Directorate / East Africa / Environment / Event / Food Security / ILRI / Kenya / Policy / Pro-Poor Livestock / Southern Africa

Invest in Africa’s fast-growing livestock sector: The time is now, says ILRI’s Jimmy Smith

Dairying in Bomet District, Kenya

Florence Chepkirui, a blind dairy farmer in Saoset village in Kenya’s Bomet District (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

The director general of the International Livestock Institute (ILRI) has called for significant investments in the development of Africa’s livestock sector, which he said is rapidly growing.

Jimmy Smith told the told participants of a recent three-day Africa Livestock Conference and Exhibition (ALiCE2013), held in Nairobi, Kenya, that such investments ‘can ensure that livestock enterprises on the continent are economically profitable, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable.

By making such investments now, we can ensure that indigenous livestock enterprises are not shut out of the rapidly increasing livestock markets by imports of animal-source foods,” Smith said. . . .

‘Kenya’s livestock industry, for example, is estimated to be worth about 800 million U.S. dollars per year and produces most of the meat consumed in the country and is critical to the country’s food security.

‘Research by ILRI shows that long-term solutions to food security in Kenya and other countries in the Horn of Africa need to support livestock herding.

‘Pastoral systems are critical for the survival of livelihood here and offer the most efficient way of managing the region’s large arid and semi-arid lands.

‘During the meeting, Smith said developing world is where the livestock sector will continue to grow for the next decades, adding that the livestock sector continues to receive significant under-investment and called for measures to transform it. . . .

Smith noted that in most developing countries, animal-source foods are both produced and consumed in the countries of origin, so most attention should be paid to within-country/-region livestock trade rather than international trade.

‘According to [a] World Bank report, productivity of dairy cows is nearly three times higher in Kenya than elsewhere in Sub- Saharan Africa.

It says that with better policies and government support, the sector can help grow African agribusiness to a trillion-dollar food market by 2030.

‘The report notes that Africa and other developing regions, most milk, meat and eggs are produced by smallholders and family farmers; researchers, policymakers, development workers and business people should thus focus their attention on Africa’s small-scale livestock keepers and herders. . . .’

Read the whole article: Scientist seek further investments in African livestock sector, Xinhua and Coastweek (Kenya), 5–11 Jul 2013.

View the slide presentation made by Jimmy Smith: Opportunities for a sustainable and competitive livestock sector in Africa, Jun 2013.

Read related articles on the ILRI News Blog

Kenya livestock ‘on show’: A thriving dairy farm, a breeders show and a national resource for improved genetics, 4 Jul 2013.

Attention entrepreneurs: Your livestock business is growing–but only in Africa and other developing regions, 28 Jun 2013.

Livestock present Africa with huge – ‘right now!’ – opportunities for food, prosperity, environment, 27 Jun 2013.

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