The CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish aims to increase the productivity of small-scale livestock and fish systems in sustainable ways, making meat, milk and fish more available and affordable to poor consumers across the developing world.
Livestock and Fish addresses two main challenges:
- Poor people in developing countries, especially women and children, eat very little meat, milk and fish. This contributes to nutrient deficiencies, poor physical and cognitive development for children, and poor health and livelihood outcomes for adults. Can their diets be improved, helping them to lead healthy and productive lives?
- The productivity of small and medium-scale livestock and fish producers and marketing systems in developing countries generally lags far behind those in other parts of the world. Can their productivity be sustainably increased to benefit producers AND consumers, helping them to food secure futures?
The program takes advantage of several opportunities …
- Meat, milk and fish are among the highest value agricultural products globally; these offer viable livelihoods for even the poorest.
- Even modest amounts of animal-source foods provide critical inputs to the health of malnourished people, especially women and children.
- Meeting a rapidly increasing demand for animal-source foods in developing countries is a big opportunity for smallholders to earn a better living.
- Four hundred million people in Africa and South Asia depend on fish for most of their animal protein. Over 100 million landless people keep livestock and nearly 1 billion (70 per cent) of the world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor people depend on livestock. If we get it right, the potential ‘market’ to take up and benefit from this research is massive.
- Two-thirds of the world’s livestock keepers are rural women; this program can strongly contribute to development equity and empowerment goals.
The program’s integrated ‘solution-driven research for development approach’ combines upstream technology development with downstream transformation of selected high-potential value chains. This work, conducted in close collaboration with governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and large development agencies, will allow Livestock and Fish to directly benefit the lives of hundreds of thousands of poor and vulnerable people in the eight countries where it is working. Moreover, these partnerships will also serve to get the results to scale, as international public goods – beyond the selected eight countries and nine value chains – into the hands and mouths of communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.