forage diversity allows scientists to identify genotypes with higher potential and to support innovative genotype selection and breeding programmes.

In-trust collections of 1600 species of tropical forage grasses and legumes ➤ are essential for developing new and improved feeds for the growing livestock populations of developing countries.

The forage genebanks ➤ have distributed some 138,000 forage samples to 188 countries, with all the materials made freely available for any agricultural research, breeding and training purposes.

These tropical forage genetic resources ➤ have been essential for large-scale adoption of Brachiaria and Panicum in Latin America and the Caribbean, Napier grass in sub-Saharan Africa, and medics and vetch in the dry areas.

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Livestock are an integral component of the smallholder mixed systems that dominate subSaharan Africa and South Asia. Availability of sufficient high-quality feed is a major constraint to productivity; livestock are often fed opportunistically and on poor-quality feed resources. A decline in grazing resources in response to the expansion of cultivated land and poor control over grazing rights means ever-increasing proportions of variable-quality cereal and legume crop residues in ruminant livestock diets. Cultivation of green forages specifically for feeding livestock is an important potential means of addressing the feed gap. The prominence of planted forages in smallholder farming systems varies hugely, and the extent of their cultivation in sub-Saharan Africa and to some extent Asia is lower than would be expected given their potential to alleviate the chronic feed gap. This chapter explores the potential and actual impact of planted forages and reviews success cases emerging from CGIAR research.

Feed research shows that ➤ with large feed gaps due to insufficient and low-quality feed for livestock a major problem in Africa and South Asia, planting green forages specifically for feeding livestock is increasingly important.

Feed research ➤ greatly expanded use of multi-purpose trees in East Africa to feed dairy cows, Brachiaria spp. in Latin America, Stylosanthes spp. in China and Thailand and Napier grass and fodder hedgerows in East Africa.

Feed research ➤ developed the Tropical Forages, Feed Assessment and other tools that enable communities to select the optimal planted forage options for their localities and circumstances.

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Livestock provides food and income for almost 1.3 billion people across the world. Grazing has long been a principal source of feed in much of South Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa. Due to population pressure, land degradation and conversion from grazing to arable land, grazing areas have contracted, resulting in feed shortages. The conversion of grazing land is likely to be aggravated by climate change (Blümmel et al., 2015b). The increasing demand for animal-sourced food is another factor in putting pressure on feed from all sources (Blümmel et al., 2017).

Feed supply and demand scenarios for South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have shown that crop residues (CRs) such as straws, stover and haulms commonly provide 50–70% of the feed resources in smallholder systems (Blümmel et al., 2014b; Duncan et al., 2016). In the highlands of Ethiopia, cereal CRs have emerged as the main components of the livestock diet but are generally poor in their nutritive value with a low crude protein content (4%) and digestible organic matter (less than 50%).

Lignocellulosic biomass from forest, agricultural waste and CRs is the most abundant renewable biomass on earth with a total production estimated to range from about 10 billion to 50 billion t (Sanchez and Cardena, 2008). About 3.8 billion t are contributed by CRs, with cereals contributing 74%, sugar crops 10%, legumes 8%, tubers 5% and oil crops 3% (Lal, 2005). Considering the quantities of CRs available and the high nutritive quality of its basic constituents – hexose and pentose sugars – attempts to improve CR biomass for fodder began a century ago (Fingerling and Schmidt, 1919; Beckmann, 1921).

These and later attempts to improve CR biomass included chemical, physical and biological treatments. Chemical treatments, particularly the use of hydrolytic agents such as sodium hydroxide and ammonia (Jackson, 1977; Owen and Jayasuriya, 1989), received significant research attention. However, little uptake of chemical treatments was observed, despite efforts by the international research and development communities, and investments into chemical straw treatments have declined since (Owen and Jayasuriya, 1989).

