The following argument for continuing to use livestock to use the planet’s full ecological potential is made by Louise Fresco, a Dutch writer and food and agricultural scientist specializing in sustainable tropical agriculture. President of the executive board of Wageningen University and Research, Fresco is a member of the World Food Prize Council of Advisors and holds many other distinguished appointments and honours.
The following excerpts are taken from an opinion piece on Brachiaria grass for livestock feed published by An Notenbaert, tropical forages coordinator for Africa at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and published by Business Daily (Kenya) and the CIAT Blog.
In 2016, the United Nations issued a report highlighting the centrality of the livestock sector to the food sector and the promotion of sustainable development. Driven by population and economic growth, particularly in Africa, demand for livestock products is expected to increase by about 70% in the coming 30 years. No longer constrained by weak domestic demand on the continent, the sector in Africa today still faces many challenges which require long-term planning, coordination and investment. The development and implementation of roadmaps for livestock sector in Africa have the capacity to drive sustained economic growth, inclusive social and human development, and an efficient use of natural resources.
The 7th multi-stakeholder partnership meeting of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock kicked off on Monday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. The four-day meeting, which attracted more than 250 livestock specialists from 50 countries, aims to strengthen the role of livestock in supporting livelihoods, producing safe food and protecting the environment. It focuses on demonstrating the positive contribution of livestock to the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the world, and fostering the sustainable development of the rapidly growing sector.
At the Ezwilini Conference, experts were trying to find ways to unlock the livestock value chain, finances and access to credit for rural farmers. They probed issues to do with improving the livelihoods of livestock smallholder farmers and other value chain actors through value addition and marketing.
Rural farmers in Zimbabwe and the whole of Southern Africa are set to receive a major boost in their livestock production through the expected launch of the beef value chain finance initiative this year. The initiative, whose pilot project was successfully undertaken in Swaziland, includes a loan scheme for smallholder farmers who want to take up beef fattening for the market. This came out during the on-going International Conference on Livestock Value Chain and Access to Credit being held in Ezulwini, Swaziland.
“Niji Foods, with the International Livestock Research Institute, with USAID support, is establishing three cassava peel processing centers to address this market gap.