Livestock landscapes: Farm animals matter to people’s livelihoods and ambitions throughout the countries of the developing world (image credit: ILRI/O’Meara).
Christie Peacock, chief executive officer of Farm-Africa, blogged yesterday (18 October 2010) that the contribution livestock make to the rural economy remains under-appreciated by all players in development, except farmers. ‘It’s time for that to change,’ says Peacock.
‘Livestock finally made it on to the agenda of the World Food Prize meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, last week. Livestock and the people who keep them are usually neglected by aid experts all over the world, including the eminent agronomists who dominate this event. Most crop scientists have a very narrow focus on a few staple food crops and don’t always look at all the activities on small farms and how they are linked together.
‘The vast majority of farmers in Africa do not use artificial fertilizers and rely on the soil’s natural fertility supplemented by animal manure and legumes. Many farms in the world are still ploughed by cattle or buffalo and yet crop scientists continue to overlook and undervalue the crucial role livestock can play in crop production. I have seen farmers in Kenya almost come to blows over the ownership of goat manure from a group breeding station because they value it so much to fertilize their vegetables and coffee.
‘The contribution of livestock to the wider rural economy remains under-appreciated by all players in development, except farmers. This leads to the current absurd under-investment in the livestock sector as a whole. Barely 0.4% of the aid budget is spent on developing the livestock sector and yet, for example, in India the dairy sector alone is the most valuable part of the whole agricultural sector, creating more value than all rice production. . . .’
Read the whole article on Poverty Matters blog: It’s time to recognize the important role livestock play in tackling poverty, 18 October 2010.