Group work notes (aggregated)
Sessions 2 to 5 are featured below.
Table of contents:
- Session 2 - Livestock and human health
- Session 3 - Livestock systems in transition
- Session 4 - Animal health and genetics
- Session 5 - Livestock market opportunities for the poor
- Session 6 - Livestock impact pathways
Session 2 – Livestock and human health
In this session on livestock and human health, participants were invited to hear lessons from the past and to vote for some of the most important issues around livestock and human health for ILRI’s upcoming research agenda.
The participants mentioned that the ILRI research should keep focusing on epidemiology, diagnostics and surveillance.
The ILRI value chains are important to bring different perspectives around these issues too and ILRI should continue to seek these perspectives in its informal and emerging value chains to weigh benefits and risks of different interventions, to understand what is changing in developing countries and what are the disease risks associated with these changes.
Other emerging priorities highlighted by several participants on cards were the following:
- Research related to handling animals and animal products along the value chain;
- Working on early warning systems and prevention of zoonotic diseases;
- Carrying out in-depth research that brings about evidence which in turn can be used to educate/train/communicate with local people;
- Communicating more to influence more (as part of the impact pathway) – getting in the policy agenda but also communicating with the human health community;
- Developing stronger partnerships with other CG centres, NARS, NGOs, donors, private sector, churches;
As part of the session, Brian Perry interviewed a panel of ILRI staff on future research in this area as part of the new CGIAR Research Program (CRP4) on Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health. Topics addressed by Delia Grace include the topical and geographic focus of the new CRP, how gender will be addressed, the involvement of partners, monitoring and impact indicators, and the role on One Health. Bernard Bett explained how risks of emerging diseases will be addressed, and ILRI's comparative advantages in this area. Vish Nene elaborated on the 'biotechnology' and diagnostics aspects of the new work; and Appolinaire Djikeng talks on ways the BecA hub can be used to link genomics and meta-genomics technologies with work on emerging infectious diseases. ILRI Director General Jimmy Smith concluded by arguing in favour of work on the prevention and surveillance side of such diseases.
View the video: 
Key pointers from the issue briefs
Agriculture-associated diseases research at ILRI: Food, farming and human health
- An important activity is prioritization, that is identifying which are the key problems where agricultural research can make a difference. Some priorities have already been developed based on existing understanding and track record and these will be reassessed in the light of growing evidence on priority constraints where agricultural research can make a difference.
- We will develop methods for assessing the multiple burdens of agriculture associated disease across health, income, livelihoods and ecosystems and apply these to priority diseases. We will also develop methods for assessing the health implications of agriculture programmes and interventions and to identify investment opportunities where agricultural research can contribute most to human health.
- Detailed value chain mapping, mathematical models, risk factor studies and risk assessments will also identify control points where risk management is needed and help understand the incentives and socio-cultural factors that influence change in practice.
- Improved management of risk will come through facilitating development and uptake of innovations (technological, organizational and social). These will be rigorously tested and assessed. Uptake will be facilitated through contributing evidence for the formulation of enabling policy, and building capacity for change.
- Capacity-building, communication and gender are cross-cutting, integrated into all activities.
Agriculture-associated diseases research at ILRI: Safe foods in informal markets
Our work over the last decade confirms our hypothesis that food safety is an important and growing constraint to smallholder value chains because of its multiple burdens on human health, livestock production and product marketing. Some of the strategies that guide this CRP will be:
Prioritisation and systems understanding
- Comparative risk assessment. We need to continue developing rapid, appropriate methodologies that can identify the food safety and zoonoses constraints to value chains and systems and the benefits of addressing these.
Risk and socio-economic assessment
- Metrics. Integrated measurement of multiple health and economic benefits and burdens is needed to raise awareness of the relative importance of problems and improve resource allocation
- Socio-economics. Social and economic determinants affect behaviour of both consumers and value chain actors, and so are important drivers of food safety. Assessment of incentives at the individual, group and whole-chain levels can lead to better risk communication and management.
- Risk factor assessment. Identifying risk factors gives give insights (often contradicting conventional wisdom) into food safety management and increase the effectiveness and equity of packages of interventions.
- Innovation. A substantial part of the risk associated with informally marketed food can be reduced by relatively cheap and simple innovations (technological, organisational or marketing) which are compatible with the incentives faced by specific individuals of coalitions within value chains.
- Risk based approaches. Current regulations and inspections based on presence of hazards rather than health risks to consumers are ineffective at assuring food safety and prejudicial to smallholder farmers and informal value chains. Risk-based approaches can lead to more effective and equitable food safety management.
- Use of multi-sectoral approaches. Integrated, multi-disciplinary, or trans-disciplinary approaches to food-safety can give added insights, increase ownership, improve effectiveness and generate efficiencies.
Agriculture-associated diseases research at ILRI: Emerging infectious diseases (EID)
In CRP4, priority research on emerging infectious disease might include:
- Prioritization and systems understanding
Prioritization of EID:CRP 4.3 has already identified RVF as its flagship EID. Future EIDs will be identified and ranked based of their zoonotic potential and impacts to assess their suitability for inclusion in the research program.Multi-sectoral studies: Studies on RVF often focus on hosts, vectors or pathogen without paying much attention to ecological shifts that promote emergence of these diseases. Future studies will also identify ecological drivers of the disease. This will be require multi-sectoral studies.
- Risk and socioeconomic assessment:
Metrics and multiple burdens of EID:Appropriate metrics for RVF, which integrate human and animal health impacts, including socio-economic losses associated with reduced production, have not been developed. These metrics also need to capture the effects of RVF on the ecosystem. Such metrics would allow for the aassessment of RVF health risks and economic, social (disaggregated by gender), and ecological impacts as well as the effectiveness of intervention measures. These metrics and tools for calculating them can be applied to other EIDs
- Innovation and risk-based management
This focuses on developing technological, organizational and social innovations that can improve the detection and management of the multiple burdens of RVF. New surveillance and diagnostic tools that allow for a better understanding of RVF will be developed. These measures will integrate participatory approaches with technological innovations such as mobile phone technology, social networks, etc. Integrated methods of controlling the disease (without reducing production and productivity) e.g. targeted use of vaccines will be developed and assessed. These studies will also assess institutional and socio-economic factors that influence the implementation of intervention measures. This should also be useful for the management of other EIDs.
