Addressing the Cow in the Room, Lowing for Nutrition and Livelihoods — Global Issues

Cattle play an important role in economic growth and supporting livelihoods across Africa. Herders in Nkayi, Zimbabwe, tend to their herd. Credit: Busani Bafana / IPS
  • by Busani Bafana (bulawayo)
  • Associated Press Service

A growing number of negative stories about livestock’s contribution to climate change are slowing the growth of the strategic livestock sector, where the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people around the world depend on it. .

In Africa, livestock is life, providing food, nutrition, employment, traction, income generation and a source of cultural significance. But the benefits of keeping cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs in captivity are lost when it comes to the impact of livestock on the environment.

As a result, livestock producers are suffering from low investment in the livestock sector, which has the potential to boost economic growth, tackle poverty, and achieve more. Sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Researchers, farmers and entrepreneurs, complaining about the negative perception of livestock in contributing to climate change, are calling for a balanced discussion to highlight livestock production, not livestock. not a problem but a solution in addressing climate change, especially in developing countries.

Ian Wright, Deputy Director of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya, acknowledges that livestock production is topical today because of its negative impact on the environment, an area where it can provide a solution. It has been suggested that dairy, meat and eggs are becoming foods to be avoided, however livestock is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in Africa, he said.

Wright told IPS in an interview: “The livestock and livestock systems are very different in different parts of the world, the cultural and economic importance is also different but the contribution of livestock production. for food security and nutrition in Africa is absolutely critical. He added that the majority of people in Africa tend to not eat adequate sources of protein and micronutrients, in contrast to the situation in the Global North, where people would benefit from eating less meat and food. products of animal origin.

We can ‘meat’ in the middle

“Global discussions about livestock tend to be dominated by voices from the Global North, so it is important that we ensure that perspectives on the role of livestock from the Global South Demands, including Africa, are heard at the top tables of global events such as the Conference. Wright said.

“The livestock industry must address these gaps as there is an opportunity to make livestock part of resilience and adaptation efforts; For example, climate change makes farming too risky, but it is still possible to raise livestock to produce food from land that cannot produce crops. “

Better livestock management and improved diets can help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from livestock, while sustainable livestock management promotes carbon fixation in the soil.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The growing population and rapid urbanization also promote the appetite for animal-based foods from eggs, dairy, beef and pork, which are also some of the best and commonly available sources of protein. good price. Livestock provides energy-rich and micronutrient-rich feed, which is very important for pregnant women and especially babies in the first 1000 days of life.

Scientists have clarified about the sign of giant hooves of pets. FAO assessments show that global livestock emissions account for 14.5% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions. Cattle, in particular, are responsible for the most emissions, around 65% of the livestock industry’s emissions, much of which is hazardous methane. Therefore, there is more and more movement to quit eating meat and instead include it in a plant-based diet to promote health and protect the environment.

However, Africa is one of the regions of the world where malnutrition is on the rise. More and more people are hungry and even more do not have access to nutritious food. Breeding is one solution.

The World Bank Adegbola Adesogen, Director of the Institute of Food Systems and Future Innovation Labs for Livestock, said that Africa is losing between 3 and 16% of GDP annually due to stunting children and animal-based foods. can help reduce that problem. System at the University of Florida.

Adesogen urged: “We should prioritize foods of animal origin in our diets and increase access to these foods across Africa because of the increased consumption of foods of animal origin. in Africa is very low. “For example, meat consumption in Nigeria is only about 5% of meat consumption in Argentina, but foods of animal origin contain a lot of macro and micro nutrients needed by children. Africa for their development and health. but most interventions addressing malnutrition in Africa ignore foods of animal origin”.

Invest in livestock

The livestock sector attracts little investment compared to other agricultural sectors but contributes up to 40% of agricultural GDP in Africa. Of the $129 billion in Official Development Assistance in 2020, only 4.3 of it went into agriculture, and livestock received only 1.3%, Wright noted.

Smallholder farmer Emma Naluyima from Uganda, who has combined farming and animal husbandry to develop a thriving farm business on one piece of land, says supportive policies are crucial in the promotion of livestock development and livelihoods of livestock farmers.

Naluyima, speaking during a panel discussion at a session hosted by ILRI in 2022 Alliance Forum for a Green Revolution in Rwanda, emphasizing that livestock production is productive and profitable when farmers are supported to do it right. Naluyima’s one-acre integrated farm, based on recycling farm resources to provide natural fertilizers and pesticides, as well as biogas, generates $100,000 in annual income.

While many countries in Africa have failed to allocate at least 10% of their public expenditure to agriculture under the commitments of the Malabo Declaration on Agriculture, the livestock sector receives just over 3% of the agricultural budget, but it has the potential to transform the continent’s food system.

Wright says that livestock can address many of the food system challenges in Africa as it is a significant contributor to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. For a continent that continues to suffer from the dual burden of food and nutritional insecurity, food derived from livestock could reduce malnutrition for the most vulnerable communities, he said.

“The livestock industry must address these gaps as there is an opportunity to make livestock part of resilience and adaptation efforts; For example, climate change makes farming too risky, but livestock can still be raised to produce food from land that cannot produce crops,” says Wright.

ILRI has worked with various governments to develop Livestock Investment Master Plans that will enable governments and the private sector to get the best value from the sector, and fight to show return on investment. For example, through the developed Livestock Investment Master Plan, the Ethiopian government was able to leverage $500 million from private sector investment in the livestock value chain.

“With the right policies and a balanced story on the livestock industry, livestock can attract investment and drive economic growth in Africa,” says Wright.

Report of the United Nations Office IPS

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© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service


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