The lack of adoption of postharvest treatments of CRs gave way to a new model of improving the fodder value of CRs by selection and plant breeding (Reed et  al., 1988a) and by identifying anti-nutritive factors in crop biomass (Reed et al., 1988b, 1990). In the mid-1990s, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) began a joint programme on improvement of grain and CR traits, focusing on sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.) in the semi-arid tropics of India. Ex ante estimates of potential productivity gains from genetic improvement of the digestibility of multidimensional food and fodder crops would produce high rates of economic return in the form of incremental meat, milk and draught power (e.g. Kristjanson and Zerbini, 1999, for pearl millet and sorghum in semi-arid India). Similar work started in West Africa in the 1990s among the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), ICRISAT and ILRI, targeting cowpea.

This chapter therefore addresses the following questions. What is the extent of cultivardependent variation in CR fodder quality? Can these variations be exploited without detriment to grain yield? Have quality improvements in CRs from plant selection and breeding been achieved? Have such improvements made a field impact on crop and animal productivity?

With grazing areas contracting and demand for milk, meat and eggs increasing in South Asia and Africa ➤ crop residues such as straws, stover and haulms provide 50–70% of feed in smallholder systems.

Feed research ➤ forced a reconsideration of the single-trait (i.e. grain) model in favour of the multi-trait and whole-plant (i.e. food and fodder) model, with the result that crop-improvement programs have reoriented their efforts towards whole-plant improvements.

Plant breeders ➤ have produced crop cultivars with higher-quality crop residues in sorghum, pearl millet, groundnut, rice and maize in India, and in cowpea in West Africa.

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Livestock systems research (LSR) at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) sought to answer two questions:

  • What are the major livestock systems in the sub-Saharan Africa tropics and subtropics (Ruthenberg, 1980)?
  • What technical and organizational changes can be introduced into these systems to make them productive? This chapter reports the answers of decades of research at ILRI, its predecessors and its principal partners to these questions.

The chapter continues to ask:

  • What have been the scientific impacts of LSR since the 1970s?
  • What have been the development impacts of LSR since the 1970s?
  • Can the development impacts of LSR be distinguished from long-term trends in African livestock systems?

Livestock systems research ➤ mapped livestock systems in developing countries and advanced understanding of the evolution of both grazing and mixed crop-livestock production systems so as to prepare for appropriate technical interventions.

Livestock systems research ➤ created and defended a new view of African grazing systems, showing the central importance of mobility in pastoralism and the complementarities of pastoral herding and wildlife conservation.

Livestock systems research ➤ elucidated the roles of crop residues and manure in soil nutrient cycling and redressed a neglect by crop breeders of the feed value of food crops.

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The temperature and humidity changes associated with climate change will have direct and for the most part adverse effects on tropical animal productivity. Related changes in pasture and feed productivity will have further indirect adverse effects on productivity. Collectively, these effects will become increasingly negative as climate change progresses, reducing incomes to both specialized and mixed livestock producers and possibly reducing the incomes of consumers.

At the same time, livestock production activities contribute to climate change. In the early 2000s, livestock production accounted for 18% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with enteric emissions about 25% of the total, emissions from manure a further 24% and conversion of forests to pasture another 34%. Livestock also have negative environmental effects on water availability and quality, biodiversity and other ecosystem services.

A recent study showed per capita consumption of animal products is likely to increase by about 50% for low-income countries and about 10% for higher-income countries between 2010 and 2050. This demand growth implies rising livestock GHG emissions unless cost-effective mitigation options can be found. Options to reduce emissions include both supply and demand-side changes. On the supply side, technical mitigation options can reduce emissions per unit of output substantially, but their economic feasibility varies by location and is generally understudied. On the demand side, changes in dietary patterns can reduce meat consumption and therefore GHG emissions but mechanisms to generate widespread change are not clear.

Adaptation to climate change will become more challenging with growing GHG concentrations. At some point in this century, and in some regions, temperature and humidity increases will make production biologically impossible. Well before that point, the adaptation costs are likely to outweigh economic benefits of producing livestock in many current producing regions.