- Cross-cutting activities
Communication, capacity-building and gender, will be essential elements of the three preceding activities. Gender will be integrated through disaggregation of data, understanding differential risk and differential roles in risk management, and promoting gender equity. Capacity-building will be an explicit focus for all partners including farmers, NGOs, public services, private sector, students and ILRI scientists. Communication will include advocacy meetings, briefs, website, and reports disseminating research findings.
Agriculture-associated diseases research at ILRI: Neglected zoonoses
IN CRP4, the following research questions are considered key:
Risk prioritisation and systems understanding
What are the priority zoonotic and emerging diseases that constrain pro-poor development?
- What is the prevalence and burden of zoonotic and emerging diseases?
- What are the risk factors and control points?
- What are the options for control?
- What are the likely risk-risk trade-offs, costs and benefits, and cost-effectiveness of control options?
How can agriculture-based interventions contribute to control of neglected zoonoses?
- How to build and test multi-sectoral, integrated zoonoses control packages?
- What is the added value and appropriate use of multi-sectoral, ‘One Health’ interventions?
- How to develop new technologies to meet current gaps in disease control?
- How to promote uptake, adoption, and transforming knowledge into use?
- What is the acceptability, scalability, transferability and sustainability of interventions?
Notes from the discussions
Key clusters in this strand of work are:
- Food associated diseases: salmonella, e.coli, brucellosis...
- Zoonotic diseases: Avian flu, Cysticercosis, tuberculosis...
- Emerging diseases...
- New diseases: swine fever, SARS etc.
- Occupational diseases.
Consider also diseases that move from people to animals e.g. reverse zoonosis?
Where is ILRI going with the livestock and human health agenda?
The vision of CRP 4 is to change agricultural research and practice so that it contributes much more to improving nutrition and health for the poor and particularly for children and women, a.o. by increasing micronutrients of staple crops, using value chains etc.
Cards collected for prioritisation
- Issue of companion animals – rabies. Is this relevant to ILRI?
- Care with managing IFPRI – ILRI partnerships
- ‘Poor’ food safety to big food security
- Communication as part of impact pathway
- Data to explain added value of ILRI research outputs
- Communicate more
- Define clear criteria for prioritization – be pragmatic / realistic ($)
- Partnership? CGIAR ++ / NARS -- / NGOs -- / Doctors -- / Private sector –
- Define methods/tools to collect evidence easily on the field (LG scale data collection / Practical & cheap methods)
- Define ILRI’s niche!
- Involve NGOs/Churches that work on the ground à capacity building / knowledge
- Have answers for questions that nobody answered
- Focus on a few issues. And do in depth research
- Do research that provides evidence so other parties can educate/train/communicate with local people
- Integrating indigenous knowledge with the science front
- Converting the converted – how to do it? E.g. knowingly eating raw meat
- Moving from diagnosis towards action/solutions – then what?
- Linking research with the target groups (communication / influence)
- Collective management of diseases
- Focus on disease burden for the poor
- Balance between nutrition and health
- Prioritisation is very important (research framework)
- Brucellosis is important
- Handling of animal products – impact along the value chain
- Capacity building needs to be focused and driven by activities
- Tie ILRI work in CRP4 more tightly, systematically to value chain intensification
- Actions; solutions; response measures; Solutions need to be tailored to poor peoples’ livelihoods
- Tailoring early warning and responses to types of zoonotic diseases
- 1./ Capacity strengthening
- More clean way of handling and processing meat
- 1. High risk of contamination 2. Easily transmit any disease from animals to humans
- Consult before making decisions
- Emerging diseases (very new and high priority diseases) in camel
- Attention to capacity building/implementation and implications for research to be more effective
- Identify geographic zones (+ activities along) of high risk for zoonotic disesases (hot spots)
- How to create healthy/safe environment (to prevent zoonotic disesases)
- Food-borne diseases: salmonelosis, E. Coli, S.C. Aurus
- 1) Zoonotic diseases: rabies (very serious, not addressed. Vaccine dev’t need to be focused) b) Tuberculosis (Dev’t of multi-drug resistant variant both bovine and human) c) Brucellosis (Small ruminants)
- 3.7 consumers? Baseline health data microbial. à tap into human health funding
- Establish communication w/ human health community. How? Partnership, expert engagement
- 3.7 Value chains = 4 value chains à Ag-associated diseases id
- Establish partnership with WHO for human health – surveillance
- Keep livestock emphasis
- Develop good (win-win) partnership, which will be key to the success of your CRP
Session 3 – Livestock systems in transition
One of the sessions looked at experiences with different aspects of livestock systems in transition: crop residue tradeoffs, sustainable intensification, vulnerability and pastoralism, livestock-water and climate change.
It was reported that crop residues are important in soil conservation as well as for animal feeds, pointing up the two main competing areas. The main question discussed was whether improving crop residues through plant breeding would help us improve productivity of animals.
Regarding sustainable intensification the main discussion point was whether the focus should be on the private sector, on high value production and exports, or on harnessing the smallholder sector.
The discussion on pastoralism and vulnerability questioned whether research could have a role at all in actions and decisions that are usually very 'political', and the need for closer interfaces with relief actions (after disasters). The 'unconnectedness' across different pastoral systems worldwide was noted - are we really learning across regions? In conclusion, participants felt that research does have an important role: to inform aspects of emergency relief recovery; to inform politicians and policy makers and in providing options for pastoral systems - to help guide government policies.
The group on livestock-water reiterated the importance of livestock as an integral part of the whole landscape and production system ...with the right policies and interventions, we can get more meat, more milk, and more water!
Finally, the group on climate change noted the amazing mass of crisis-induced innovation that is happening all over Africa (and beyond), and asked how we can leverage this for better solutions on people's farms, not just at the global level.
See the video 
Key pointers from the issue briefs
Crop residues in smallholder systems: Pressures and trade-offs
- Ongoing research on biomass trade-offs in smallholder systems shows the decision making process at farm level to be influenced by a complex range of factors. It is difficult to suggest simple solutions that balance short-term and long-term benefits at farm level and balance current farm livelihoods and long-term ecosystem health. Teasing out some general principles from this complexity is, however, essential if we are to provide tailored solutions for farms in different contexts.
- Our first challenge is to work out theoretical optima for crop residue use in different situations. This is particularly challenging in a globalised world, where climate and market dynamics largely determine the production of and demand for crop residues, including increasing demands for feed and biofuels. Achieving this would help us formulate policy to balance individual versus collective needs and to balance short-term versus long term benefits.
