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1. External influences shaping ILRI's strategy

1.1 Role of livestock in poverty reduction, food and nutritional security, the environment and human health

1.2 Livestock demand trends
1.3 Livestock production trends
1.4 The productivity challenge
1.5 Evolution of livestock systems

1.6 Trends in science
1.7 Trends in information technologies for partnerships with NARS
1.8 The stakeholders for international livestock research

ILRI has developed its strategy cognisant of global trends and with an appreciation of the role livestock play in reducing poverty, improving food security and improving the environment. It is aware of the likely influences of institutional, socio-economic, scientific and policy trends on future livestock research (Delgado and others 1999; von Kaufmann 1999).

In each section in this chapter, a block titled 'Issues and implications' describes the major implications for international livestock R&D. These provide the basis for consideration in Chapters 2 and 3 of the key research and related areas, strategic approaches and research outputs that will form the foundation for ILRI's strategies and priorities in the period to 2010.

1.1 Role of livestock in poverty reduction, food and nutritional security, the environment and human health

1.1.1 Poverty reduction

Over 1.3 billion people—nearly a third of the population of developing countries—live below the poverty line (defined as an income of less than US$1 a day). The situation is worst in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than half the people fall into this category, prompting the reviewers in the Third System Review of the CGIAR (1998) to plead that special attention be given to this underprivileged region (Figure 1.1). In numbers, South Asia has the most poor people, representing 42% of the population. In the Latin American and Caribbean region, many of the 38% in poverty live in urban areas. In East Asia, only 11% of the population is in poverty, but they number 138 million people. This is closely followed by South-East Asia with 131 million poor (30%). The West Asia and North Africa region has the fewest poor—89 million or 26% of the population. Three-quarters of the poor in developing countries live in rural areas (Table 1.1).

Figure 1.1. Distribution of poor by developing country region (millions) 1994 – 95 (Gryseels and others 1997). Figures in parentheses are the total value of livestock products. (calculated by ILRI from Seré and Steinfeld 1996, Delgado and others 1999)

Table 1.1. Extent of rural poverty in developing country regions, 1994 – 95


Number of rural poor (millions)

Share of rural to total poor (%)

East Asia



South Asia



South-East Asia



Latin America and Caribbean



West Asia and North Africa



Sub-Saharan Africa






Source: Gryseels and others 1997

McCalla (1998) points out that the sources of food for urban and for rural populations are quite different. Urban populations typically obtain 90% of their food from markets, whereas rural people obtain only 40% from the market and 60% from subsistence agriculture. He asks, if the rural population markets only some 30% of its production, how will the urban need for marketed food be met in future?

The estimated 678 million of the rural poor who keep livestock in developing countries (Table 1.2) represent about two-thirds of the rural poor, and that large proportion indicates the importance of animals to their livelihoods (Sarah Holden, Livestock in Development, personal communication 1999).

Table 1.2. Number and location of resource-poor livestock keepers by system

Agro-ecological zone

Category of livestock keepers who are poor (millions)

Extensive graziers

Mixed rainfed


Arid or semi-arid



Temperate, including tropical highlands



Humid, subhumid and subtropical






Source: Livestock in Development (1999)
‘Landless’ refers to people with no land and not to industrial production systems. Statistics used have been updated by Sarah Holden, a co-author of the source report.

In the developing world, the mixed crop–livestock systems, especially the systems in the humid/subhumid and the arid/semi-arid tropics and subtropics, offer the best opportunity for public livestock R&D to have a significant economic impact, because the value of the animal products that would accrue from improved production and reduced costs is much greater in these two mixed systems (Figure 1.2).

Figure 1.2. Value of animal products from major livestock production systems, number of poor in different agro-ecological zones in developing regions. Animal products include milk; meat from cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, swine and poultry; and eggs. For the industrial systems, number of poor refers to total urban poor; for other systems, number refers to rural poor per agro-ecological zone. Sources: Value of animal products derived from Seré and Steinfeld (1996 p 67 – 78) and Ruiz and others (1995), 1992 – 94 prices from Delgado and others (1999 p 35), number of poor from analysis by Thornton and others (in press).

Issues and implications

Crop–livestock and grassland systems: Priority should be accorded to productivity enhancing livestock R&D for mixed crop– livestock systems to have major economic impact on the bulk of the poor in developing countries. Grassland systems offer less scope for technical interventions that can directly benefit the poor, but natural resource conservation and management and relevant policies to sustain livelihoods are researchable needs.

Changing livestock systems: Demographic and economic changes are causing rapid evolution of production systems within and across regions and agro-ecological zones. Setting priorities and designing research must take account of these evolutionary changes in identifying future needs. There are also opportunities for South-South exchange among regions at different stages of development.

Distribution of the poor: The geographical distribution of the poor, at regional, sectoral, agro-ecological and systems levels, needs to be considered, to assess priorities that will more effectively address their needs.

Projected food price trends: Animal-source food prices need to be monitored to establish if the projected decreases in price of animal food products actually occur and the poor have better access to meat and dairy products as a result of research-based technologies that increase productivity of systems.

Poverty and nutritional security: Technology and policy options are needed to optimally balance income generation with nutritional security and facilitate decisions that will improve diets in both the household and the nation.

Non-food uses of livestock, including income generation: Non-food uses of livestock, though declining in relative importance to food production, will continue to be important in the livelihoods of smallholders and in the sustainability of crop–livestock systems. Of particular importance is the impact on the finances and labour of women and the value of livestock as an asset in building financial security.

