Goats being herded near a water point in Wajir, northern Kenya (photo credit: Riccardo Gangale).
‘Livestock production in smallholder systems exists throughout the developing world in a great variety of forms. Farm animals contribute considerably to the livelihood strategies of the poor and can be an important source of income.
‘Livestock keeping can also make a vital contribution to household food and nutritional security. The value of production of different livestock species in different production systems varies considerably. Due to a range of constraints, most small-scale livestock keepers are operating at levels of productivity well below their potential. Livestock investment must consider the positioning of small-scale livestock producers within the whole value chain.
‘Research shows the developing world undergoing a ‘livestock revolution’ characterized by accelerating demand for livestock products due to increasing populations and incomes. This livestock revolution is creating new opportunities for rural producers to participate in income-generating livestock enterprises. Two regions that experts regard as the most critical for reaching the poorest are sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. . . .
‘Five livestock value chains have the most pro-poor promise: South Asia dairy, East Africa dairy, West Africa small ruminant meat, West Africa beef, Southern Africa small ruminant meat. . . .’
These facts and figures are taken from a synthesis prepared by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on livestock as instruments of poverty alleviation and well-being: Targeting strategic investment in livestock development as a vehicle for rural livelihoods: BMGF-ILRI project on Livestock Knowledge Generation, ILRI, Oct 2009).