- Suggesting solutions for optimum use of biomass in smallholder systems is only the first step. Even more challenging is finding ways to translate theoretical solutions into practice. This requires a thorough understanding of incentives leading to existing practices. It also requires creative ways to adjust incentives to bring about change. Part of the solution may be to enhance the efficiency of value chains for crop and livestock products, so creating strong incentives for more efficient use of resources. Another option is to provide opportunities for farmers to seek off-farm employment, reducing pressure on land to deliver livelihoods. The way such problems are tackled is important. Innovation systems approaches and multi-stakeholder alliances can help bring together communities, extension, research, input suppliers, and government to co-develop sustainable solutions.
- Progress has been made to better understand the impacts of climate change on livestock systems in developing countries, and to quantify the effects of different mitigation and adaptation options. Several challenges remain:
- A systems focus is key, not only to differentiate between systems with very different characteristics, but also to appropriately evaluate and implement appropriate mitigation and adaptation options at the household level. ILRI is working with partners on life-cycle analyses of household GHG emissions, test cases of different schemes that can provide income to farmers through payments for ecosystems goods and services, and development of household models that are able to evaluate risk and crop-livestock interactions and tradeoffs, but much remains to be done.
- There is widespread consensus that existing crop and livestock genetic resources will be critically important to help croppers and livestock keepers adapt to a changing climate. The genetic characterisation of indigenous animal genetic resources in tropical livestock systems is far behind that of major crops. Livestock genetic characterisation is urgently needed to broaden the range of animal genetic resources and options available to livestock keepers seeking to adapt to climate change.
- While risk management is an appropriate way to engage agriculturalists and pastoralists on climate change issues, much work is needed with government to take heed of forecasts and plan appropriate actions to deal more effectively with impending droughts and floods.
- The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report of 2007 noted substantial barriers, limits, and costs to adaptation and mitigation in agriculture, also that many of these were not yet fully understood, let alone quantified. Much needs to be done, particularly to generate information that can be distilled to help people make decisions, and identifying thresholds in natural systems beyond which adaptation may be extremely difficult or impossible.
- There are considerable uncertainties surrounding the projections of climate models into the future, and climate science may only be partially successful in reducing these uncertainties in the next 10 years. Efforts to improve the communication of uncertainty, and how uncertainty can be better addressed in the future (without causing decision paralysis), could be very important.
- Due to the heterogeneity of pastoral systems, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but a complex of inter-connected dimensions that need to be addressed.
- Some key lessons we have learned from our work in these systems are:
- There is a generally good knowledge base on rangeland-based livestock production systems in arid and semi-arid tropics; the challenge is how to mainstream the available information into decision making at local, national and regional levels.
- Technical interventions have had a limited impact on overall development of pastoral and agro-pastoral areas. Hence, there is need for focus on how to translate technical information into policy options.
- Demographic pressure and climate change are creating important changes in land use, access to resources and on livelihood strategies of pastoralists.
- There is need for a holistic research paradigm for rangeland management which looks beyond increasing the primary productivity but addresses the new role rangeland ecosystem can play in providing environmental services and promoting environmental stewardship.
- Pastoralism is no longer seen as a tragedy for common grazing areas but rather as having the potential as a viable part of complex livelihood strategies.
- The main research challenge is to support the transitions in livelihoods that are taking place, in particular mitigating risk and grasping the potential to implement new livelihood strategies that include new market opportunities and engaging in other sectors of the economy.
- Potential transition routes for pastoralists include: 1) continuing as usual; 2) continuing as pastoralists but implementing new management strategies for their animals and the environment (to address markets for livestock or ecosystem services); 3) settling and combining livestock raising with new diversified livelihood options; and 4) exiting from pastoralism. While there are still some pastoralists who continue as usual, many are settling down and combining livestock husbandry with new diversified livelihood options. Others have exited pastoral production.
- Key issues to address through research include:
- Increasing need to provide more people with food;
- Livestock mobility to access key resources, pasture and water, especially in period of droughts;
- Improving access to inputs and services for livestock production systems that are already intensifying;
- Improving the resilience of pastoral and agro-pastoral systems in response to climate change and variability;
- Risk management, such as the Index-based Live• stock Insurance (IBLI) scheme to give pastoralists protection against climate related risks such as drought-induced livestock losses;
- Promoting a more efficient use of existing natural resources;
- Building marketing infrastructure to link pastoralists and agro-pastoralists to regional and global livestock markets;
- Co-generation and co-sharing of knowledge and information;
- Building local capacity and institutions, and facilitating community-based initiatives, especially indigenous management of natural resources;
- Strengthening pastoral safety nets as primary means of dealing with drought in sub-Saharan Africa;
- Promotion of alternative sources of employment without losing cultural identities.
- Ten years research suggests that livestock production requires less water than was commonly perceived in the 1990s.
- Practical intervention options exist to further increase livestock water productivity, but these require coherent and broad based institutional and policy support.
- Opportunities also exist to increase overall agricultural water productivity through better integration of animal and plant production within crop-livestock systems
- At the highest level of government and development finance, policies to integrate livestock into agricultural water development and investment are needed. This integration must extend across governance scales to reach farmers and herders.
- The greatest potential to tap new water sources will come through rainwater management, which can complement efforts to combat desertification.
Session Discussion Notes
Livestock and water: Tilahun
Livestock-water interaction is not well understood. No standard indicator.
Are there opportunities for improving livestock water and productivity? Yes, many, e.g.:
- Feed sourcing: if an animal only eats crop residues and water has been accounted for, the water used is free
- If animals die before reaching market or table, any water that goes to them is wasted need. Productive animals are necessary;
- Conserving water through effective range management approaches;
- Optimizing the mix of animal, water and feed resources in the landscape.
How are our - arguably too theoretical - reports going to be put into action from political level to the farm level?
We need to think about ecosystem services and the carrying capacity of the land. In the ecosystem, animals have an important role in production of organic matter, particularly in regions where livelihoods depend on livestock e.g. in the horn. There is no replacement for animal protein in human development.
All scientists agree that it’s not about water vs. livestock.