It is in these mixed crop–livestock systems that the largest numbers of rural poor work. Focusing on improving the sustainable livelihoods of these people can do more to reduce poverty than increasing productivity in intensive industrial systems (Livestock in Development 1999). The majority of the rural poor in a number of the systems are livestock keepers (Figure 1.2, Table 1 .2). For the developing world as a whole, the correlation is high between the economic importance of animal products in a livestock system and the number of poor living in that agro-ecological zone (Figure 1.2).

The livestock production systems that are the most economically important and also operate where the largest number of either urban or rural poor people reside differ across the six geographic regions. The rainfed and irrigated mixed humid/subhumid tropical and subtropical systems dominate for these two criteria in East Asia, South-East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (Figures 1.3, 1.4, 1.5). The mixed rainfed and irrigated arid/semi-arid tropical and subtropical systems are the most significant in South Asia and in West Asia and North Africa (Figures 1.6, 1.7). In Latin America and the Caribbean, the industrial systems predominate (Figure 1.8). Except in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, there is a reasonably high correlation (0.7 – 0.9 versus 0.4) between the economic importance of animal products and the number of poor. Hence in the other four regions the prospect is good that focusing livestock R&D on the systems where the economic impact is likely to be greatest will benefit the largest number of poor people.

Note: For Figures 1.3 – 1.8, the relation between value of animal products and number of poor is shown by region. Note that the major systems differ across regions and that the scales for axes differ across figures.

Figure 1.3. Value of animal products from major livestock production systems and number of poor in different agro-ecological zones in East Asia. (For sources, see caption for Figure 1.2.)

Figure 1.4. Value of animal products from major livestock production systems and number of poor in different agro-ecological zones in South-East Asia. (For sources, see caption for Figure 1.2.)

Figure 1.5. Value of animal products from major livestock production systems and number of poor in different agro-ecological zones in sub-Saharan Africa. (For sources, see caption for Figure 1.2.)

Figure 1.6. Value of animal products from major livestock production systems and number of poor in different agro-ecological zones in South Asia. (For sources, see caption for Figure 1.2.)

Figure 1.7. Value of animal products from major livestock production systems and number of poor in different agro-ecological zones in West Asia and North Africa. (For sources, see caption for Figure 1.2.)

Figure 1.8. Value of animal products from major livestock production systems and number of poor in different agro-ecological zones in Latin America and the Caribbean. (For sources, see caption for Figure 1.2.)

The large proportion of urban poor in Latin America and the Caribbean (Figure 1.8) and the relatively high economic value of industrial animal production there may make the task of effectively targeting the poor in that region easier than in other regions, if the urban poor are significant consumers of industrial system products.

In the tropics and subtropics of sub-Saharan Africa (Figure 1.5), around 40 million rural poor are involved in the arid and semi-arid grassland livestock production system, which is high in value. Almost 100 million poor depend on the mixed humid/subhumid livestock production system, but its potential for large economic impact may be limited as the economic value of its livestock products is less.

Projections using the IFPRI impact model (Delgado and others 1999) have shown that despite the increased demand for feed grains, wheat and rice prices will decrease by 10% in real terms over the next 20 years and there will be modest declining price trends for milk and some meats. Even modest increases in the consumption of these highly nutritious foodstuffs would have a major impact on the health of poor people. Currently, more than one-third of children and pregnant and lactating women in developing countries experience mild to moderate protein-energy malnutrition (see Box 1.1). The IFPRI model clearly shows that increasing the conversion efficiency of livestock feed will help reduce upward price pressures on the feed grains that are also used as food by the poor, a further beneficial although indirect impact of livestock R&D.

Box 1.1

Animal food products and human health

Protein-energy malnutrition and deficiencies of key micronutrients are prevalent among the poor throughout the developing world. Their effects are most pronounced in children, adolescents, and pregnant and lactating women. Malnutrition in children contributes to poor growth and mental development and general ill health—outcomes with high societal and individual costs.

Animal food products such as meat, milk and eggs are compact, convenient, readily digested sources of high-quality protein and energy. They supply essential micronutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc, retinol, thiamin, and vitamins A, B6 and B12—often lacking in cereal-based diets. Increased intake of animal food products is often associated with significantly improved health.

The right combination of a variety of crop-based foods can also provide a balanced diet that supports growth and sustains health. But it is not easy for poor people to obtain the required variety of such foods that even modest increases in consumption of meat and milk can supply. The challenge is how to make these foods more available to poor people.

Source: Neuman and Harris (1999)

The rural poor, especially women, derive a larger share of their income from livestock than do the relatively wealthy, with the possible exception of those in Latin America and the Caribbean (Delgado and others 1999). Poor people in rural areas, with little land available and poor access to capital, have few opportunities to increase their income. Thus the increasing demand for livestock products offers them a rare opportunity to benefit from a rapidly growing market. Using common-property resources—such as forages collected from roadside verges—and family labour, even the landless can produce high-value outputs for sale or the home.

A concern is that, with the prevailing trend to intensify livestock production, smallholders may be unable to compete effectively with the large, industrial enterprises. However, the cost advantage these large operators have may not be so significant if the implicit subsidies they enjoy are removed. If policies eliminate the subsidies, smallholders could compete in producing their share of the increased demand for livestock products. They can also improve their competitive edge by forming producer cooperatives (Delgado and others 1999, p 42).

Livestock, particularly ruminants, also provide households with a cash income; their products such as milk and manure can be exchanged for cereals, thus improving food security; they represent the major inflation-proof and mobile liquid capital asset that can contribute to household survival in times of crisis; they are pivotal to farming systems of poor smallholders; and they act as a buffer against poor crop yields, especially in drought-prone regions.

