Typical long-horned goats of Abergelle Amhara, Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Zerihun Sewunet).
‘Quantitative information on the importance of livestock systems in African drylands is scarce. A new study by Tim Robinson, of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and Giulia Conchedda, of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), helps to redress this. The study is a contribution to a World Bank background paper, Africa Drylands Study: The Economics of Resilience of Livestock in the African Drylands (forthcoming in 2014). . . .
‘These new analyses highlight the extent of livestock production in the drylands of Africa. In addition, livestock numbers and densities across the continent and by focus country are presented for the four major groups of ruminant livestock—cattle, camels, sheep and goats—differentiated by aridity index zone and production system. These findings, updated with new datasets and revised modeling techniques, demonstrate the disproportionately high numbers of livestock in Africa’s drylands. Three-quarters of all tropical livestock units on the continent occur in these drylands rather than humid and other ecological zones.
‘Finally, estimates of the numbers of rural poor and poor rural livestock keepers are presented for the aridity index-derived production systems in each of the focus countries. These estimates demonstrate that Africa’s vulnerable rural populations are concentrated in the continent’s great drylands. . . .’