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Chapter 1 Socio-economic consequences for poor livestock farmers of animal diseases and VPH problems


Livestock are important in supporting the livelihoods of poor farmers, consumers, traders and labourers throughout the developing world. The greatest impact of livestock in sustainable development designed to help the poor is enhancement of livestock-production systems. Animal diseases are crucial constraints in this: the animals of poor people are particularly vulnerable to disease because of the expense, absence or unsuitability of animal-health and production inputs. The distribution of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the world closely follows poverty indicators (see Box 7). Poor farmers have few animals and few reserves on which to survive during lean times and use for recovery, so the loss of individual animals has a proportionally greater impact.

On a global basis, precise estimates by region and system are being made of the numbers of poor livestock keepers, traders, labourers and consumers, or the livestock animals that contribute to their livelihoods. It is thus necessary to rely on crude aggregate estimates from summary reports, which provide a picture of the importance of livestock to poor people. To explore this with available information, a definition must be made of poor and vulnerable people and how they rely on livestock.

Because of the variety of ways in which human livelihoods are supported, human welfare and poverty have been measured by a number of indicators, none of which are universally satisfactory. Henninger (1998) proposes three groups of indicators: economic, social and enabling environment. Economic indicators include measures of current consumption expenditure, income and wealth. Social indicators include access to adequate nutrition, energy, education and health and sanitation services. Enabling environment considers important issues such as vulnerability and access to resources and markets.

Despite serious limitations, absolute economic indicators of income are the most widely used poverty indicators. An income of less than US$1 per day is the most common value for global analyses. People marginally above this threshold, at US$2 per day for example, clearly have little capacity to avoid becoming destitute should misfortune strike. The limitations of this monetary income indicator are that it fails to capture unmarketed and unpriced goods that sustain most rural people and it does not reflect differential prices of goods. To account for this latter constraint, some analysts have used a weighted measure of income as a function of average purchasing power, parity income and income inequality for a country to assess relative poverty. Countries with greater income inequality have lower-weighted average incomes.

Social indicators, although harder to measure, give a better description of the impacts of poverty. Nutritional indicators have been developed, such as caloric intake or chronic undernutrition (see World Food Summit report, 1996, country-level map; These - birth weight, height and weight in relation to age - are frequently assessed in children. Other social indicators of critical goods and services of value to poor people are:

There has been a much greater awareness and analysis of enabling environments, particularly risk and vulnerability, in recent years.

Two main approaches to assessing vulnerability are used:

As people’s livelihoods depend on day-to-day availability of basic needs rather than average income, assessment of short- and longer-term risks and related coping mechanisms are crucial human-welfare issues. Components of risk that make people vulnerable include:

Table 1. Number of rural poor (1 000s) by region and livestock-production system (Thornton et al., 2000).

Number (proportion) of rural poor










Urban Poor



13 872

23 505

39 971

29 326

96 676

35 870



3 033

38 763

280 927









7 258

7 359

4 069

10 270

27 001

10 696

4 407

1 002

2 204

105 349

179 615











1 991


2 347



16 582



17 035

41 846

79 800







2 117



40 526

88 922


120 768

156 352

104 793

513 478











34 568



82 953

1 176

26 949

145 645





8 657

16 228


18 113

11 277


23 258

35 721


28 165

141 802








31 778

49 269

46 710

57 710

210 048

152 069

27 665

240 444

179 800

345 774

1 341 267

Regions:SSA - sub-Saharan Africa, LAC - Latin America and the Caribbean, WANA - West Asia and North Africa, SA - South Asia, SEA - Southeast Asia.

Livestock production systems: M - mixed, G - grassland-based, R - rainfed, I - irrigated, T - temperate and tropical highland, A - arid and semi-arid, H - humid and subhumid.

Note: Landless systems have not been included in this Table. The proportion of poor in each system is the number of poor people in proportion to the total population in each system.

Table 2. Numbers (millions) of poor livestock keepers by livestock-production system (LID, 1999)

Agro-ecological zone

Category of poor livestock-keepers

Extensive graziers

Poor rainfed mixed farmers

Landless livestock keepers

Arid or semi-arid



Temperate (including tropical highlands)



Humid, subhumid and subtropical






* Largely in irrigated systems but also in other high population density livestock systems.

