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Livestock play a significant role in rural livelihoods and the economies of developing countries. They are providers of income and employment for producers and others working in, sometimes complex, value chains. They are a crucial asset and safety net for the poor, especially for women and pastoralist groups, and they provide an important source of nourishment for billions of rural and urban households. These socio-economic roles and others are increasing in importance as the sector grows because of increasing human populations, incomes and urbanisation rates. To provide these benefits, the sector uses a significant amount of land, water, biomass and other resources and emits a considerable quantity of greenhouse gases. There is concern on how to manage the sector's growth, so that these benefits can be attained at a lower environmental cost. Livestock and environment interactions in developing countries can be both positive and negative. On the one hand, manures from ruminant systems can be a valuable source of nutrients for smallholder crops, whereas in more industrial systems, or where there are large concentrations of animals, they can pollute water sources. On the other hand, ruminant systems in developing countries can be considered relatively resource-use inefficient. Because of the high yield gaps in most of these production systems, increasing the efficiency of the livestock sector through sustainable intensification practices presents a real opportunity where research and development can contribute to provide more sustainable solutions. In order to achieve this, it is necessary that production systems become market-orientated, better regulated in cases, and socially acceptable so that the right mix of incentives exists for the systems to intensify. Managing the required intensification and the shifts to new value chains is also essential to avoid a potential increase in zoonotic, food-borne and other diseases. New diversification options and improved safety nets will also be essential when intensification is not the primary avenue for developing the livestock sector. These processes will need to be supported by agile and effective public and private institutions.
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Animal
(2013), 7:s1, pp 3–18 &The Animal Consortium 2012
doi:10.1017/S1751731112001954
animal
The roles of livestock in developing countries
M. Herrero
-
, D. Grace, J. Njuki, N. Johnson, D. Enahoro, S. Silvestri and M. C. Rufino
International Livestock Research Institute, PO Box 30709, Nairobi, Kenya
(Received 2 December 2011; Accepted 7 September 2012; First published online 5 November 2012)
Livestock play a significant role in rural livelihoods and the economies of developing countries. They are providers of income and
employment for producers and others working in, sometimes complex, value chains. They are a crucial asset and safety net for the
poor, especially for women and pastoralist groups, and they provide an important source of nourishment for billions of rural and
urban households. These socio-economic roles and others are increasing in importance as the sector grows because of increasing
human populations, incomes and urbanisation rates. To provide these benefits, the sector uses a significant amount of land, water,
biomass and other resources and emits a considerable quantity of greenhouse gases. There is concern on how to manage the
sector’s growth, so that these benefits can be attained at a lower environmental cost. Livestock and environment interactions in
developing countries can be both positive and negative. On the one hand, manures from ruminant systems can be a valuable
source of nutrients for smallholder crops, whereas in more industrial systems, or where there are large concentrations of animals,
they can pollute water sources. On the other hand, ruminant systems in developing countries can be considered relatively
resource-use inefficient. Because of the high yield gaps in most of these production systems, increasing the efficiency of the
livestock sector through sustainable intensification practices presents a real opportunity where research and development
can contribute to provide more sustainable solutions. In order to achieve this, it is necessary that production systems become
market-orientated, better regulated in cases, and socially acceptable so that the right mix of incentives exists for the systems to
intensify. Managing the required intensification and the shifts to new value chains is also essential to avoid a potential increase
in zoonotic, food-borne and other diseases. New diversification options and improved safety nets will also be essential when
intensification is not the primary avenue for developing the livestock sector. These processes will need to be supported by
agile and effective public and private institutions.
Keywords: livestock, developing world, environment, poverty reduction, food security, livelihoods
Implications
Recognising the different roles played by livestock in the
developing and the developed world is essential to under-
stand the impact of livestock on livelihoods, economic
development and the environment. The importance of this
paper lies in providing a balanced account of the roles of
livestock in developing countries. This kind of information is
necessary to dissect the key issues in the often, ill-informed
or generalised discussion on the current and future roles
of livestock. Only by understanding the nuances in these
roles will we be able to design more sustainable solutions
for the sector.
Introduction
We are at a moment in time where our actions could be
decisive for the resilience of the world food system, the
environment and a billion poor people in the developing
world, let alone for the fate of our planet. The society has
realised that there are significant pressures on the world’s
food and ecological systems, where the alterations of global
biogeochemical cycles could be irreversible and where new
drivers, such as climate change, are likely to exert additional
pressures for sustainably feeding 9 billion people in the
future. At the same time, and especially in the developing
world, the demand for livestock products is increasing, thus
adding additional pressures on the world natural resources.
Not surprisingly, the world is asking a big question: what
should we do about livestock? There is an urgency to reduce
the environmental footprint of livestock production while the
world evaluates the choices for sustainably feeding the
human population in the future.
This question requires a sophisticated and disaggregated
answer. The sector is large. There are 17 billion animals in
the world eating, excreting and using substantial amounts of
natural resources, mostly in the developing world, where
-
E-mail: m.herrero@cgiar.org
3
most of the growth of the sector will occur. The roles of
livestock in the developing world are many, spanning from
the social to the economic, to the environmental. At the
same time, they can be positive (i.e. income) or negative (i.e.
pollution). These roles can shift depending on location. For
example, livestock can be polluters in one place, whereas in
another they provide vital nutrients for supporting crop
production. The picture is complex. Whether for its positive
or negative roles, livestock are in the spotlight. It is essential
to dissect the discussion on the roles of livestock, as the
economic development of different countries, their structure
of production, the demand for livestock products, the com-
petition with other sectors and others shape these roles,
making broad generalisations about the livestock sector
useless (and dangerous) for informing the current global
debates on food security and the environment. It is essential
to deliver nuanced, scientifically informed messages about
livestock’s roles in relation to food systems, livelihoods and
their economic and environmental performance.
This paper reviews the positive and negative roles of
livestock in the developing world. It also discusses key fac-
tors that are likely to determine the future contribution of the
sector to food security, environmental protection and eco-
nomic growth. The paper proposes key actions for improving
different aspects of livestock systems so that the positive
roles outweigh the negatives.
Livestock and its socio-economic roles in developing
countries
Livestock production, economics and trade
Livestock production in the developing world occurs in a
wide range of heterogeneous production systems. These can
range from pastoral/grassland-based systems, which occupy
most of the land area and have low human population
densities, through mixed crop-livestock systems, usually in
areas suitable both for arable and livestock production and
where the bulk of rural human population lives, and intensive
systems usually in peri-urban/urban areas. Landless systems are
also often found in urban areas. All these systems in developing
countries produced about 50% of the beef, 41% of the milk,
72% of the lamb, 59% of the pork and 53% of the poultry,
globally (Herrero
et al.
, 2009). These shares are likely to
increase, as most future growth in livestock production is pro-
jected to occur in the developing world (Bruinsma, 2003;
Rosegrant
et al
,. 2009). Most meat and milk in the developing
world comes from mixed systems (Sere
´and Steinfeld, 1996;
Steinfeld
et al.
, 2006; Herrero
et al.
, 2009). These systems play
a very important role in global food security, as they also pro-
duce close to 50% of the global cereal output (Herrero
et al.
, 2009 and 2010). However, the highest rates of increase in
animal production observed in the last decades, and forecasted
into the future, are in the intensive pig and poultry sectors of the
developing world (Delgado
et al
., 1999; Bruinsma, 2003;
Steinfeld
et al.
, 2006).
Livestock production in the developing world is also an
important economic activity. Livestock products are high-value
products, especially when compared with crops. For
example, the average global price of a tonne of red meat is
more than 10 times higher than the price of soya bean,
whereas that of milk is 70% higher (data from FAOSTAT,
2011). This makes milk and meat to rank as some of the
agricultural commodities with the highest gross value of
production (VOP) in the developing world (FAOSTAT, 2011).
In the last decade, livestock have represented between 17%
and 47% of the total agricultural VOP in developing country
regions (range defined by South East (SE) Asia and Central
America, respectively; FAOSTAT, 2011). Over the last
40 years, the value of livestock production has seen an average
2.7% growth per year in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), 3.4% in
Central America and 4.1% in SE Asia. These indicators of
growth compare favourably with, for example, a mean annual
growth in VOP of 1.2% in North America over the same period
(FAOSTAT, 2011). These growth rates are largely a reflection of
increased production in the developing world.
