by Catherine Mungai and Tabitha Muchaba
Livestock is the mainstay of livelihood for the Borana pastoralists in southern Ethiopia. Recurrent cycles of drought are a major factor influencing production systems and livelihoods. This coupled with livestock disease, lack of market and low economic development pose major threats to the Borana pastoralist's livelihoods, who make their living mainly from keeping cattle, shoats and camels.
To cope with climate variability, the Borana community of southern Ethiopia are undertaking improved range management practices such as establishment of fenced rangeland enclosures. Read more »
By Abrar Chaudhury and Chase Sova
On any given Wednesday afternoon, on the hot and dusty road connecting Orbili Village to Lawra, a small bustling district city in upper west region of Ghana, there is an unusual commotion.
Trucks, buses, and motorcycles periodically speed past the roadside shops of Orbili, greeting residents with a customary honk and a wave. As the dust slowly settles, a trickle of slow moving bicycles appear trailing the convoy. Their speeds and cargo capacities may be different, but they are all transporting the same goods – livestock purchased 20km up the road from the border towns of neighboring Burkina Faso for onward sale in markets of wealthier metropolises in South of Ghana.
So what is the rational and economics behind this weekly movement? As any finance professional would be proud to explain, two fundamental financial principles are at play here - diversification and arbitrage. Read more »
By Silvia Silvestri and Jane Gitau
The livestock scene in Africa is dramatically changing, with increased population growth, putting pressure on resources, and growing consumption of meat, milk and eggs.
The need for more protein however, has been met through increasing the number of animals rather than improving the livestock productivity. This was noted by Mario Herrero, former team leader at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), who spoke at a workshop held a while back in Nairobi, Kenya.
His recommendations, looking forward, is to concentrate on improving efficiency, in the livestock sector, thus reducing the GHG emissions per unit. Read more »
By Nancy Moss
"Fewer but better fed animals can make livestock production more efficient." This was said by Mario Herrero at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi. Herrero was speaking on 13 November 2012 in the fourth of a series of science seminars organized by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The presentation was live-streamed to an online audience of 220 people in front of a live audience of 40.
Herrero, an agricultural systems analyst at ILRI, gave an up-to-date overview of ways the livestock sector in developing countries can help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions."We face the challenge of feeding an increasing human population, estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050, and doing so in ways that are socially just, economically profitable and environmental friendly," he said. Read more »
By Joana Roque de Pinho
Maasai pastoralists in East Africa are using video to share their stories and experiences about coping with seasonal and annual climatic variability. As climatic changes intensify in the region, their livestock-dependent livelihoods are ever more vulnerable to increasingly frequent droughts and other extreme events.
by Joana Roque de Pinho
East African pastoralists have historically coped with seasonal and annual climatic variability. However, as climatic changes are intensifying in the region, their livestock-dependent livelihoods are ever more vulnerable to increasingly frequent droughts and other extreme events. Read more »
Of all the sectors contributing to anthropological greenhouse gas emissions, the livestock sector has been the most consistently difficult to pin down. How does one actually measure emissions from a living, changing animal? Do you count the CO2 they exhale with every breath? What about all the rainforest that’s been chopped down to accommodate pasture land, do you count that, too? With the wide range of estimates for livestock’s contribution to GHGs and the ongoing argument as to which production systems are the most sustainable, it’s no wonder livestock often gets left out of the mitigation discussion altogether. Read more »
Written by Sandra Brown and Alexandre Grais
At the latest UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Durban, COP17, Kofi Annan the former UN Secretary General, pointed to ‘Climate Smart Agriculture' as a way for Africa to contribute to climate change mitigation efforts and boost food security. The growing demand for food to meet the needs of the growing population will be exacerbated by potential changes in climate that will impact agricultural production systems. Simultaneously there is a demand for mitigating climate change through actions that decrease emissions or increase sequestration that can also affect agricultural production. On top of this is the internationally proposed REDD+ mechanism that will also affect agricultural practices because expansion of agriculture is a major driver of deforestation in many countries. Any efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation will necessarily require a reduction of agricultural expansion. To accomplish these seemingly divergent goals for forest protection and feeding a rapidly growing population, existing agricultural practices must be improved to increase yields and production. Read more »
Last week, The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change released its recommendations to help the world achieve food security in the face of climate change.
The current issue of New Scientist publishes an article describing a recently released study, ‘Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change’, which was commissioned by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research). For more on that study, see the CCAFS news release of 16 November 2011: ‘Global Commission Charts Pathway for Achieving Food Security in Face of Climate Change‘.
Sujata Gupta’s New Scientist article on meat consumption, ‘Just how much meat can eco-citizens eat?’ (online publication date: 16 November 2011; print issue date: 19 November 2011; print issue number: 2839), contains what we believe is a factual error. Gupta quotes a 2007 article in the Lancet (‘Food, livestock production, energy, climate change, and health’, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61256-2) that 80% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions come from meat production.
More credible figures, compiled from international global assessments by agricultural systems analyst Mario Herrero and his colleagues at the International Livestock Research Institute, are the following: Read more »
Last week, we shared the news that cattle herders in Kenya had received their first payments as part of an innovative livestock insurance scheme, partly set up by our partners the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Now, we share a farm-level view of the scheme, courtesy of Neil Palmer (republished from the CIAT blog).
What hits you when you get out of the truck at Ginda Village, in Northern Kenya, is the smell.
Farmer Haro Sora’s land is littered with the carcasses of cattle and donkeys that have keeled over following an intense, prolonged drought. A skull here; half a ribcage there. In some places there are whole animals slumped on the roadside. Some have died in the last few days, and the wind does little to clear the air.
Ginda, in Marsabit District, has been affected by the now infamous Horn of Africa drought, which triggered a food crisis affecting around 13 million people in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. After more than a year, the rains finally returned to Ginda a fortnight ago.
The fact that the food crisis in the Horn was the result of a livestock crisis has been well documented. A major pastoralist zone, when vegetation for grazing began to dry-up and livestock started to die, the knock-on effects on farmer livelihoods became strikingly clear.
Now, whatever your gut reaction to the principle of a financial institution selling insurance to already cash-strapped smallholder farmers to protect them against the risk of drought, there are 650 livestock keepers in Marsabit this year who are delighted to be receiving their first payouts. Read more »
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)