Agriculture and climate change: Scientists and stakeholders break down walls in Berlin

by Gareth Salmon

I recently returned from Berlin, where I attended the first International Conference on Agricultural GHG Emissions and Food Security (#AgriGHG) The agricultural sector contributes significantly to human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change. Responding to this, the conference brought together scientists and stakeholders (policy makers and advisors, farmers’ organisations and the food industry) to discuss the challenges and opportunities for emissions mitigation within the sector. Read more

Livestock disease diagnosis tools for Sub-Saharan Africa: a guide to what’s out there

SEBI researcher Theodora Tsouloufi has been looking into disease diagnosis tools for animal health: what tools are currently available, what are their main offerings, and how these have been put into practice?

One of the ways the Supporting Evidence Based Interventions (SEBI) programme works to deliver ‘better livestock data for better smallholder lives’ is by evaluating already-existent and new technologies. The goal is to gain a better understanding of what tools and technologies work best to improve livestock health and productivity, and under what conditions. Read more

Collaboration in action: better livestock data for Africa and Asia

by Vanessa Meadu

Members of the LD4D community have joined forces to gain a fuller understanding of the impact of their work and identify ways to better target interventions in Asia and Africa.

The recent meeting in Brisbane, Australia brought together experts from GALVmed, the University of Edinburgh’s Supporting Evidence Based Interventions (SEBI) program, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Read more

Integrating gender into livestock projects: How data can help

By Jac Davis

The success of livestock projects can depend on how well they address gender gaps. Differences between men and women’s social roles and responsibilities can have large impacts on how livestock projects are implemented and maintained. But the exact effects of these gender differences may vary from project to project.  Data collection, and data collaboration, can help uncover and predict the role of gender in livestock projects.

Why include gender in livestock projects? Read more

Report from Rome: Livestock modelers band together to answer Big Questions

LD4D member Gareth Salmon reports back from a week of fruitful discussions with an international group of livestock data modelers at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome. 

To answer big questions relating to livestock, the Livestock Data for Decisions (LD4D) community has convened a working group on Livestock Modelling. At the end of May, I visited the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, for a workshop organised by the working group, and met with key technical people who work on livestock modelling, to discuss how to share and consolidate information and methods to increase the efficiency and accuracy of global livestock modelling efforts. The meeting helped identify ways to harness the efforts and energy of a diverse community of experts. Read more

Better data on livestock disease may unlock Nigeria’s dairy dilemma

Nigeria faces a dairy dilemma. The most populous country in Africa needs to feed its 186 million people (and counting). Dairy products are a critical part of diets, particularly for young children, and Nigeria annually consumes 1.7 million tonnes of milk. However, domestic production only generates one-third of this, so over 1 million tonnes of milk must be imported annually, at a cost of US$ 480 million (source: PWC 2016).

Improving Nigeria’s dairy value chain is a complex task, and increasing production is an important piece of the puzzle. This means investing in healthier, more productive animals – but where to start?

To tackle this issue, the University of Edinburgh Supporting Evidence Based Interventions (SEBI) project has been supporting a study of the most impactful livestock diseases in Nigeria, starting with cattle and small ruminants in 7 Northern states.

Read the full story on the SEBI website

Photo credit: S. Mann (ILRI)

Getting to grips with the Global Burden of Animal Diseases: Q&A with Prof Jonathan Rushton

By Vanessa Meadu

When it comes to tackling animal diseases, it’s surprisingly difficult to know where to prioritise action and what policies work best. Professor Jonathan Rushton tells us about building a new global approach to address the diseases that have the most profound impacts.

Why look at the Global Burden of Animal Diseases?

At the moment, animal diseases are prioritised based on mortality (number of animals that die) and morbidity (the prevalence of disease in an animal population), yet the evidence base for this approach is limited. There is also a tendency to focus on diseases that cause trade restrictions. This approach will always focus on the diseases that appear to cause big impacts – ones that kill animals quickly or create immediate trade barriers, and potentially we end up chasing the sparks from the fire. An example of this is foot and mouth disease (FMD), which I started working on in the mid-1990s in Bolivia. After some time, I realised that a lot of our estimates on foot and mouth are based on anecdotes rather than real data. Defining FMD as the most economically important disease in the world is not evidence based. Read more