Recognition of the importance of livestock in addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges, including meeting the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, has been rising sharply in recent years among leading national, political, donor and international bodies.
The most recent progress report from the Feed the Future Mali Livestock Technology Scaling Program describes some successes and swift progress made in recent months towards achieving these goals as well as some new challenges the program is facing.
Development assistance has long since slipped down in the agenda of African officials. With rapid economic growth forecast, priorities now focus on increasing productivity and investment. And in Tanzania, where approximately 37% of the rural households possess cattle, chicken, goats, pigs and sheep, livestock is officially at the centre of that debate.
A Global Livestock Advocacy for Development (GLAD) project is distilling evidence around livestock ‘goods’ and ‘bads’, reaching out to UN and other global policy processes and events, engaging global media and developing a group of champions—individuals capacitated to make the case for sustainable livestock.
More than 2,250 pastoralists received insurance payouts following the extremely poor rains this year in southern Ethiopia. Low levels of rainfall have led to the loss of approximately 300,000 livestock in 2017 in the Borana zone of the southern Oromia region. The insurance payouts of more than ETB5.233 million (USD220,000) was the largest-ever micro-insurance indemnity made in Ethiopia. Each insured pastoralist received an average of ETB2,255 (USD96), which will allow the herders to purchase feeds for their surviving animals and to restock their herds.
An article in ‘Animal’ compares the lifetime performance (mortality, maturity, nutrition, birth weight etc.) of West African Dwarf goats kept under various feeding systems.
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.