Tag Archives: food security

A Picture Explain the Powerful Connection

 

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Saving me from the sunshine, a way of camel love and care

 

The symbolism of this picture is powerful! Not only of our interconnectedness but furthermore I believe, that the camel will lead countries out of the extreme climate change. The camel, in all its resourcefulness and functionality, will feed and nurture the world.

Not better than wearing a hat?

The Best Option for Sustainable Food Production in Challenging Environment ~is the Promising Camel

Happy Camel’s Day (WCD)

Among the camel’s world, the subcontinent is the region where the day starts first. It is 22nd June in the subcontinent, so I can safely say Happy Camel’s Day. At the occasion of WCD, I started the series of articles based on the documents/material sent from different corners of the world. As my own share, I want to express my views on the role of the camel as a farm animal in NENA region.

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Not the ship but the gift of the desert

Near East and North Africa (NENA) is one of the driest and challenging landscapes on the face of the earth. The major percentage of the global deserted lands fall in this region, making it a hostile ecosystem for many other livestock species. Nature blessed the region with the highly adapted and unique livestock species “the Camel”, well said as Ataullah in Arabic.

As mentioned in the holy book Quran “do they do not look at camel; how strange it is created?” the camel is the animal of unique characteristics’ making it the most valuable creature of the drylands. The people living in this region, especially the camel herders and pastoralists depend on the camels for food, accessibility, and other livelihoods. Camel produces milk in very high ambient temperatures and other climatic challenges, in the same environment, other livestock species are hard to survive. Camel is not in competition with any other livestock as camel browse on very woody and bushy vegetation.

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The desert’s friend…

In the climate change scenario and fragile security (in some parts of Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria) camel is the animal of choice to provide precious food items as milk (primary product) and meat to ensure the survival of the people. Camel farming needs very low input making it a sustainable profession.

Based on my experience and scientific findings, I can say that camel is the most sustainable farm animal in the region. The cow model (cow dairies) is not sustainable in such a hostile ecosystem and the milk produced is very expensive if calculated in the ecosystem model as the cow needs many times more water to produce one liter of milk. The camel tolerates very high ambient temperatures, on a contrary, the cow needs a cooling system (using fossil oil) to produce milk in the same situation.

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Camel ensures accessibility in the remote areas

The quality of camel milk is very appreciating than that of cow milk. Free of allergen protein, intolerant lactose and low in the saturated long chain, fats making the camel milk the best choice for health sensitive people. The region needs to ensure joint efforts for making policies regarding the food and agriculture and keep the camel on top priority as an animal of food security in climate change scenario.

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They are not in competition with other livestock species

The organization “Camels4Life” which is an advocacy group supporting camel’s cause,  is always willing to support both governments and NGOs for finding ways to use a camel as a sustainable farm animal contrast to its old vision of beast of the burden.

For more details, please go to the link below.

https://camel4milk.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/camel-a-one-in-all-creature/

http://www.thenational.ae/uae/health/al-ain-doctor-sees-potential-in-camels-beyond-their-milk

The Nature Engineered Distinctive DNA to Beat the Challenge of Climate Change

Thank God, my dream came true as; specially engineered camel DNA (revealed in a recent study) makes this unique animal a solution to climate change and other challenges. The study ( the author was part of it) published in PNAS with full access here. a day before. The authors have ensured that the remarkable story over its long and celebrated history stands out like a scientific beacon. Without the camel, Arabian trade, medieval conquests, and recent communication routes would all have collapsed, changing the course of events for human civilizations as well as that incredible diversity among the camel gene pools of Asia, Africa, and even Australia.

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A unique and pioneering study of the ancient and modern DNA of the ‘ship of the desert’ the single-humped camel or dromedary has shed new light on how its use by human societies has shaped its genetic diversity. DNA Sequencing Reveals Human Desert Migrations Shaped Camel Genetics.

