CIRAD, FAO, ILRI and AU-IBAR renew their commitment to collaborate in supporting countries develop their Livestock Master Plans

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The livestock sector, coupled with 21st Century innovations, presents significant opportunities for enhancing food security, human nutrition, household livelihoods and resilience and creating jobs, especially for rural women and youth. It also holds the potential to become more productive by making a more efficient and environmentally friendly use of scarce resources. However, to fully realise these benefits, addressing key challenges related to unsustainable and inappropriate livestock management practices is crucial. Such practices have contributed to environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, the emergence of infectious zoonotic diseases and increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Collaborative efforts are essential between researchers and stakeholders of the sector to gain a comprehensive understanding of different production systems, their challenges and viable development options. This requires the development of clear strategies and robust policies for the sustainable transformation of the livestock sector. 

Livestock Master Plans (LMPs) play a pivotal role in building national strategies and investment plans for the livestock sector in low- and middle-income countries. These plans enable livestock sector transformation and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Already, LMPs have proven successful in guiding national livestock policies and investments in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Bihar (India), Odisha (India) and The Gambia.

Following the stakeholders’ workshop on the potential of the Livestock Master Plans to enhance policymaking and investment decisions, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) convened on 11-12 May 2023 at the ILRI Campus in Nairobi to strengthen their partnership. The objective of the partnership is to provide support to countries in developing LMPs. These organizations, along with the African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) as a key continental partner, bring together complementary expertise and tools. The LMP approach moves from a focus on livestock performance to one that emphasises the various dimensions of sustainability, including human well-being, gender and social equality and environmental management. 

For Pascal Bonnet, vice-scientific director of Department Environment and Society at CIRAD, the livestock sector’s complex and multidisciplinary challenges require collaboration: 

“The livestock sector is primarily important for the future of emerging countries: it is at the heart of required tradeoffs between economic, social and environmental challenges. To support governments’ decision, CIRAD has contributed with ILRI and FAO to design a set of tools that are used in the context of Livestock Master Plans.”

The range of expertise includes livestock herd dynamics modeling, technical and economic analysis at household and national levels, value chain analysis and the assessment of livestock’s environmental and climate impact. Ultimately, the aim is to assist countries in attracting more and better targeted public and private investments in the livestock sector. By providing decision-makers with evidence-based insights, strategic choices can be made to promote economic growth, poverty reduction, food security, nutrition and significant reductions in GHG emissions.  

Group discussion during the stakeholders’ workshop on the potential of LMPs to enhance policymaking and investment decisions (ILRI / Derek Chan).

Iain Wright, deputy director general at ILRI, welcomed the strong working relations with CIRAD and FAO and raised the need to engage a wide range of stakeholders: 

“LMPs are useful documents but will only translate into tangible investments and therefore benefits for the countries if they are led by the country and in close consultations with private sector, investors and development actors.”

The recent technical meeting between CIRAD, FAO, ILRI and AU-IBAR has set the stage for the development of a common roadmap for Livestock Master Plan (LMP) development and branding. This collaboration will also facilitate capacity building on the existing tools to expand the cadre of experts that can support LMP processes and continuous development and information sharing on new LMP tools and methodologies to meet the growing demand from countries. AU-IBAR’s involvement ensures alignment of LMPs with agricultural strategies, notably the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDeSA), the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and linkage to the National Agricultural Investment Plans for improved coordination, and joint advocacy efforts for resource mobilization for LMP implementation. AU-IBAR plays a pivotal role in sensitisation, preparation of countries and overall support for LMP processes. The partnership of the four institutions will seek to attract increased investments to implement LMPs and monitor their contribution and outcomes.

Thanawat Tiensin, director of the Animal Production and Health Division (NSA) at FAO, emphasised that:

“Achieving sustainable livestock transformation requires the implementation of sound policies and investments that optimise the use of financial resources while addressing pressing issues of climate change and environmental sustainability. To accomplish this, policymakers and planners must engage in evidence-based analysis and design livestock-led programs that are specifically tailored to the sector’s needs. Additionally, continuous engagement with key stakeholders, including producers and private partners, is essential.”

By harnessing the potential of the livestock sector through sustainable practices and strategic planning, we can create a future where livestock plays a vital role in achieving SDGs while safeguarding the environment and well-being of communities.

Isabelle Baltenweck (ILRI), Sarah Ossiya (AU-IBAR), Guillaume Duteurtre (CIRAD) and Manon Hamon (FAO)

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