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Livestock Matter(s): ILRI news ’roundup’ August 2013

Livestock matter(s): ILRI News Round-up banner

This August issue of ‘Livestock Matter(s) presents 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

Jimmy Smith with State MinisterGebregziabher Gebreyohannes (photo credit: ILRI/Apollo Habtamu)

Ethiopian State Minister for Livestock Development visits ILRI
Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, newly appointed State Minister for Livestock Development in Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture recently visited the ILRI campus in Addis Ababa. The meeting discussed ways of enhancing cooperation between ILRI and the Ethiopian government with a particular focus on livestock sector development where ILRI’s research is helping people transform their lives through livestock. ‘Ethiopia, with its large livestock sector and population, is a very important focus for ILRI’s work,’ said Smith (more on the new ministry).

ILRI geneticist Fidalis Mujibi wins prestigious ‘BREAD Ideas Challenge’ award
Fidalis Mujibi, a Kenyan geneticist working with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, is one of the winners of the 2013 USD10,000 ‘BREAD Ideas Challenge’, announced in July. Mujibi received the award together with American scientist and beef reproductive management specialist George Perry, from South Dakota State University. Their idea is to eliminate the need for liquid nitrogen in livestock artificial insemination services in developing countries. Mujibi and Perry are preparing a full proposal they will submit to the American National Science Foundation in September.

Measuring Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions key to getting ‘climate-smart’ farming adopted in continent
Obtaining country-specific greenhouse gas emission data from agricultural activities is critical in supporting ‘climate smart’ agricultural practices that will help Africa’s smallholder farmers protect their livelihoods in the face of climate change.  According Klaus Butterbach-Bahl, a scientist at ILRI, who gave a ‘livestock live talk’ at ILRI’s Nairobi campus on 14 Aug 2013, ‘current estimates of emissions from Africa’s agricultural sector rely heavily on data collected in developed countries that are inapplicable to Africa’s climatic and environmental conditions.’ ILRI is on the front line of building competence in measuring Africa’s agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, which will collect evidence so governments have the information they need to implement climate-smart interventions.’

Real change in food security through innovation platforms, where science marries local know-how
Science alone cannot help Africa feed itself. That was a strong message from Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive Officer of the Food Agriculture and Natural Resource Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) at the recent Africa Agricultural Science Week (AASW) organised by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). In a special session organized by the Challenge Program for Water and Food, Sibanda, chairs ILRI board of trustees, lauded engagement platforms for the efforts they make to bring together local farmers, scientists and others to collaboratively unearth innovative solutions to the challenge of food security, in Africa and the rest of the world.

Project news

Farmers in Vietnam have low awareness of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that infects animals (including pigs) and humans (photo credit: ILRI/Andrew Nguyen).

Study finds Vietnam has low awareness of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease transmitted between animals and people
A joint research team consisting of staff from the Vietnamese Department of Animal Health, the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, Nong Lam University and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) recently completed a three-year study of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease passed from animals to humans. The study shows that farmers and small-scale slaughterhouse workers in Vietnam have low awareness of leptospirosis, even though researchers found that the disease was common in the pigs and humans tested.

International conference features risk assessment of raw milk consumption in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
A study under the collaborative Safe Food, Fair Food project, which is led by ILRI, has shown that raw milk consumers in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire are exposed to the risk of gastro-intestinal infection caused by harmful milk-borne bacteria. Findings of the study were presented at a poster session at the 5th Congress of European Microbiologists (FEMS 2013) held on 21-25 July 2013 in Leipzig, Germany. The international conference brought together 2270 participants from 70 countries across all continents.

ILRI and BAIF host policy meeting on small ruminant production and marketing in India
On 13 August 2013, ILRI and BAIF Development Research Foundation hosted a small ruminant policy meeting at the Park Hotel in New Delhi, India. This activity was part of the imGoats project. Over 50 participants were present, in the meeting, which among other findings noted that increased demand for goat and sheep meat offers an opportunity for both smallholder and commercial small ruminant sectors to grow. Participants at the meeting suggested the organization of smallholder producers into self-help groups that will eventually evolve into cooperatives to stimulate linkages with the private sector.

  •  more from ILRI projects

ILRI in the media

Tanzania dairy master plan set to raise milk production to 6 bn litres
On 22 August 2013, Tanzania held a 2nd Dairy Development Forum (DDF) meeting in Dar es Salaam. Reporting from the meeting, the Guardian reported that the ‘Livestock and Fisheries ministry together with Tanzania Dairy Board (TDB) are in the process of framing a National Dairy Master Plan aimed at increasing efficiency and productivity in the sub-sector.’

A Maasai father and son tend to their cattle in Kitengela, Kenya

East Africa’s dryland herders take out a policy for survival
ILRI and partner are providing livestock insurance to herders and their families in Ethiopia and Kenya to protect against the hunger and poverty that can come as a result of a significant drought. According to Andrew Mude, a researcher ILRI who has been working to develop risk management instruments for pastoralists in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia in the Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) project, ‘this year, Ethiopian pastoralists in seven districts bought 270 policies. Kenyan pastoralists bought 216 policies, insuring 75 camels, 193 cows and 1,131 sheep and goats’.

