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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Training program on microbial risk assessment in Vietnam strengthens national food safety policies

Selling pork at a 'wet' market in Vietnam. A new training course on microbial risk assessment is helping to reduce public health risks and improve the management of food and water safety in Vietnam (photo credit: ILRI).

A collaborative training course on microbial risk assessment in Vietnam has provided policymakers with scientific evidence for decision-making towards better management of health risks in food and water.

Environmental health risk assessment in general and microbial risk assessment in particular are still at a very early stage of development in Vietnam.

With its rapid urbanization, industrialization, agricultural development and population growth, Vietnam faces increasing risks from microbial hazards contaminating its water and food supply.

In early 2010, the Swiss-based National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South piloted a project that developed a training curriculum in microbial risk assessment as part of national interventions aimed at better managing food- and water-borne health risks in Vietnam.

The project was led by the Hanoi School of Public Health in partnership with the National Institute of Nutrition, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, the Preventive Medicine Centre of Ha Nam Province and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.

Experts from the Market Opportunities theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) provided the team with technical support to ensure the quality of the curriculum which covers water, sanitation and food safety.

The collaborative process of developing the training course helped the concerned groups in Vietnam to work together, culminating, in January 2011, with a final training workshop attended by representatives from universities, research institutions and government ministries to discuss areas of future collaboration in research and capacity strengthening in risk assessment.

The course has led to the setting up of a local network on health risk assessment, enhanced the quality of training at the Hanoi School of Public Health, and developed a book-length manual of microbial risk assessment guidelines for food safety.

The development of the training course and its policy impact in tackling issues of water, sanitation, and food safety in Vietnam are described in these NCCR North-South Outcome Highlights, available in English and Vietnamese.

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Ecohealth approaches can improve food safety management in Vietnam

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dairy farmers in India gain more money from safer milk

Urban dairy in Hyderabad, India
A study of dairy farms in three states of India has found that farmers who adopt milk safety practices receive higher prices from sale of better quality milk.

The study was carried out in the states of Bihar, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to highlight the status of compliance with food safety measures in the Indian dairy sector at farm level and investigate the relationship between safety compliance and producer price of milk.

The findings are published in the November 2011 online edition of the Journal of International Food & Agribusiness Marketing.

India is currently the world’s largest producer of milk and Bihar, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are among India’s largest milk-producing states, accounting for 5.5%, 8.9% and 18%, respectively, of national milk production.

The lead author of the article is Dr Anjani Kumar, principal scientist (agricultural economics) at the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research in New Delhi and former scientist at the Market Opportunities theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The co-authors are Dr Iain Wright, ILRI's regional representative for Asia and Dr Dhiraj Singh, scientific officer in ILRI's Asia office in New Delhi.

Compliance with milk safety measures at dairy farm level was low and smallholder dairy farmers were found to be less likely to adopt safer milk handling practices than farmers with larger herd sizes.

The study recommends that supporting policies and technologies be put in place to spur the uptake of safer milk handling practices by dairy farmers, particularly smallholder producers who dominate the dairy sector in India.

Policy support by the government is also need to cushion smallholder farmers from the costs of compliance with food safety standards thereby ensuring that they remain competitive in dairy production and marketing.

Read the abstract of the article.

Kumar A, Wright IA and Singh DK. 2011. Adoption of food safety practices in milk production: implications for dairy farmers in India. Journal of International Food & Agribusiness Marketing 23(4): 330-344.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Taking stock: ILRI meeting reflects on the past, charts the next steps for livestock research for development

On 9 and 10 November 2011, the Board of Trustees of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) hosted a two-day 'liveSTOCK Exchange’ at ILRI's Addis Ababa campus to discuss and reflect on livestock research for development over the past decade and chart the way forward based on lessons learned.

The event synthesized sector and ILRI learning to help frame future directions for livestock research for development. The liveSTOCK Exchange also marked the leadership and contributions of Dr Carlos Seré who served as the Director General of ILRI from 2002 to 2011.

In October 2011, Dr SerĂ© took up the position of Chief Development Strategist leading the Office of Strategy and Knowledge Management at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) headquarters in Rome.

As part of the debate, sharing and reflection, scientists from ILRI's Market Opportunities theme prepared four issue briefs that document the lessons learned from past research projects by the Research Theme as well as the challenges, outcomes, impact evidence, and future prospects for livestock research towards improving market opportunities for smallholder livestock producers. You may access the issue briefs from the links below:

Also check out this presentation: Livestock market opportunities for the poor, that formed the framework for discussion and debate.

To read more about the liveSTOCK Exchange, please visit and the liveSTOCK Exchange wiki.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

New Agriculturist magazine features ILRI-led Safe Food, Fair Food project

The November 2011 issue of the bimonthly online magazine, New Agriculturist, features the Safe food, fair food project which aims to improve the safety of livestock products in sub-Saharan Arrica by adapting risk-based approaches, successfully used for food safety in developed countries, to suit domestic informal livestock markets in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The project is led by scientists from the Market Opportunities research theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and is implemented in eight countries (Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, the Republic of South Africa and Tanzania) in collaboration with universities and national research institutes.

In addition to research studies on participatory risk analysis, the project has held national workshops to engage policymakers to raise awareness about the potential food safety hazards that exist along the entire value chain.

In September 2011, the project held its final synthesis workshop to deliberate on the results of national impact assessment studies and develop a project synthesis book which will facilitate dissemination of the research findings to wider audiences.

To find out more, please visit the project web page.