Trade is an important dimension in the economics of
livestock. Local consumption dominates livestock product
demand, and international trade is relatively small. However,
international trade has increased in recent years as a result
of trade liberalisation and lack of competitiveness and low
technological change in some regions (Table 1; FAO (Food
and Agricultural Organization), 2009). Dairy and eggs dom-
inate trade, but meat exports are important for a handful of
countries (i.e. Brazil, Thailand; FAO, 2009). Most trade of
livestock products occurs within a country, with movements
of animal products, inputs and services being very dynamic
because of increased internal connectivity, transport net-
works, improved value chains and the increasing need to
supply the growing urban populations.
Livestock and livelihoods in developing countries
Nearly 1 billion people living on ,2 dollars a day in South Asia
and SSA keep livestock (Table 2). More than 80% of poor
Africans keep livestock, and between 40% and 66% of poor
people in India and Bangladesh keep livestock (FAO, 2009).
Livestock play multiple roles in supporting livelihoods.
One of the most important is as a source of household
income. According to nationally representative data from
across the developing world, 68% of households earn
Table 1
Number of livestock keepers living below US$2 per day
Region/sub-region Number of poor livestock keepers (‘000)
Sub-Saharan Africa 319 908
Central Africa 29 815
Western Africa 132 742
East Africa 104 816
Southern Africa 52 534
South Asia 606 967
India 546 012
Bangladesh 60 955
Total 926 875
Sources
: Staal
et al.
, 2009 (updated from Thornton
et al.
, 2002).
Herrero, Grace, Njuki, Johnson, Enahoro, Silvestri and Rufino
4
income from livestock (Davis
et al.
, 2007). In their study,
consisting mostly of mixed crop-livestock systems in 15 countries,
livestock’s share of rural household income ranged from 1.6% to
33.8% depending on the livestock-keeping objectives (traction,
assets or production), the level of cropping, off-farm income and
monetary transfers. The average share of livestock income was
lower than that of crops, 12%
v.
30%; however, it grew much
faster than that of crops. Although the share of income from
cropping remained stable or even declined, the share of income
from livestock grew by 75% in Ghana between 1992 and 1998,
by 110% in Vietnam between 1992 and 1998 and by 290% in
Panama between 1997 and 2003 (Davis
et al.
, 2007). Staal
et al.
(2009) analysed 92 case studies from the developing world
(Figure 1) and found that livestock contributed, on average, 33%
of the income in mixed crop-livestock systems, with higher
incomes being associated with dairy and poultry production.
They also reported average livestock incomes from pastoral
production of 55% of total income. In a set of comparative
studies with Maasai pastoralists, Burnsilver (2009), Nkedianye
et al.
(2009) and Thompson
et al.
(2009) found livestock incomes
ranging from 37% to 85% of total income. These depended on
the level of diversification and market access of the studied
groups. Bernues and Herrero (2008) found a similar range of
incomes (37% to 88%) from livestock in systems with different
degrees of crop-livestock integration and diversification in low-
land Bolivia (the more diverse and integrated with crops, the
lower the share of the total income; the more specialised towards
dairy, the higher the share).
Although livestock ownership is often seen as a sign of
wealth – household typically move up the ‘livestock ladder’
from poultry to goats or sheep, to cattle/buffalo (Dercon and
Krishnan, 1996; Ellis and Freeman, 2004; Kristjanson
et al.
,
2005; Deshingkar
et al
., 2008) – livestock’s share of income
was highest in the poorest income quintile, which shows that
they are important to the poor as well (Davis
et al.
, 2007).
The growth in demand for milk and meat, mainly driven
by urban consumers in developing countries, has been
increasing in the last few decades and is projected to double by
2050 (Delgado
et al.
, 1999; Rosegrant
et al.
, 2009). This rising
demand for milk, meat, fish and eggs has generated jobs all
along the livestock value chain, from input sales through animal
production, trading and processing to retail sales.
Trading and processing jobs in the livestock sector are
especially high in the informal sectors of countries in Asia
and Africa, where most meat, milk, eggs and fish are sold
(Grace
et al
., 2008) and where most of the people selling and
buying livestock foods are themselves poor (Omore
et al.
,
2001; Kaitibie
et al.
, 2008). Street food is a large part of the
informal sector in most developing countries – the largest in
South Africa (Perry and Grace, 2009) – and therefore a major
source of income and employment for the poor. Animal
source foods are among the most commonly sold street
foods (Perry and Grace, 2009), and it is poor women who do
most of the work preparing and selling these foods. It is
estimated that up to 1.3 billion people globally are employed
in different livestock product value chains globally (Herrero
et al.
, 2009).
Livestock are often one of the main assets that rural
households possess. Access to, control over and ownership
of assets are critical aspects of well-being (Sherraden, 1991;
Carter and Barrett, 2006). Assets are stores of wealth that
can be sold to finance investments such as school fees or in
time of need such as an illness or drought. Assets can act
as collateral and facilitate access to credit and financial
services, as well as increase social status. In their study of
‘voices of the poor’, Narayan
et al.
(2000) found that ‘the
poor rarely speak of income, but focus instead on managing
assets – physical, human, social and environmental – as a
way to cope with their vulnerability’.
Accumulation of livestock assets is commonly followed by
a shift to more non-farm income in comparison with farm-
related income (Reardon, 1997; Barrett
et al.
, 2001; Ellis and
Freeman, 2004). For example, in a livelihoods analysis of four
African countries by Ellis and Freeman (2004), the highest
income quartile of the rural poor was found to have the
highest livestock holdings, as well as the highest percentage
of total income from non-farm sources. These authors con-
clude that ‘livestock is a substitutable asset than can be sold
in order to invest in land or small businesses, and vice versa,
non-farm income can be used to build up herds’.
Across the developing world, people keep livestock to
earn income, increase their crop production (animals provide
Table 2
Global trade in livestock products
World exports Share of total production (%)
Product 1980 2006 1980 2006
Meat 9.6 32.1 7.0 11.7
Pig 2.6 10.4 4.9 9.8
Poultry 1.5 11.1 5.9 13.0
Bovine 4.3 9.2 9.1 14.2
Ovine 0.8 1.1 10.6 7.7
Dairy 42.8 90.2 8.7 12.7
Eggs 0.8 1.5 3.1 2.2
FAO 5Food and Agricultural Organization.
Source
: FAO (2009). Figure 1 Average income derived from livestock in different production
systems. Data from 92 case studies from the developing world.
Source:
Staal
et al.
(2009).
The roles of livestock in developing countries
5
manure for fertilising crop fields and traction for ploughing
and transporting goods to markets), store wealth and to feed
their families. In the absence of banks and insurance policies,
livestock serve as ‘piggy banks’, a way for people to save
and store money and manage risk. Despite their multiple
benefits, livestock are also associated with negative impacts
on health (though food safety or zoonotic disease) and on
the environment. Helping household to increase the benefits
and minimise the risks associated with livestock can make
an important contribution to improving livelihoods and
reducing poverty.
Importance of livestock for women
Almost two-thirds of the world’s billion poor livestock kee-
pers are rural women (Staal
et al.
, 2009), and in the recent
past research has focused on the role of livestock for
women, as well as the role of women in livestock production
(Bravo-Baumann, 2000; Njuki
et al.
, 2004; Herath, 2007;
Deshingkar
et al
., 2008; Flintan, 2008). The multiple roles
that livestock play in livelihoods of the poor make general-
ising about women’s roles in, and economic contributions to,
livestock development problematic, and prioritising livestock
research and interventions for women’s development chal-
lenging (Niamir-Fuller, 1994; Rangnekar, 1998; Livestock in
Development (LID), 2004; Aklilu
et al.
, 2008). However, there
are a few key aspects that are important and for which there
is evidence for the role of livestock and the role of women in
livestock production including (i) livestock as an asset for
women, (ii) roles of women in livestock production, (iii) roles
of women in livestock marketing and (vi) role of livestock for
food security and nutrition.
Livestock as an asset for women
Research on intra-household dynamics has shown that it is
not only the total amount of household assets that deter-
mines developmental outcomes, but also who in the
household controls the assets. Livestock are an important
asset for women because it is often easier for many women
in developing countries to acquire livestock assets, whether
through inheritance, markets or collective action processes,
than it is for them to purchase land or other physical assets
or to control other financial assets (Rubin
et al.
, 2010).
