Tag Archives: Small scaled livestock keepers

Turning Again to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future

Turning Again to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future

The catastrophes of climate change along with growing desertification consequence in the adoption of new strategies. The industrialized nation’s choice is mitigation strategy while among the native livestock keepers’ adaptation is the best tactic. Unfortunately, the so called policy makers (at all levels) are not that much in tune (with the above-said challenges) as the rural indigenous people of the bush are. These sensible livestock keepers know how to materialize livestock agriculture sustainably as; to satisfy versatile requirements of the owner/community and ensure its own life whereas depending on available natural resources.20151009_172921

The so pseudo green revolution (1960s era) was actually a trick of the capitalism to provide an immature solution (factory farming) to increase productivity but contrary it resulted in erosion/dilution of the precious native animal genetic resources and depletion of soil fertility. Coincidentally, nature reacts after each specific period and shed all the unkind things attach to it; intensive farming is failing in many ways.

A Case Study from Balochistan

In months of September, October (2015), I visited the rural areas of northeastern Balochistan. I sniffed a very positive change, the wise decision of the community elders; turning back to the native cattle. Many small scale farmers have adopted the native cattle (Kohe-Suleimani/Lohani/Kakari®) to better utilize free available natural resources and ensure sustainable production. The lovely Kakari cows mostly depend on the bushes, especially Sarghasie (abundantly available bush in the region) which is otherwise useless. Some wise farmers narrated “native cow is the best weed regulator” as she restricts the weeds/bushes to creep in the cropping lands. She is the best converter of bushes into food item and high fibrous manure.20151012_101537

The dung produced by the cattle provides softy and fluffy texture to the soil, making it apt for cropping. The cow manure is highly preferred for wheat, tomato, cauliflower, almond, and apricot agriculture. Sometimes, the dung is used in construction material is added to the mud plaster. The native cow is unique as; grows well, catches high consumer demand, resistant to health ailments/parasites and easy management making it the best choice as a farm animal.20151009_170928

Nevertheless producing little milk (2-3 liter per day with a shorter lactation length), idolized as best in the conversion of poor quality roughages into precious milk and meat. The yummy, creamy and appetizing milk makes it super cow than the exotic one. Its milk is esteemed as beautifying skin and treats febrile conditions. The special taste of ghuarri (a Pashtu word used for ghee) produced from its milk is highly anticipated. Pashtuns’ folk poetry is rich with the appreciation of the precious ghuarri. The surplus ghuarri is sold by the women and the income purely owned by them. Now a day, the prices for ghuarri is too high and attracts bulky Pakistani rupees. Hey! The native genes empower the women, they told.20151009_174051

The steer catches reasonable prices at the occasion of Eid-Adha, highly preferred by locals and suit well to a common customer. A slightly pinkish color beef (not too red) has the special desire and high organoleptic scoring. It is approachable selection for the low-income groups during the Eid-Adha and other religious/cultural occasions. A native keeper whispered that it takes the little time to cook, making a good selection for women.20151011_161325

The strategies adopted by the native/indigenous people are highly useful to guarantee sustainable farming systems under climate change scenario. Their knowledge is based on centuries’ long experience and evolved with the natural phenomena; making it the treasurable heritage of humanity. Unfortunately, their contents are never asked while making policy regarding the livestock agriculture both at national and international levels. It would be so great if native livestock keepers are involved in policy making to ensure sustainable and ecological farming.20151011_161444

For more details, please go to the links below;

http://dry-net.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/091220_potential_of_livestock_breeds_of_Baluchistan_final_.pdf

http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/docs/CGRFA_LIFE_sideevent_kakar.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/216121092_Prospects_of_Livestock_Production_in_Balochistan

®Native livestock Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture are very diverse in many ways, having different names in different regions, many colors, sizes, and purposes etc.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 17,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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

 

Livestock for Futures and Global Agenda of Action (GAA)

Livestock for Futures and Global Agenda of Action (GAA)

There is ever increasing demand for meat, milk and other livestock products because of crawling urbanization, developing economies, population pressure and awareness about livestock based food stuffs (contrary to developed countries, where the people are minimizing usage of animal products, especially meat). Up to 2050, there is a challenge of more meat and milk 74 % and 52% respectively to fulfil nutritional requirements. In the meanwhile some hot issues are also interconnected to livestock i.e. food security, environmental issues, feed and water scarceness, human health and biodiversity etc. In the above mentioned situation GAA stresses for a sustainable livestock production systems to keep a smooth course of animal based food products.

To understand the chemistry of sustainable livestock production, we need to know in depth about the current livestock production systems prevailing in at global level. In a broader sense there are two production systems like that of high input livestock production systems (HILPS) and small scaled livestock production systems (SSLPS).

High Input Livestock Production system (HILPS) is composed of high yielding genetic resources (cattle, pig, chicken, maize and soy), heavy mechanization/automation, large strips of land, heavy loans and subsidies, tax payer money, modern education/techniques, processing plants and corporate sector support. The system provokes import of feed resources, especially soy and export food items and even manure. Such system demands huge consumption of fossil oil which further complicates the question of sustainability.

On the other hand, SSLPS depend on a wide flora and fauna biodiversity. This system not only produces healthier food but also provides eco-system services and touristic opportunities. The system is highly sustainable and evolved with precious traditional knowledge. This system relies on local feed resources and high level import of feed resources is out of question.

Threats from High Input Livestock Production system (HILPS)

To beat the challenges of ever increasing food items, HILP is generally supported among the policy makers to beat this challenge. In contrary small-scaled livestock production (SSLP) is always neglected and even considered as backward and worthless. The rich industrialized livestock production system is getting more and more volume while engulfing small scale farming consequential in a threat to precious biodiversity of livestock and other related biomasses. The use of narrow based genetic material making it susceptible to catastrophe of certain genes’ linked diseases which further deepens the concerns about its sustainability. The present HILP is not sustainable and this bubble cannot inflate further. The rupture of this bubble can create further catastrophes which demands for making it sustainable. Regrettably, such theme is still embryonic among the policy makers.

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In Europe, USA and other industrialized countries the number of farms are lessening and number of livestock is increasing. Such intensification provokes other problems like that of environment and animal welfare. HILPS is centered on high level import of Soy and corn from Latin America resulting in marginalization of small keepers over there and promote land grabbing. The precious and wide biodiversity of rain forests is on stake because of this mega monster.

Recommendation

To achieve the goal of sustainable livestock future, some suggestions are hereby presented in the ensuing lines.

  • Taking small scaled livestock keepers on-board at policy levels (local, national, regional  and international levels) is the paramount need of time
  • Linking small farmers with the market through branding of its products and value addition
  • A diverse livestock production system based on a many pillars, like biodiversity, TK, culture, heritage, ecosystem services and management, native livestock breeds, is more sustainable and can produce healthy food
  • There is utmost need of time to understand and study SSLPS and evaluate in a broader module to compare with HILPS
  • Convincing consumers to pay more for the products come from the pastoral and small scale livestock keepers
  • Agriculture should declare as heritage but not only food production factory by the developing countries
  • Promotion of production in balance, not import feed and not export manure

The above paragraphs were written in the context of GAA of the FAO and Livestock for Futures Conference in Bonn, Germany.

For further reading please go to the links below.