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.
Over the past several weeks, illegal attempts to grab land have escalated at Kapiti Plains Estate (‘Kapiti’, or ‘Kapiti research station’), located about 60 km southeast of Nairobi along Mombasa Road, in Machakos County. Members of groups involved in the illegal sales have started trespassing and building illegal structures on Kapiti research station. No land at Kapiti is for sale.
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.
Speaking last week at the opening of the annual meeting of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH), ILRI Director General Jimmy Smith reminded his scientific audience of the specific livestock means by which the world can meet their ambitious goals. The four livestock development pathways Smith describes for meeting the SDGs—economic growth, equitable livelihoods, nutrition and health, ecosystem health—(see below) are largely unknown outside of the South, where they are taken for granted. Time for that to change, Smith said. Time for livestock researchers to conduct their science ‘with the end in mind’.
A delegation comprising IFAD staff visited the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) cassava processing sites at Lokongoma, Wushishi (Niger State) and Idogodo, Okpokwu (Benue State) in late July, 2017 to discuss progress with this important project.
An article in ‘Animal’ compares the lifetime performance (mortality, maturity, nutrition, birth weight etc.) of West African Dwarf goats kept under various feeding systems.