On September 23, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the European Commission, Switzerland, Sweden and Germany announced commitments of more than US $790 million to address the impact of climate change on food and agriculture. These commitments followed a recent call by the Global Commission on Adaptation, led by Ban Ki Moon, Bill Gates, and Kristalina Georgieva, for increased resource allocations to international agricultural research.
Purvi Mehta is speaking today at a global conference on Accelerating the End of Hunger and Malnutrition, which is being held in Bangkok and is organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). A former leader of capacity development at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which is supporting this conference, Mehta now heads agriculture for Asia at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Facts and data on livestock and sustainable development are often hard to pin down. A set of fact sheets from the Supporting Evidence Based Interventions project at the University of Edinburgh aims to inform discussion and decisions by providing robust, up-to-date and appropriately interpreted facts about some of the big questions.
A new look at the facts behind the ‘livestock facts’ we think we know—Twitter Moment
ILRI and Flemish conceptual artist Koen Vanmechelen joined forces last year to strengthen research into more resistant and productive poultry for Africa south of the Sahara. Today, the research center and associated poultry farm “Incubated Worlds” opens in the presence of Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, state minister, ministry of agriculture and livestock. Vanmechelen wants to help improve the lives of local communities through this crossing project.
CLEANED provides a rapid assessment that quantifies potential environmental impacts of planned livestock development interventions at multiple spatial scales. With a particular focus on developing countries, it requires participatory discussions with local communities to make sure that assessments are relevant to local agro-ecological landscapes and production systems.
According to Reuters, the Gates Foundation will pump $40m into research for higher-yielding dairy cows, as well as chickens that lay better quality eggs, livestock vaccines and ‘supercrops’ that can withstand droughts or disease.
During the visit Ms Mordaunt also announced plans to develop the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, which is based in both Edinburgh and Nairobi. The centre uses the most recent scientific advances in genetics and genomics that are being used by farmers in the UK and apply these to help smallholder dairy and poultry farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Supporting Evidence Based Interventions initiative (SEBI) has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The scheme aims to boost the livelihoods of livestock farmers by delivering evidence-based technologies that offer sustainable solutions to the challenges they face.
The idea that the humble chicken could become a savior of wildlife will seem improbable to many environmentalists. But as the human population grows at a rate that rapidly outpaces the ability of natural habitats to feed it, a better backyard chicken could be a real hope for people and wildlife alike.