The opportunities in the livestock-water agenda are:
- Sustainable intensification;
- Better natural resource management to recover and capture more (rain)water in farms (which currently disappears through irrigation);
- Learning about water management from local pastoralists’ knowledge;
- Filling the gap in terms of the relationship to fodder production and the role of crop residues in pastoral systems vs. in other areas;
- Thinking from the scarcity side;
- Bringing the livestock-water relation in system thinking;
- Pursuing the right kind of breeding (so far not addressed in international research);
- Making the research actionable, involving practitioners;
- Focus on how to convert water into money, even if it does not involve livestock, which whill then influence how the water is used efficiently. We have been working backwards on this so far (this was the most unexpected issue that came up in the discussion).
There was no consensus in this group about ILRI’s role for this issue in the future.
- We focused on converting water to cash, with or without livestock – in that process livestock can be well treated and water better used.
- Our consensus: the world is full of water but only 2-3% is economically / efficiently used so we shouldn’t abandon livestock because of water, we should continue eating meat but consider livestock as integral part of the system by improving the feed, the landscape and using water more efficiently. We can thus minimise water depletion, produce more meat, and more milk.
Vulnerability and pastoralism (Iain Wright)
- One of the fundamental problems is that policy makers do not see a future for pastoralists. They should come up with better policy visions that incur economic and environmental arguments.
- Use mixtures of interventions to get opportunities for development that leads to sustainable change.
- Increase literacy among pastoralists to literacy to facilitate and sustain change.
- Pastoralists have unique fashion sense.
- Settlement strategies should be able to integrate all the stakeholders to understand the real needs and gap.
- The discussion focused on 2 aspects:
- (lack of) Interplay and interaction with emergency relief operations and the role of research in terms of informing those relief operations or reducing vulnerability of systems to reduce the need for relief operations
- Are pastoralist issues political and is there any room for research at all?
- Surprising issue: how unconnected pastoralist systems are across the globe – we are not learning from one region to another
- Consensus about an important role for research in informing aspects of relief operations and particularly in the recovery phase after emergencies. Secondly, in spite of political issues in pastoralism, research should still inform policy-makers about the importance of pastoralism and in providing options for pastoralist systems, but policy-makers need options and ideas to deal with pastoralist systems.
Crop residue tradeoffs (Michael Blummel)
- They are needed for soil conservation as well as for animal feeds – competing uses;
- Quality issues: could improving crop residues through plant breeding or any other measure lead to improve productivity? Probably to a certain extent but it has to be complemented with other measures such as proper supplementation.
- In countries like Ethiopia, using crop residues for construction is very popular.
- There is a mixed picture of how to use crop residues...
Sustainable intensification (Alan Duncan)
- What about the sustainability of systems?
- We need to connect smallholders with markets. We have been focusing on smallholder systems but not on large dynamic systems. Arguably, what we are missing is an opportunity to have smallholders grow and feed the local population / create a smallholder revolution that can capture the market opportunity.
- Intensification should also focus on environment and livelihood.
- We should explore value chains in communities over long term projects and track the dynamics of change there.
The consensus here is that sustainable intensification a highly complex field and there is not just one consensual outcome.
The disagreement was whether sustainable intensification is about private sector, high investment or harnessing the smallholder sector, connecting smallholders with farmers.
Climate change (Mario Herrero)
- The glass is half full, not half empty;
- The concept of crisis-induced innovation means that there is an incredible mass of adaption going on all over Africa and other places – we can leverage this on peoples’ farms, not just on the global level.
Session 4 – Animal health and genetics
In this session, participants heard about current and upcoming issues in animal health and genetics and had a chance to quiz a few ‘experts’ on what seem the most controversial issues in this field, what seem to be the next big agenda points and what ILRI should do about it.
Among the points discussed, the most important issues seem to be: a) Transgenic animals (genes from microbes jumping from animals to humans) as there is no policy about it yet, public understanding is limited and the agenda is Euro-centric: How, if we can breed disease resistance into an animal, can we go to scale to benefit smallholder farmers? b) Whether ILRI should conserve endangered species (we don’t know the real value of doing this yet but it might be very important for future use) c) Genetically-modified livestock d) The failure of frameworks and policies: if the policies are not right or don’t exist we can’t really implement change in breeding, e) What has genomics done for us, and what can it do for small farmers? We need to think long term to better understand how adaptation works, and pay close attention to ethics, policy environments, and delivery of transgenics (supposing we can produce them).
Participants seemed to agree that ILRI should focus on some of the following:
- Digesting and translating blue-sky research on e.g. genomics and meta-genomics into information and messages that can be understood and applied by small farmers?
- Translating blue sky' research into messages for farmers and technologies that value chain actors can understand and apply?
- Ground-truthing blue sky investments - critical for productivity growth - into shorter-horizon research to support 'value chain' work?
- Developing proper phenotyping if we want to use genetic information related to forage crop improvement. ILRI needs to better match genetics with conventional phenotyping.
- Generating evidence concerning ethics, communicating it effectively and facilitating its appropriate use.
- Fertility management and sex-fixing of cattle (through mass insemination), as it has the potential in pastoral areas recovering from droughts to accelerate herd recovery rates. It seems to offer a way to increase recovery and resilience of herds.
- Considering cloning: Why don't we go for specialised breeds targeted to specific systems? We have the technologies, we have good breeds, why not clone them? We are concerned about tradeoffs between a focus on intensification and high value/productive animals - what about the indigenous breeds, and what about biomass requirements?
- Paying much more attention to institutions: without the right frameworks and policies and strong institutions, better breeding can't achieve impact.
Video summary: 
Key pointers from the issue briefs
Mass artificial insemination interventions to enhance dairy and beef production in Ethiopia
Further improvement in the artificial insemination system’s effectiveness and efficiency can be tested including: i) use of selected semen (local as well as exotic) of different breeds for the butter, milk and meat system; ii) use of sexed semen or sex fixer to increase the proportion of female calves born in the dairy system; iii) testing dif -ferent organizational and institutional models for mass insemination including commercial mobile AI teams.
Why chicken research for development?
- Improving chicken productivity will result in an improved diet, especially for children, and in improved social-economic status. Chickens thus can serve as a first step out of poverty, without which upgrading to, for example, small ruminants or other agricultural activity most likely would never be possible.
- We will use genome-wide association studies using large numbers of SNPs and polymorphism studies at candidate resistance genes to identify the genetic components of indigenous poultry resistance/susceptibility to disease challenge. Investigation of resistance in local Ethiopian poultry will not only identify genetic regions and genes that can be used to inform cross-breeding programs in Ethiopia, but will also greatly extend our knowledge of the genetics of resistance in poultry, which to date has largely been studied in inbred and commercial poultry lines.