1.1.2 The environment

Livestock can contribute towards environmental sustainability in well-balanced mixed systems (de Haan and others 1997). By providing draft power, manure and urine as fertiliser, livestock contribute to sustainable, intensive crop production. Owning ruminants also encourages smallholders to plant browse trees, shrubs, leguminous forages and grass—all of which control erosion, promote water conservation and increase soil fertility. That livestock overgraze and degrade arid rangelands has probably been overemphasised. Recent research suggests that the role of climatic factors has been consistently underestimated and that arid and semi-arid ecosystems are more resilient than previously thought (Ellis and Galvin 1994). Inappropriate cropping on former rangelands leads to soil erosion, competition with wildlife and increased problems of food security. Marketing policies and infrastructure that will improve terms of trade for livestock will increase incomes and reduce stocking pressures.

Perhaps the greatest environmental threat that livestock pose arises from peri-urban enterprises and from industrial enterprises situated close to urban areas. Industrial livestock units generate enormous quantities of animal waste that can exceed the absorptive capacity of the surrounding land and result in deterioration of water quality. Regulatory policies must ensure that the costs of the pollution and of controlling it are borne by those that produce it.

Policies and plans should be in place to ensure that large-scale production and processing units are located farther from urban areas and in keeping with the environment's capacity to provide the services required to deliver the inputs and manage the wastes. Generating the information required for rational and effective area-wide integration emerges as an important research topic.

Issues and implications

Livestock and the environment: Environmental impact methodologies and assessments are needed for all livestock R&D activities.

Crop–livestock systems: Livestock technologies need to optimise whole-farm productivity gains and environmental enhancement by integrating crop and livestock production.

Natural resource management: Livestock land-use practices affect air, soil, water management, and plant and animal biodiversity. Policies affecting access to common property, especially in extensive grazing areas, are critical for managing natural resources.

Industrial and peri-urban systems: Technological and policy options are needed to address the environmental and public health issues associated with industrial livestock production systems, which are often located in densely populated areas.

Environment and public health: Technological and policy options are needed that mitigate the negative and promote the positive interactions between animal agriculture, the environment and human health.

Climate change: Research is needed on the impact both of livestock on climate change and of climate change on the evolution of livestock production systems, and the implications both have for livestock R&D.

Biodiversity: The effects intensified livestock production have on the continued survival of indigenous livestock breeds and their actual and potential use will be an important aspect. Studies of biodiversity also need to assess the impact that increased competition for land for cropping will have on animal and plant biodiversity of rangelands.

Wildlife–livestock interactions: Research is needed to provide information on wildlife–livestock interactions and to develop and validate tools used to support decisions on wildlife that will enable resource-poor livestock keepers to make better decisions and obtain greater value from wildlife and thereby contribute effectively to conserving wild animal biodiversity.

Clearing and burning forests for livestock production, for example cattle ranching in the Amazon Basin, releases huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and causes an important loss of plant and animal biodiversity. Livestock rumen fermentation and manure generate the greenhouse gas methane, and livestock are directly responsible for 16% of its emission worldwide. However, methane output can be reduced by having fewer but more productive animals fed on better-quality rations.

Intensification of animal agriculture tends to rely on a narrow range of improved, high-yielding genotypes. As a result, 30% of all livestock breeds are threatened with extinction. The greatest threat is in developing countries to indigenous breeds that are poorly characterised. The loss of genetic diversity in livestock may limit the capacity of animal agriculture to adapt to emerging pests and diseases and to changing market demands.

Livestock production is frequently in conflict with conserving wild animal biodiversity due to competition for feed and water, transmission of diseases and predation. However, livestock owners are not well informed about these interactions and they typically exaggerate the negative and underestimate the positive. Knowledge of the value of wildlife for exploiting alternative forage species and for sustainable use of fragile landscapes would lead producers and landowners to better-informed and more appropriate decisions on conservation and use of animal and plant biodiversity.

1.1.3 Human health

Modest increases in consumption of meat and milk will improve nutritional status of the poor by providing the protein and micronutrients that are currently deficient. Even by the year 2020, consumption levels of meat and milk in developing countries are projected to be less than half the present developed country average, and lack of access to animal products by the poor is a major concern (see Box 1.1).

Zoonotic diseases—the diseases that can spread from animals to humans—are of special concern where large concentrations of animals are kept near people. This is a common situation in peri-urban small-scale systems and the rapidly expanding industrial sector. Small-scale producers in the developing world must comply with stringent health regulations if they plan to compete with producers in developed countries. Export markets have well-run monitoring and surveillance operations that effectively enforce public health regulations. Even so, pathogens borne by animal foods are reported to be responsible for over 12 million infections and 3900 deaths per year in the United States alone (Delgado and others 1999). Recent examples of new threats such as BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) or ‘mad cow disease’ in Europe, human-infective avian flu in Hong Kong and viral encephalitis in Malaysia have dramatically illustrated the danger. Residues of veterinary drugs and insecticides in meat and milk are an additional problem, exacerbated by suppliers' tendency to ignore recommended withdrawal periods.

Issues and implications

Impact of improved nutrition, especially on women and children: There is a need to monitor the effect that changes in the price of livestock products have on consumption patterns and human nutritional status, especially of women and children.

Zoonoses: Regulatory policies and technological solutions are needed to minimise the threat of zoonotic diseases, especially those associated with increased intensification of peri-urban livestock production systems.

Food safety: Food safety and hygiene issues associated with industrial and smallholder production systems, food processing, and drug and pesticide residues in livestock products need to be considered in designing livestock R&D strategies.

1.2 Livestock demand trends

Over the next 20 years there will be a massive increase in demand for food of animal origin, with virtually all the increased demand coming from developing countries. This increase in demand will arise from a combination of population growth—an extra 2.5 billion people to feed by 2020—and changes in the diet of millions of people. Increasing urbanization—more than half the people in developing countries will live in towns and cities by 2020—and growth in people's income will drive the change.