Uganda researchers develop ‘more accurate’ tapeworm test kit for pigs
Scientists in Uganda have developed a kit that tests for the presence of tapeworm (Taenia solium) in pigs. The test kit was developed by the Association for strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), the University of Edinburgh, Astel Diagnostics in Uganda and ILRI. The kit adds a new tool to the arsenal against the parasite, which also attacks human and causes neurological disorders like epilepsy.

more media items …

CGIAR news – updates from the research programs that ILRI works in

cgiar logo

Nicaraguan dual-purpose value chain stakeholder visit livestock production site
On 7 August 2013, stakeholders participating in the Livestock and Fish Impact pathways and planning workshop visited the city of Camoapa, one of the main livestock production areas in Nicaragua, to witness firsthand the various levels of the dual-purpose cattle value chain. The stakeholders also met with with Edmundo Robleto, the mayor of Camoapa who said that most farmers in the area don’t have the capacities to assess their farms’ profitability and they trainings from the program’s interventions are enabling them know how to better manage their farms. This visit was followed by a tour of a small livestock farm owned by Jose Vallejos, who is also a professor at the National Agrarian University and concluded with a visit to a small-scale processing plant in Boaco, another important livestock production area.

A family of Hmong farmers thresh their maize harvest in rural Northwest Vietnam (image: ILRI/Jo Cadilhon)

Northwest Vietnam situational analysis shapes up for Humidtropics research program
On 15 and 16 August 2013 the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) organized the launch meeting of the CGIAR’s Humidtropics research program situational analysis in Northwest Vietnam. Jo Cadilhon represented the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in the meeting and helped facilitate the process. He reports on the outcomes.

Vietnam smallholder producers can compete in the fresh pork market
Smallholder pig development in Vietnam is one of the focus value chains of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish. A recent study by ILRI scientist Lucy Lapar and colleagues on ‘smallholder competitiveness’ offers insights into household pig production systems in Vietnam. It said that increased attention should be given to domestically produced feeds (increase their supply; reduce their costs; better utilize existing supplies) for pigs.

Smallholder livestock farmers in Tanzania can benefit from growing consumer demand for livestock products
A recent research study shows that major business opportunities exist for smallholder livestock producers in Tanzania, driven by growing demand for high quality beef and poultry products and a large number of rural livestock-keeping households. These findings were presented at the 19th International Farm Management Congress held in Warsaw, Poland in July 2013. The study assessed urban and rural consumers’ preferred retail outlets and retail forms (different cuts of beef and poultry) as well as their preferences for product quality and safety attributes. Retail outlets and form preferences differed markedly across consumer income classes, but quality and safety attributes were valued by all income classes.

Recent presentations

This month we feature a presentation on ‘One Health – an interdisciplinary approach in combating emerging diseases by Hung Nguyen-Viet, Delia Grace and Jakob Zinsstag at the International Symposium of Health Sciences (iSIHAT 2013), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 20-21 August 2013.

Recent ILRI publications


Dairy farming = ‘dairy education’: The sector that is educating Kenya’s children is a short film documenting how keeping cows has enabled Margaret Muchina, a dairy farmer from central Kenya, to support and educate her four children, who include Edward Kimani, who sat for his high school exam in 2010 and emerged as one of the country’s best students.

ILRI under the lens

This month we feature livestock in dryland systems

Tilapia-rearing ponds at Tropo farm in Akuse, Ghana

Village women and livestock in Niger (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

Upcoming events

Staff updates

In August, we welcomed the following new staff:

  • Annet Mulema, Social Scientist, Livelihoods, Gender and Impact program
  • David Njenga, Program Management Officer, Vaccine Group
  • Dedan Githae, Bioinformatican, BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Emmanuel Keya, Program Accountant, Policy, Trade and Value Chains
  • Evans Aseta, Electronics Engineering Supervisor, Corporate Services
  • Harrison Kimani, Data Systems Manager, RMG
  • Immaculate Waithaka, Office Assistant, Directorate
  • James W. Macharia, Mechanical & Refrigeration Engineering Supervisor
  • Obed Ateka, Program Accountant, Animal Science for Sustainable Productivity program
  • Signe Nelgen, Post Doc, Policy Trade and Value Chains
  • Timothy Mutuku, HR Assistant
  • Elias Damtew, Research Technician, Animal Science for Sustainable Productivity program
  • Dereje Legesse, Agribusiness Expert, LIVES Project
  • Yigzaw Dessalegn, Regional Coordinator, LIVES Project
  • Binyam Befirdu, Country Finance Manager,Corporate Services
  • Wako Gobu, Research Assistant, Animal Science for Sustainable Productivity program
  • Zinabu Haile, Driver, LIVES Project

We said farewell to:

  • Hailu Kassaye, Reservation and Events Coordinator, Corporate Services
  • Yohannes Derese, Research Assistant, Forage Diversity
  • Josephine Mueni Mayale, Financial Accountant
  • George  Omondi Acharry, Research Technician
  • Samuel Kahumu Mburu, Research Technician
  • Nancy Awino Ajima, Programme Management Officer
  • Timothy Kyallo Mulatya, Programme Management Officer
  • Collins Oduor Owino, Research Technician

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