Raising the steaks

Photo credit: African Business Magazine.

A new article in African Business Magazine provides a comprehensive overview of the risks and opportunities presented by Africa’s livestock sector and features extensive analysis from International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) director general Jimmy Smith.

The article surveys the industry from vast industrial cattle feedlots outside Johannesburg to Fulani herders bringing their animals to market in Kano, Nigeria. It outlines the potential for growth in the sector—consumption of beef on the continent will increase 200% between 2015 and 2050, while poultry consumption will grow by 211% and pork by 200%—and discusses some of the critical challenges ahead, from climate change to poor husbandry techniques to mounting local-level insurgencies.

The article quotes Smith extensively and is well worth reading in its entirety. It concludes on a note of qualified optimism.

‘Rather than choosing between commercial and smallholder models—both of which will continue to play a crucial and complementary role in Africa’s livestock future—policymakers should consider appropriate investment and technological support to both sectors in a bid to boost productivity and mitigate environmental damage across the board, says Smith.

‘Without new efforts, the continent could squander the multi-billion-dollar opportunity of millions of new African meat-eaters in favour of a vast importation bill and the possibility of unconstrained environmental damage.’

As ministers of finance see more and more the importation bill, they will be inclined to invest in the sector, so I’m hopeful that there will be a greater response to the opportunities that exist.

I’m not happy with the current response, but hopefully it will change over time.
—ILRI’s Jimmy Smith