This trend continues the process that is already occurring: on average people in developing countries have increased their consumption of meat by 50% over the past 10 years (Delgado and others 1999). There are important regional differences, with the greatest increases seen in regions where incomes grew most rapidly. In general, Asia1 witnessed the greatest increase in per capita consumption of foods of animal origin, while in sub-Saharan Africa consumption remained static or even declined. In the future the rate of increase in demand for livestock products will be highest in the densely populated areas of Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa, although the latter starts from a low base.

The magnitude and significance of the projected increases in demand for livestock products in developing countries over the next 20 years has prompted the coining of the term ‘Livestock Revolution’ to describe this process (Delgado and others 1999). The implications, opportunities and challenges represented by the Livestock Revolution are considered by some to be just as great as those that accompanied the Green Revolution of the 1970s.

Currently the disparity in consumption of livestock products between the developed and the developing countries is markedly great. People in developed countries typically consume up to four times as much meat and six times as much milk as those in developing countries (see Figure 1.9). While demand for meat in the developed countries is projected to grow only marginally over the next 20 years, demand in developing countries is expected to grow at 2.8% per year (Delgado and others 1999). This will increase the annual demand for meat in developing countries from 89 million tonnes in 1993 to 188 million tonnes by 2020—that means an additional 100 million tonnes of meat will be required every year to meet this demand. Two-thirds of the increased demand will be for pork and poultry meat, but again regional differences will be important, partly due to cultural factors (see Table 1.3).

Figure 1.9. Per capita consumption of meat and milk, 1983, 1993 and projected for 2020 (Delgado and others 1999).

Table 1.3 Regional projections of total demand and consumption of livestock products (million tonnes)

Region Sheep Beef Pork Poultry Milk
1993 2020 1993 2020 1993 2020 1993 2020 1993 2020
East Asia 2 2 3 7 31 65 7 18 9 19
South Asia 1 3 3 8 0 1 0 2 69 201
South-East Asia 0 0 1 3 3 7 3 6 5 11
Latin America & Caribbean 0 1 10 18 3 6 7 14 46 77
West Asia & North Africa 2 4 2 5 0 0 3 6 23 51
Sub-Saharan Africa 1 2 2 6 1 2 1 2 14 31
Developing 6 12 22 47 39 81 21 49 168 391
Developed 4 4 32 36 38 41 26 34 245 263

Source: Delgado and others 1999

In a similar situation for milk, an annual increase in demand of 3.3% in developing countries is anticipated (Figure 1.9 and Table 1.3) (Delgado and others 1999), although again there will be important regional differences. Between 1993 and 2020 the annual demand for milk in developing countries will increase from 168 to 391 million tonnes.

Despite the rapid increase in urban populations, most of the poor are rural dwellers, and this is still expected to be the case in 2020. Livestock provide income-generating opportunities for the rural poor and therefore offer an escape route from poverty. Livestock provide opportunities for trading in eggs, dairy products, and woolen and leather goods—trade that is especially important to women.

Increased production of livestock products, whether from smallholder systems or otherwise, will lead towards decreasing relative and perhaps absolute real prices for animal-source foods, which will benefit both rural and urban poor. The more income, the more meat consumed (Figure 1.10), and an increase in income has a proportionally larger effect in the poorest countries.

Figure 1.10. The relationship between meat consumption and income (Delgado and others 1999).

Issues and implications

Regional demand patterns: Demand growth for meat and milk is expected to be greatest in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. These regions deserve a high priority for livestock R&D if appropriate supply responses are to meet the demand challenge.

Demand growth for pig and poultry products: Demand growth for pig and poultry products will exceed that for other meats and will be primarily outside of sub-Saharan Africa. The interests of smallholder pig and poultry keepers require research to ensure that they participate in the economic benefits this demand growth will generate.

1.3 Livestock production trends

Massive increases in demand for animal food products offer similarly great opportunities for livestock producers in the developing countries, where relatively few livestock products are traded internationally. As over the last decade, internationally traded meat has remained stable at 9 – 10% of total global production (McCalla and de Haan 1998), much of the additional demand will likely be met from domestic production. What proportion of this additional production takes place on smallholders' farms will be a central issue of the Livestock Revolution and will determine whether the poor reap their share of the benefits that will accompany the increase.

By 2020 it is projected that livestock producers in developing countries will annually produce close to 100 million tonnes more meat (Figure 1.11) than they did in the early 1990s. Generally, livestock production is increasing more rapidly in industrial systems close to urban centres than in more traditional systems, and this trend raises important environmental and public health issues. But there are, and will continue to be, important regional differences in the trends in livestock production in both species and production systems. Also, ruminants produce both milk and meat, and the proportions can be changed by livestock keepers, depending on relative price movements. Hence production responses can be flexible.

Figure 1.11. Projected trends in production of various livestock products, 1983, 1993 and 2020 (Delgado and others 1999).

Pork and poultry meat production will expand fastest overall, especially in the more affluent parts of Asia, with concomitant increases in requirements for feed grains. Grass-fed beef will continue to be the most important meat in Latin America and the Caribbean. Increased beef production in West Asia and North Africa will be dependent on doubling inputs of feed grains, due to lack of sufficient pasture. In sub-Saharan Africa, large ruminants will mainly supply the increased demand for meat.

The trends in livestock production in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia are very different. Increased production of meat in sub-Saharan Africa will continue to come primarily from cattle, sheep and goats. These ruminants will be reared either on rangelands, especially in arid and semi-arid areas, or in mixed farming systems in higher-potential areas. In South-East Asia, the trend is away from production of pork and poultry in traditional farmyard and small-scale peri-urban systems towards industrial systems that depend on imported feed grains.

