A study published last year indicates the potential for the growth in livestock production and demand in Africa to contribute greatly to the continent’s employment and economy as well as to the resilience and productivity of its many livestock keepers.
David Nabarro, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Food Security and Nutrition and Special Envoy on Ebola, directed the development and implementation of the study. Nabarro says that “As people’s incomes increase, their demand for (and access to) livestock products tends to increase as well.” He believes that “the degree to which people have predictable access to safe livestock products depends on the extent to which local markets responds to increasing demand and to which gaps in production can be met through imports from elsewhere”.
But it is essential, he says, that governments and regional organizations play a vital role in setting and executing policies for livestock development. This includes ensuring strong and predictable investments in livestock systems that are accompanied by adequate veterinary services, well enforced regulations to limit the externalities associated with intensified production and with payment for environmental services.
Policies should also includes governments being enabled to combine the enforcement of regulations with the application of incentives in ways that take account of income inequalities, and are guided by applied research at the interfaces between animals and humans within different ecosystems.
The study was prepared by a core research team from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) under the stewardship of the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Food Security and Nutrition and UN System Influenza Coordination (UNSIC).
The conduct of the study was made possible through financial support provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The scenarios used in the study were developed and quantified as part of the European Union (EU) funded project “An integration of mitigation and adaptation options for sustainable livestock production under climate change”.
“The results of this research set the scene for more intensive work on options for expanding livestock production in Africa”, said Nabarro. Follow-up work will explore how the dynamics of livestock markets will evolve in Africa and how changes in habitats will impact on the likelihood that new diseases will emerge and threaten the health of both animal and, if they are transmissible, human populations providing a detailed map for disease emergence hotspots under the different livestock scenarios.
Online versions of the full Report of the study, Executive Summary and Policy Brief are available at UN-Influenza.org website: http://un-influenza.org/?q=content/african-livestock-futures-realizing-potential-livestock.
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