We need to invest in livestock for sustainable development!!
Pastoralism is a vital part of the African economy - 66% of Africa’s land is used to graze animals. Animals are generally a family’s most valuable asset, providing dairy products to sell, pulling power for farm ploughs and transport for the family. Many of the continent’s poorest farmers earn their livings by selling livestock and animal products. Livestock farmers face huge challenges in taking advantage of opportunities – they have no technical advice, limited access to markets and lack the high quality feed and vaccines needed to keep their animals healthy.
Besides contributing to a substantial proportion of the meat supply, livestock forms an integral part of the African economy. Livestock is a frequent form of financial investment. Livestock is the most valuable asset of many households in Africa, providing not just economic but also social capital. With incomes rising and populations growing, the demand for animal food products in Africa is increasing. And with the right levels of investment and support, this could offer pastoralists exciting new opportunities to increase their incomes. Globally, livestock contributes 33% to household incomes. And the benefits aren’t just in straightforward sales of meat, milk or hides – by integrating both livestock and crops into their farms, smallholders can reduce their vulnerability to drought, so that if their crops fail, their herds act as a cash reserve.
African Livestock Exhibition and Congress gives the platform and the products they need through forum sessions, cooperatives and the establishment of a franchise of livestock service center and many other. Because when they have the right support, they can increase their incomes and work their way out of poverty.
Livestock health is another major challenge facing smallholder farmers, many of whom live in remote locations where livestock services are non-existent, poor quality or expensive. African Livestock Exhibition and Congress supports programmers to train animal health workers at the farm level to prevent and treat common diseases.
Improving livestock care increases both the short-term benefits and the long-term sustainability of agriculture. The success and proliferation of African Livestock Exhibition and Congress schemes demonstrate what an impact interventions can have, and indicate that with continued investment, support and an enabling policy environment, the livestock sector has the potential to make a major contribution to food security and nutrition.
This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in the https://www.farmafrica.org
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