Dromedaries have been fundamental to the development of human societies, providing food and transport in desert countries, for over 3,000 years. The dromedary continues to be vital for livelihood, food, and recreations where other species would not survive. In the current context of climate change and advancing desert landscapes, the animal’s importance is increasing and there is new interest in the biology and reproduction of the species.

In my opinion “genetic mixing and re-mixing engineered special DNA (camels) as; by constantly mixing the populations, the camels are now very genetically diverse which makes them more resilient to climate change. As predicted by the climate scientists, the mercury will go up with the passage of years, the camels will be the best choice among the others for food security and sustainable farming systems.

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The study suggests that the wild camels, which are now extinct, periodically helped restock domesticated populations. Unlike many other domesticated animals, modern camel populations have maintained their ancestral genetic diversity, potentially enabling adaptation to future changes in terrain and climate, according to the authors.

For more general articles the links are given in the ensuing lines. The links are referred in the article also.

References;

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36252141

http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2016/05/human-migrations-shaped-camel-dna

http://www.sciencecodex.com/origin_of_dromedary_domestication_discovered-182056

http://www.zmescience.com/science/dromedary-camel-genetics/

http://nhv.us/content/16056061-first-domestication-dromedaries-took-place-southeast-arabian

http://www.earthtimes.org/conservation/diversity-camels-conserved-3000-years/2938/

http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/june-2013/article/ancient-trading-networks-and-arabian-camel-diversity

Saving Life on Earth–Saving Biodiversity — GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Human Impact on Biodiversity Unaware of the consequences of its behavior, the growing human population is erasing sixty-five million of years of biodiversity recovery since the massive extinction that eliminated dinosaurs and most other species. This is without doubt the greatest issue of our time, perhaps of all time. In the article below, Quentin Wheeler […]

via Saving Life on Earth–Saving Biodiversity — GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Is Climate Change Well Understood?

The climate change is reality now. Almost major part of the societies are agreed that climate change is happening and the agriculture system will suffer further. The floods, erratic or no rainfall, desertification etc. have adversely affected (and continue even with the faster pace) to alter agriculture production potential of arable farming and livestock productions system.
The neutral zones of thermoregulation in animals are very challenging and heat intolerance, especially in exotic high producing animals is a catastrophic. The food security is a real challenge and many parts of the world (in one or other farm) is facing hunger and malnutrition.20151009_172921

But there are good and potential tools we have to adapt with the higher/lower temperatures and produce in very low input production systems; they are the native animals and plants genetic resources. Unfortunately, their role is seldom value and addressed accordingly which results in development faulty policies regarding food and agriculture. The keepers of the native breeds are void of a strong voice and are seldom heard by policy makers while formulating policies regarding the genetic resources and food security.
This situation is very complex and challenging. Many of the gene keepers (herders) are giving up their profession. Their historic lands for natural are either grabbed by the influential persons or secured from grazing at the name of nature conservation. One of the very alarming example is from the camel breeders of Rajastan India. The camel is really sinking and the population have gone down manifolds in last 3 decade. camel in Balochistan

The same is the situation in the Thal and Thar desert of Pakistan. The time has reached to reconsider the existing policies regarding food and agriculture and give proper place and task to the native gene and its keeper to beat the challenge of food security in clime change context.

Alarming Facts about Desertification, Drought and Catastrophes

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Be among the first to know  12 February 2016

Hot off the press!
A new analysis issued by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) shows that 2015 – the hottest year on record – confirmed that weather and climate-related disasters now dominate disaster trends linked to natural hazards.

The analysis found that 98.6 million people were affected by disasters in 2015, and that climate – often aided by a strong El Niño phenomenon – was a factor in 92 per cent of those events.