Livestock assets are, however, generally more equitably
distributed between men and women than are other assets
like land (Flintan, 2008).
Evidence from many different developing countries and
covering many different small-scale livestock and agri-
cultural production systems and livestock species reveals
that poor women can and do own livestock. A common
perception is that women are more likely to own small stock,
such as chickens, sheep and goats, than larger animals, such
as cattle, water buffaloes and camels. Although often the
case, studies show that the type of species owned by women
varies by region and culture and can be dynamic. In India,
Heffernan
et al.
(2003) found that, despite a common per-
ception that only men own bullocks, they were of particular
interest among landless women, who rented them to farmers.
In pastoral areas of Ethiopia, a study documented women
purchasing bulls (Rubin
et al.
, 2010), whereas in mixed crop-
livestock systems men and women both own cattle, goats and
sheep, although men own more (Yisehak, 2008).
Men and women are also likely to differ in the types of
breeds they own within a given species, with men more
likely to have improved animals than women in dairy areas
of Kenya (East Africa Dairy Development (EADD), 2008).
Although a higher percentage of female-headed households
than male-headed households own local cattle, the reverse
was observed for (higher-yielding, genetically improved) exotic
cattle, with 63% of male-headed households owning exotic
cattle compared with 49% of female-headed households. These
results are consistent with those from Rwanda, where 45% of
male-headed households owned exotic cattle compared with
32% of female-headed households (EADD, 2008).
Men and women may also differ in the types of rights they
have to livestock. For example, in many cases women control
cattle milk when it is used for home consumption; however,
they cannot sell it and keep the income (Valdivia, 2001).
Gue
`ye (2000), in a review of backyard poultry in Africa,
states that women generally own and care for poultry;
however, they can seldom take sole decision over the use of
the birds or eggs (consumption, selling, exchange, etc.).
McPeak and Doss (2006) found that, among mobile pastor-
alists in northern Kenya, women had the right to sell milk;
however, men were responsible for the overall herd and had
the right to decide where the household would camp. Yet in
other societies, for example, among the Nandi (Oboler,
1996), the women may have a say in sales decisions even
though they do not ‘own’ the animals.
Women’s roles in livestock production and their access
to technologies and inputs
Men and women often manage different types of animals
and are responsible for different aspects of animal care.
Women and men also typically have different objectives for
keeping animals, different authorities and responsibilities
regarding animal management, and different abilities to
access and use new information and improved technologies.
Although there is great variability across systems and socio-
economic contexts, women generally play a major role in
managing and caring for animals, even when they are not
the owners. Flintan (2008) documents participation of
women in every aspect of livestock management in different
pastoral systems around the world. In intensive Asian live-
stock systems, more than three-quarters of livestock-related
tasks are the responsibility of women (Niamir-Fuller, 1994).
In Nigeria, Ayoade
et al.
(2009) report that women feed and
manage vulnerable animals (calves, small ruminants and
sick, injured and pregnant animals), clean barns, milk cows
and make butter and cheese, but are not involved in live-
stock marketing or managing livestock diseases. However, in
Ethiopia, women clean cowsheds, milk cows, look after
calves and sick animals, cut the grass and supervise the
feeding and grazing of cows, make dung cakes, butter and
Herrero, Grace, Njuki, Johnson, Enahoro, Silvestri and Rufino
6
cheese, and sell these products once or twice a week. Men,
on the other hand, feed the oxen and take the animals for
veterinary treatment when the need arises (Yisehak, 2008).
Njuki (2001), in a study in central and eastern Kenya, foundthat
women were more engaged in feeding of cattle, whereas men
were more involved in watering and disease management. The
total time allocation to dairy-related work did not, however,
differ significantly between men and women.
Despite the role of women in livestock production, women
have lower access to technologies and inputs than men.
There are gender disparities in access to extension services,
information and training throughout the developing world. A
study in the Taurus Mountain villages in Turkey found that
most women farmers had little access to information about
animal production through public extension services
(Budaka
et al.
, 2005). Similar findings have been docu-
mented in Cameroon, Ghana and Madagascar (Salman
et al.
, 1999), in Pakistan (Teufel
et al.
, 1998) and in The
Gambia (Jaitner
et al.
, 2001). The reasons given for this lack
of access to extension services by women included women’s
long workdays, which precluded them from engaging with,
or searching out, extension officers, a neglect of women’s
needs and circumstances when targeting extension work,
and widespread female illiteracy.
Technology change also affects men and women differ-
ently. Many interventions aimed at intensifying livestock
production, such as shifting from grazing to stall-feeding or
by keeping potentially higher-yielding, but also more demand-
ing, breeds, increase the workload of women and girls, because
the intensification lies in their traditional tasks (Okali and
Sumberg, 1985; Mullins
et al
., 1996; Wangui, 2008).
Women’s participation in livestock markets
Women play important roles at different stages of livestock
value chains, as producers, traders and as consumers.
Among the Fulani societies in Ferlo, Senegal, milk production
is entirely controlled by women, who have sole control also
over the sale of any surplus and ini-dairies are often run by
women. A study of evolving pastoral markets in northeastern
Somalia (Nori, 2008) documents the crucial role that women
play in the commoditisation of pastoral camel milk. In
northern Kenya, Coppock
et al
. (2006) note that self-initiated
groups convened and managed by women have managed to
access livestock markets. Women also serve an important
role as processors and retailers. In most African countries,
most street-food processors and vendors are women (Canet
and N’Diaye, 1996). In addition to being one of the few
income-generating activities open to poor women, the
street-food sector is of great importance to the economy.
This, however, poses a risk for women from zoonotic dis-
eases. For example, in Zimbabwe, cooked meats posed the
greatest health risk of all food sold on the street (Grace,
2007) and a study in Harare found that 81% of the food
vendors were women (Graffham
et al.
, 2005).
Evidence from East Africa shows that where and which
milk is sold can determine whether or not women manage
the milk income. Women have greater control over the
evening milk than the morning milk and manage more
income from milk sold at local markets and to neighbours
and mobile traders than they do from milk sold to collection
centres or chilling plants (EADD, 2008). Where a strong
market value for milk and/or dairy products is established,
women’s roles in dairying can be enhanced and their labour
refocused on marketing rather than production. Commer-
cialisation can, however, lead to an erosion of women’s
control of livestock and livestock products.
Livestock, women and food security
Livestock contributes to food security in several ways,
namely, (i) contributing to direct access to animal source
foods; (ii) providing cash income from sale of livestock and
livestock products, which can in turn be used to purchase
food especially during times of food deficit; (iii) livestock
ownership can contribute to increasing aggregate cereal
supply as a result of improved productivity from use of
manure and traction; and (iv) increasing livestock production
can lead to lower prices of livestock products and, therefore,
increased access to such products by the poor, especially
poor urban consumers. Given women’s traditional responsi-
bility for household food security, their level of control over
decisions about whether to sell or consume the family’s
animal products, as well as over how to use any income
obtained from the sale of animal foods, could greatly
determine the nutritional well-being of household members.
The role of livestock in enhancing and endangering
human health
Direct and indirect links between livestock and human health
In developing countries, human health is inextricably linked
to the livestock, which underpin the livelihoods of almost a
billion people (see preceding sections). Livestock have an
essential role in contributing to good health through pro-
viding animal source food, manure and draft power for plant
source food, as well as income to buy food and health care.
At the same time, livestock can lead to poor health if animal
source foods contribute to poor diet and through providing
a reservoir for diseases infectious to people (zoonoses).
The relationship between livestock, human nutrition and
human health are complex, with multiple synergistic and
antagonistic links, some of which are detailed in Figure 2. For
example, poor livestock keepers worldwide face daily trade-offs
between selling their (relatively expensive) milk, meat and eggs
to increase their household income and consuming the same
(high-quality) foods to increase their household nutrition.
Because animal source foods are so dense in nutrients, includ-
ing micronutrients that help prevent ‘hidden hunger’, decisions
in these matters have potentially large implications for the
nutritional and economic health of households. Livestock con-
tributes to food security and nutrition in various ways.
Livestock and nutrition
In poor countries, livestock and fish make significant con-
tributions to diets. In East Africa, for example, livestock
The roles of livestock in developing countries
7
provide on average 11% of energy and 26% of protein in
poor people’s diets (FAOSTAT, 2011). Fish, meanwhile,
account for at least half the animal protein intake for the 400
million poorest people in Africa and South Asia (FAO, 2009).
