The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) granted the University of Florida USD49 million to develop a Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, one of 24 such initiatives federated under Feed the Future, the US government’s global hunger and food security initiative.
To increase productivity and incomes and to improve nutrition and food safety, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems aims to sustainably intensify smallholder livestock systems through research, technology applications, capacity building and co-production of knowledge.
Research at the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is organized by areas of inquiry and cross-cutting themes.
Areas of inquiry:
- future livestock systems
- animal-source foods production and marketing
- livestock disease management and food safety
- enabling policies for livestock
- role of gender in livestock systems research
- human and institutional capacity development
- human health and nutrition
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is partnering the University of Florida in (1) leading and managing the ‘future livestock systems’ area of inquiry, (2) hiring regional coordinators who work partly for the Innovation Lab on Livestock Systems, (3) serving on the external advisory board and (4) collaborating on non-competitive research funds for research and capacity building efforts in the four areas of inquiry.
The Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems will focus on six countries: Burkina Faso and Mali in West Africa, Ethiopia and Rwanda in East Africa, Cambodia in Southeast Asia and Nepal in South Asia.
A series of stakeholder consultations have started taking place. The Ethiopia consultation took place on 7–8 Feb 2016 on the ILRI Ethiopia campus. This consultation was co-organized and facilitated by ILRI staff in support of the University of Florida. It was led by Adgebola Adesogan, a professor of ruminant nutrition at the University of Florida who is serving as director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems.
The consultation meetings aim at engaging stakeholders working in the livestock development sector to highlight high-priority investment areas for the Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems and to provide ongoing recommendations for its future directions. The results will directly feed into a call for expressions of interest.
Similar consultations will follow soon for Rwanda and Nepal and later in the year for Burkina Faso, Mali and Cambodia.
To develop a full-fledged program for this livestock innovation lab, ILRI will continue working closely with the University of Florida in Ethiopia and other countries under the leadership of Steve Staal, an agricultural economist who heads ILRI’s Policy, Trade and Value Chains program.
13-year old Damte Yeshitella tends cattle on the outskirts of Addis Ababa (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).