‘Scientists in Nairobi have discovered a new set of genetic markers in African cattle that signal beneficial characteristics, with a view to harnessing them for future generations.’—Nature Genetics
A review paper just published online tells us more than (we might have thought) we’d like to know about how poultry production, conducted on small scales and in poor settings, affects food security. The review appears in Global Food Security (available online 2 May 2017).
The African Chicken Genetic Gains project is on a mission to bring ‘more productive chickens to African smallholders’. Led by ILRI, and backed by the deep pockets of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Chicken Genetic Gains project aims to improve the genetic makeup of African chickens. The initiative, which is initially being rolled out in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania, is part of what the Microsoft founder has called his ‘big bet’ on chickens, which also includes a promise to donate 100,000 of the birds to families and communities in the world’s poorest nations. . . .
Boran cattle in Yabello, Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/ Camille Hanotte). By Thumbi Mwangi, Washington State University A majority of rural households in Africa keep different livestock species. But only a small proportion can afford to keep good quality livestock. This is mainly due to a combination of low government funding and the poor policies of external …
Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen has created a chicken with genes from different chicken breeds from all over the world. Now he’s bringing it to America to help diversify our poultry.
‘Africa, which imports nearly 83% of the food it consumes, has a real chicken and egg problem. The continent is caught between pressure from imports in some countries and an inability to meet demand in others.’ Article by Calestous Juma republished from The Conversation.
A new edition of a stunning coffee table book about one of Africa’s livestock treasures—the indigenous Nguni cattle of South Africa—has been published. ‘Long the mainstay of traditional Zulu culture, [the Nguni] are possibly the most beautiful cattle in the world, with their variously patterned and multicoloured hides everywhere in demand. . . .
Scientists will use funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to look at how genetic information can improve the health and productivity of farmed animals in tropical climates. The institutions in Scotland and Africa where the researchers are based are also making additional contributions, taking the total funding pot to £20 million over the next five years.
Women represent 70% of African smallholder chicken producers. Chickens can be a real way out of difficult livelihoods for these women and the households they attend to. A new project, SciDev.Net recently reported, is aiming at leveraging this potential in novel ways.
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is working with partners to understand the breed composition of dairy and indigenous cattle in Tanzania and to find the appropriate dairy cattle genotypes that will help farmers identify and keep dairy breeds that are appropriately matched to farms.