Africa / Animal Production / Event / ILRI / Policy / Pro-Poor Livestock / Project

Help Africa’s small-scale livestock producers tap growing markets for animal proteins—FAO livestock economists

Saulosi Tchinga

Saulosi Tchinga is a potato, maize, soya, sheep and chicken farmer in central Malawi (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

‘The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Friday called on African governments to implement policies that will help the continent’s small livestock producers to tap the growing demand for animal proteins.

‘FAO Livestock Economist Uga Pica-Ciamarra told journalists in Nairobi that due to a number of constraints the region is now a net importer of livestock products.

‘“The small scale farmers holders should therefore be positioned to benefit from the huge market for milk, meat and eggs that will come out of Africa in the next decades,” Pica-Ciamarra said.

‘He called on governments to develop a private sector model for the small industry players that is sustainable enough in order to avoid the heavy reliance on livestock imports which is a reflection of surging demand.

This comes even as African countries are yet to implement the 10 percent budgetary allocation on agriculture as agreed back in 2003. Uga Pica-Ciamarra noted up to 60 percent of rural households in Africa keep livestock.

‘FAO said that while the U.S. capita consumption of meat is estimated at 100 kg, Africa’s is slightly above 10 kg. Pica- Ciamarra added that a strong protein diet will also help reduce the high levels of malnutrition present in the region.

‘“Livestock products are known to contain vital micro-nutrients that are not found in grains,” he said.

FAO’s Global Market Analysis of 2012 indicated that most of the global meat production expansion in the future will come from the developing countries.

‘[The] Livestock Economist noted that Africa’s economy is growing very fast and with this comes growing purchasing power. “The continent will have to be innovative as it requires 8 kg of grains to produce one kg of beef,” he said. . . .

Yulita Cosmas

Yulita Cosmas is a chicken, maize and soya farmer in central Malawi (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

FAO Agricultural Economist Nancy Morgan said that it is difficult to invest in Africa’s poultry sector due to underlying constraints. . . .

‘“This will present a huge challenge in feeding Africa’s cities which will require improved protein diets as more and more women move away from farms and work in urban areas,” she said.

Morgan noted that a study of Kenya’s 2010 drought showed that the livestock deaths reduced the country’s gross domestic product by 0.5 percent.

‘The FAO, World Bank and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) are currently implementing a three year, 2.5 million U.S. dollars pilot project in Tanzania, Uganda and Niger dubbed the Livestock Data Innovation in Africa in order to improve statics collection in order to better manage the sector.’

Read the whole article at Xinhua News Service (China)/Coastweek (Kenya): African small holders need greater government support—FAO, 10 May 2013.

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