Directorate / Drought / Drylands / East Africa / Ethiopia / Food Security / ILRI / Kenya / Opinion piece / Pastoralism / Somalia / Vulnerability

Belgian veterinary group message to Bill Gates: Herding livestock makes more sense than growing crops in arid lands

A herd of livestock cross the drylands near Marsabit town, in northern Kenya; some farmers in the region took out livestock insurance, and this year are receiving the first payouts after a prolonged drought (image on Flickr by Neil Palmer/CIAT). Below is part of an open letter / press release brought out by Vétérinaires Sans … Continue reading

Drought / East Africa / Kenya / Somalia / Vulnerability

‘I never thought I’d lose all my cattle; I never thought I’d be a refugee’–Abdi Farah Hassan

A kilometre outside Waridaad village, in Somalia, carcasses of dead sheep and goats stretch across the landscape; this and other regions of the Horn of Africa are suffering from one of the driest years in memory; severe shortages of food and water, along with spiralling food prices and the deaths of livestock, have plunged many … Continue reading

Agriculture / Animal Feeding / Asia / Brazil / China / Latin America / Trade / USA

China’s insatiable appetite for Brazil’s soybeans is making the latter country rich–and nervous

Planting soy in the state of Paraná, Brazil (photograph via Flickr by Dami Izolan). Daniel Kfouri reports in the New York Times that Brazil’s ‘$7 billion agreement signed last month—to produce six million tons of soybeans a year—is one of several struck in recent weeks as China hurries to shore up its food security and offset … Continue reading

Climate Change / Drought / Ethiopia / Kenya / Pastoralism / Somalia / Uganda

Deathly drumbeat of another drought in Africa’s Horn

A cow felled by disease is skinned and left by the roadside in rural Ethiopia (picture credit: ILRI/Habtamu). ‘A drought in the Horn of Africa, triggered by the same La Niña episode that caused massive flooding in Australia last year, is plunging millions of pastoralists closer to food insecurity. ‘Parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and … Continue reading

Agriculture / Drought / Environment / Food Security

Severe weather events are behind soaring food prices–Paul Krugman

Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman argues in the New York Times recently that it is severe weather events, exactly the kind of thing we’d expect to see with climate change, that have disrupted global agricultural food production, causing world food prices to hit a record high in January (2011). ‘We’re in the midst of a global food … Continue reading

Latin America / Livelihoods / Pro-Poor Livestock / Trade / Women

Livestock ladders for the poor in Haiti: The exhilaration of new possibilities

Participant in semi-intensive ‘cut-and-carry’ goat production model in Haiti using soil conservation fodder production plots; a man holds the first of the improved breed baby goats in a development project run by Developpement Economique pour un Environnement Durable (photo credit: Nick Hobgood’s Flickr Photostream). ‘Nearly a year after the earthquake in Haiti, more than one … Continue reading

East Africa / Innovation Systems / Kenya / Research / Women

African huts far from the grid glow with renewable power

For Sara Ruto, the desperate yearning for electricity began last year with the purchase of her first cellphone, a lifeline for receiving small money transfers, contacting relatives in the city or checking chicken prices at the nearest market. Charging the phone was no simple matter in this farming village far from Kenya’s electric grid. Every … Continue reading