A new scientific article from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems has four big messages: (1) Meat, offal, milk, eggs and fish are vital to—and missing from—the diets of nearly 800 million people. (2) ‘Animal-sourced foods’ are the best sources of high-quality nutrient-rich food for toddlers 6–23-months old. (3) The harms caused by livestock and animal-sourced foods to human and planetary health are overstated. (4) Sustainable development must address the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.
New evidence continues to signal that the number of hungry people in the world is growing, reaching 821 million in 2017 or one in every nine people, according to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018 released today. Limited progress is also being made in addressing the multiple forms of malnutrition, ranging from child stunting to adult obesity, putting the health of hundreds of millions of people at risk.
Berhe Tekola, director of the Animal Production and Health Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), this weekpublished an opinion piece in the Bangkok Post (25 Jun 2018), reminds readers that livestock are integral to the fabric of life in many developing countries.
Agricultural ecologist Ian Scoones has some important and thoughtful things to say about the science and media publications promoting the recent ‘vegan craze’ in rich countries and the impacts of those publications on millions of livestock herders in poor countries.
Below are excerpts of a response to a new livestock report made by Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, a German veterinarian and researcher who is an expert on camels and camel herding societies.
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).
As an Indian (I underline Indian) environmentalist I would not advocate vegetarianism for the following reasons.
More than one hundred vulnerable people of the South—most of them old and young—have died from lack of food and water-borne diseases in a 48-hour period in the rural Bay administrative region of southwestern Somalia. This hot and semi-arid southern region is devastated by drought as well as by the operations of a militant Islamist group known as Al-Shabaab.
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.
With as little as one-quarter of expected rainfall received, widespread drought conditions in the Horn of Africa have intensified since the failure of the October–December rains, FAO said. Areas of greatest concern cover much of Somalia, northeast and coastal Kenya, southeast Ethiopia as well as the Afar region still to recover from El Niño induced drought of 2015/16, and South Sudan, which faces a serious food crisis due to protracted insecurity.