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Livestock Matter(s): ILRI news ’roundup’, April 2013

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This month’s issue of ‘Livestock Matter(s)’, explores a round-up of livestock development news, publications, presentations, images and upcoming events from ILRI and its partners. Download a print version – or sign up to get Livestock Matter(s) in your mailbox each month.

Corporate news

Livestock research for food security and poverty reduction: ILRI strategy 2013-2022

In April, ILRI’s strategy covering the period 2013-2022 was published. Under the tagline ‘better lives through livestock’, ILRI will improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock.

Project news

Zimbabwe: Crop and livestock researchers unite to improve smallholder agriculture
In 2012, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) launched a joint project called ‘ZimCLIFS’ to develop ways to increase agricultural production, improve household food security, alleviate poverty, and thereby reduce food-aid dependency in rural Zimbabwe through better integration of crop and livestock production and market participation.

ILRI-BecA goat project harnessing ODK on smartphones for data collection and analysis
To harness genetic diversity to improve goat productivity in Africa, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is testing the open data kit (ODK) in Ethiopia as a tool to collect baseline data on production systems and phenotypic characterization of goats. It will also be tested in Cameroon.

As a new round of bird flu hits China, livestock scientist advises to ‘panic slowly’
The initial news reports were slim on details but the reaction was swift. There were at least three people dead in China after apparently contracting influenza from birds. Then the death toll rose to five, virus samples were detected in pigeons, and in Shanghai authorities began slaughtering poultry flocks. Within a few days the death count was up to seven, then nine. And people started to wonder about a connection to all those pig carcasses floating down Shanghai waterways.

Corralling cattle to improve the productivity of pasture lands affected by termites
Researchers from the Department of Animal Science in Makerere University were excited, and with good reason, as they surveyed pasture land that had been corralled off in the cattle corridor of Uganda. The team had been looking at options to improve livestock water productivity (LWP) in the Nile Basin. To their surprise, a carpet of solid vegetation now covered the expanse of land, affirming their Ethiopian colleague’s suggestion that corralling cattle every night over a two-week period would allow the grassland to recover.

Africa RISING trainers in Ethiopia learn to use the SLATE sustainable livelihoods asset evaluation tool
In April, the Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) and Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC) jointly organised a Training of Trainers workshop in the use of SLATE: A tool for Sustainable Livelihoods Asset Evaluation. Held in Addis Ababa and in Jeldu woreda, 30 participants from the Africa RISING’s 4 project sites and NBDC Innovation platforms attended the training. The training combined both conceptual and practical sessions.

ILRI in the media

Livestock: The Good, the Bad, and the Facts
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) recently wrote two blog posts about one of their papers called The Roles of Livestock in Developing Countries, in which their authors argue that the livestock sector needs to be studied and assessed in a much more disaggregated manner in order to acknowledge the roles and impacts of livestock around the world – for better or for worse. Now, the motto of ILRI is “Better Lives through Livestock”, so I was originally hesitant whether they were really in a position to produce a reliably balanced account, but I was impressed both by the depth of their analysis and by their recommendations.

Balancing conservation and people’s access to land
In the great plains of northern Tanzania, close to the world-famous Serengeti National Park, a bitter row has broken out over an attempt to designate 1,500sqkm of Loliondo District as a game-controlled area. The Maasai herdsmen in the area say their cattle cannot survive without access to traditional dry-season grazing in the area.

CGIAR news – updates from the research programs we work in

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Defining best-bet interventions for the Uganda smallholder pig value chain
The Livestock and Fish team working on the smallholder pig value chain in Uganda recently held a workshop to identify potential best-bet interventions based on the value chain assessment work.

Keeping cows in the city, chickens under the bed: ‘The Atlantic’ magazine explores Africa’s urbanization
It’s not only people who are rapidly urbanizing in Africa: people migrating from rural areas are bringing their livelihoods with them, which in Africa largely means their cattle, goats, sheep, chickens and pigs. A scientific report from researchers based in Nairobi, Kenya, investigating the benefits and harms of livestock keeping in two of Africa’s most crowded and sprawling cities —Nairobi and Ibadan — recommends that people ’keep on keeping cows’ but keep them more carefully so as to reduce the risk of diseases being transmitted from livestock to people.

Patricia Rainey new program support coordinator for Livestock and Fish
On 10 April 2013, Patricia Rainey joined the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) to be ILRI’s program support coordinator for the CGIAR research programs on Livestock and Fish and Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH). Rainey, a South African, has strong program management skills and a particular interest in research methods for development.

Adapting and adopting improved animal feeding systems in Southeast Asia
Until recently, livestock husbandry in Vietnam’s Central Highlands was not very productive. Animals were intermittently sold to free-up cash to put towards weddings or large purchases, and the rest of the time they were left free to graze on native pasture and crop residues. To help revitalize these livestock systems, researchers at CIAT have been testing different kinds of improved forages and developing improved management strategies with farmers.

Recent presentations

Recent ILRI publications

more . . .


Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) is a highly contagious disease that affects cattle throughout most of sub Saharan Africa. It is one of the most serious livestock diseases with greatest impacts in pastoralist areas. Up to 15% of infected animals die: milk yields of infected cows drop by up to 90%: meat production is reduced, and infected draught oxen are less able to work. Existing vaccines have side effects and give limited protection. This short film explores the development of the Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) vaccine by researchers at ILRI.

ILRI under the lens

This month we feature amazing livestock portraits around the world.

Upcoming events

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