More than 250 livestock experts from over 50 countries are exploring ways of ensuring that the long-term benefits of livestock contribute to sustainable development. They’re participating in the 7th Multi-Stakeholder Partnership meeting of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL), in Ethiopia, this week. The 8–12 May 2017 meeting was officially opened by His Excellency Professor Fekadu Beyene, Ethiopia’s minister for livestock and fisheries, on Monday in the capital, Addis Ababa.
With the opening of the latest high-tech forage genebank and bioscience research facilities, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Ethiopia is well on the way to realizing it dream of becoming a major science hub in eastern Africa. Speaking at the beginning of the launch of the new facilities yesterday, Siboniso Moyo, representative in Ethiopia for the ILRI director general, spoke of the new facilities as the beginning of a drive to upscale facilities on the campus.
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) officially opens state-of-the-art facilities for genebank and bioscience research on 24 April 2017. The facilities will help protect a crucial component of the planet’s biodiversity—the diverse grasses and legumes that feed the world’s food animals. Research conducted here on livestock feed materials improves the sustainability and productivity of the livestock sector in many low-income countries across the world.
Widespread drought conditions in the Horn of Africa have intensified since the failure of the Oct–Dec 2016 rains. Areas of greatest concern cover much of Somalia, northeast and coastal Kenya, southeast Ethiopia and the Afar region, and South Sudan, which faces a serious food crisis due to protracted insecurity. One focus of the East African-headquartered International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is to help developing-country livestock communities enhance their resilience in the face of recurring droughts. ILRI belongs to CGIAR—a global research partnership of 15 centres and their partners working yo reduce poverty, enhance food and nutrition security and improve natural resources and ecosystem services.
The experience of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partner scientists in 2015–2016 highlights how research and policy analysis guide prioritization of livestock investments and interventions that transform livestock value chains enabling men and women smallholder farmers to improve their lives. However, building on solid research, it is the training of key stakeholders and research support which delivers direct benefits to value chains actors and poor consumers of animal-source foods.
Insurance that pays out when forage coverage drops—known as index-based livestock insurance—is an elegant idea. Andrew Mude, an economist and principal scientist at ILRI, last month was awarded the Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application. The award, a major prize in agricultural research, is given by the World Food Prize Foundation and financed by the Rockefeller Foundation. Tina Rosenberg covers the story in the New York Times.
Andrew Mude, an economist and principal scientist at ILRI, is being presented with the 2016 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application today, 12 Oct 2016, for his work leading an innovative livestock insurance program that employs satellite data to help protect livestock herding communities in the Horn of Africa from the devastating effects of drought.