Improving animal health and nutrition and enhancing genetic potentials will be the major paths towards improving productivity per animal. With fixed or even decreasing land area for grazing and for producing feed and food crops, increasing the number of animals is not a sustainable option. However, smallholders must be made able to compete with the industrial producers.

As production systems intensify, farmers tend to invest more capital per animal to purchase highly productive exotic breeds. The investment is justified in terms of the yield potential. However, an animal's ability to survive and be productive is a function of its state of health, and most high-yielding exotic breeds are poorly adapted to withstand diseases associated with intensification and common endemic diseases of the tropics. This raises the importance of disease control as it relates to the emergence of more smallholder farmers opting to intensify and keep fewer numbers of high-yielding animals rather than more low-producing animals.

The current dependence of intensive systems on drugs and chemicals for disease control is a matter of widespread concern because of the potential adverse effects on human consumers and the environment. Increased drug resistance among common disease organisms and parasites also concerns producers. Enhancing the genetic capacity of high-potential livestock to withstand the disease and parasite challenges in developing countries suggests an option for reducing the use of drugs and chemicals to control disease. Emerging techniques for animal breeding provide opportunities to selectively combine traits for disease and parasite resistance with the genetic potential for higher productivity. Disease control may also be achieved through better delivery of currently available vaccines and development of new vaccines for diseases for which current control methods are no longer sustainable.

Issues and implications

Making the Livestock Revolution work for the poor: Technology and policy options are needed to influence the course and direction of the Livestock Revolution to ensure that the poor reap their share of the available benefits, both as producers and as consumers.

Livestock demand and production trends: To guide decisions on priorities for livestock R&D, continual monitoring and analysis of demand and supply for livestock products are needed because of uncertainties about national and regional economic development trade relationships, consumer capacity to pay, and competition for the required resources.

Trade in livestock and livestock products: Policy options are needed to allow resource-poor livestock keepers to engage more effectively in trade of livestock and livestock products and to identify and remove national and international constraints to trade.

Need to exploit livestock genetic diversity: Concerns about chemical drug resistance imply that the alternative of building genetic resistance to diseases and pests needs to be explored further.

The trends in production and increased concentrations of animals will increase the importance of controlling the diseases that impede trade. In addition to meeting disease control standards, exporters of livestock products will have to comply with the veterinary hygiene and food safety standards of the importing countries.

1.4 The productivity challenge

If livestock production is to keep pace with demand (Table 1.4), the imperative is to enhance productivity per animal and reduce wastage. For developing countries as a whole, the difference between projected demand growth and recent productivity growth, termed the demand–productivity growth gap, is positive for all products. It is largest for poultry and beef, then for pork and then milk. Regions differ in terms of the species where the gaps are greatest. The gap is in part caused by the failure to get innovative technologies adopted, and this needs to be improved, especially with regard to promoting environmentally benign technologies that will make smallholders competitive.

Table 1.4. Recent (1982 – 94) productivity and projected (1993 – 2020) demand growth rates (% per annum)

Regions Sheep Beef Pork Poultry Milk
Productivity growtha Demand growthb Productivity growth Demand growth Productivity growth Demand growth Productivity growth Demand growth Productivity growth Demand growth
East Asia n.a. 0.0 3.8 3.2 1.5 2.8 2.4 3.6 0.0 2.8
South Asia n.a. 4.2 1.5 3.7 0.0 18.6c 0.8 21.7c 3.9 4.0
South-East Asia n.a. 0.0 0.9 4.2 0.8 3.2 – 0.3 2.6 2.4 3.0
Latin America and the Caribbean n.a. 18.6c 0.2 2.2 0.5 2.6 1.1 2.6 0.7 1.9
West Asia and North Africa n.a. 2.6 2.7 3.5 0.1 0.0 0.2 2.6 1.5 3.0
Sub-Saharan Africa n.a. 2.6 – 0.5 4.2 0.1 2.6 – 0.1 2.6 0.6 3.0
Developing countries n.a. 2.6 0.5 2.9 1.2 2.7 0.8 3.2 1.9 3.2
Developed countries n.a. 0.0 0.9 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.8 1 0 1.3 0.3

Source: derived from Delgado and others (1999)
n.a. – not available
Productivity growth is per animal
Demand growth is expressed on a total basis, not per capita
These growth rates were from a very low initial base, which inflates the figures

Issues and implications

Demand–productivity growth gaps: Emphasis on poultry and beef research is required in developing countries if demand is not to substantially outstrip production in the next 20 years, causing inappropriate responses with adverse consequences for the poor and the environment through pollution from animal wastes and increased pressure on land resources. Sub-Saharan Africa is at greatest risk of a demand-and-supply imbalance for all animal products.

Technology exchange: Ineffective delivery and adoption of available and prospective technologies has been identified as a severe constraint to improving livestock productivity. The reasons for poor past performance need to be identified and innovative delivery pathways developed to overcome these constraints. South-South exchange needs to be encouraged.

1.5 Evolution of livestock systems

Changing livestock production systems will generate new challenges and opportunities for livestock research and development, particularly in the key areas of animal health, nutrition, the environment and policy.

1.5.1 Grazing systems

Grazing systems currently cover almost 25% of the world's land area and produce 10% of its meat requirements. Throughout the world, traditional grazing areas are coming under increasing pressure due to the growth in human population and subsequent competition to use the land for other purposes. These rangelands have proven to be more resilient than originally believed, and breeding and raising livestock in the drier areas and finishing them in more intensive systems closer to the final markets may offer the best option to increase productivity and the best opportunity to improve pastoralist income. There is also scope to exploit wildlife on rangelands by marketing bush meat and by deriving income from tourism.

