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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Global conference to discuss empowering women for inclusive growth in agriculture

Working in the maize field in Malawi

What are women’s specific needs for empowerment in agriculture? What initiatives are in place to effectively link women to markets? What are the policy, institutional, infrastructural and financial constraints affecting agricultural diversity to enhance income?  What solutions exist to reduce women’s drudgery relating to agricultural operations and household needs?

These are just a few of the questions that will be up for discussion at the first-ever global conference on women in agriculture to be held on 13-15 March 2012 at the National Agricultural Science Centre (NASC) Complex, New Delhi, India.

Under the theme, Empowering women for inclusive growth in agriculture, the conference brings together women farmers, researchers, policymakers and other stakeholders from all over the world to discuss current and emerging gender-related issues in agriculture and research, as well as derive lessons for future sustainable, gender-sensitive development.

Discussions will take place under the following themes:
  • assessing women’s  empowerment in agriculture;
  • agricultural innovations for reducing drudgery;
  • linking women to markets;
  • the role of women in household food and nutritional security;
  • policies and services to increase women’s access to assets, resources and knowledge;
  • the impact of and responses to climate-change related risks and uncertainties; and
  • strengthening capacity building and partnerships.
The conference will also develop a framework for action to integrate and empower women for inclusive growth and development through an enduring global partnership program on gender in agriculture.

At the conference, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) will be represented by Jemimah Njuki, leader of the Poverty, Gender and Impact team. She is one of the speakers at the parallel session on linking women to markets.

The conference is organized by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Asia‐Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) with support from the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) under the Gender in Agriculture Partnership.

For more information, please visit the conference website.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Agriculture-associated diseases featured in new book on agriculture for nutrition and health

On 10-12 February 2011, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) organized a conference in New Delhi, India with the theme, Leveraging agriculture for improving nutrition and health.

To commemorate the first anniversary of the conference, IFPRI has published a book which is a compilation of the background papers originally commissioned for the event and subsequently peer-reviewed and revised.

The 23 chapters in Reshaping Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, edited by Shenggen Fan and Rajul Pandya-Lorch, examine how much more agriculture could do to improve human well-being if it included specific policies, actions, and interventions to achieve health and nutrition goals; what kinds of changes would maximize agriculture’s contribution to human health and nutrition; and how human health and nutrition could contribute to a productive and sustainable agricultural system.

One of the chapters, Agriculture-associated diseases: Adapting agriculture to improve human health by John McDermott and Delia Grace, examines the range of agriculture-associated diseases and explores opportunities for shaping agriculture to improve health outcomes, and related policy implications.

McDermott joined IFPRI in October 2011 as the director of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH). He was previously the deputy director general for research at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Grace leads ILRI's research team on animal health, food safety and zoonoses. She is also the program manager for the agriculture-associated diseases component of A4NH.

Below is an excerpt from the chapter:
"Agriculture and health are intimately linked. Many diseases have agricultural roots —food-borne diseases, water-associated diseases, many zoonoses, most emerging infectious diseases, and occupational diseases associated with agrifood chains. These diseases create an especially heavy burden for poor countries, with far-reaching impacts. This chapter views agriculture-associated disease as the dimension of public health shaped by the interaction among humans, animals, and agroecoystems. This conceptual approach presents new opportunities for shaping agriculture to improve health outcomes, in the short and long term. Understanding the multiple burdens of disease is a first step in its rational management. As agriculture-associated diseases occur at the interface of human health, animal health, agriculture, and ecosystems, addressing them often requires systems-based thinking and multidisciplinary approaches. These approaches, in turn, require new ways of working and institutional arrangements. Several promising initiatives demonstrate convincing benefits of new ways of working across disciplines, despite the considerable barriers to cooperation."
Download the book here (in its entirety or by individual chapters)

Monday, February 06, 2012

Concerned about the quality of livestock data? The Livestock Data Innovation project seeks your views

Heading home at dusk in Mozambique

The Livestock Data Innovation project is carrying out a short online survey which will help identify priority areas for investments to improve the quantity and quality of livestock-related data available to decision-makers.

The survey is available at:

There are just eight questions and you should be able to complete the whole survey in 5 to 10 minutes. Responses are all anonymous and you are free to provide or not provide your contact details.

The project is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and jointly implemented by the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in collaboration with the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR).