Sustainable Animal Productivity for Livelihoods, Nutrition and Gender Inclusion


Globally, livestock is the fastest-growing, highest-value agricultural subsector, accounting for 15–80% of GDP in low- and middle-income countries. At the same time, malnutrition remains high in livestock dependent communities. In Africa and Asia, demand is expected to skyrocket 200% by 2030, an enormous opportunity for hundreds of millions of small- to medium-scale livestock producers who can meet the demand and provide nutrient-dense foods for their families, countries and regions.

But productivity is extremely low: the average annual milk yield of a cow in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia is 6% and 12%, respectively, of a cow in an OECD country. Value chain governance structures prevent producers from fully benefiting from markets and commercializing their farms. Women, who do most of the work caring for livestock, have limited control over resources and decisions, and youth are marginalized from income-generation opportunities and assets. Non-optimal use of livestock genetic potential, lack of quality feeds, poor animal husbandry, and insufficient animal health technologies are widespread constraints on sustainable productivity, leading to increased pressure on natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, livestock producers face new risks from climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.


This Initiative aims to contribute to transforming livestock sectors in target countries to make them more productive, resilient, equitable and sustainable.


This objective will be achieved through:

  • Technologies and practices for sustainable livestock productivity: developing, adapting and testing new and existing productivity- and resilience-enhancing, low-emissions, scalable technologies and practices across the three main pillars of livestock productivity: improved feeds, animal health products and genetics.
  • Innovations and practices for safe consumption of livestock-derived foods as part of diverse diets: co-creating innovative models and approaches for social and behavior change communication, and testing and evaluating approaches for incentivizing market actors to enhance the supply of safe, nutritious and affordable livestock-derived foods.
  • Sustainable livestock productivity for gender equity and social inclusion: understanding constraints and opportunities, identifying best-bet entry points, addressing constraints, and developing tools to measure progress.
  • Competitive and inclusive livestock value chains: generating evidence on institutional arrangements and technical interventions to transition towards more profitable, inclusive and sustainable livestock value chains.
  • Evidence, decisions and scaling: generating and consolidating evidence, models and tools to support public and private decision-making for a sustainable and inclusive livestock sector.


This Initiative will work in the following countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam.


Proposed 3-year outcomes include:

  1. Co-created, demand-driven innovation packages of productivity- and resilience-enhancing, low emissions technologies, and the institutional arrangements necessary for their adoption, are being used by 800,000 people in households keeping cattle, chickens, small ruminants, pigs and buffalo, resulting in a 30–50% increase in livestock productivity.
  2. Private and public sector partners invest at least US$30 million in co-creation and co-delivery of novel, low emissions, demand-driven, gender and youth inclusive, and productivity- and resilience-enhancing technologies and practices for genetics, feed-forages and health.
  3. Six public and private sector organizations utilize Initiative-supported social behavior change communication strategies and tools targeted at incorporating safe livestock-derived foods into diverse diets to inform nutrition education strategies and campaigns.
  4. Public and private decision makers utilize Initiative-supported innovation packages to inform policies and investments towards an inclusive and sustainable livestock sector, including progress towards equity and inclusion.


Projected impacts and benefits include:


Increased knowledge, capacity and buy-in of actors to facilitate equal opportunities enable around 360,000 women to participate in and benefit from livestock sector transformation.


Increased productivity, better functioning value chains and nutrition education significantly increase access to safe and affordable livestock-derived foods and their incorporation into diets in recommended quantities, benefiting more than 1.2 million people.


Adoption of productivity- and resilience-enhancing Innovation Packages and participation in inclusive value chains increase sustainable livestock productivity and income, benefiting more than 1.2 million people. New business opportunities and jobs for value chain actors are also created.


Increased knowledge, capacity and buy-in of actors to provide producers with low-emissions innovations (e.g., more adapted breeds, better feeds, improved health) enable large gains in productivity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions intensity and benefit more than 1 million people.


Producers’ adoption of Initiative-supported solutions on 59,000 hectares of land, such as the planting of improved forages, results in improved soil health and fertility, ecosystem services and reduced land degradation. Impacts are also expected from improved manure management and reduced antibiotic residues.


For more details, view the Initiative proposal


Header photo: A young woman with her goats in Borana, Ethiopia. Photo by Z. Sewunet/ILRI.


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