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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Study calls for integrated use of innovation systems in agricultural research for development

Pineapple farmer, Ntungamo District, Uganda
A pineapple farmer in Ntungamo District, Uganda. The Ntungamo Pineapple Innovation Platform is one of three case studies highlighted in a new journal article on innovation platforms for agricultural research for development (photo credit: Neil Palmer, CIAT).

A journal article published in the May 2012 issue of the International Journal of Agriculture and Forestry calls for a coordinated agricultural research and development strategy that links innovation platforms at continental, sub-regional, national and grassroots levels. This, the paper argues, would represent the best practices for comprehensive use of the innovation system approach.

The paper used three case studies from the Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Program to examine strategies and approaches for the successful use of the innovation system approach in agricultural research for development.

Co-author Pamela Pali is a monitoring and evaluation specialist with the Poverty, Gender and Impact team at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya.

Co-author Jemimah Njuki, sociologist and gender specialist, is the former leader of ILRI's Poverty, Gender and Impact team. She left ILRI at the end of March 2012 and now works with CARE International. From her base in Tanzania, she heads a new program on smallholder women in agriculture called PATHWAYS which is being implemented in both Africa and Asia.

Access the full text article

Nyikahadzoi K, Pali P, Fatunbi AO, Olarinde LO, Njuki J and Adekunle AO. 2012. Stakeholder participation in innovation platform and implications for Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D). International Journal of Agriculture and Forestry 2(3): 92-100.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ILRI in the news: Are environmental changes spreading Rift Valley and Lassa fevers?

Cattle wade into the Awash River in Ethiopia
Cattle wade in the Awash River in Ethiopia. Changes in farming practices and forest cover are thought to be affecting the transmission of diseases from animals to people  (photo credit: ILRI).

An opinion piece by International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) veterinary epidemiologist Delia Grace in The Guardian's Poverty Matters Blog discusses ways in which environmental changes including farming practices, forest cover and reservoirs are thought to be affecting the spread of emerging infectious diseases that are transmitted from animals to people.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New study maps global hotspots of poverty and zoonotic diseases

Orma Boran cattle crossing a river in Kenya
Orma boran cattle crossing a river. A new study has mapped the global hotspots of poverty and human-animal diseases (photo credit: ILRI/R. Dolan).

A new study has mapped global hotspots of poverty and zoonoses (diseases transmissible between animals and humans) and found that a relatively small number of countries – notably India, Ethiopia, and Nigeria – have a disproportionate share of poor livestock keepers and zoonotic disease burden.

The study also revealed that the burden of human and animal diseases can be linked to just a few zoonoses. For this reason, targeting these zoonoses is likely to be an effective use of scarce resources.

These and other findings are contained in a new collaborative research report, Mapping of poverty and likely zoonoses hotspots, by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Institute of Zoology (UK) and the Hanoi School of Public Health in Vietnam.

The report to the UK Department of International Development (DFID) presents data and expert knowledge on poverty and zoonoses hotspots to inform prioritization of study areas on the transmission of disease in emerging livestock systems in the developing world, where prevention of zoonotic disease might bring greatest benefit to poor people.

In addition to mapping the hotspots of zoonoses and poverty, the study also identified gaps and opportunities for research to reduce the burden of disease for the zoonoses and regions identified.

These include: 
  • better understanding of the implications for intensification and emerging markets on zoonoses; 
  • models for zoonoses control in emerging markets; 
  • ecosystem models for management of zoonoses with a wildlife interface; 
  • improvement of surveillance for existing and new diseases; 
  • understanding the impacts multiple burdens of zoonoses in order to better allocate resources; and
  • technologies and innovation for detection, diagnosis, prevention, treatment and response. 
Download the report.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The imGoats project reflects on use of Outcome Mapping and innovation platforms to improve goat value chains

Group discussions at the imGoats project learning and reflection workshop
Group discussions at the imGoats project learning and reflection workshop, Udaipur, India, 2-6 July 2012 (photo credit: ILRI/Tezira Lore).

The imGoats project seeks to investigate how best goat value chains can be used to increase food security and reduce poverty among smallholders in semi-arid regions in India and Mozambique.

On 2-6 July 2012, the project teams from both countries met in Udaipur, India to take part in a learning and reflection workshop on the activities achieved so far and the work still remaining.

The five-day, intensive workshop gave the participants ample opportunity to discuss and share progress achieved by the teams in Rajasthan and Jharkhand in India and Vilanculos in Mozambique in order to learn from each other's experiences in using Outcome Mapping and innovation platforms to improve the functioning of goat value chains.

In addition, the teams were able to review their communication plans and refine their strategies towards identifying the communication outputs to be produced and activities to be undertaken in the final six months of the project.

"The agenda of the workshop was very dense but it is heartening to see that all the teams have made good progress. Outcome Mapping has helped us to adapt our planning and improve our work. The session on innovation platforms was useful for sharing experiences and frustrations, too, and how to overcome these," said imGoats project coordinator Saskia Hendrickx of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) at the close of the workshop.

"We have six months left and a lot to do but there is a good team spirit and we can make it," Hendrickx added.

For more information about the workshop, check out the session notes on the imGoats wiki or read some reflections by ILRI postdoctoral scientists Birgit Boogard and Ramkumar Bendapudi on their experiences with the use of Outcome Mapping and innovation platforms in India and Mozambique. Also check out the workshop photos on Flickr.

Funded by the European Commission - International Fund for Agricultural Research (IFAD), the imGoats project is led by researchers from ILRI in collaboration with the BAIF Development Research Foundation in India and CARE International in Mozambique. For more information, visit