Livestock experts reflect on livestock research over the past decade and trends that will drive future livestock research during the ‘Livestock Exchange’ held 9-10 November 2011 at ILRI in Ethiopia (picture credit: ILRI/Ewen Le Borgne).
Livestock researchers, meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, say that managing livestock diseases of developing countries can save lives as well as livestock livelihoods of the poor.
Key livestock researchers met, this week, in a two-day (9–10 Nov) ‘Livestock Exchange’ event at the Addis Ababa campus of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Ethiopia to reflect on key lessons on livestock research over the past decade and to review the main trends that will affect and drive livestock research in coming years. The event, which is convened by the ILRI Board of Trustees, is also celebrating the leadership and contributions of Carlos Seré, whose term as the director of ILRI ended at the end of October 2011.
Speaking in a session on ‘livestock and human health’, Delia Grace, a veterinary epidemiologist with ILRI, said disease management will play a critical role in ensuring livestock and livelihoods sustainability in the future. ‘One of ILRI’s key roles in coming years will be to lead scientific research on agriculture-associated diseases,’ said Grace. In a video link from Washington DC, John McDermott, who leads a new multi-centre research program on ‘Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health,’ under which the research by ILRI will be carried out, told the ILRI gathering in Addis that livestock scientists need to find ways to ‘contribute much more to improving nutrition and health for the poor and particularly for children and women.’
‘There is need to better understand on-going changes in livestock production systems in the world, particularly in developing countries, and how these changes are affecting the potential risks of livestock diseases,’ said Grace. Among the key areas on which research on agriculture-associate diseases will focus is food-associated diseases, zoonotic diseases and emerging diseases.
ILRI’s research experience in epidemiology, diagnostics and surveillance is expected to contribute significantly to the process of changes within the livestock sector and projecting future trends in animal disease research. Lessons from informal and emerging value chains will also help in evaluating the benefits and risks to human health among poor farmers.
Organized around four thematic areas of livestock research, this ‘Livestock Exchange’ event brings scientists from ILRI, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and other institutions to deliberate on the future directions of livestock systems in transition, from animal health and genetics, to livestock market opportunities for the poor to livestock and human health. Discussions include topics such as livestock and climate change, animal breeding and genetic resources, vaccines, value chain development, demands for livestock products and ways of improving market-driven use of technologies.
On 9 and 10 November 2011, the ILRI Board of Trustees hosted a 2-day ‘liveSTOCK Exchange’ to discuss and reflect on livestock research for development. The event synthesized sector and ILRI learning and helped frame future livestock research for development directions.