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

Monday, March 28, 2011

Featured publications: Milk hygiene training manuals and handouts in Assamese and Hindi

"Getting good quality milk from your cow": This manual in Assamese is part of a set of training materials in Assamese and Hindi produced for dairy farmers in Assam, India.

A DFID-funded project on enhancing traditional dairy value chains in Assam, India has produced training materials in the local Assamese and Hindi languages, targeted for use in training dairy farmers and traders on basic techniques of milk hygiene and quality.

India is currently the world's leading milk producer, with the traditional dairy sector playing a significant role in processing and marketing of milk. However, quality assurance in the traditional dairy markets is often a challenge due to inappropriate milk handling practices and poor hygiene.

The training materials were produced collaboratively by staff from the Capacity Strengthening Unit and the Market Opportunities theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); the Directorate of Dairy Development of the Government of Assam; and a non-governmental organization, Fellowship for Agri-Resource Management and Entrepreneurship Research (FARMER), based in Guwahati, Assam.

There are two sets of manuals with five modules each, and nine handouts.

Download the training materials.

Monday, March 21, 2011

New project to study goat value chains as platform for boosting food security in India and Mozambique

A woman herds her goats in Rajasthan, India. New project targets goat value chains as pathways out of poverty for small-scale goat keepers in India and Mozambique. (Photo credit: ILRI/Mann)

Following a planning workshop in February 2011, a new project on goat value chains is now underway in India and Mozambique to investigate how best these value chains can be used to increase food security and reduce poverty among smallholders.

The main target groups are poor goat keepers, especially women, and other marginalized groups like scheduled castes and tribes in India; households living with HIV/AIDS and female-headed households in Mozambique. These include small-scale agropastoralists who cultivate small plots of land, as well as the landless.

The project, Small ruminant value chains as platforms for reducing poverty and increasing food security in India and Mozambique (imGoats), is led by researchers from the Market Opportunities theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in collaboration with the BAIF Development Research Foundation in India and CARE International, Mozambique. It is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Download the project brochure in English (Small ruminant value chains to reduce poverty and increase food security in India and Mozambique)

Download the project brochure in Portuguese (Cadeias de valor de caprinos como plataformas para reduzira pobreza e aumentar a segurança alimentar em zonas semi-áridas da Índia e Moçambique)

For more information, please email Dr Ranjitha Puskur at r.puskur @

Friday, March 11, 2011

ILRI in the news: Business Daily features ILRI project on improving pig production in western Kenya

The 8 March 2011 issue of the Business Daily newspaper featured research work by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partners on improving pig production in western Kenya.

The research project developed and validated a tool to help smallholder pig farmers accurately estimate the weight of their animals to determine the selling price. Because the weight estimation tool is more accurate than the commonly used method of visual assessment, which often under-estimates the actual pig weight, small-scale farmers in western Kenya can now get a fairer price for their pigs and, consequently, boost their household incomes.

Here's the link to the Business Daily article: Pig measuring tool tips the scales in favour of farmers.

Related blog posts
No more guesswork: Tool developed for better prediction of live weights of local pigs in western Kenya

New study calls for better training of local pig farmers in western Kenya to boost profits

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

ILRI in the news: Scientist Delia Grace features on BBC Radio 4's Farming Today program

At a global conference on leveraging agriculture for improving nutrition and health held in India early February 2011, veterinary scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), John McDermott, deputy director general in charge of research, and Delia Grace, veterinary epidemiologist and food safety specialist with the Market Opportunities theme, presented a report on agriculture-associated diseases like avian influenza that affect humans, animals and ecosystems.

They called for the use of multi-disciplinary, systems-based approaches, such as One Health and EcoHealth, among other strategies in order to achieve better health outcomes.

Here is the link to the policy brief, Agriculture-associated diseases: Adapting agriculture to improve human health.

The BBC Radio 4 interviewed Delia Grace on the Farming Today program on 7 March 2011 where she talked about the increasing risk of zoonotic diseases as more people keep more livestock, and what can be done to mitigate the impacts of these diseases.

Below is the link to a post on the ILRI Clippings blog written by Susan MacMillan, Head of ILRI's Public Awareness Unit, with the transcript of the interview.

BBC’s ‘Farming Today’ interviews ILRI’s Delia Grace on links between farm animals and human diseases