Aggregate estimates of correlations between poverty and livestock keeping have been based on the poverty definition of an income of less than US$1 per day. Thornton et al. (2000) at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) estimated numbers of rural poor people for each region of the developing world by livestock production system (see Table 1). Livestock production-system categories, excluding landless systems, were defined and are divided into two main groupings: systems in which livestock predominate and mixed systems with livestock.

Livestock in Development (LID) (1999), using slightly different criteria, developed the global estimates of numbers of poor livestock keepers presented in Table 2. Their estimates, which include landless poor as opposed to landless industrial systems, show that livestock contribute to the livelihoods of at least 70 percent of the world’s population of rural poor.

The major discrepancies between Thornton’s and LID’s estimates are that Thornton estimated approximately one-third fewer poor extensive graziers, 80 percent more poor rainfed mixed farmers and excluded landless livestock keepers. The total number of poor livestock keepers was estimated at approximately 800 million in the LID study and 1 billion in Thornton. Both the LID and ILRI estimates highlight the large numbers and proportion of the world’s poor in livestock systems, the large numbers of poor livestock keepers in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and the significant number of poor livestock keepers in all regions of the developing world.

The type of livestock that supports the livelihoods of poor people varies according to agro-ecological zone, type of livestock system and region of the world. For extensive graziers, who are vulnerable to climate extremes, camels, cattle, small ruminants and yaks can be important. Poor smallholders in mixed farming areas depend mainly on poultry (see Table 3) and, when possible, small ruminants and pigs. Cattle and buffalo play a more important role for poor people in animal-traction systems, often as a shared or hired resource. Some livestock species, such as rabbits, pigeons and guinea pigs are not officially accounted for, nor are fish and bushmeat. These and other animal-source foods and products are used by the poor when possible.

Table 3. Village poultry throughout the developing world (Sonaiya et al., 1997).

Asset value to poor people of US$5.75 million represents on average 70% of poultry production (greater in poorer countries)


Burkina Faso

25 million (majority guinea fowl); US$19.5 million export income


94% of total poultry; 83% of 82 million chickens



90% of total poultry; 74% of households keep poultry (22% landless)


Ducks provide 70% of income from 0.5 ha rice/crop/buffalo/duck

Latin America

Dominican Republic

13% of average animal production income (greater for poor)


The transmission, effects and control of animal diseases are manifested in a variety of ways. For the purpose of assessing the impacts of animal diseases on the poor, the following four-category classification captures the key disease groups. Some diseases occur in more than one category.

The categories are:

Animal diseases have multiple impacts, which have been highlighted from different perspectives. The impacts of endemic diseases are mainly felt at farm level, while broader economic impacts can occur with epidemic diseases that restrict trade in livestock and livestock products. The occurrence of such diseases impacts both poor and richer livestock producers by marginalizing them from higher-price livestock markets and restricting their capacity for value-added trade. The overall benefits of control of epidemic diseases are greater in rich countries; where resources are available for eradication, it is invariably carried out. Numerous recent examples, however, emphasize that maintenance of disease-free status when the disease occurs elsewhere is risky, for example FMD introductions worldwide and classical swine fever in the Netherlands. When considering pro-poor livestock development, it is necessary to highlight the impacts on the poor of epidemic diseases and their control, which include direct effects (highlighted below) and potential trade benefits. With regard to the latter, benefits and costs vary according to the different livestock sectors. For poor livestock keepers, who pays and who benefits is a crucial question when it comes to planning and targeting control and eradication efforts. How this might be achieved is discussed in Chapter 5.

Figure 1 summarizes the impacts of animal diseases in terms of effects on livestock and other effects within farming systems. Disease effects on livestock include direct effects on productivity, disease-control costs and constraints on livestock management including limitations on species and breed choices. Other effects have been divided into three categories: agricultural and other products, natural resources and human-welfare effects.

FIGURE 1 Multiple effects of animals disease on livestock, agricultural production, natural resources and human welfare in farming systems (Swallow, 2000).

The direct effects of animal diseases on livestock productivity include reduced feed intake, changes in digestion and metabolism, increased morbidity and mortality and decreased rates of reproduction, weight gain and milk production. These have aggregate effects that limit economically important herd-management decisions regarding animal selection and optimal longevity. Examples are given in Box 8. The interactions between disease, nutrition and genetic selection emphasize the need to control the effects of epidemic and endemic diseases before enhanced nutrition and genetic programmes can make an impact. Substantial productivity and economic gains will not necessarily be achieved by disease control alone.

