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

Friday, October 28, 2011

International conference to discuss strategies to boost agricultural productivity and food security in Africa

Working in the maize field in Malawi
A Malawian farmer tends to her maize crop. Farmer organizations will be among participants at an international conference on improving agricultural productivity for achieving food security in Africa. The conference takes place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 1-3 November 2011 (photo credit: ILRI/Mann).

Farmers, researchers, policymakers, academics and development partners are among some of the participants who will gather at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 1-3 November 2011 for an international conference under the theme, Increasing agricultural productivity and enhancing food security in Africa: New challenges and opportunities.

The conference is organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in conjunction with the African Union Commission, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and will feature plenary and parallel sessions, discussions of conference papers, and moderated panel discussions of specific issues.

Scientists from the Market Opportunities theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) are scheduled to present two papers during the parallel session on 'Appropriate capacities, investments, institutions and policies for supporting agriculture'.

Ayele Gelan will present a paper titled, Integrating livestock in the CAADP framework: policy analysis using a dynamic computable general equilibrium model for Ethiopia and Francis Wanyoike will present on Pro-poor livestock development: analysis of performance of projects and lessons.

To find out more about the conference, please visit

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Participatory risk analysis: a new method for managing food safety in developing countries

A Vietnamese pork seller in a traditional 'wet' market: Participatory risk assessment can help to manage risk in food value chains in developing countries (photo credit: ILRI).

Food safety is a major concern in many developing countries where the informal ('traditional') sector dominates production and sale of food products and there are generally high levels of unsafe food.

Risk analysis – comprising risk assessment, risk management and risk communication – has emerged as a novel approach to assessing and managing risks in food value chains within developing-country contexts.

As opposed to the more 'traditional' approach of food safety management that focuses on food-borne hazards, participatory risk analysis focuses instead on risk, that is, the likelihood of occurrence of a hazard and the economic consequences, and how best that risk can be mitigated to provide consumers with assurance of food safety and quality.

At the recently concluded seventh international conference of the Asian Society of Agricultural Economists held on 13-15 October 2011 in Hanoi, Vietnam, the subject of participatory risk assessment featured during a parallel session, Food safety policy in developing country context: examples from case studies in livestock value chains, organized by agricultural economist Dr Lucy Lapar of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

The parallel session featured three presentations by scientists from ILRI's Market Opportunities theme on participatory risk assessment studies of the pork value chain in Nagaland, India; the dairy supply chain in Assam, India and the pork value chain in peri-urban Hanoi, Vietnam.

While each of the three studies had different objectives, they all used the common framework of participatory risk assessment to examine the risks to human health in livestock product value chains.

Risk-based food safety policies and regulations; increased consumer awareness on risk-mitigating practices (for example, boiling of raw milk before drinking it); and training and certification of informal sector pork and milk sellers are among the recommendations drawn from the studies. The Nagaland study also recommended the assessment of the economic impact of pork-borne disease on people and the pork sector.

You may also be interested in:
Risk assessment in the pork meat chain in Nagaland, India (Poster)

Innovative and participatory risk-based approaches to assess milk-safety in developing countries: a case study in North East India (Conference paper)

Participatory risk assessment of pork in Ha Noi and Ha Tay, Vietnam (Research Brief)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tom Randolph to lead CGIAR research program on livestock and fish

Thomas Randolph, Agricultural Economist
The Market Opportunities theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is pleased to congratulate Dr Tom Randolph on being named the Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, a recently approved initiative of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The ILRI Director General, Dr Jimmy Smith, made the announcement on Thursday 13 October 2011.

ILRI leads this CGIAR research program which will be collaboratively undertaken with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the WorldFish Center as the core CGIAR partners. Various other strategic and value chain partners will play key roles in the implementation of the program.

Dr Randolph was instrumental in the collaborative process of developing the proposal for the research program. Prior to this appointment, he headed ILRI's research team on smallholder competitiveness in changing markets under the Market Opportunities theme.

He holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University. His research interests at ILRI previously included animal and human health issues and impact assessment. Before joining ILRI in 1998, he conducted policy research at the Africa Rice Centre in West Africa.

Congratulations, Tom!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Tackling bird flu in Egypt: ILRI and FAO develop manual for practitioners in community-based animal health outreach

The Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR) project in Egypt was implemented by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to support efforts by the Government of Egypt to detect and respond to the threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

This United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project conducted a number of training courses in HPAI participatory disease surveillance, later elaborated to be community-based animal health outreach (CAHO), for 108 veterinarians (making 54 teams) in 15 governorates.

It also developed a training manual to serve as a reference guide for veterinarians during and after CAHO training. Although the manual focuses on HPAI, the methods can be easily adapted and applied to address other livestock diseases.

The manual will also be translated into Arabic to further adapt it for use in the Egyptian context.

Download the manual

You may also be interested in reading
Featured publication: Manual for participatory disease surveillance practitioners