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

Monday, May 28, 2012

New research consortium to provide knowledge for effective One Health approaches to disease control in Africa

Orma Boran cattle crossing a river in Kenya
Orma Boran cattle crossing a river in Kenya. The new Dynamic Drivers of Disease Consortium will integrate understanding of zoonoses, ecosystems and wellbeing (photo credit: ILRI/Dolan).
Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa is a new Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA)-funded research program that seeks to integrate our understanding of zoonoses, ecosystems and wellbeing.  The 3.5 year program runs until July 2015 and focuses on four emerging or re-emerging zoonotic diseases in four diverse African ecosystems:
  • Henipavirus infection in Ghana
  • Rift Valley fever in Kenya
  • Lassa fever in Sierra Leone
  • Trypanosomiasis in Zambia and Zimbabwe
Its innovative, holistic approach brings together natural and social scientists to build an evidence base designed to inform global and national policy players seeking effective, integrated approaches to control and check disease outbreaks.

The Drivers of Disease Consortium comprises over 30 researchers working in 17 institutes across Africa, Europe and the US and includes researchers in the environmental, biological, social, political, and human and animal health sciences. They will generate new knowledge on:
  • Ecosystem change
  • How ecology and people’s interactions with ecosystems affect disease emergence
  • Disease transmission and exposure
The partner institutes are:
  • ESRC STEPS Centre, Brighton, UK
  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • Institute of Zoology, London
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University College, London
  • Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, University of Ghana
  • International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Kenya
  • Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)
  • University of Nairobi
  • Kenema Government Hospital, Sierra Leone
  • Njala University, Sierra Leone
  • Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, Zambia
  • University of Zambia
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Zimbabwe
  • University of Zimbabwe
  • Stockholm Resilience Centre
  • Tulane University, USA
The programme is funded by a £3.2m grant from the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Friday, May 18, 2012

New report identifies priority areas for investment to improve livestock data in Africa

Sheep being watered at a waterhole in Niger
Livestock at a watering hole in Niger. A new report identifies priority areas for government investment towards improving the quality of livestock data in Africa (photo credit: ILRI). 

The Livestock Data Innovation in Africa project has published a new report (May 2012)  that  reviews the results of a global online survey that was carried out to identify priority areas for investments to improve the quality of livestock data. 

The survey was carried out between January and February 2012 among 641 livestock stakeholders including researchers, donors, government officials from livestock ministries or departments, and officials from non-governmental organizations and private companies. 

The objectives of the survey were to: 
  • rank the main areas in the livestock value chain where livestock-related data and information are needed;
  • review stakeholders' perceptions of the quality of available livestock data and indicators; and
  • identify priority areas along the livestock value chain where investments are needed to improve the quality and quantity of livestock data and indicators.

The findings of the report, Core livestock data and indicators: results of a stakeholder survey, will provide governments with information on the critical gaps in livestock data. 

In addition, the results will feed into the process of developing a minimum  set of livestock core data that governments should collect, as mandated by the global strategy to improve agriculture and rural statistics.

The Livestock Data Innovation 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).

Monday, May 14, 2012

New ILRI research paper presents gendered analysis of dairy goat and sweet potato production in Tanzania

A newly published (May 2012) discussion paper from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) presents findings of a study carried out to analyze gender issues in production of dairy goats and sweet potato in four communities in Mvomero and Kongwa districts of Tanzania.

The study identified gender differences in the perceived potential of integrating production of root crops and dairy goats. There were also distinct gender differences with respect to ownership and management of goats and crops.

Men perceived value addition resulting from owning dairy goats and the attendant increase in income for them whereas women perceived change in status quo and increase workload resulting from stall goat management activities.

Women were found to have limited control over decisions on sale and use of incomes generated from sale of goats. Distinct differences in ownership of crops between men and women were also observed; men owned cash crops whereas women owned subsistence or food crops for home consumption.

“Investment is needed in participatory training and creation of awareness on gender for both women and men, to sensitize them on the importance of including both women and men in development projects,” the authors of the paper conclude.

The study was funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). It was collaboratively undertaken by researchers from the Sokoine University of Agriculture, the University of Alberta and ILRI.

To find out more, please visit the project website

Download the discussion paper

Saghir P, Njuki J, Waithanji E, Kariuki J and Sikira A. 2012. Integrating improved goat breeds with new varieties of sweet potatoes and cassava in the agro-pastoral systems of Tanzania: A gendered analysis. ILRI Discussion Paper 21. ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), Nairobi, Kenya.