In July, ILRI launched a new Drought Index-insurance for Resilience in the Sahel and Horn of Africa (DIRISHA) project, focusing on pastoral systems in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region.
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.
Tremendous research progress has been made over the last ten years to better control the deadly African disease of cattle known as East Coast fever. This disease is caused by a single-celled organism, Theileria parva, which is carried by some tick species. Cattle become infected when a tick carrying the parasite takes a blood-meal from the animal over several days.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an an eight-country trade bloc in Africa including governments from the Horn of Africa, the Nile Valley and the African Great Lakes region and with headquarters in Djibouti City, signed a memorandum of understanding last Friday (27 Mar 2015) with the International livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
Using the Horn of Africa as an example, the maps illustrate different steps in a methodology developed to estimate and map the economic benefits to livestock keepers of controlling a disease (Shaw et al. 2014). Cattle are first assigned to different production systems as shown in Map 1, illustrating for example, where mixed farming is heavily dependent on the use of draft oxen in Ethiopia, areas of Sudan and South Sudan where oxen use is much lower, and the strictly pastoral areas of Somalia and Kenya.