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.
Initially intended only as insurance against the death of livestock, the insurance scheme has evolved into a product to help pastoralists keep their animals alive, according to Masresha Taye, who coordinates the programme in Ethiopia for the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
The following excerpts of an opinion piece were written by ILRI’s Andrew Mude and originally published by The Standard newspaper (Kenya): Insurance only way to guard against weather-gone-awry phenomenon, 28 Apr 2017.
A new grant funds a project, recently launched by UC Davis researchers in northern Kenya, that will use a randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the impacts of combining programs that offer training, support and aid with affordable insurance to reduce chronic poverty.
The new project is led by Michael Carter, a professor of agricultural and resource economics and director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Assets and Market Access at UCD, and Andrew Mude from the International Livestock Research Institute, or ILRI, in Kenya. The researchers hope the project will help create a pathway out of poverty and reduce the need for aid, which Kenya’s government provides each year, even without drought.
A group of scientists led by Dr Joseph Ogutu say Kenya risks losing 18 animal and bird species due to negligence. They include warthogs, lesser kudu, Thomson’s gazelle, eland, oryx, topi, hartebeest, impala, Grévy’s zebra, waterbuck, wildebeest, giraffe, gerenuk, Grant’s gazelle, buffalo, elephant, ostrich and Burchell’s zebra.
Read and view the whole photoessay by Tess Riley in The Guardian: Using satellites to support Kenya’s drought-hit herders‚in pictures, 30 Nov 2016.
The Athi-Kaputiei ecosystem covers about 2,200 square kilometres of Kenya’s Kajiado County, south of Nairobi. It is also home to Nairobi National Park—the world’s only game reserve within a major city. The ecosystem has experienced some dramatic changes since the late 19th century. The accounts of early writers paint a picture of a spectacular ecosystem teeming with diverse resident and migratory wildlife. Records describe abundant wildebeest that migrated seasonally with other wildlife species, livestock and pastoralists. In a recently published study my colleagues and I examined the impact of land fragmentation in the Athi-Kaputiei ecosystem between 1977 and 2014. Our study shows that urbanisation and development has put the ecosystem in distress. It has fragmented the landscape which has reduced the ability of animals to migrate as they used to. The result is that their numbers have plummeted.