- We will identify and prioritize infectious diseases that impact on village poultry. We will use ELISA for diagnosis of key viral and bacterial pathogens and use coprological examination to diagnose gut parasites. This knowledge will enable more precise disease control planning by Ethiopian policy makers and animal health professionals, as well as inform targeting of the breeding program.
- Using participatory methods we will work with farmers to identify diseases impacting poultry production, factors affecting uptake of control strategies and the desirable characteristics of birds. We will utilize all these results to inform selection in an ongoing breeding program which is improving the productivity of local poultry ecotypes for distribution to villages. Thus we should ensure that the improved birds also have enhanced resistance to key infectious diseases.
- While the African research and academic community welcomed DAGRIS, they called for long-term mechanisms to ensure its continuous updating. Users also provided many suggestions on features of the system, requesting enhanced geo-referencing, and further development of decision support tools for different stakeholders.
- Consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), countries also want to have full control of technical information on their genetic resources.
- This latter demand has led to efforts to develop ‘country’ versions of DAGRIS in which the contents would be updated and managed locally, and shared globally (a prototype was produced in October 2011).
- To this end, the next generation of DAGRIS is being developed in several parallel strands.
- The existing ‘global’ interface is being re-designed as an open platform, drawing on open standards and using open source software, with content that can be easily interrogated, analyzed and updated. The new platform will have extended features and functionalities – forming part of a wider AnGR knowledge base of ILRI and partners.
- Country versions of DAGRIS are being developed using existing content from the global database. The overall system will be designed to allow local updating and management – through a country ‘dashboard’ – which will simultaneously update the global components. This work started in 2011 and will include training, creative partnership arrange-ments, and different ways of working. It should extend the reach of the system at the country level, and address updating challenges: Such a system can no longer be totally managed from one place; and moreover digital applications are now avail-able to much more easily build such decentralized systems.
- Organizing the various types of DAGRIS content and linking this with a ‘virtual library’ of full text documents and reports ( 5), the Animal Genetics Training Resource ( g), and other related resources of ILRI and its partners.
Notes from the Discussions
Human health group discussion (Vish Nene)
- Plants don’t have the adaptive immunity that mammals have, they have innate responses
- From the funding side, we need to know from our partners if they are funding institutes, universities, etc. We need to build needs linkage with NGO’s and other organizations working on the ground;
- There is lack of robust method to generate immune response system – but there are many tools out there to develop databases;
- An interesting point from the conversation was around community implants – what can we learn from that in terms of livestock?
- The biggest challenge we are facing is that we are still scratching the surface, following our rational approach on vaccine development;
Genetics group discussion (Tom Randolph)
- How can we exploit the biotech findings and research to assist the smallholder farmer?
We need to understand the problem on the ground then understand how the science can assist by investing time and effort. E.g. CRP 3.7 Milk, meat and fish- is aimed at increasing productivity (in terms of breeding) through value chain research. New technology will reduce the constraints in the future.
- Adaptation is being overlooked currently, but research remains very important at all times. Perhaps we could consider involving the private sector to implement the research?
- What are the opportunities and priorities to improve smallholder systems?
- We have to improve on our process assistance and impact assessment.
Controversy in our group:
- What is the use of our investment if we are to have impact? We have to continue our blue-sky research to find opportunities – this is critical to continue for our productivity growth in our target value chains.
- We do the blue sky research but our farmers don’t understand it. How can we develop messages for farmers, traders etc.
Genomics group discussion (Steve Kemp)
- This is a highly controversial issue in genetics.
- What is needed regarding transgenic issues:
- Economic Analysis
- Policy environment for livestock
- Risk benefit comparison for developed countries to developing
- Impact assessment
- Can genomics contribute to animal productivity? Has ILRI seriously thought about its strategy in this respect?
- We have the genes but the interaction is very complex: We have technical, policy, social and public issues interlinked.
- In a long term we can help the poor
- How long will it takes to do breeding and produce more animal to productions?
- What is our plan to scale up the process?
- How will high tech issues be translated to farmers so they can understand them?
- (video summary) What has genomics done for us and what can it do for poor farmers in the future?
- (video summary) We have to generate long term, broad data to show how genomes work and interact so we can build up understanding as to how adaptation works.
- Other big challenge: the ethics of transgenics, the delivery of transgenics.
Animal health and genetics – breeding (Azage)
- ILRI Ethiopia is involved in mass insemination of animals. Sex fixing is giving favorable success rates. This is reducing the vulnerability of herds.
- In pastoral systems 55 % of animals are non-productive. What is needed is fertility management and improving the calf mortality rate - this will lead to less stress on the environment and improve productivity in these systems;
- Working on the animal breeding sequence (identifying characteristics, gene type, etc.) takes a long time;
- We need to have animal science group in ILRI to up streaming cross- breeding;
- We are working with various stakeholders to enhance the breeding system;
- Transgenic issues can go to scale for smallholder farmers;
- ILRI’s role is to generate the result, communicate effectively and implement;
- Why don’t we clone the existing breeding systems?
- We could create huge database with all the necessary information, keep learning and come up with the best possible breeds – perhaps even create a “designer animal” and replicate it – though we would have to think about the controversy of creating a monster.
- Most controversial issue: Transgenics – how can that go to scale to help smallholder farmers?
- ILRI’s role is to generate evidence, communicate it effectively and facilitate its use appropriately;
- Controversial issuefor the future include:
- Transgenic animals (genes from microbes jumping from animals to humans) – it is too early, there is no policy about it, public understanding is limited and the agenda is Euro-centric
- Should ILRI conserve endangered species? Introducing new breeds could be important but preserving indigenous animals (for which we don’t know the real value yet) is very important for future use;
- Genetically-modified livestock!
- The failure of frameworks and policies: if the policies are not right or don’t exist we can’t really implement change.
