‘Alt meats’ are not the answer for poorer countries

ILRI news

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All paintings by Olivia Pendergast, an American artist living and working in Kenya.

This opinion piece, published this week in the Financial Times, is written by Isabelle Baltenweck, an agricultural economist leading the Policies, Institutions and Livelihoods program at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

It is time we recognized the vital role livestock plays across the world’s developing economies

Excitement about alternative meat and dairy products is exploding. Lab-grown or plant-based, animal-free substitutes are being held up as a panacea to overcome the negative environmental and health impacts associated with the world’s livestock systems.

But that assumption rests on the skewed perspectives of North Americans and western Europeans—and misses a big part of the story.

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Olivia Pendergast

In many developing countries and less affluent economies, animal-source food is less a consumer product than a vital source of income, food and livelihood.

For the one in 10 people living…

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