On 26 April 2018, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partner scientists and government officials join forces with Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen to launch the research facility and art installation, Incubated Worlds, a unique combination of art and science that aims to improve nutrition and incomes in East Africa with disease-resistant, climate-resilient poultry.
Vish Nene, one of the scientific organizers of the conference and a co-leader of the Animal and Human Health program at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, gave a particularly lucid talk at the pre-meeting workshop on Novel tools and genomics approaches supporting vaccine development. The following is a transcript of Nene’s talk, lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
Research to improve the health and productivity of farmed animals in tropical climates has received a £4 million boost from the UK Government. The investment from DFID was announced by the Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt, during a visit to the University of Edinburgh. It will support research in the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health—a joint venture between the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, SRUC, ILRI, the latter of which has major research facilities in Kenya and Ethiopia.
A newly launched pig genetics project seeks to increase the productivity and profitability of the Ugandan smallholder pig enterprises by developing a genetic improvement strategy to ensure the availability and accessibility of appropriate pig breeds.
The following policy recommendations build on the main findings of the CFS High Level Panel of Expert’s Jul 2016 report #10, on Sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition: What roles for livestock? The sustainable development of agriculture, including livestock, is essential for poverty reduction and the achievement of food security and nutrition.
In sadness, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) reports that Niall MacHugh, a long-term former scientist at ILRI and its predecessor, the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD), died 21 Mar 2017.
The experience of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partner geneticists in 2015–2016 clearly demonstrates the positive benefits to smallholder farmers of the application of new breeding and genomic approaches, leading to more productive and climate- and disease resilient livestock. However, it is when these new technologies are combined with improved management practices that they are translated into enhanced food security and higher incomes for smallholder farmers. These are the findings from the genetics research and interventions, presented in the ILRI Corporate report 2015–2016 highlights on Livestock genetics and breeding.