- The next big things seem to be:
- Decreasing the cost of genotyping vs. increasing the cost of phenotyping: More phenotyping than genotyping;
- Understanding basis/mechanisms, t-cells…
- Improvement in genetic diversity;
- Diagnostic tools;
- Designer animals that suit different production systems;
- A better match of animals with ecology / PS
- Developing capacities for developing database feedback;
- Characterisation of animal genetic resources;
- Transgenic issues;
- How to translate genomics into information products;
- Intervening in how ruminants work;
- Ways to improve fertility of indigenous animals;
- A quicker way to restock pastoralist areas;
- Encouraging farmers and pastoralists to keep fewer but better animals;
- Vaccine development: understanding the basis / mechanisms of T-Cells for immune response;
- The debate of sexy genetics + genomics vs. phenotyping / ground work.
- How to make genetics/genomics understandable for farmers?
- Cloning of 10 different ideo-types to be fed in different systems?
- Tradeoffs between intensification and bio-diversity e.g. biomass is not supporting feed and competing demands;
- Fertility management has an impact on pastoral areas; Droughts are coming back frequently, meaning there’s less time to recover herds – we need strategies to speed up recovery rate;
- Using mass insemination as a quick delivery from the bio-tech group (interesting results in IPMS) – there is potential for it in the beef sector, for resilience in pastoral areas etc.
Session 5 – Livestock market opportunities for the poor
In the session on livestock market opportunities for the poor, participants looked at the key lessons learnt from the past, some signs of evidence and identified research gaps that ILRI could partly fill.
What seems obvious: ILRI wants to lift people out of poverty and help smallholders get more competitive. There are pro-poor market opportunities, particularly for high value products, but this requires good coordination. The local demand for quality is there.
More data (e.g. through longitudinal research) is required to bridge the gap, in particular about the real size that smallholders represent on the African marketplace (est. 1%). Research should dig out more illustrative examples of our work with smallholders’ access to markets.
ILRI also needs to develop its understanding about:
- The smallholder ‘household’ operating model;
- Systems thinking – we are dealing with complex dynamics here;
- Value chains: we need a solid conceptual framework for it;
In order to support smallholders, ILRI has to develop new partnerships that aim at increasing the competitiveness of smallholders: the private sector – including private standard/certification bodies – policy-makers and development actors. The set of partners should expand along the whole value chain and crucially upstream from retailers.
A set of parallel measures are essential to make all of this happen: more/better capacity development with smallholders, better information systems (rapid appraisal tools) and communication approaches (a new culture of knowledge sharing to share the insights quickly and gather the big picture more effectively). Finally, ILRI needs new performance measurement frameworks/systems that relate to the above. These should pay attention to the poor and women.
Pointers from the Issue Briefs
The interface of market access and SPS requirements: Lessons from recent ILRI research in Africa
- For the future, ILRI’s work on trade and market access reflects the need for enhanced information flow on one hand and multidisciplinary aspects of cost competitiveness on another. In a continuing partnership with Terra Nuova, ILRI will commence a new project in Somalia to facilitate knowledge storage and sharing on livestock systems. This will include formalization of quality grading systems, their extension to producers, and integration of past ILRI livestock genetics work in Somalia with value chain characterization.
- A project in Botswana will use value chain analysis to rationalize the needs of local production and market systems with the heavily-supported export industry. This takes a holistic view of production, tackling the blends of animal species producing export beef, animal health threats associated with communal grazing, and division of responsibility between control of transboundary diseases and control of more mundane diseases.
- ILRI’s work on West African trade policy helped shape the regional policy initiative under the Club du Sahel’s Livestock and Regional Market Potentials and Challenges in the Sahel and West Africa to 2020 and subsequent livestock compacts. Efforts at regional trade liberalization in East and West Africa included recent African Union initiatives, with ILRI expecting to play a knowledge management role in both regions.
- A policy choice for many countries is the extent of commitment to disease control needed to achieve and maintain export market access. ILRI analyses show that high costs of control may be justified by benefits not directly associated with the gains from international trade. These benefits may not, however, accrue to the poor as much as to the non-poor. Current work with IFAD in Swaziland and Mozambique is examining ways to offset such imbalances by supplying capital to beef trading systems linking smallholder and poorly-resourced producers with fattening and slaughter operations for export.
- Quality and safety considerations in foods of animal origin provide commercial opportunities for developing-country livestock producers, market actors and industry participants. ILRI’s work Demand for livestock products in developing countries with a focus on quality and safety attributes: Evidence from Asia and Africa (ILRI Research Report No. 24) represents the first attempt to summarize and synthesize results of empirical studies of the preferences of developing-country consumers regarding the quality and safety of livestock food products.
- Throughout the value chain, incentives exist for generation of further such information, especially applied to small local and cultural groups of consumers. Similarly, trading and retail formats offer specific contexts for demand estimation. ILRI can maintain leadership in application of advanced methods, and can forge partnerships with public and commercial interests in doing so.
- The work concludes that many poor livestock producers and sellers can benefit from serving consumers, some of whom although poor, discriminate in terms of quality and safety and are prepared to pay a premium for foods they perceive to be safer and of higher quality. However, the extent to which poor livestock farmers and marketing agents can profitably supply safer and higher quality products depends on the policy and institutional environments in which they work. Many challenges remain in getting this right.
- Similarly, the extent to which existing, largely informal, livestock trading networks can be used to get higher quality and safer livestock foods to market is also dependent on how much support and infrastructure is provided to small-scale operators, as well as information flows, skill levels, and the development of credence amongst consumers. These conclusions augur well for formulation of market-driven projects and interventions targeting poor consumers, traders and producers.
- This widespread and rapid adoption of value chain approaches has revealed significant gaps in theory and application. Economic and social theory is yet to be applied fully to explain sales decisions and choices of trading channels and partners in the value chain. ILRI has contributed to formalizing value chain analysis in terms of developing performance measures, tools to employ them, and by piloting interventions for value chain upgrading such as BDS and innovation platforms. Further advances are a major element of our engagement in CRP 2.
- The sustainability of market-led development outcomes relies on private sector engagement. ILRI’s current work in attracting the private sector (including service and credit providers) to the hubs has been achieved for dairy, and future work targets other livestock species and products. This provides increased scope to test and demonstrate the hub concept more widely. Key challenges remain to effectively evaluate hub performance for individuals and communities, and then to scale up the role of collective action in hub design and operation. The extent to which the changing business environment is translated into increased private sector involvement in smallholder value chains remains to be seen.