For some vulnerable groups, such as the world’s 180 million
pastoralists, the contribution of livestock products to diet is
much higher; for example, among Nuer agro-pastoralists
in Sudan half of the total energy intake of children aged
,5 years comes from milk (Fielding
et al
., 2000).
Although livestock and fish clearly make important con-
tributions to overall food security, there is an even more
important role of animal source foods in achieving nutrition,
as opposed to food, security. Animal source foods are dense
and palatable sources of energy and high-quality protein,
important for vulnerable groups, such as infants, children,
pregnant and nursing women and people living with human
immunodeficiency virus with high nutritional needs. They
also provide a variety of essential micronutrients, some of
which, such as vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium,
iron, zinc and various essential fatty acids, are difficult to
obtain in adequate amounts from plant-based foods alone
(Murphy and Allen, 2003). Animal source foods provide
multiple micronutrients simultaneously, which can be
important in diets that are lacking in more than one nutrient:
for example, vitamin A and riboflavin are both needed for
iron mobilisation and haemoglobin synthesis, and supple-
mentation with iron alone may not successfully treat anae-
mia if these other nutrients are deficient (Allen, 2002).
Micronutrients in animal source foods are also often more
readily absorbed and bioavailable than those in plant-based
foods (Murphy and Allen, 2003).
Consumption of even small amounts of animal source
foods has been shown to contribute substantially to ensuring
dietary adequacy and preventing undernutrition and nutri-
tional deficiencies (Neumann
et al.
, 2003). Extensive long-
itudinal studies in Egypt, Kenya and Mexico (Neumann
et al.
,
2003) have shown strong associations between intake of
animal source foods and better growth, cognitive function
and physical activity of children, better pregnancy outcomes
and reduced morbidity from illness. Consumption of ade-
quate amounts of micronutrients, such as those that can be
found in animal source foods, is associated with more
competent immune systems and better immune responses
(Keusch and Farthing, 1986). Low levels of consumption of
Animals
Owned
Human Nutritional
(Growth) Status
Human Health
Status
+
+
Probability of
Zoonotic
Disease
Animal
Production
Food Crop
Production
Food Crop
Sales
Animal &
Product Sales
+
+
+
+
-
HH
Income
++
Dietary
Intake
+
Level of
Care/Feeding
Behavior
+
Labor Allocated to
Livestock
+
-
Labor Demands
on (Female)
Care
g
iver
Total Labor
Demands
+
+
Health
Inputs
+
Food Crop
Purchases
ASF
Purchases
HH Crop
Consumption
HH ASF
Consumption
+
+
+
+
+
Chronic
Disease Risk +
-
Land allocation
to feed
Traction, nutrient
cycling
+-
+
+
+
+
+
Environmental Toxin
Concentration
-
+
Food-borne
Diseases
+
-
Water
Contamination
+
-
Figure 2 An example of the complex interaction between humans, livestock and diseases.
Source:
Randolph
et al.
(2007).
Herrero, Grace, Njuki, Johnson, Enahoro, Silvestri and Rufino
8
animal source foods by the poor are due to limited supply in
some regions, such as SSA, as well as income constraints. It
has been estimated that to effectively combat undernutrition
20 g of animal protein per person per day is needed, which
can be achieved by an annual consumption of 33 kg lean
meat, 230 kg milk or 45 kg fish (FAO, 2009).
In rich countries, consumption of animal source food has
been linked to a number of high health burden chronic dis-
eases including obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer
(McMichael
et al.
, 2007). Many developing countries are
also facing a ‘double burden of malnutrition’, that is, the
persistence of undernutrition along with the rapid rise of
overnutrition and associated diseases. In South Africa, for
example, over a quarter of rural children are stunted,
whereas nearly 60% of women are overweight or obese
(Toriola and Goon, 2012). Similar problems are also observed
in developing countries with large, expanding middle classes
(i.e. India, China, Brazil).
Livestock and infectious disease
In poor countries, infectious disease still accounts for around
40% of the health burden in terms of years lost through
sickness and death (World Health Organization (WHO),
2008). Livestock directly contribute to this through the food-
borne diseases transmitted through animal source foods, the
zoonoses transmissible between livestock and people, and
human diseases emerging from livestock. A recent estimate
suggests that 12% of the infectious disease burden in least
developed countries is due to zoonoses, and the majority of
this is transmitted to people from livestock hosts through
consumption of animal source foods, vectors or direct con-
tact (Grace
et al.
, 2012). More indirectly, keeping of livestock
affects agro-ecosystems in ways that influence their ability
to provide health-provisioning services. This may be positive
or negative. In some circumstances, livestock act as a buffer,
for example, between trypanosomosis-carrying tsetse or
malaria-carrying mosquitoes and people; in this case, live-
stock act as alternative hosts, effectively protecting people.
In other cases, livestock are an amplifying host, for example
pigs harbouring and multiplying Japanese encephalitis and
thus increasing the risk it poses to people.
Food that nourishes can also contain biological and che-
mical hazards that sicken and kill. Food-borne disease is the
world’s most common illness and is most commonly mani-
fested as gastrointestinal disease. Diarrhoea is one of the top
three infectious diseases in most developing countries, kill-
ing an estimated 1.4 million children a year (Black
et al.
,
2010). The great majority of cases (.90%) are caused by
bacteria and viruses not chemicals, although the latter are
often of more concern to the public (De Boer
et al.
, 2005). In
countries where good data exist, zoonotic pathogens are
among the most important causes of food-borne disease
(Thorns, 2000; Schlundt
et al
., 2004). Animal source food is
the most risky of food commodities (Lynch
et al.
, 2006), not
surprising as meat and milk provide excellent mediums for
microbial growth. Less is known about the aetiology of food-
borne disease in developing countries; on the one hand, less
animal source food is consumed, decreasing risk, but on the
other hand surveys show far higher level of hazards in the
animal source foods marketed. Food-borne diseases has been
recently estimated to cost the United States $152 billion a year
and Nigeria $3 billion (Scharff, 2010; Okike
et al.
, 2010).
Most (61% of all) human diseases are zoonotic (i.e.
transmissible between animals and humans), including
many of the most important causes of sickness and death.
Endemic zoonoses that prevail in poor countries are among
the most neglected diseases. To give just one example,
echinococcosis is responsible for 1 million lost DALYs in
addition to human-associated economic losses (including
medical costs, wage losses) estimated at US$1.9 billion and
livestock losses of US$2.1 billion (Maudlin
et al.
, 2009).
Sleeping sickness, rabies, leishmaniasis, cysticercosis, bru-
cellosis and leptospirosis are other zoonoses of similar
importance, which also have livestock reservoirs.
Zoonoses (diseases transmissible between animals and
man) and diseases recently emerged from animals (mostly
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-acquired immunodefi-
ciency syndrome) make up 25% of the infectious disease
burden in the least developed countries (Gilbert
et al.
, 2010).
Many other important human diseases, such as HIV, measles
and smallpox, were originally diseases of animals but
jumped species when people changed ways of farming and
keeping animals. In the first epidemiological transition,
unprecedented levels of globalisation, urbanisation, animal
production and environmental degradation are driving new
epidemics of infectious diseases, both familiar and novel.
Currently, one new disease is emerging every four months,
and 75% of these originate in animals (Jones
et al
., 2008).
Other important problems (whose indisputably important
contribution to overall health needs to be better assessed)
include: fungal toxins (mycotoxins) in animal source foods;
use of water contaminated with animal waste for agri-
culture; misuse of agricultural chemicals and antibiotics in
livestock resulting in direct toxicity and contributing to
resistance to antibiotics for treating human infection; and
the health impacts of alteration of ecosystems as the result
of livestock-keeping. These impacts may be local or global.
An example of the former is the small dams constructed for
livestock watering in semi-arid areas with water-associated
diseases such as schistosomiasis, whereas an example of the
latter is the changing distribution of diseases as a result of
the global warming to which livestock emissions contribute.
Identifying at-risk populations
The greatest burden of livestock-associated disease falls on
poor producers, poor consumers and others involved in food
value chain. The first population of critical concern are the
vulnerable and marginalised that bear much of the burden of
malnutrition and neglected tropical zoonoses. Although
many of the poorest countries in SSA fit in this category, it
also applies to less-favoured groups in better-off developing
countries (e.g. tribal people in India). They are frequently
politically and socially disempowered with little access to
medical services. Undernutrition is widespread among this
The roles of livestock in developing countries
9
population and is implicated in the deaths of a third of
all children under five (Black
et al.