2015 disaster facts and figures vs 2005-2014 averages

  • 32 major droughts recorded last year compared to an annual average of 15 over the previous decade.
  • Droughts affected 50.5 million people, well above the ten year average of 35.4 million.
  • Floods were in second place last year when 152 floods affected 27.5 million people and claimed 3,310 lives. This compares with the ten year average of 5,938 deaths and 85.1 million people affected.
  • Floods in India last year affected 16.4 million people.drought

Rising sea levels and sea surface temperatures were factors in a very active cyclone season in Asia and the Pacific which saw 37 cyclones and typhoons. Globally, there were:

  • 90 reported storms resulting in 996 deaths and affecting 10.6 million people. This compares with a ten year average of 17,778 deaths and 34.9 million people affected.

2015 was the hottest year on record and this contributed to a major loss of life from heatwaves, including a combined total of 7346 deaths: in France (3,275), India (2,248) and Pakistan (1,229).

  • Overall, 7,346 deaths were recorded and 1.2 million people were affected by extreme temperatures in 2015.
  • This compares with the ten year average of 7,232 deaths and 8.7 million affected.

Other statistics from 2015:

  • earthquakes and tsunamis killed 9,525 people (including Nepal) and affected 7.2 million;
  • landslides triggered by heavy rains, killed 1,369 people and affected 50,332;
  • wildfires took 66 lives and affected almost 495,000 people.

Read The press release  , have a look into the infographics on disaster trends  .The latest report, The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters demonstrates that :

  • Drought affects Africa more than any other continent, with EM-DAT recording 136 events there between 1995 and 2015 (some41% of the global total), including 77 droughts in East Africa alone.
  • Since the first UN climate change conference (COP1) in 1995, 606,000 lives have been lost and 4.1 billion people have been injured, left homeless or in need of emergency assistance as a result of weather-related disasters.
  • Urbanization has significantly increased flood run-offs, while recurrent flooding of agricultural and, particularly in Asia, has taken a heavy toll in terms of lost production, food shortages and rural under-nutrition.flood

Reducing the size of drought-vulnerable populations should be a global priority over the next decade; better accounting systems for indirect deaths from drought are also required; these should be linked to early warning systems and response mechanisms in order to monitor the impacts of drought more comprehensively. Learn more from the International Disaster Database EM DAT

Smallscale livestock keeping – a sustainable future?

Livestock keeping is often portrayed as a pathway out of poverty, particularly for the landless poor. However, in recent years, concern has grown that standard approaches to poverty alleviation for livestock keepers are failing to produce the promised benefits, with producers facing increasing challenges from land grabbing, cheap imports and climate change.

In response, the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development (LPP) has advocated the need for a new approach, re-examining the notion of growth and how to support sustainable livestock development. In September 2012, a conference on ‘Livestock Futures’, organised by the LPP in Bonn, Germany, gave an opportunity for livestock keepers and international experts to share their visions for the livestock sector and how to set it on a sustainable path. Several participants also shared their views with New Agriculturist.

Importance of smallscale systems

The first role of the smallscale livestock keeper is that they conserve precious biodiversity, precious livestock breeds which are highly adaptable, which produce in a very low input system, which are resistant to many challenges. And second role they are producing high quality food items for the society, for the people. And thirdly they are the sign of our heritage, our culture; they attract tourists in the form of eco-tourism.
Abdul Raziq Kakar, SAVES, Pakistan

The future of livestock depends on the future of livestock keepers. The importance of their contribution to food security and the economies of the countries where they raise their animals is tremendous. The value of animal trade has gone from US$250 million to US$1 billion in Africa in recent years.
Getachew Gebru, MARIL research and development organisation, Kenya and Ethiopia

 Many small livestock keepers are women

I discovered this interesting fact: the average size of dairy herd in the world is just three cows. You see how many small herds there must be? Small scale involves so, so many people. Large scale involves very few. We need to appreciate the role of the small scale and what they do for consumers and what we should be doing to help them.