- Sustaining smallholder competitiveness means defining where opportunities to enhance efficiencies can be tapped and viable options identified and tested. Improved technologies in feed, breed, and animal health are critical to transform subsistence, less efficient systems into more efficient, highly-functioning and better performing value chains for animal-source foods to meet consumer demand. ILRI research has shown that appropriate interventions can lead to desired impacts with potential for scaling up when appropriate policies and institutions are in place to facilitate this process. Rigorous empirical evidence will be necessary to inform the policy debate and generate the desired policy impacts to sustain smallholder competitiveness, as well as to encourage increased investments in research for development. ILRI has the mandate and comparative advantage to take a leadership role here, with opportunities for research and collaborative partnerships presented in CRPs.
- Will smallholders remain competitive in the changing landscape for livestock development? The evidence so far shows that many smallholders are strongly competitive, but we know they face dynamic circumstances of changing resource costs, new markets demands, and new technologies. The structural transformation of agri-food systems will create new opportunities but also pose challenges to smallholder viability and participation. New developments in information technology present new opportunities to bring research for development initiatives at the forefront of knowledge generation and management that were not feasible decades ago. ILRI and partners can capitalize on these innovations to build on existing smallholder competitiveness to generate knowledge through research that make a difference to the lives of smallholders.
Notes from the discussions
Market safety and quality (Derek Baker)
Quality and safety in developing countries is something that people care for and 50-75% consumers are prepared to pay for good quality meat. Consumers are cautious about the feed used and the handling of their meat.
People trade based on information shared. One of the most sought after certification is a government stamp. The government has therefore a role to play.
Pro- poor opportunities exist for high-value products, but coordination is needed.
We need for more evidence on what is happening upstream from the retailer, e.g. on the effect of supermaketization. Is the growth of supermarkets the result of growth in demand for livestock products?
- Key knowledge gaps:
- Trend analysis: systems change, where smallholders remain relevant;
- More examples needed e.g. labour costs;
- Dynamics of smallholder competitiveness;
- Data – longitudinal studies.
- Priorities based on our evidence:
- Methods and tools;
- Understanding the dynamics of household economies;
- Understanding systems.
- More information needed on African Swine Fever (ASF) – about consumption: 1) proximity to ceiling values for human health and 2) environment;
- Scaling out health risk analysis;
- Smallholder engagement / benefit mechanisms;
- Is there a demand-driven value chain for environmental services?
- Exchange of experience of NGOs or others mobilizing VCs for smallholders (EADD as vehicle?);
- Need for rapid appraisal tools (to develop entry points) and communication tools
Value chain innovation (Ranjitha Puskur)
We have to properly define the value chain from production up to consumption in an integrated manner. In the process, we would be well advised to focus on an individual product and involve extension programmes with capacity building at each stage in the chain. This approach also means we have to engage more actively with the private sector.
The value chains need to be involved in the regional trade. Export value chains have higher barriers for smallholder entry (records, traceability, control). Smallholders themselves don’t need foreign exchange but the government does. Overall, their market size is tiny, estimated at less than 1% for Africa, but we need more evidence on this. New partnerships are required with people and organizations that can increase the competitiveness of smallholders. ILRI has all the knowledge required to assist here but should focus as to how to share this knowledge to bring impact. This goes with developing a new culture of knowledge sharing.
The world is now also a value chain and consumers are increasingly demanding better services, increasing demand for value chain analysis and interventions....How do we ensure that value chain performance includes outcomes and impact on/for the poor and women?
How does market research including in value chains, lead to development outcomes?
Value chains are just a means to an end – but value chains need new models and methods, therefore, evolving approaches are being considered. There are currently some experiments with new value chain arrangements, service hubs, business development services, e.g. smallholder dairy development...
As part of the experiments and developments, we also urgently need good performance measures and metrics and methods. The CGIAR Research Programme 3.7 gives ILRI leadership and great opportunities to meeting demand from development agencies especially with proven models...
- Key knowledge gaps:
- A better conceptual framework for value chains is needed;
- Develop linkages among value chain actors: what are the arrangements?
- Training and capacity building;
- Priorities based on our evidence:
- How to engage the private sector and policy-makers?
- Value chain: specific commodity development focus
Market-driven uptake of livestock technologies (Derek Baker)
Eco system services should be included in the export-import cost-benefit. ILRI should promote international trade. There is no formal risk sharing mechanism and no accountability for domestic markets. Yet, a controlled, traceable market is required in order to attract international market opportunities. The government has to intervene in this respect, for the poor.
Consumers want income/growth but poverty is still a key determinant of smallholder competitiveness, because wages are low and one can always produce things cheaply. We want people to be less poor and to become competitive (see info brief #19 on this topic). Smallholder competitiveness is based on the fact that smallholders operate in a ‘household model’, across species and systems. Simple technologies can help drive competitiveness up and people out of poverty e.g. feeding sweet potato to pigs.
Even though studies have shown that smallholders are competitive across species and systems, widespread and well aggregated data is not available to back this.
- Key knowledge gaps:
- Competitiveness in regional markets
- National and regional export opportunities and import substitution
- Priorities based on our evidence:
- Vertically integrate systems, raising the game for smallholders
- Partnerships/audiences to target:
- Private sector;
- Private standard bodies;
Competitiveness and uptake of livestock technologies (Steve Staal)
- Partnerships/audiences to target:
- Private sector – not only existing partnerships but new ones too;
- At all levels;
- But especially at small business level
- Not just cooperatives
- Fair trade/ export?
- Extension workers and NGOs
- Private sector – not only existing partnerships but new ones too;
Session 6 – Livestock impact pathways
In a session on livestock impact pathways, participants discussed ways to enhance ILRI efforts on capacity development, knowledge, gender, communication, partnerships and innovation platforms.
Some feedback from the group discussions included: That a lot of what we do leads to information, that we often employ 'wide shotgun' approaches and that we need to adopt more 'end user' perspectives on our information, to be more needs-based.
Regarding communication and capacity building, we need to pay much more up-front attention in projects, it should go in parallel/together with research.
Innovation platforms are maybe a 'sound way' to combine all the elements. 'The work around value chains is important but it means involving a whole set of actors – the ones that can be the right partners – straight from the start and keeping them interested and involved throughout the process.
Related to this, ILRI staff members need to understand gender better (and its contribution to projects) and use this information to target ILRI outputs in more specific ways, towards women but also youth.
ILRI will achieve impact if it puts in place learning feedback mechanisms that provide useful information to rectify the course of action and give means to constantly measure and document learning to inform future actions/programs.
