This project improves the management of indigenous livestock (IL) through building capacity in the creation, update and use of innovative livestock technologies. The state-of-the-art on IL innovation potentials, state and levels of research and development (R&D) investments, and relationships between research and industry will be analysed, while needs and measures to improve IL management will be discussed with stakeholders along the IL product value chain. IL management capacity is strenghened through summer camps and linkages between research, industry and the civil society. Finally, a Livestock Innovation and Business Centre will be established that builds on existing capacity, and fosters innovation and agribusiness development.
Indigenous livestock (IL) products are on an inclining trend regardless the increase in IL population. Production resources are on a continuous decline too to the extent that strategies to increase production and livestock populations are no longer sustainable. This implies that more innovative livestock technologies (ILT) need to be employed to enhance IL productivity. Most of the livestock are kept under low input systems where application of ILT is limited by, among others, the lack of knowledge and enthusiasm by the general public including rural communities, civil society organisations (CSOs) and policy makers to advance the importance of IL. This predisposes IL to genetic erosion and suboptimal performance. Consequently, stakeholders, such as farmers involved in the IL product value chain, remain food, nutritional and income insecure, and hence remain in poverty. In addition, the focus of current academic programmes on ILT is so limited that young scientists are not adequately equipped with skills to promote innovation and develop appropriate technologies besides being able to cope with changing demands in their future jobs as managers in the IL sector. The general opinion among producers that IL have low performance potential hampers efficient utilisation. The potential of IL needs to be appreciated since these livestock form an important repository of genetic diversity, which could be improved using innovative technologies.
The IL management capacity of scientific staff and students at the participating institutions, as well as of enterprises (smallholder farmers, processors, traders, co-operatives, extension services…), policy makers and CSOs will be strengthened through the organisation of summer camps and establishment of research-industry-civil society linkages to enhance the sustainable use, development and conservation of IL in Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria.. This will foster agricultural innovation and efficient management of IL for an enhanced competitiveness and food and nutrition security in the region.
In Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria, food security and poverty remain major challenges. In these countries, IL contribute significantly to the agricultural sector (12 - 15% of GDP) as well as to the livelihoods of many poor rural people. IL are well adapted to present environments, but in general have poor production performance. Low genetic potential is the most quoted constraint to IL production that has influenced their sustainable use. The sustainable use, development and conservation of IL should be realised in a participatory context and will require the support and participation of farmers, pastoralists and breeders, local and indigenous communities, research organisations and public institutions, the private sector, and the civil society. The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (GPA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) provides a framework for enhancing management programmes through the strengthening of policies, institutions and capacities. The innovation capacity for the implementation of GPA relating to the sustainable use, development and conservation of IL is still a challenge.
This project is designed to strengthen the capacity of scientific staff and students at the participating institutions, and of enterprises including farming communities, policy makers and CSOs for the creation, update and use of ILT in Eastern, Southern and Western Africa to foster agricultural innovation. This project applies inter-disciplinary and participatory approaches for efficient IL management and enhanced competitiveness. The focus is on poverty reduction, food and nutrition security, growth and socio-economic development. Their knowledge and skills on ILT will be enhanced and related experiences shared. Well-trained personnel will now be able to meet the demand for ILT and train other enterprises, policy makers and CSOs besides addressing specific problems of IL management.
Situation analysis and stakeholders’ fora
A situation analysis on the state-of-the-art on IL innovation potentials, state and levels of R&D investments and relationships between research and industry will be performed. Multi-stakeholder fora will be held to familiarise all actors along the livestock product value chain in each country with the project, to discuss needs and measures to improve innovations related to IL management with experts from the livestock sector, and to build consensus in the development of a policy for the livestock sector and its implementation at the national level.
Summer camps and research-industry linkages
Summer camps for scientific staff and students from the participating institutions will be organised in each country to deepen their knowledge and skills on animal breeding and genomics, reproductive technologies, etc. Summer camps for other stakeholders such as processors, traders, co-operatives, extension services, policy makers and CSOs will also be organized in each country to disseminate this knowledge. To further disseminate the knowledge to smallholder famers, community-based summer camps will be organised. Research-industry-CSO linkages will be established through innovative livestock projects and internship and mentoring programmes. The engagement with the industry and CSOs will promote the widespread sharing of information to be utilised for educational, business and legal purposes.
It is only through science-policy-practice interfaces that research products towards appropriate ILT can be adapted into policy briefings of use by government and business. An interactive mobile application to inter-link actors along the livestock product value chain and exchange information on ILT and markets will be developed. Mobile communication has become the fastest and simplest mode of communication among the rural communities.
A Livestock Innovation and Business Centre (LIBCentre) will be established in Kenya with offices in Malawi and Nigeria to continue building on existing scientific capacity and fostering innovation and agribusiness development. The LIBCentre will also host a Livestock Innovation and Business Network (LIBNetwork) to further strengthen scientific capacity. The LIBNetwork will bring different actors in the livestock product value chain together to initiate new co-operation and further adoption of the project results. The LIBCentre will support the respective African governments to address knowledge gaps and build on existing scientific capacity for the management of IL. The centre will also engage with local policy makers on scientific and technological needs and opportunities in order to create and improve awareness on ILT in the farming communities in Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria.
Visibility and knowledge transfer
Information on project activities and results will be disseminated through brochures and newsletters to actors along the livestock product value chain and to other interested enterprises, policy makers and CSOs. A project website will exchange experiences and make reports, newsletters, research papers, policy briefs and technologies available. An international conference and exhibition on livestock innovation will bring together scientists and stakeholders involved in the livestock sector, in particular in IL management. In each country, a symposia for multiplication of project results will be organised to facilitate a transfer of project results regarding the improvement of productivity of IL and the promotion of innovative practices in IL management. An active alumni system comprising of all stakeholders who participated in the project will assist in the assessment of how far the project has contributed to the use of ILT.
Capacity of scientific staff and students at the participating institutions, as well as of enterprises (smallholder farmers, processors, traders, cooperatives, extension services….), policy makers and CSOs in Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria strengthened to create, update and use knowledge on IL management.
The culture and importance of ILT promoted among the general public and policy makers in governments.
Contributions made to local and international policies on IL management, and related scientific goals and priorities formulated.
Knowledge on innovative practices related to IL management developed to promote further innovations.