Brachiaria grass is helping Kenyan farmers boost their dairy production and alleviate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and ground water pollution.
Greater awareness on the health benefits of milk and dairy products is needed to raise their consumption in Tanzania.
It should be possible to grow much more in Africa. . . . Five decades ago it was one of the world’s great crop-exporters. Ghana grew most of the world’s cocoa, Nigeria was the biggest exporter of palm oil and peanuts, and Africa grew a quarter of all the coffee people slurped. Since then it has shifted from being a net exporter of food to an importer.
This month, leaders from around the world will get together at the UN to agree on the world’s development agenda for the next 15 years—what they’re calling the Global Goals. It is a great opportunity to take stock of how the world’s poorest are doing, and there is a big push to spread the word about the Global Goals.
A recent perspective piece published in Nature Climate Change by researchers Philip Thornton and Mario Herrero suggests that we still know very little about how climate change will impact these mixed farms and especially the interactions between crops and livestock. This is alarming as mixed farming systems form the backbone of smallholder production in developing countries,producing over 90% of the world’s milk supply and 80% of the meat from ruminants.
‘Archaeologists have long known that people started to domesticate animals for food at the dawn of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent (the curve of land across the Middle East from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf) about 10,000 years ago. But details of the complex pathways through which improved livestock spread across Europe and Asia are only now emerging, as genomic technology makes it practical to compare the DNA of hundreds of animals across continents. . . . ‘A Chinese consortium led the sheep study in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi; it is published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Odisha (formerly known as Orissa), an economically fast-growing state in eastern India, on the Bay of Bengal, is facing an emerging fodder crisis. The people of this state depend largely on agriculture for their livelihoods, and animal husbandry is widely practiced. One pathway out of of poverty for many here is to increase the efficiency and levels of their small-scale livestock production to meet the growing demand in India for more milk and meat. But without feed to give their cattle, sheep, goats and other ruminant animals, the state’s many millions of livestock producers will be unable to improve or increase their productivity. New results of a study by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) show that lack of adequate amounts and quality of fodder is one of the biggest constraints these farmers face. A solution, say ILRI scientists, is to make better use of the residues of rice and maize (paddy straw and maize stover) as supplementary livestock feed.