Climate change research ➤ showed that livestock systems are both hurt by climate change (with higher temperature and humidity slowing animal growth and increasing animal susceptibility to disease) and contribute to climate change (with livestock emitting significant levels of greenhouse gases).

Climate change research ➤ identified options for livestock smallholders and herders both to adapt to and to mitigate climate change.

Climate change research ➤ provided more reliable assessments of the greenhouse gas emissions from African livestock.

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The goals of livestock policy and economics research at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have been to increase smallholder returns from animal agriculture by: (i) analysing the productivity and targeting of livestock-based technologies; (ii) identifying policy barriers that lower farm prices, raise input costs or lower the financial, information, and risk costs of new agricultural innovations; (iii) supporting institutions that improve productivity, create assets and improve the performance of value chains; and (iv) creating a policy and regulatory environment that allows animal agriculture to contribute to growth and poverty reduction.

Livestock policy and economics research ➤ produced a seminal study foretelling of a ‘livestock revolution’ based on global livestock trends: ‘Livestock to 2020: The next food revolution’.

Livestock policy and economics research ➤ defined a ‘livestock pathway out of poverty’ along the research-to-development continuum.

Livestock policy and economics research ➤ used remote sensing and household survey data to develop, pilot and implement a novel index-based livestock insurance product for herders in the remote drylands of Kenya and Ethiopia.

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This chapter discusses the evolution of gender research at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and its predecessors , and in the context of CGIAR. It then reviews the impact of ILRI’s gender research in a number of areas including development, science, capacity and policy.

Discrimination against women in access to skills, assets, employment, education and healthcare is costly in foregone output and in heightened inequality. Research at international agricultural research centres, although often ad hoc, has long sought to identify technical and policy measures to eliminate or reduce bias against women in agriculture. Specifically, research at ILRI has focused on gendered access to assets, such as livestock and land, and to technology needed to raise livestock and crop production. As livestock often provide a significant share of women’s employment and income, and are often an asset they have control over, identifying gender-based biases through research can be a powerful tool to improve the condition of women and improve the sector as a whole. Gender research in livestock also enhances the effectiveness of interventions by increasing the relevance of livestock technologies and institutions to local communities by addressing needs, preferences, constraints and challenges of all farmers. Recent work also looks at how livestock can empower women by revealing social relationships and power dynamics in decision making that affect livestock interventions and how it is possible to build upon livestock as an asset for empowerment.

Gender research ➤ identified ways to build upon livestock households, assets, livelihoods, employment and systems for women’s empowerment.

Gender research ➤ revealed social relationships and power dynamics in household decision-making that affect the success or failure of livestock interventions and the empowerment or disempowerment of livestock women.

Gender research ➤ produced evidence that livestock can be a cornerstone of economic empowerment for women and developed a Women’s Empowerment in Livestock Index, which created a metric with which to assess progress.

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This book has presented the achievements and development impacts of livestock research conducted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), its predecessors the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) and the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD), and selected partners over a 45-year period. These achievements and impacts are summarized in the Introduction to this volume and in the Executive Summaries of each chapter. This final chapter looks at the future – what should ILRI do in the next 10 years? – by considering the challenges facing livestock research and livestock development and suggesting priorities for work in those areas.

The chapter considers future priorities for ILRI by reviewing the following:

  • The contributions livestock make to human welfare.
  • Global projections of animal product consumption, production and resource use.
  • The research context for livestock in terms of global Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Research challenges in the principal domains covered in this book – animal health and genetics, including livestock and human health; primary production, focusing on animal feed and forages; livestock systems, including policy and economics, climate change, and gender.
  • The potential research contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Future operational issues for ILRI and partners.

Livestock research ➤ increased food and nutrition security among poor people in lower income countries.

Livestock research ➤ increased prosperity among poor people in lower income countries.

Livestock research ➤ helped poor people in lower income countries to improve the management of their natural resources.

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