In this guest post, originally published by Farming First, Shirley Tarawali, assistant director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), takes a closer look at livestock’s impact on the environment, and what is being done to manage its environmental ‘hoofprint’.
A new research paper by scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partner organizations confirms that milk, meat and eggs are widely consumed by poor people in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi: these animal-source goods make up nearly 40% of the food budget and half of this is spent on dairy products. Economic analysis revealed a high propensity to consume animal-source foods and elasticities showed that, if their prices could be lowered, consumption of animal-source foods would rocket, benefiting both the nutritional status of poor consumers and the livelihoods of small-scale livestock producers.
Discussants at this event unpacked the tensions inherent between developing livestock markets to meet economic goals of the poor and meeting the nutritional needs of poor households raising livestock.
What might seem like a silver bullet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions risks undermining other development goals such as ending hunger, improving health and eliminating poverty. We cannot ignore the important role that animal-source foods play, especially in developing countries, when we talk about tackling climate change. Instead we need to find a middle ground.
A first look at a revamped ILRI program: Policy, Value Chains and Livelihoods
The Policy Round Table of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), meeting in Rome on 17 Oct 2016, discussed the report on Sustainable Agricultural Development for Food Security and Nutrition: What Roles for Livestock? The report had been launched on 1 July in Rome and is now available in all of the UN languages. The Plenary Session of the Committee endorsed a set of recommendations, drafted during preliminary negotiations led by Ambassador Yaya Olaniran (Nigeria).
The following opinion piece, by Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), was first published in The Guardian on 16 Aug 2016, in response to an opinion piece published by environmental reporter George Monbiot in the same paper on 9 Aug 2016 (I’ve converted to veganism to reduce my impact on the living world).