, 2008); an estimated
195 million children are too short for their age (stunted) and
129 million children are underweight. High-burden zoonotic
diseases (sleeping sickness, cysticercosis, zoonotic tubercu-
losis) are at home in many of these populations. Diseases
controlled in other places (e.g. rabies, brucellosis, hydatid
disease) persist. There is often competition over declining
resources, which may lead to intensified interaction between
people, livestock and wildlife (e.g. around water sources in
pastoral areas) and increased transmission of disease: in the
world, 180 million pastoralists are at high risk.
The other population of concern are people living in
rapidly intensifying and/or changing agriculture and food
systems. These include the urbanising and rapidly develop-
ing systems of Latin America and SE Asia, but also areas of
South Asia (e.g. the Karachi buffalo colony with more than
300 000 animals) and Africa (e.g. the bush meat value chain
associated with opening up of the rainforests by road
building). These systems are characterised by growing
populations and standards of living, high demand for live-
stock products, relatively good market access but low levels
of regulation. Retail transitions are important in some areas
(e.g. Latin America, South Africa), in others preference for
wet markets and traditional eating habits (e.g. consumption
of wildlife) persist strongly (e.g. South Asia). This drives
highly dynamic peri-urban production systems, as well as
lengthening food supply chains. Malnutrition is less of a
problem but problem, nonetheless; however, food- and
water-borne diseases and environmental hazards are more
important. Because these systems are highly dynamic, have
high densities of genetically homogeneous livestock and
high contact rates between people, livestock and wildlife,
these systems are considered crucibles for the emergence of
new diseases.
Livestock and the environment
The impacts of livestock on the environment have received
considerable attention as the publication of the Livestock’s
Long Shadow study (Steinfeld
et al.
, 2006). This study helped
draw attention to the magnitude and scale of livestock’s
impact on land use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and
pollution among others, and it created a thrust for the sector’s
stakeholders to develop research agendas geared towards
generating better data for the environmental assessment of
global livestock systems, and to develop solutions for miti-
gating environmental livestock problems, and policy agen-
das more conducive to a greening of the sector by promoting
regulation, increases in efficiency and others. Numerous
publications exist on this subject (Steinfeld
et al.
, 2006; FAO,
2009 and 2010; Herrero
et al.
, 2009; PBL, 2010; Pelletier and
Tyedmers, 2010; Thornton, 2010; Thornton and Herrero,
2010; Bouwman
et al.
, 2011). Readers are referred to these
for a more in-depth account of livestock’s role in environ-
mental regulation. What follows is a summary of the main
livestock–environment interactions.
Livestock as users of land and water
Livestock systems are one of the main users of land.
Steinfeld
et al.
(2006) estimated that livestock utilise
3.4 billion ha for grazing and 0.5 million ha of cropland for
the production of feeds (33% of arable land), globally. Of the
grazing areas, 2.3 million ha (67%) are in the developing
world. Expansion of pastureland at the expense of natural
habitats in the developing world has been in the order of
330 million ha in the last 40 years (FAO, 2009). This phe-
nomenon has occurred predominantly in Latin America, and
is projected to increase by a further 100 to 120 million ha by
2050 under current practices (Smith
et al.
, 2010). Cropland
area in the same period expanded by 190 millionha and is
expected to increase at a faster rate than rangelands to supply
additional feed for monogastric production and more intensive
ruminant production (Smith
et al.
, 2010), which will require an
additional 450 million tonnes of grain to meet demand for animal
products by 2050 (Rosegrant
et al.
, 2009).
Land use is closely linked to water cycles. Not surprisingly,
90% of the water used by livestock is through the impacts of
grazing and the production of feed. The fraction of drinking
water accounts for ,10% of the total (Peden
et al.
, 2007).
Recent research (Lannerstad
et al.
, 2012) suggests that, glob-
ally, the production of feed for the livestock sector appropriates
5315 km
3
/year of evapotranspiration (ET; 9% of global evapo-
transpiration). The authors found that feed production from
croplands uses 37% of the water for crop production, and the
biomass consumed by livestock from grazing lands appro-
priates 32% of the total ET from grazing lands. The rest of the
ET supports a range of key ecosystems services, which seems
to be a key role that rangelands are playing globally. Enhancing
this role through improved rangeland management could be of
essential importance for enhancing global green water cycles
(Rockstro
¨m
et al
., 2007). At the global level, the aggregated
virtual water content (VWC) of livestock products has an
average value of 5.63 m
3
/1000 kcal. In contrast, VWC of
vegetal products from croplands is estimated to be only
0.66 m
3
/1000 kcal (Lannerstad
et al.
, 2012). Producing live-
stock products used on average nine times the amount of
water that it took to produce calories from crop-based pro-
ducts. In their study, total VWC for individual products ranged
from 1.50 m
3
/1000kcalforpigmeatupto35.24m
3
/1000 kcal
for meat from dairy sheep & goats, with the range reflecting
vast differences in intensity of production (feeds, agro-ecology,
species, type of production systems and others). Green water
represented 97% of the water used by livestock.
Livestock as emitters of GHGs
Livestock are an important contributor to global GHG
emissions. Current estimates range from 8.5% to 18% of
global anthropogenic GHG (O’Mara, 2011), with the range
reflecting methodological differences (inventories
v.
life
cycle assessment), attribution of emissions to land use
(Herrero
et al.
, 2011; O’Mara, 2011) and uncertainty in
parameter values (FAO, 2010). According to Steinfeld
et al.
(2006), methane from enteric fermentation, nitrous oxide
from manure management and carbon dioxide from land use
Herrero, Grace, Njuki, Johnson, Enahoro, Silvestri and Rufino
10
contribute 25%, 31% and 36% to the emissions of the
livestock sector, respectively (Table 3). Livestock in the
developing world contributes 50% to 65% of the total
emissions from livestock in the world. Emission intensities
also vary and these are mainly related to the species
(monogastrics more efficient than ruminants), products
(milk, white meats and eggs more GHG efficient than red
meat) and the productivity of the animals (the higher the
productivity the lower the emissions per unit of product,
FAO, 2010). These aspects are largely dependent on feed
type, quantity, quality and provenance and the manure
management system implemented. There is large hetero-
geneity in emission intensities in the developing world.
However, in general terms, the following order usually
prevails: industrial systems are less GHG intensive, and these
are followed by mixed crop-livestock systems and by grazing
systems. Emission intensities of systems in temperate
tropical highlands are usually lower than in drier areas.
Nevertheless, livestock systems in general terms generate
significantly more emissions per kilocalorie when compared
with crops. However, the mitigation potential in the livestock
sector is very large (1.74 Gt CO
2
-eq per year, Smith
et al.
,
2007), with land-use management practices (carbon
sequestration in rangelands, land sparing impacts of reduced
animal numbers/production intensification) representing
over 80% of this potential (Smith
et al.
, 2007). Most of the
mitigation potential (70%) lies in the developing world
(Smith
et al.
, 2007, see Henderson
et al
., 2011 for a dis-
cussion on the topic).
Livestock as nutrient recyclers
Livestock play an important role in accelerating ecosystems’
nutrient cycles. Bouwman
et al.
(2011) in a historical analysis
of nutrient cycles show that it was the introduction of
synthetic fertilisers that allowed the explosive increase in
livestock production. Agriculture based only on the recycling
of organic resources and supported on N fixing legumes
could not have supported the current global production and
consumption of animal protein. The widespread use of
fertilisers has helped to intensify not only agricultural
production, but also the rate of nutrient cycling, with
accumulation of nutrients in certain environments creating
threats for human health and nature (Sutton
et al.
, 2011).
Livestock has a very different role in the nutrient cycles in
the developed-industrialised world and in the poor devel-
oping world. Although in large parts of Africa and East and
SE Asia, agricultural production and nutrient cycles are clo-
sely related to local-scale recycling of organic residues
(including animal manures), in Western Europe and North
America crops are fully sustained on synthetic fertilisers and
livestock production on the import of feeds produced
sometimes thousands of miles away. In much of the indus-
trialised world, the link between livestock and the land has
been broken, with animals separated spatially from the
places where their feed is produced (Naylor
et al.