Issues and implications

Grazing systems: Policies and technologies are needed to ensure that grazing lands, which cover 25% of the earth's land surface, provide for the people who are dependent on there and at the same time fulfil their vital environmental roles in biodiversity, soil and water conservation, and carbon sequestration.

Stratification of production systems: Policy and trade environments should encourage carrying out each of the different phases of livestock production under the most appropriate system and in the most appropriate location; this could include integrating wildlife with domesticated livestock.

1.5.2 Mixed crop–livestock systems

Mixed crop–livestock systems provide over 50% of the world's meat and over 90% of its milk (CAST 1999). They are the most common form of livestock operation in developing countries. Also, mixed systems contain most of the rural poor and some 57% of the livestock keepers who are poor (see Section 1.1). As population density increases and less land becomes available, the general trend is for crop and livestock activities to integrate. Continuing population growth will require further intensification in these mixed systems, and livestock, especially ruminants, will continue to play a vital role—providing draft power to increase efficiency and minimise human drudgery, manure to maintain soil fertility, animal food products to improve nutritional status, and opportunities for generating more income. Throughout most of the developing world, crop–livestock systems involving ruminants will emphasise milk rather than meat production because this option gives better returns to family labour and provides highly desirable daily incomes.

Issues and implications

Integration of crop and livestock production: Because of increasing land pressure, research to enhance complementarities between crop and livestock production has high priority:

1.5.3 Industrial systems

Globally, close to 80% of poultry and 40% of pork are produced in industrial systems (de Haan and others 1997), although very little beef and mutton or dairy production is industrial. The growth of these systems has major implications for trade in feed grains, as livestock now consume a third of the world's grain supplies. Close to 300 million tonnes more cereals will be fed to livestock in the year 2020 than was fed in the early 1990s. This growing demand raises concern about competition with humans for grain and the need to improve livestock conversion efficiencies (see Box 1.2). Another concern is for the welfare and security of smallholder producers, who may become contract suppliers for finishers and processors.

Box 1.2

Production efficiencies of animal foods

Many ruminants, especially those in the developing world, consume mostly or wholly materials not edible by humans, such as grasses, herbaceous legumes, crop residues and by-products of food processing. For every 100 kg of human food produced from crops an average of 37 kg of by-products is produced—waste material that ruminants can convert into human-edible food. Also, ruminants can be maintained in areas that are too arid, steep, rocky or infertile to permit crop production. Globally 3.35 billion hectares, or about 25% of the world's land area, is grazed by livestock, and most of this land could not produce human food any other way. Cattle, buffalo, camels, sheep and goats can therefore produce high-quality foodstuffs without competing with people.

The efficiency with which livestock convert feed grain into meat is also steadily increasing. Between 1983 and 1993, meat produced per unit of feed grain consumed increased by about 15%. However, there is room for further improvement, particularly in the developing world, where on average, conversion rates are only half as efficient as in developed countries.

Source: CAST (1999)

Issues and implications

Competition and integration between smallholder and industrial systems: Policy and technology options are needed to improve equity and enable smallholders to compete or integrate effectively with more intensive production systems.

Vertical integration with processors: Options are needed to facilitate cost-effective integration of smallholders and animal food processors, for example, by promoting participatory, collective-action organisations such as smallholder dairy cooperatives.

Increased use of feed grains: The effects on world cereal markets of increased demand for feed grains need to be assessed to minimise the risk of worsening overall food security of poor people and increasing competition for land and other resources for animal feed versus human food grains.

The large amount of wastes that animals produce, often close to urban centres, raises serious environmental and public health concerns. If new policies and regulations address these problems, the cost of production in large-scale industrial systems will rise and the sector may lose its competitive advantage over small-scale systems that pollute less. The same applies to large-scale abattoirs and tanneries.

1.6 Trends in science

If the challenges of the Livestock Revolution are to be met, equally revolutionary methods must be used to make livestock production sustainable, to improve policies and to promote better application of existing technologies. A 'business as before' approach is unlikely to meet the projected demand. Fortunately, revolutions are also occurring in science and technology. Successfully applying their products—from advances in genetics and genomics, the rapidly developing field of biotechnology and the equally promising field of informatics—has enormous potential for intensifying livestock production in a sustainable way.

Rapid advances in genetics over the past decade have been fuelled by investments in human genetics and genomics. Livestock researchers are taking advantage of the techniques developed for human medicine in many ways, particularly in mapping livestock and parasite genomes. In return, research on the genetic basis for livestock diseases will provide information and disease models that will be immensely useful for human medicine. For example, the blood parasite Theileria (T. parva causes East Coast fever in cattle) is similar to the malaria parasite Plasmodium. Thus insights into the functioning of mammalian immune systems arising from research on Theileria are of great interest to human medical researchers. Also, as Theileria causes blood cells to multiply in a manner similar to the way leukaemia does, other potentially important information may be gained that can be applied to human medicine.

Modern biotechnology has provided a better understanding of the molecular basis of genetic variation and offers a suite of potentially useful techniques. Examples of what biotechnology can offer are 1) developing livestock that are both more productive and better adapted to particular environments; 2) identifying candidate antigens for developing vaccines to control key livestock diseases; 3) developing sensitive and specific diagnostic tools for use in epidemiological studies and disease control programmes; 4) identifying genetic markers for the feed quality traits desirable in forages and crop residues, which can be used in plant breeding; and 5) manipulating rumen microflora to improve use of locally available feeds.