See the video 
Pointers from the Issue Briefs
What’s in it for me? Ten lessons on multi-stakeholder networks
- Lesson 1: Demonstrating the benefits of technological options and providing learning opportunities stimulates interest in the networks.
- Lesson 2: People participate in multi-stakeholder networks when they see clear tangible benefits.
- Lesson 3: Technologies need to be low risk and accrue early economic gains.
- Lesson 4: Linking fodder technologies to livestock value chains enables adoption and sustainability.
- Lesson 5: Diverse network actors are needed to turn knowledge into actions and benefits.
- Lesson 6: While the formation of multi-stakeholder networks may require external involvement, longer term facilitation must rest with local stakeholders.
- Lesson 7: Establishing and running effective multi-stakeholder networks requires people with broad skill sets and appropriate mindsets.
- Lesson 8: Mechanisms to engage policy makers are essential for policy coherence and scaling up.
- Lesson 9: Successful multi-stakeholder networks are not necessarily ‘sustainable’; they address issues beyond their initial design or they evolve into different entities.
- Lesson 10: Multi-stakeholder innovation networks work best where there are good links to urban markets, good infrastructure and a diverse set of stakeholders.
Outcomes and impacts of ILRI research 2005-2010
Due to its commitment to and investment in making research relevant to development, ILRI is well placed to face the challenge of being accountable for outcomes as well as outputs under CRPs. A challenge will be to ensure that CGIAR objectives of greater accountability and impacts is matched with a research design and implementation process that incorporates lessons on how
to work with partners to increase the probability that knowledge generation will be linked to action on the ground (Kristjanson et al, 2009 ).
While ILRI’s past performance in terms of documenting impact has not been so strong, there are several; reasons to be optimistic in this area. The outcome/impact-focus of the CRPs should generate increased demand for impact studies. The types of impacts that will be assessed will include all 4 CGIAR system-level outcomes (poverty, food security, nutrition/health, and environment). This should
lead not only to more studies but also to methodological development to better assess different types of impact as well as impact at different scales (eg system, value chain). All of this will be good for assessing livestock research impact. To date, only a handful of ILRI studies have looked beyond productivity and income impacts or at gender/equity issues related to how costs and benefits
are distributed. A major challenge is staffing, as recruiting impact assessment specialists is difficult.
Priority areas to generate and document outcomes fall under the markets thematic area. Work is already underway on innovation platforms and an evaluation framework for CRP3.7. Priority areas for impact assessment are breeding, land use change, and climate change. There should be opportunities to look at breeding in CRP 3.7. Land use and climate change might better be assessed in CRPs 1, 5 and 7 so we need to make sure that any studies conducted are relevant to the livestock agenda.
Finally, there are likely to be opportunities with BecA as it develops its own agenda to generate and document outcomes and impacts.
Livestock capacity development approaches: IPMS project experiences
- The need for in-service training is obvious, especially in subjects not normally included in the formal training of staff.
- In-service training requires follow up to deal with evolving/emerging knowledge and skills needs. Development of action plans may help to plan such follow up. Several approaches may be used for follow up action including field days, meetings, workshops, study tours.
- In-service training provided by a project like IPMS can be expensive as compared to govern -ment provided in-service training. As much as possible, such training should therefore be integrated in the government’s regular program. IPMS used this model in its later stages, by providing capacity development funds to the partners. The same model was used for capac-ity building for scaling out.
- While specialized expertise on livestock may be provided by project staff in the short run, the educational system in the country should ultimately be equipped to build capacity in such fields.
Impact pathways link up research and innovation, knowledge and action, outcomes and impact.
In order to reach impact, we have to integrate all kinds of enabling factors: Innovation, partnership, communication, gender, knowledge management and capacity development all the way along the value chain. In dealing with our complex issues, we need to harness different skills to solve problems.
For ILRI it is sometimes difficult to reconcile ILRI’s agenda with regional priorities – we need a different approach in different regions. The opportunity is that ILRI is now perceived as global institute as opposed to previous years when it was regarded as an Eastern African institute only.
Notes from the discussions
The enabling factors tell us a bit more...
Innovation platforms (IPs)
- We have to expand our platforms to the whole spectrum of stakeholders, including (crucially) policy-makers to design innovation systems;
- If we want to achieve impact we have to work on innovation systems, it involves a lot of people to be engaged and discuss to scale up;
- Use IPs as mechanism for driving and building partnerships, networks within communities and chains.
- Build innovation capacity so that it stays behind after projects are over – IPs are a chance to build more sustainable innovation;
- IPs provide a sound environment to combine all these factors;
- IP’s require more work
Capacity building / development
- We need to strengthen and build the staff skills ;
- Build capacity of researchers and different range of partners;
- Let’s focus on capacity development of partners in particular, because empowered partners will better implement ILRI outputs;
- We have to consider gender equity in all the development process;
- We should target our interventions to reach all genders if we are to achieve impact.
- We need to understand gender better (and its contribution to projects) and aggregate and use this information to target ILRI outputs.
- Special consideration has to go for women and youth.
- Communication (and capacity development) should be a parallel development, not a relay race (develop outputs and then think about communicating), it should come from the very beginning;
- Move localized information or findings more widely to achieve impact using various tools that are sensitive to various audience needs.
- Identify the right partners from the start and involve them right from the start and keep them as part of the process;
- Give incentives to encourage long-term participation of (in particular dormant) partners
Knowledge (management) gaps identified:
- Trend analysis from the past until now: What has changed? This would inform us as to what relevant new areas to move to;
- We need more examples to know the impact of adopting a certain course of actions - evidence in examples is needed e.g. on the cost of labour;
- We still don’t know how come smallholders are still poor while they are supposedly becoming more competitive – and there seem to be no data on current hypotheses and ways of assessing what is available;
- We need experimental and cross-sectional studies to better understand dynamics of value chains/market, even though this may not be possible within CRPs.
- We have to bridge technical knowledge gaps in rural areas
- Put in place learning feedback cycles, so we can always measure and document learning which can then be used to inform future actions/programs
- A lot of what ILRI does is related to information, now enabled by mobile & web technologies to bring it to our users but we don’t know too well where our users are.
- All factors are important but our approach needs to be based on needs.
- About the effectiveness of that information: we have different sources of information; how can we learn from these different sources? We could improve on that and seek to understand the perspective of end-users rather than producers of information.