, 2005).
Meeting the increasing demand of animal protein in the
developing world requires managing nutrient cycles more
efficiently. Expansion of agricultural land has lead to mar-
ginal increases of livestock production in parts of the
developing world because the production systems remain
low input and often the natural resources are poor or are
degraded to a state that cannot support large outputs per
unit of land. This, together with low investment in agri-
culture, makes places such as SSA to have experienced very
little technological change in ruminant production in the last
40 years (FAOSTAT, 2011). In places with large human
population density where most suitable land is already
taken, increasing livestock production will compete with the
production of food crops and will bring associated environ-
mental costs. More intensive livestock production (e.g.
dairy, fattening systems, monogastrics) may achieve higher
technical efficiency. However, the concentration of animal
wastes around urban centres raises serious concerns for
water pollution and for GHG emissions, which may increase
significantly in places of large livestock density (Gerber
et al.
, 2005).
Costs and benefits of cycling nutrients through livestock
Livestock wastes – considered a serious problem in the
developed world – are a critical agricultural resource in large
parts of Africa, where soils are inherently poor (Petersen
et al.
, 2007; Rufino
et al.
, 2007). Liu
et al.
(2010) estimated
Table 3
Contribution of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock
Estimated emissions
1
Estimated contribution by species
2
Step in animal food chain (Gigatonnes) (% Of total livestock sector emissions) Cattle and buffaloes Pigs Poultry Small ruminants
Land use and land-use change 2.50 36 ’’’ ’ ’ ns
Feed production
3
0.40 7 ’’ns
Animal production
4
1.90 25 ’’’’ ’ ’ ’’
Manure management 2.20 31 ’’ ’’’ ns ns
Processing and transport 0.03 1 ’’ns
FAO 5Food and Agricultural Organization; ns 5not significant.
1
Estimated quantity of emissions expressed as CO
2
equivalent.
2
5lowest to ’’’’5highest.
3
Excludes changes in soil and plant carbon stocks.
4
Includes enteric methane, machinery and buildings.
As presented in FAO (2009). Adapted from Steinfeld
et al.
, 2006.
The roles of livestock in developing countries
11
that manure contributes between 12% and 24% of the
nitrogen input in nitrogen cycles in cropland in the devel-
oping world. Recycling of animal manures is practiced in
most mixed crop-livestock systems, although efficiencies
are rarely close to those of the developed world (Rufino
et al.
, 2006). Synthetic fertilisers are unaffordable for most
small-scale farmers, who depend on the (poor) fertility of
their soils to produce food crops, or on livestock to con-
centrate nutrients from the relatively large grazing lands.
Intensifying livestock production requires using additional
nutrients to produce feeds. Nitrogen fixing legumes play a
very important role in the developed world dairy industry,
with soya beans produced in South America and the United
States being fed as protein supplements in Europe. Research in
the developing world has tried to implement this model of
using legumes produced on farm on a local scale in, for
example, African mixed systems with some success (Sumberg,
2002), but not enough to supply the future demand for feeds.
Producing grain legumes or fodder legumes requires in
certain soils the addition of P fertilisers, and there are GHG
emissions associated with their production. Dual-purpose
legumes such as cowpea may be used as food and feeds, and
its production justified to contribute to income and nutrition
(Singh
et al.
, 2003). However, the production of feeds, including
legumes, results in emissions to the environment (e.g. Chikowo
et al.
, 2004; Baggs
et al.
, 2006) that must be accounted for by
the livestock sector. Designing technologies for intensification
requires in the developing world addressing the trade-off pov-
erty reduction and environmental impact.
Nutrients, livestock manure, soils and poverty
Poverty has often been associated with poor soil fertility
(Sanchez, 2002), and problems of fertility are often not
solved by just adding fertilisers, requiring sensible use of
organic resources (Chivenge
et al.
, 2011). In many farming
systems, the production of food crops is directly or indirectly
related to livestock production. Direct relationship arises
from the need for animal manures to increase effectiveness
of fertilisers applied to cropland (Vanlauwe and Giller, 2006).
Indirect relationship arises from the competition for biomass
to restore degraded agricultural soils, or to feed growing
livestock populations (Rufino
et al.
, 2011).
Although animal manure can be a very effective soil
amendment, in systems where the land support livestock
production its availability at the farm level is often very
limited. This implies that designing technologies for soil
fertility restoration only around the use of animal manure is
unrealistic. Again, nutrients, including carbon, must be
included in the trade-offs analysis. Increasing food security
will require a sensible use of the natural resources, and in
many places a clear strategy to store C and reduce emissions
from livestock production.
Manure management and emissions
The size of the GHG emissions from manure depends mainly
on collection and storage management. Across continents,
the fate of manure excreted in housing facilities differ
(Table 4). In Europe, strong environmental regulations led to
recycling of large proportion of the excreted manure, partly
in grassland and cropland and partly for biogas production
(Oenema
et al.
, 2007). In Africa, in the extensive rangeland-
based systems manure is not managed, whereas in the
mixed systems most manure is not returned to grazing land.
In intensive livestock systems, composted manure may be
applied to fodder crops, but the large majority is applied to
food and high-value crops (e.g. coffee, tea, tobacco).
In highly populated areas of Asia, most manure is destined
to different and competing uses such as organic fertiliser,
feed for fish ponds, biogas production and biofuel (i.e. burnt
for cooking). In the mixed intensive systems of North
America, manure is not yet fully recycled. There are places
where manure is indirectly discharged into water bodies
(Centner, 2011), or accumulated in constructed wetlands
(Knight
et al.
, 2000). Use of manure for biogas production is
increasingly gaining attention, but it is not yet globally
widespread (Cuellar and Webber, 2008).
In Latin America, recycling of manure is not widely prac-
tised (Leo
´n-Velarde and Quiroz, 2004). This can be explained
by: (i) access to cheap fertiliser is more widespread than in
Africa and Asia, (ii) soils are inherently more fertile than in
the other continents and (iii) expansion of agricultural land is
still used to counteract poor soil fertility. Exceptions are
urban and peri-urban areas (e.g. southern Brazil) where
recycling of wastes into agricultural land, treatment of slur-
ries and biogas production have been the result of the
environmental concerns and the disconnection between
livestock and the land than from the demand of the organic
resources as soil amendments (Kunz
et al.
, 2009).
Table 4
Ranges of NCE in mixed systems of the developed and developing world
NCE through livestock NCE for manure collection NCE for manure storage NCE for cropping NCE for mixed systems
Developed world
Europe
1
0.55 to 0.95 0.50 to 0.90 0.40 to 0.60 0.11 to 0.51
USA
2
0.65 to 0.85 0.10 to 1.00 0.50 to 0.80 0.20 to 0.50 0.01 to 0.34
Developing world
Africa
2
0.46 to 1.00 0.05 to 0.95 0.37 to 0.87 0.10 to 0.47 0.01 to 0.39
NCE 5N cycling efficiencies.
The numbers show the fraction of N recovered and cycled in the next step.
Sources
:
1
Oenema (2006);
2
Gourley
et al.
(2011), Powell
et al.
(2010);
3
Rufino
et al.
(2006).
Herrero, Grace, Njuki, Johnson, Enahoro, Silvestri and Rufino
12
Livestock and payment for environmental services (PES)
The previous section explored the impacts of livestock on
the environment. The negative environmental impact of the
livestock sector could increase with the forecasted increase
of demands for animal proteins in the developing world
(FAO, 2007; Tarawali
et al.
, 2011). As a result, there is
increasing interest in incentive systems to promote more
environmentally responsible livestock rearing practices. One
of these options is the PES as an alternative instrument to
enhance the delivery of environmental services, mitigate the
disservices and promote income-diversification options for
poor livestock keepers.
To date, most PES projects have focused on one or more of
the following services: climate regulation, water conserva-
tion and hydrological services, maintenance of landscape
beauty, and conservation and management of biodiversity or
a ‘bundle’ of the previous services (Landell-Mills and Porras,
2002; Wunder, 2005). Despite the fact that livestock is
widely distributed in virtually all agro-ecosystems of the
developing world, there are few examples of PES targeting
livestock keepers.
To what extent do PESs target livestock inclusive agri-
cultural production systems in developing countries?
What are potential and limitations for their implementation?
