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

Friday, January 20, 2012

ILRI study identifies interventions to reduce exit from Bangladesh's poultry industry

Policy interventions to address farmers' shortage of capital, low profit margins and constraints in the supply of day-old chicks can help to reduce the rate of exit from Bangladesh's poultry industry, a research study by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) reports.

The results of the study are contained in a policy brief (published December 2011) that highlights findings of surveys carried out in 2005 and 2007 to assess the reasons for exit from the poultry sector in Bangladesh and possible solutions. The study considered both broiler and layer enterprises, and large- and small-scale poultry keepers.

The study was carried out in collaboration with partners from the Bangladesh Agricultural University and the Bangladesh Ministry of Food and Disaster Management.

Download the brief.

Jabbar MA, Rahman MH, Talukder RK and Saha SK. 2011. Exit from Bangladesh's poultry industry: Causes and solutions. ILRI Policy Brief. ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), Nairobi.

You may also be interested in: 
ILRI Research Report: Contract poultry farming in Bangladesh

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

ILRI project offers solutions for improving smallholder pig production in western Kenya

A smallholder pig farmer in western Kenya: Findings from an ILRI-led study  will help to improve feeding practices and  sow productivity on smallholder pig farms in western Kenya (photo credit: ILRI).

Small-scale pig farming in western Kenya is an important source of family income. Pigs kept are of local breeds that are either tethered or left free to scavenge for food. However, one of the main challenges that pig farmers in western Kenya face is inadequate feed supply.

From 2007 to 2009, a collaborative project led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) carried out research towards improving pig production and health in smallholder farms in western Kenya.

The project has recently published two journal articles, one featuring a descriptive study of smallholder pig feeding practices (Tropical Animal Health and Production, January 2012) and the other highlighting the results of a baseline study on the productivity of local sows (African Journal of Agricultural Research, December 2011).

The findings of the descriptive study of 164 pig farms in Busia District revealed the need for more research on the nutrient composition of the identified local feeds. Additionally, there is need to develop and validate simple combinations of local feeds to formulate balanced feed rations that smallholder farmers can afford.

The baseline study, which was carried out in Busia and Kakamega Districts, assessed the reproductive performance of local sows, investigated the challenges faced by the farmers, and explored opportunities for improving small-scale production of breeding pigs. The baseline data will be useful in identifying key intervention areas and exploring opportunities for improvement in the sector.

The project was undertaken in partnership with the University of Guelph, the University of Nairobi, and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.

Other outputs from the project have been featured in two earlier posts on this blog:

Mutua FK, Dewey C, Arimi S, Ogara W, Levy M and Schelling E. 2012. A description of local pig feeding systems in village smallholder farms of Western Kenya. Tropical Animal Health and Production, Online First 5 January 2012, doi 10.1007/s11250-011-0052-6

Mutua FK, Dewey CE, Arimi SM, Schelling E, Ogara WO and Levy M. 2011. Reproductive performance of sows in rural communities of Busia and Kakamega Districts, Western Kenya. African Journal of Agricultural Research 6(31): 6485-6491.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New project adopts innovation and value chain approaches to enhance livestock feeds in India and Tanzania

Fodder market in India
Fodder market in India: Research by ILRI and CIAT aims to enhance  dairy-based livelihoods in India and Tanzania through feed innovations and value chain approaches (photo credit: ILRI/Mann).

Lack of access to adequate high-quality livestock feed is a key constraint towards improved milk yields and hence dairy income for smallholder dairy producers.

As part of efforts towards addressing the problem of feed scarcity, two CGIAR centres, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), have embarked on a research initiative that will use novel systems-based approaches to enhance feeds and feeding in smallholder dairy production systems in India and Tanzania.

By adopting a value chain perspective and using innovation system principles, the project places feed in a broader context and acknowledges that enhancing feed supply involves more than just introducing or promoting feed technologies at farm level but also includes other dimensions such as animal health, livestock breeding and knowledge sharing.

The objectives of the project Enhancing dairy-based livelihoods in India and Tanzania through feed innovation and value chain development approaches (MilkIT) are three-fold:

  • Institutional strengthening: To strengthen use of value chain and innovation approaches among dairy stakeholders to improve feeding strategies for dairy cows
  • Productivity enhancement: To develop options for improved feeding strategies leading to yield enhancement with potential income benefits
  • Knowledge sharing: To strengthen knowledge sharing mechanisms on feed development strategies at local, regional and international levels

The three-year project is embedded in the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish. It will be coordinated by ILRI with CIAT acting as a major partner. Dr Bernard Lukuyu and Dr Amos Omore from ILRI's Markets, Gender and Livelihoods theme will make key contributions in the areas of livestock feeds and technical/institutional options for improving market access, respectively.

Already, some preliminary activities have taken place. In the latter half of 2011, a number of scoping visits were made to the two study countries to identify project sites and partners. A pre-inception planning meeting is scheduled for 24-25 January 2012 in Nairobi to officially launch the project activities. You can read about the scoping visits in this post on the ILRI Fodder Adoption blog.

For more information about this project, please contact Dr Alan Duncan (a.duncan @

Download the project brochure

Friday, January 06, 2012

A new year, a new name: ILRI's Market Opportunities Theme now called Markets, Gender and Livelihoods

Mozambiquan woman pounds maize for the evening meal

A very Happy New Year to all our readers!

We are pleased to announce that the Market Opportunities theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) now has a new name: Markets, Gender and Livelihoods.

The new name takes into account the incorporation of ILRI's Poverty, Gender and Impact group that is led by Dr Jemimah Njuki.

The renaming of the Theme was agreed upon on 18 December 2011 during a meeting of ILRI's Management Committee, to take into account changes in research planning and funding in line with ongoing reforms in CGIAR.

"As we move into new research planning and funding situations, we need to adjust the ways we organize ourselves to meet our commitments and maximize synergies across the institute," said ILRI's Director General, Dr Jimmy Smith, in a message to staff.

The Poverty, Gender and Impact group will continue to provide leadership at the institutional level with respect to work on gender and impact assessment.

Dr Steve Staal continues to serve as director of the theme.