News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Kenya's informal milk and meat sectors targeted for improved food safety

At a Nairobi workshop, food safety experts have recognized and targeted the informal sector in discussions on reducing the risk of milk- and meat-borne diseases in Kenya.

The workshop brought together officials from the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Kenya Dairy Board, the University of Nairobi, the Department of Veterinary Services at the Ministry of Livestock Development, the International Livestock Research Institute's (ILRI) Market Opportunities theme and GTZ's program on Private Sector Development in Agriculture (PSDA). It was jointly organized by ILRI's GTZ-funded Safe Food, Fair Food project and the GTZ's PDSA program.

Improving the safety of food delivered by Kenya's informal milk and meat value chains would impact millions of consumers, traders and farmers, because it is the provider of the great majority of animal-source foods, and is a significant employer.

The meeting resolved to enhance dialogue and information sharing amongst government, research and assistance partners, to inform and complement existing structures. This particularly addressed the informal sector.

In addition, a commitment was made towards greater efforts in disseminating information to users. This will involve transferring the existing information and tools (particularly training material and key elements of food safety legislation) to informal food sector participants.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Featured publication: Manual for participatory disease surveillance practitioners

As part of the Early Detection, Reporting and Surveillance for Avian Influenza in Africa project which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a number of training courses in highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) participatory disease surveillance (PDS) have been conducted in western and eastern Africa in 2008 and 2009.

Produced in September 2009, the purpose of this manual is to provide a reference for veterinarians and animal health workers during and after PDS training. The main focus of this manual is on HPAI PDS but the methods can easily be adapted and applied to address other livestock diseases.

The project was implemented by the Market Opportunities theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in collaboration with the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and Vétérinaires sans Frontières - Belgium (VSF-B).

Download the manual

Monday, July 26, 2010

Experts meet to discuss food safety strategy for Kenya

A group of 12 Kenya-based food safety experts meet in Nairobi on Wednesday 28 July 2010 for a day-long workshop about food safety in Kenya’s livestock products. The meeting will prioritize the most important milk- and meat-borne diseases in Kenya, to contribute to formulation of a risk management strategy for animal-source foods.

Participants will be drawn from the Ministry of Livestock Development, the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Kenya Dairy Board, the University of Nairobi, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the GTZ program on Private Sector Development in Agriculture.

ILRI will be represented by Derek Baker and Kohei Makita from the Market Opportunities theme.

Key issues to be discussed include:
  • Food safety laws and regulations;
  • Public and private structures that relate to the animal-source food industry;
  • Structure and organization of regulatory bodies; and
  • Domestic livestock production and import and exports.

In addition, findings from a study on the contamination of beef carcasses with E. coli O157:H7 in three slaughterhouses in Nairobi will be presented, and approaches to risk management discussed.

The workshop takes place at GTZ Nairobi under the auspices of the Safe Food, Fair Food project currently underway in eight countries across East, West and southern Africa. The project is funded by BMZ, Germany.

For more information, please contact Derek Baker (d.baker @ or visit the project website.

Video: Training makes a difference to small-scale milk business in Kenya

Training of Kenya's small-scale milk vendors on hygienic milk handling has seen them significantly increase their profit margins and milk supplies to consumers, following rising consumer demand for milk of better quality.

In this video produced by WRENmedia, we see how the training activities of the Smallholder Dairy Project (1997-2005) are having an impact in improving the livelihoods of Kenya's small-scale milk vendors through increased incomes.

Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Smallholder Dairy Project was jointly implemented by the Kenya Ministry of Livestock Development, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pan-African conference to feature special session on livestock trade

A special session on livestock trade and markets will feature at a pan-African conference on animal agriculture to be held in October 2010 in Ethiopia.

ILRI's Markets Theme scientist Berhanu Gebremedhin is organizing a special session titled Livestock trade and markets: leveling the national, regional and international policy playing fields for poverty impact for the 5th All Africa Conference of Animal Agriculture (AACAA).

The theme of the conference is Commercialization of livestock agriculture: Challenges and opportunities. It is set to be held on 25-28 October 2010 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The AACAA is held every five years. This year's event is organized by the All Africa Society for Animal Production in conjunction with the Ethiopian Society of Animal Production.

For more information about the conference, please email the Organizing Officer, Feven Tadesse on aasap.feven @

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Agriculturist features Fodder Innovation Project

The July 2010 issue of the online magazine New Agriculturist features the Fodder Innovation Project which is using an innovation systems approach to reposition research towards a focus on building alliances and networks that strengthen innovation processes.

The project is being implemented in India and Nigeria in collaboration with the United Nations University (UNU-MERIT), the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). It is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Here is the link to the article, Learning for change: a logical approach for fodder innovation?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Are smallholder dairy farmers in East Africa competitive?

Small-scale dairy farms dominate production in most developing countries, including in East Africa. In the light of rapidly increasing demand for milk in most of the developing world, one important question is: can small-scale dairy farmers compete in the international arena? Also, what factors influence their competitiveness?

These questions were explored recently during a presentation by ILRI agricultural economist, Dr Isabelle Baltenweck, at the 6th Africa Dairy Conference and Exhibition held in Kigali, Rwanda on 18-20 May 2010.

The presentation was based on research findings from the East Africa Dairy Development project which quantified farm-gate milk prices and costs of milk production in study sites in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

The findings indicate that smallholder dairy producers in East Africa can effectively compete, mainly due to strong local demand. This can be further enhanced by improving economies of scale; enhancing access to inputs, services and appropriate technologies; improving infrastructure; and creating an enabling policy and institutional environment.