Table 5 shows the opportunities for pastoral/grazing systems
and for mixed crop-livestock systems to access to PES
schemes: climate regulation, biodiversity conservation and
water conservation and hydrological services. Opportunities
in PES schemes for livestock inclusive agricultural systems
are mainly driven by carbon market.
The implementation of PES schemes for livestock pro-
duction systems can be favoured by the growing potential of
the carbon market, the emerging efforts for the inclusion of
PES in national policy frameworks, the increasing catalysing
policy support of PES networks, research institutes together
with the growing private sector participation and farmers’
involvement. In particular, PES schemes can be an incentive
for the application of agricultural practices that can lead to
GHG mitigation and an incentive for the implementation of
sustainable land management practices that can reduce the
pressure on the environment and help conserving biodi-
versity and protecting wildlife and ensure an equitable use
and share of natural resources. Especially in the context of
the developing world where future trends foresee an inten-
sification of livestock sector, PES schemes may contribute in
facilitating agricultural transitions (Silvestri
et al.
, 2012).
On the one hand, PES can benefit the poor directly,
through the provision of increased cash flow and as a means
Table 5
Linking ecosystem services and disservices from livestock with opportunities from payment for environmental schemes
Ecosystem services
Production systems Climate regulation Biodiversity conservation
Water conservation and
hydrological services
Pastoral or grazing
systems
Access to PES can be driven by
restoration of degraded lands and
implementation of sustainable
grazing land management, which
presents also the great potential for
stocking carbon.
Positive biodiversity effects are
achievable by: reducing stocking
density; protecting migration
corridors; maintaining the seasonal
dispersal areas; refraining from
poaching wildlife and reporting
poaching by others; protecting
natural vegetation on land and
avoiding fencing or sub-dividing
land; restricted grazing
PES schemes for water for livestock are in
general designed to target the reduction
of land-use change caused, for example,
by extensive cattle grazing in forest
(forest degradation diminishes water
quality and quantity and increases risks
associated with landslides and flooding)
On optimally grazed lands, carbon
accrual is greater than in ungrazed
or overgrazed (Conant and Paustian,
2002). Also greater livestock density
reduces biomass removal by fires
Mixed crop-livestock
systems
Access to PES schemes can be driven
by: adoption of improved feed
supplement that can lead to
emissions reduction; adoption of
improved pastures with high density
trees and fodder banks that reduce
land degradation; switching to
organic fertilizer to increase capacity
of stocking carbon; integrated
livestock and manure management
Positive biodiversity impacts
achievable by: reducing stocking
densities; application of sustainable
management practices to reduce
environmental degradation and
protecting natural vegetation on
land; trees planting and sustainable
soil management (zero grazing and
fodder and manure production)
PES schemes are in general designed to
target the reduction of land-use change
caused, for example, by extensive cattle
ranching in the upper part of a
catchment (cloud forest may be
threatened and a downstream dam may
run the risk of siltation reducing his
useful lifespan). Participants can be paid
to not cut trees or clear forest on
enrolled land.
In more intensive livestock systems,
participants may be paid to limit
livestock contamination (mainly
determined by nutrients loading)
PES 5payment for environmental services.
Adapted from Silvestri
et al.
(2012).
The roles of livestock in developing countries
13
of promoting household income diversification, and indir-
ectly through social and cultural benefits (Grieg-Gran
et al.
,
2005; Pagiola
et al.
, 2005 and 2008; Turpie
et al.
, 2008). On
the other hand, barriers such as (1) high transaction and
investment costs, (2) weak cooperative institutions among
poor providers, (3) low awareness, education and technical
capacity and (4) not well-defined property rights can all limit
the participation and PES benefits among poor providers.
For most PES programmes that involve crop and livestock
producers, the income generated from the environmental
benefit will only be a small share of household income,
compared with the profits from farm production (FAO, 2007).
In Africa, where close to half of the pastoralists earn less
than US$1/day it is estimated that even modest improve-
ments in natural resource management in the drylands may
yield gains of 0.5 t C/ha per year,
1
which translates into
US$50/year that can bring about a 14% increase in income
for the pastoralist (Reid
et al.
, 2004). Benefits from partici-
pation in carbon PES schemes might also be associated with
increases in production creating a double benefit (Steinfeld
et al.
, 2006). However, carbon markets will not automatically
generate benefits for farmers and pastoralists without a
proper institutional arrangement to support the participation
of poor households.
Concluding remarks
The analyses presented here have demonstrated the com-
plex balancing act of weighing the roles that livestock play in
the developing world. On the one hand, we acknowledge
that livestock is an important contributor to the economies
of developing nations, to the incomes and livelihoods of mil-
lions of poor and vulnerable producers and consumers, and it is
an important source of nourishment. On the other side of the
equation, the sector has been criticised for its inefficiencies and
environmental performance: large user of land and water,
notorious GHG emitter, a reservoir of disease, source of nutri-
ents at times, polluter at others and the list could continue.
Against this dichotomy, there is a sector that could
improve its environmental performance significantly by sus-
tainably intensifying, applying regulations and incentives to
manage environmental loads and disease risks, diversifying
income sources through payments for environmental ser-
vices (as a reward for being the global stewards of large
patches of land), and in cases by becoming more market-
orientated to generate the pull-factors needed for increasing
productivity. On top of this, value chain development, food
safety standards and others could be catalysts to hence the
role that livestock play in food systems globally (McDermott
et al.
, 2010).
There are several factors that could play a significant role
in shaping the roles of livestock in the developing world in
the coming decades. Some of them are:
The debate on whether or not to eat meat:
This debate
translates into poor food choices
v.
the food choices of the
poor
.
The debate on human diets is dominated by the con-
cerns of the developed world on the negative health impacts
of livestock product overconsumption. This also applies for
large parts of the middle classes of the developing world,
who overconsume animal products and are obese, diabetic
and suffer from heart disease. Evidence shows that these
sectors of society should reduce the consumption of animal
products as a health measure. However, the debate needs
to increase in sophistication so that the poor and under-
nourished are not the victims of generalisations that may
translate into policies or reduced support for the livestock
sector in parts of the world where the multiple benefits of
livestock outweigh the problems it causes. This does not
mean that we should take as given the projected trajectories
of animal consumption proposed by the so-called ‘livestock
revolution’. They are not inevitable. Part of our responsibility
is to challenge these future trajectories, and ensure that we
identify levels of consumption and nutritional diversity for
different parts of the world that will achieve the best com-
promise between a healthy diet that includes livestock pro-
ducts (or not), economic growth, livelihoods and livestock’s
impacts on the environment. No mean feat, but certainly a
crucial area of research.
Efficient and market-orientated smallholders
v.
large-scale
consolidated farms as engines for feeding the world
: Large
parts of the food systems of the developing world have as a
starting point the smallholder mixed crop-livestock farmer or
the vulnerable pastoralist. Some of these systems produce a
significant amount of food, mostly for local consumption,
have significant, exploitable, yield gaps in crops and live-
stock, and in many cases they have low opportunity costs of
labour. If livestock is to be used as an engine for poverty
reduction, it is essential that these producers become mar-
ket-orientated. Hence, investment in developing efficient
value chains (including market development, service provi-
sion, adequate institutional support, etc.) should be high in
the development agenda, to create incentives for small-
holders to integrate in the market economy, formal or
informal. Advocates of large-scale farming argue in favour of
the higher efficiencies of resource use often found in these
systems and how simple it is to disseminate technology and
effect technological change. True, when the market economy
is working. If common sense prevailed, the answer to this
question should lead to the coexistence of a thriving envir-
onmentally responsible, diversified, commercial smallholder
sector that helps feed the world and lifts people out of
poverty, together with a large-scale efficient livestock sector
that efficiently produces food while generating enough
employment for rural people. The balance between these
ways of farming is likely to be different in different regions of
the world, but understanding where the balance should lie
for achieving socially and environmentally goals is still the
question that merits significant research. This is still an open
question because we lack comprehensive information
on the impacts of different farming avenues and their
future evolutionary pathways on water cycles, biodiversity,
social aspects (nutrition, incomes, employment), coping with
1
Considering carbon valued at US$10/tonne.
Herrero, Grace, Njuki, Johnson, Enahoro, Silvestri and Rufino
14
production risks (i.e. climate variability and change, commodity
prices) and others.