International agricultural research centres (IARCs) are well placed to capture the enormous potential of modern biotechnology and help ensure that its impact is felt in developing countries. They are also well positioned to develop collaborative research programmes with advanced research institutes throughout the world that complement the work of developing country agricultural research systems. The resources and comparative advantages of IARCs, applied strategically, will add value to the total investment in international agricultural research. Delivery of research products through appropriate partners will ensure that the full potential of these products will be realised.

Issues and implications

Trends in science: New science enables new approaches to solving the complex problems limiting livestock productivity in developing countries. Large-scale industrial systems will be served by the for-profit sector and often will transfer technologies from systems in developed countries. Publicly supported research drawing on new science can serve the poor and protect the environment.

Effect of new science on old problems: Effective application of new science options may radically increase the probability of successfully resolving long-standing problems.

Access to new science: The existence of proprietary technologies in 'new science' acts as a constraint to the wider use of these technologies in developing countries, especially by NARS. A body to act as broker is needed to negotiate equitable access for developing countries.

Genetically modified organisms: The international community has growing concerns regarding genetically modified organisms. Their precise definitions must be clear and the ethical issues involved well spelled out.

Intellectual property rights: To protect public interests and to ensure that the private sector is involved where deemed necessary, international centres need effective policies and protocols to protect intellectual property. This protection may require greater use of defensive patents than envisaged even recently.

Biosafety: International centres will continue to carry out their research agendas with due diligence to ensure that they are following international standards of biosafety.

Animal welfare: Recognising the concerns of the international community, research involving live animals must meet the highest international standards for animal welfare.

A range of powerful new tools and approaches is now available for more effective collection, analysis and interpretation of data. These tools include geographic information systems, satellite imagery, systems analysis and spatial analysis—for example, to map poverty—to determine recommendation domains. Refining, validating and eventually applying these tools and approaches will make setting research priorities and assessing impact of the resultant approaches much more effective.

Although ILRI's sights are firmly fixed on the public-good goals of reducing poverty and increasing food and nutrition security, the international community—including the CGIAR, international agencies, and both donor countries and developing countries—have concerns that span a wide range of thorny issues. Items on the agenda that must be addressed include use of genetically modified organisms and related food safety standards, intellectual property rights, biodiversity, animal welfare, biosafety, environmental concerns including climate change, and international trade. Assuaging these concerns while at the same time achieving the stated goals is a real challenge, influencing policy and affecting public relations.

Some research products, such as vaccines, call for commercial partners who can develop and manufacture a product and deliver it to the farmer. Partnership in turn means that the research products must be securely protected by patents. In view of the high cost of developing these products, a commercial partner will demand exclusive licensing agreements. As patenting is increasingly applied to genetic information, defensive patenting may be necessary to ensure that information that CGIAR research generates stays in the public domain.

1.7 Trends in information technologies for partnerships with NARS

Many NARS in developing countries lack ready access to the wealth of information and knowledge on livestock production and related fields. Their access to journals and recently published books is often poor. Net-based technologies offer an effective way of overcoming these shortcomings.

International livestock R&D already uses the power of the Internet as a way to share and obtain information and expert advice within the international community. The Internet will also revolutionalise livestock R&D in developing countries. Although Internet access within many developing countries is poor today, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, initiatives and commercial ventures are changing this situation. We can safely assume that by 2010, NARS scientists will have easy access to all the existing and many new services from the Internet.

Information technologies will affect the way NARS will seek and share information and the way they will organise and manage their research. They will improve the poor links in the research–extension–farmer chain and extend Internet services to rural populations. Already multipurpose community telecentres have been established in Benin, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda; similar initiatives are under way in other regions of the world. Unless NARS and extension agents make themselves partners in these new opportunities, farming communities may use the Internet directly to seek and find solutions to problems of improving farm production.

The Internet will also provide NARS with new tools for building and strengthening their R&D capacities. Electronic distance learning on the Internet, through the African Virtual University and initiatives like 'Learning without Frontiers' and 'Creating Learning Networks for Teachers', demonstrate the way forward.

Issues and implications

Net-based technologies: Opportunities arising from advances in communication and Net-based technologies can be used to deliver cost-effective training and information services.

1.8 The stakeholders for international livestock research

Disparate are the roles and expectations of the many partners and stakeholders in international and national livestock R&D (see Table 1.5). However, ILRI expects to respond to them in designing its strategy and in defining its responsibilities and roles. Principal stakeholders include beneficiaries, partners, collaborators, alternative research suppliers, clients and investors. Principal beneficiaries from international livestock research that addresses the needs of the poor in developing countries will be those whose livelihood is improved by keeping more productive livestock and those whose nutritional well-being is improved from an increased supply of affordable and accessible meat, milk and eggs. On a broader level, research that mitigates environmental pollution and degradation will benefit society worldwide.

Table 1.5. Stakeholder roles and expectations from international livestock research

Stakeholder Role Expectation
The hungry and poor in developing countries Serve rural poor and low-income consumers, who are the primary beneficiaries Improved welfare due to availability of and access to adequate quantities of affordable, wholesome, safe food
Resource-poor small- holder livestock keepers Enhance role as principal producers of livestock products and clients for research-derived interventions and products Increased sales of meat, milk and eggs, generating income to improve livelihood of smallholder producers and bring them into the market economy
Natural resource managers, including farmers and pastoralists Increase offtake of livestock products by increasing productivity, reducing wastage and protecting natural resources Adoption of proven technologies and enabling policies that encourage innovation and sustainable natural resource management
National agricultural research and extension agencies Working as both partners and clients, ensure that research products serve needs in developing countries Application of knowledge and technology in animal agriculture to raising incomes and producing food and fibre in developing countries
Developed country research institutes Serve as alternative suppliers and partners for demand-led upstream research Research products resulting from ILRI's collaboration with NARS and other partners
International agricultural research centers Through strategic and applied research and capacity building, address constraints to sustainable livestock development Research and capacity-building inputs that enhance the productivity of the collective efforts of other research providers
Private sector, for-profit organisations Serve as alternative suppliers and collaborators in developing and delivering profitable products from research Availability of affordable purchased inputs and markets for farm products and processed food
Non-governmental organisations Serve as facilitators, transfer agents Implementation of improved practices, on the farm, regionally and nationally
Development policy- and decision-makers Promote the sustainable livelihoods of smallholders and low-income consumers with enabling policy environments and support systems Availability of policy options and validated alternative technologies for enhancing livestock production and trade
Development banks and agencies Enhance livestock development through investment and technical assistance Sustainable livestock development contributing to local and national economic development
Investors Provide capital and credit for agriculture and rural development, enabling use of research products Investment strategy; based on or due to added impact of investment in R&D