Wolfgang Bayer, AGRECOL, Germany

I think small livestock keepers play a very important role in developing countries, in generating income for the families. Mostly the small livestock keepers are women and when the women get some income they take care of their family, their children and also resolve poverty in our local areas.
Nouhoun Zampaligre (Burkina Faso), PhD student, University of Kassel, Germany

I think they have an important role in preserving local breed biodiversity and helping us to understand how multi-functional agriculture and livestock keepers can be. The smallscale producers have more criteria, not only money or production of milk or meat; they have traditions, they have culture and other things which are very important to preserve.
Maria Rosa Lanari, National Institute for Agricultural Technology, Argentina

Pressures and policy failures

There’s not enough attention to what’s happening in livestock. Not enough attention on how we can link smallholders to market. The demand is from cities looking for cheap goods and it is likely that the smaller scale producers will be excluded because of the economies of scale and distance. Growth in Africa in recent years has been 6-7%. But the increase in demand is not being met by smallholders. It comes from imports. How do we tackle this?
Henning Steinfeld, FAO

 Smallscale livestock keepers are facing increasing challenges from land grabbing, cheap imports and climate change

In the pastoral system you have the people, you have the animals, you have the natural resources. That is where we usually fail. We either just take the livestock and work on it or we take the natural resource and work on it. We do not have this holistic approach. And secondly we need to be able to see how, when you change one factor you are also affecting the other, but we fail to understand how that is impacting.
Getachew Gebru, MARIL, Ethiopia

Livestock keepers’ rights need to be recognised. Our contribution to the creation and maintenance of animal genetic resources is not widely appreciated. Sometimes I feel depressed that every pastoralist community faces the same problems but that is what makes it necessary to find solutions at international level, at national level, right down to local officials.
Hanwant Singh, Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan (LPPS), Rajasthan, India

Policies do not support the poorest at all, not anywhere: not in Pakistan, not in Europe, not in America, not in Canada. The national governments, the international people they are looking for mega projects for big things to be visible, to get more support. But our lands are being grabbed; our ways are discouraged; with climate change there are new diseases. Everything is against us so we need the support of national and international bodies to survive.
Abdul Raziq Kakar, SAVES

Strategies and solutions

For me a key step is the provision of credit to entrepreneurs to set up facilities such as a processing plant close to the producing areas. The livestock keepers will then have a reliable, convenient market for what they produce and with the new income they look after their family’s needs and then look after their livestock better and improve their health and productivity. They buy more from local feed mills and other suppliers and the benefits are shared.
Nancy Abeiderrahmane, Tiviski Camel Milk Dairy, Mauritania

 Reliable, convenient livestock markets are important

Smallholders in developing countries must clearly identify the benefits of these production systems. How can you measure these benefits and how can you use them to access the markets? We need to convince the consumer that this is important, to buy these things for their quality and the quality of their processing.

Ernesto Reyes, livestock economist, Agri Benchmark, Mallorca

For Dutch farmers the solutions lie in restoration of soil fertility; the optimisation of the farm as a whole rather then the maximisation of one single product; to sell direct or add value; to diversify the farmer’s work and income; re-value local and dual-purpose breeds. I believe in livestock production globally there needs to be a ‘technology leap’ where developing countries can learn from what has happened in highly industrialised animal production sectors.
Katrien van’t Hooft, Tradinova, Netherlands

There are good signs of regional collaboration. I see it starting in Africa, to regionally work together for example to control transboundary diseases that afflict so many smaller and poor livestock keepers. These initiatives are good but we need more.
Getachew Gebru, MARIL

Listening and engaging

The smallholders, the pastoral people, they have no representation in the parliament. They have no political power. They are living in far flung areas so they have no participation at policy level. They are not asked when the policy is formalised. The utmost need is to take smallholders on board while formulating any policy relating to animal genetic resources, related to livestock production systems.

Abdul Raziq Kakar

 

Derived from the report of new agriculturist; available in the link below.Image

http://www.new-ag.info/en/pov/views.php?a=2809#s1