Competitiveness of the smallholder sector
: The degree
of competitiveness of smallholders against imports from
countries that can produce vast amounts of animal products,
at lower production costs, will be a crucial factor to deter-
mine the success of many men and women livestock farmers
in the developing world, especially as the volume of traded
livestock products increases because of trade liberalisation.
Formal and informal markets will need to ensure the supply
of cheaper, locally produced, safe livestock products to
adequately compete. This implies a significant reduction in
transaction costs for the provision of inputs, increased
resource use efficiencies, and very responsive, innovative
and supporting institutions for the livestock sector in devel-
oping countries (FAO, 2009).
The success of paying for environmental services
: PES
schemes as an income diversification strategy for mitigating
climate change or for protecting important regional or global
goods that regulate essential biogeochemical cycles have
received a lot of attention recently. However, not many
successful examples exist with smallholder livestock produ-
cers or pastoralists. Proofs of concept that test how these
schemes could operate in very fragmented systems, with
multiple users of the land or in communal pastoral areas, are
necessary. Research on fair, equitable and robust monitoring
and evaluation frameworks and mechanisms for effecting
payments schemes that work under these conditions is
necessary. The promise of PES schemes as a means to deliver
the income diversification for the poor, and natural resource
protection necessary to produce food while protecting the
world’s ecosystems, is yet to be seen on a large scale.
The ability of the sector to adapt to climate change and to
mitigate green house gas emissions
: Climate change is likely
to cause severe impacts on livestock systems and on poor
vulnerable producers. The capacity and speed of adaptation
of smallholders will play an important role in defining the
contribution of livestock to livelihoods under climate change.
At the same time, in a low carbon economy, it will be
essential that the sector mitigate GHG effectively in relation
to other sectors. Demonstrating that these options are real
with tangible examples is essential to generate the evidence
for increasing the investments in climate change adaptation
and mitigation for the livestock sector. This becomes more
imperative as the global food system prepares to become
part of the climate change negotiations.
Institutional and market mechanisms for reaching small-
holders
: The reality is that livestock production in the
developing world is largely fragmented and disorganised.
Underinvestment in extension systems and other support
services has rendered poor producers disenfranchised to
access key support systems necessary for increasing pro-
ductivity and efficiency, or in cases important safety nets for
reducing vulnerability (i.e. to drought/famines). The poorer
farmers are unlikely to be able to respond sustainably to the
increased demands for animal products without increased
public investment in innovation and support platforms, as
these are essential to foster the technological change
required to increase productivity and link them to markets
(McDermott
et al.
, 2010). More advanced farmers or larger
farmers in the developing world are likely to rely on the private
sector for these support services. It is essential that the roles of
women in production and trading of livestock products and in
controlling livestock assets be taken into consideration when
designing these institutional mechanisms.
Trade-offs and investments
: The multiple social roles of
livestock in the developing world may lead to compromise
solutions that prevent the attainment of maximum environ-
mental efficiencies, such as lowering GHG intensities. Bal-
ancing these roles and articulating them well is essential, as
in the face of stern public opinion in favour of protecting
global environmental goods, instead of local livelihoods,
could create an investment climate that promotes more
intensive, and environmentally efficient systems in the
future, to the detriment of the poor smallholder farmer.
On the other hand, there are other aspects that will play
an important role in shaping livestock production in the
developing world, such as animal welfare and ethics and the
magnitude of intensification in livestock production systems,
technological surprises and access to them, and agricultural
policies and the economic environment in the developed
world. It is also essential that the informal and formal retail
sectors gain the consumers trust as safe providers of live-
stock products for urban and rural consumers.
Balancing the multiple roles of livestock in the developing
world and contrasting them with those in the developed world
is not simple. The disaggregated evidence by region, species,
production system, value chain, etc. needs to be generated.
Messages need to be well distilled, backed by scientific evi-
dence and well articulate to avoid making generalisations that
more often than not, confuse the picture and ill-inform policy.
Livestocksrolesaresimplynotthesameeverywhere.Theroles,
whethergoodorbad,needtobeacceptedbythescientic
community. Research agendas need to use the livestock bads
as opportunities for improvement, while continuing to foster
the positive aspects. These are essential ingredients for society
to make better-informed choices about the future roles of
livestock in sustainable food production, economic growth
and poverty alleviation.
Acknowledgements
This paper is an ILRI output reported under the following
CGIAR Research Programmes: CRP3.7 – Livestock and Fish and
CRP7 – Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.
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... The community under study, similar to many other communities in South Africa and the African continent at large, relies heavily on livestock [48]. Cattle, in particular, are a source or symbol of status in the community [49]. For the grazing and fodder ecosystem service to continue flowing through the study area, the fodder that nature provides for free must be appropriately managed; otherwise, the locals would need to start purchasing their feed if none are available in the wild. ...
... Livestock and grazing, by extension, contribute significantly to rural livelihoods as they provide basic income and employment for the locals. They are a crucial asset and safety net for the poor, especially for women and pastoralist groups, and they provide an essential source of nourishment for billions of rural and urban households [49]. This is the current situation of the community in and around the CBA. ...
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As revolution swept over Russia and empires collapsed in the final days of World War I, Azerbaijan and neighbouring Georgia and Armenia proclaimed their independence in May 1918. During the ensuing two years of civil war, military endgames, and treaty negotiations, the diplomatic representatives of Azerbaijan struggled to gain international recognition and favourable resolution of territorial disputes. This brief but eventful episode came to an end when the Red Army entered Baku in late April 1920. Drawing on contemporary records, memoirs, and scholarship in many languages, the accomplished historian Jamil Hasanli has produced a comprehensive and meticulously documented account of this little-known period
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Maternal and child undernutrition is highly prevalent in low-income and middle-income countries, resulting in substantial increases in mortality and overall disease burden. In this paper, we present new analyses to estimate the effects of the risks related to measures of undernutrition, as well as to suboptimum breastfeeding practices on mortality and disease. We estimated that stunting, severe wasting, and intrauterine growth restriction together were responsible for 2·2 million deaths and 21% of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for children younger than 5 years. Deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc were estimated to be responsible for 0·6 million and 0·4 million deaths, respectively, and a combined 9% of global childhood DALYs. Iron and iodine deficiencies resulted in few child deaths, and combined were responsible for about 0·2% of global childhood DALYs. Iron deficiency as a risk factor for maternal mortality added 115 000 deaths and 0·4% of global total DALYs. Suboptimum breastfeeding was estimated to be responsible for 1·4 million child deaths and 44 million DALYs (10% of DALYs in children younger than 5 years). In an analysis that accounted for co-exposure of these nutrition-related factors, they were together responsible for about 35% of child deaths and 11% of the total global disease burden. The high mortality and disease burden resulting from these nutrition-related factors make a compelling case for the urgent implementation of interventions to reduce their occurrence or ameliorate their consequences.
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The study was carried out during the period from December 2005 to May 2007 in the mixed crop-livestock farming systems of Jimma zone to assess the overall responsibility gender in livestock production and management system. The survey methodology employed was a systematically purposive sampling using structured questionnaire. PRA tools were applied to complement data collected by questionnaire. The smallholder livestock production systems considered in the study area is mixed crop-livestock farming. Livestock are significant in maintaining the livelihoods of their keepers by providing food, draught power, manure, skin, hide, cash, security, social and cultural identity, medium of exchange and means of savings. There is a distinct, but not very strict, gender division of work in the farming systems. This division of labor is influenced by socio-cultural and socio-economic factors. Men are largely the decision makers for livestock production and are in charge of general herd management. However, women generally contribute more labour inputs in areas of feeding; manage vulnerable animals (calves, small ruminants, and sick, injured and pregnant animals), cleaning of barns, dairy-related activities (milking, butter and cheese making), transportation of farm manure and sale of milk and its products than men and children. Men own most of the livestock species and put up for sale animals and meat. Women own a small proportion of the large animals as well as chicken and are milk managers in the small holder system. Both men and women take part in the harvesting and transportation of feed, chaffing of fodder, feeding of animals, cleaning of sheds and sale of milk, cheese and butter. Processing of milk is done solely by women while children of both sexes tether and herd animals. Constraints to livestock production such as lack of capital and access to institutional credit, competing use of time, poor technical skills and lack of access to improved extension services affect women more than men, and may further limit the participation of women and their efficiency in all-purpose livestock production. Overall, research on gender responsibility in livestock is limited, especially gender disaggregated data on work sharing, access to resources and benefits.