The impact that international livestock research makes will depend both on the critical mass of its scientific and institutional capacity for the research and on the development and delivery of the products from the research. This critical mass, essential for the success of the discovery-to-delivery-to-impact continuum, involves partners, collaborators, alternative suppliers, investors and the beneficiaries themselves. The CGIAR represents only 4% of the annual investment in agricultural research for development. Thus IARCs such as ILRI will generate the most impact by working with and through partners and allies supported by the 96% of the total investment.

Given the pressing and urgent needs that the Livestock Revolution imposes, research oriented towards livestock development cannot be deemed successful unless its products reach the ultimate beneficiaries quickly. ILRI's impact will increasingly depend on the efforts of NARS, NGOs and the for-profit private sector.

The traditional modus operandi for international centres is to deliver their research products through national research and extension services. The capacity of NARS varies enormously from country to country and region to region. Especially in sub-Saharan Africa, the capacity of national research and extension services has failed to keep pace with the increasing need for livestock research and development. The gap this creates in the discovery-to-delivery-to-impact chain must be closed by strengthening the capacity of the NARS and extension services through training and providing information. In addition, ILRI must forge new partnerships with NGOs and must work to involve the private sector more. These new partnerships bring new challenges. ILRI must rationalise the focus on international public goods with the need to protect intellectual property rights, to ensure that research products are developed and delivered, and that those products serve the needs of the poor.

Recognising the need to focus resources and build critical mass, NARS in all developing regions are joining in regional associations to set priorities and to coordinate and mobilise resources for research on common regional issues. Examples are the Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutes (APAARI) and the Proyecto Cooperativo de Investigación (PROCI) in Latin America. In Africa, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) has three subregional members, the Association for Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA), the West and Central African Council for Agriculture Research and Development (WECARD/ CORAF) and the Southern African Development Community–Southern African Centre for Cooperation in Agricultural Research (SADC/SACCAR). IARC agendas will increasingly coordinate with those of such organizations—as indeed will the CGIAR's overall agenda through links with the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR), to which the regional organisations belong.

Issues and implications

Public vs private goods: International centres are primarily involved in generating international public goods; however, in some areas (for example, diagnostics, vaccine development), involving the private sector may be beneficial. But limited markets consisting chiefly of poor people may mean that centres will have to orchestrate creative incentive arrangements to interest the private sector in developing and delivering products.

International agricultural research is primarily funded by countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and development agencies and foundations closely allied with those countries. Hence the investors tend to have the same goals and limitations. The overall goals in recent years have not varied much—reducing poverty, achieving food security and protecting the environment. However, in recent years there have been important changes in emphasis, with poverty reduction becoming paramount. Food security is extending to include nutritional security and rural livelihoods. Conservation of the environment has the dual goals of reducing negative factors such as the accumulation of greenhouse gases and encouraging positive factors, especially improving the management of natural resources such as soil and water.

The funds available for development, including research for development, have declined. This decline has been accompanied by greater insistence on accountability and evidence of impact. A means to these ends is proportionately greater reliance on short-term targeted funding. These trends constrain funding for long-term, strategic and higher-risk research. Another consequence has been increased competition for funding. The advanced research institutes (ARIs) are increasingly seeking alliances with NARS in developing fundable research projects. IARCs will, therefore, increasingly work in consortia of ARIs and NARS towards common objectives. This will increase the impact of the overall investment in international agricultural research.

Members of the CGIAR and the host countries in which international agricultural research is conducted have endorsed a series of international undertakings and conventions. Prominent among these are the pledges made at the Earth Summit and Agenda 21 (UNICED 1992) on the environment and at the World Food Summit, to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015. The conventions include the Convention on Conservation of Biodiversity, the Convention on Combating Desertification and the Kyoto Agreement on Climate Change. International agricultural research institutes are committed to working toward achieving the goals of these international agreements.

Issues and implications

International conventions: International centres have an obligation to help accomplish the goals and objectives of international conventions that CGIAR members and their host governments have endorsed.

Capacity of NARS: NARS must be strong to establish effective research partnerships and deliver research products in a timely way. International centres have an important role to play in strengthening and building the capacity of NARS.

New partnerships: In response to international developments, international centres need to work with a wider range of partners, including NGOs, the private sector, and regional and subregional organisations.

Changing investor expectations: To attract sufficient investment, researchers will have to demonstrate that their products contribute to the investors' goals and objectives. The paramount goal at this time is to reduce poverty. Distributing income and wealth more equitably, providing nutritional security and protecting the environment are additional important goals. Investors also urge that partnerships be forged and institutional capacity be built to increase impact.

Balanced portfolios: Given that the bulk of research funding comes from development agencies with short-term objectives, research institutes must develop a mix of research activities in which important long-term, high-impact research is deemed credible and is underwritten because of the outflow of short- and medium-term research products.

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