The many gifts of livestock—A view from Kenya

Andrew Tuimur, chief administrative secretary at the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation and a member of the ILRI Board of Trustees (photo credit: ILRI). 

The following remarks, published last week by Devex during the fourth meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA4), were made by Andrew Tuimur, chief administrative secretary at the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation and a member of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Board of Trustees.

‘Delegates from around the world are in Nairobi, Kenya, this week for the annual United Nations Environment Assembly. This year’s theme, “innovative solutions”, acknowledges the need for fresh thinking to produce sustainable, healthy food choices in a time of escalating climate change, biodiversity losses and global population growth.

I commend the organizers of the conference for their ambition to enhance the world’s economic, food and environmental security simultaneously.

For many people, these are uneasy bedfellows.

Environmentalists, for example, worry about the impacts of agriculture on wildlife and other natural resources, while conservationists may not fully understand the needs of local communities to use lands for livestock grazing and crop farming.

It will come as a surprise to many UNEA delegates to hear one of my solutions for reducing poverty, hunger, and wildlife losses, here in Kenya.

It involves investing in sustainable livestock systems.

This solution will not come as a surprise to Kenyans, over 80 per cent of whom depend on agriculture.