Livestock and environment

From ilri40 ilriwikis

ILRI@40 Addis: Livestock and healthy lives

Reported by Dorine Odongo

#x-ILRI@40 Addis: Livestock and healthy lives-DAY ONE: 6 November 2014 at the Sheraton HotelDAY ONE: 6 November 2014 at the Sheraton Hotel

#x-ILRI@40 Addis: Livestock and healthy lives-Featured talk by Lorne BabiukFeatured talk by Henning Steinfeld

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Key emerging issues on livestock and environment

Livestock is crucially important for rural people; provides income resilience as well as nutrition. There is great economic sense in investing in rural areas- need policies to support research& agriculture in areas needed most Find innovative ways to preserve the environment and help smallholders adapt to climate change; invest in efficient livestock feeding systems. Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production is a concern, hence need ways of converting this to income Foster greater equality for all categories of rural people; need to ensure that smallholders are able to make the most of the opportunities offered by livestock. Livestock performs multiple functions in the rural household and economy: transport, food, farming, Various global drivers influencing livestock production:

  • Rising demand for livestock products
  • Climate change
  • Growing resource scarcity as reflected in land and water scarcity, energy needs and nutrients loss

There are different systems for different purposes, characterized by varying indicators; this diversity needs to be recognized There is a strong relationship between productivity and emission intensity; however, there is potential to reduce emission intensity by considering efficient practices in resource use Livestock are very flexible resource users, and buffers for enhanced resilience; there is need to strategically enhance this. Livestock affects biodiversity due to pressure they put on land for feed (land used for feed production). However, two concepts can be applied to protect biodiversity:

  • Land sparing- focus on intensive farming on smaller pieces of land
  • Land sharing- focus on moderate intensity

Response options for the challenges?

  • Increase efficiency on resource use, sustainable intensification and lower emission intensity
  • Enhance livelihoods and human well-being; protect assets to keep animals productive, and optimize contributors
  • Protect resources- natural resource management
  • Increase resilience

For all these to be achieved, we need pro-active policies, incentives and innovation

DAY TWO: 7 November 2014 at the ILRI Addis campus

Aim: Generate a 2054 livestock research ‘challenge’ or challenges (vision of success, scenario); as well as associated ‘solutions’ as to how the livestock sector will deliver on the 2054 promises/vision (emerging from day 1 of the conference and the 0930 plenary).

Time Length Topic Speaker
11:00 5 min Process intro
11.05 15min PRESENTATION]

Reactions to day 1 / plenary before the parallel
* Polly Ericksen
11.20 20 min PRESENTATION] * Henning Steinfeld
11.40 50min ‘L&E’ research scenario to 2054?
Setting ourselves a big challenge


Can we agree ‘the’ L&E challenge for researchers to aspire to? A vision of success?

By 2054, …

summary of discussions:

* There is need to understand the current situation before we can make projections for future. A better understanding of global drivers and the trade-offs will allow for sensible realistic projections. For this, we need:
Accurate estimates of livestock distribution data
A better understanding of the farmers’ systems- ruminant production systems
Quantify these gaps and determine what realistic efficiency gains can be made, and what incentives would work
* After this, we can begin targeting, impact assessments and scaling out
* It is important to understand what are we comparing livestock GHG emissions against, and communicate this clearly
* To enable the development of appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies, there is need to understand the trends and attribute the distributions in terms of emissions
* Pastoral value chains and the future of pastoralism in the dryland systems is a big challenge. Thus, it is important to characterize the systems and come up with targeted sustainable interventions
* This calls for a model of sustainable intensification that works for extensive dryland systems.
* On the one hand, extensive livestock production is the realistic intervention but requires mobility; on the other hand, this mobility needs to be protected, hence the call for institutions around this.

Questions and comments:
* There is need to focus on farmer efficiency rather than livestock efficiency
* Separation of feeds and livestock production systems: Feed production is disintegrated from livestock production- this needs to be addressed
* What is our objective? Feed people and protect the environment? Or protect the environment and then feed people? which one comes first?
* How do we de-construct these issues? Some of the interventions suggested may not work for smallholders unless they are contextualized
* There is need to understand what exists, and not to focus on emission intensity because the real emissions matter most. Where are the greatest quantities of emissions coming from? This will help understand where the realistic efficiency gaps are rather than the theoretical efficiency gap
* Efficiency gains are essential but in the developing world, the incentives need to be understood so as to make production more efficient. In the African livestock systems context, we need to focus more on adaptation rather than mitigation
* When looking at incentives, we not only need to consider production, but also consumption side due to the changing consumption patterns and preferences
Talk Show
Mats with
a.n. other
Livestock and greenhouse gas emissions]
Mats: Livestock and water
Mark: Big data from small farms
* Reactions to the ideas
* There is need to consider composition of farming systems
* Several challenges affect cropping systems and livestock production systems including water and land resources
* Key questions to ask when considering incentives for farmers; do we understand our farmers enough? Is our research effective?
* Need to use research evidence to influence the process of producing land use plans
* There are multiple land use systems and it is important to profile the different land systems for economic valuation
* We do not have a good understanding of pastoral social systems; these need to be considered as a whole system, rather than looking at individuals
* There is also a great need to understand livestock efficiency and what it means in different contexts and thresholds efficiency we can reach
* Mark Eisler
* Henning Steinfeld
* Steve Kemp
* Simon Fraval
* Fiona Flintan
Presentation to Plenary Polly

Blogpost:Future of smallholder and pastoral livestock systems discussed at ILRI@40 Addis Ababa event