Considerable costs may be incurred in controlling animal diseases, though the control measures paid for may not always be effective. This is particularly true for smallholder farmers, who often lack information and have limited diagnostic data to make disease-control and treatment decisions. The overall impact of control measures may be constrained by non-compliance of a significant proportion of the community, which highlights the need for regulatory veterinary services supported by legislation and incentives to comply. It is an important principle that the total losses associated with diseases are less important than the cost benefits that can be obtained from different control options. An important loss associated with animal diseases is the cost of non-investment in production inputs and adoption of less profitable risk-management strategies to avoid disease impacts (Swallow, 2000). Such strategies may include reduction in livestock numbers, for example in tsetse-infested versus non-infested areas in sub-Saharan Africa, variations in grazing practices to avoid tsetse infestation and limitations in breed choices, as in the case of trypanotolerant breeds in West Africa.

The importance of livestock in mixed farming systems is indicated by the numerous indirect effects of animal diseases. These include impacts on crop production through decreased nutrient cycling and draught power and loss of products such as fuel and transport. Intensive smallholder farming systems in many regions of the developing world have integrated livestock into other agricultural practices to such an extent that livestock diseases, when they occur, have multiple impacts. Examples of such crop-livestock systems include the volume actually commercialized (VAC) system (integrating homestead, garden, livestock and fishpond) in Vietnam, the smallholder dairy system in the East African highlands (McDermott et al., 1999) and the mixed-crop livestock systems in subhumid West Africa (McDermott et al., 1999). The multiple impacts of trypanosomosis in this latter system are highlighted in Box 1. The integration of livestock into mixed-farming systems is now widely considered to be an essential component for sustainable agricultural development.


Multiple impacts of trypanosomosis in crop/livestock systems in Africa (Swallow, 2000).

Direct impacts on livestock productivity

  • reduced calving rates: 1-12 percent tolerant; 11-20 percent susceptible
  • increased calf mortality: 0-10 percent tolerant; 10-20 percent susceptible
  • small ruminants: lambing/kidding rates decreased by 4-28 percent/37 percent
  • decreased milk production (cow): 10-26 percent tolerant; land-area: 83 percent
  • decreased animal offtake (herd): 5-31 percent; land-area: 97 percent
  • drug use (sub-Saharan Africa) US$35 million

Impacts on livestock risk management

  • decreased cattle numbers: arid 14 percent; subhumid 27 percent; humid 77 percent
  • grazing changes

Impacts on agricultural and other products

  • decreased draught efficiency: 40 percent
  • increased crop production: +25-45 percent per unit land; +140-143 percent per unit labour
  • decrease in agricultural production in affected countries from 5-10 percent

Effects on natural resource use

  • change in migration/settlement patterns; variable effects
  • limited to moderate changes in biodiversity associated with tsetse control

Impacts on human welfare

  • loss of income and assets related to impacts above
  • livestock reservoir of sleeping sickness: eastern, western and southern Africa; limited importance in central Africa.

Another significant category of livestock-disease impacts is ecological, affecting utilization of natural resources. Livestock animals have been considered harmful to the environment and implicated in a host of environmental sins including desertification, deforestation, global warming and pollution. Control of livestock diseases, particularly large-scale programmes, has thus been the subject of much debate; environmental concerns have had a negative effect on investment in livestock-disease control. This has been especially true of tsetse and trypanosomosis control in Africa. Recent evidence, however, suggests that the environmental impacts of disease-control efforts are not invariably negative; they can be positive or neutral, depending largely on how people choose to manage their livestock in response to reduced disease risk. Considering such relationships is crucial in arid and semi-arid environments, where livestock are usually the main means of utilizing natural resources and where the risk of animal diseases (among other risks) complicates the process. This has important implications for poor livestock keepers, who rely almost exclusively on common natural resources. These resources are constantly declining. It has been estimated, for example, that such resources have declined by 30-50 percent in India from the 1950s to 1982. In temperate highlands, humid and subhumid zones, as described in the previous paragraph, livestock are recognized as playing a catalytic role in enhanced nutrient cycling.

Finally, animal diseases have significant and measurable effects on human welfare. Many of these have been described in considerable detail by Schwabe (1984), particularly the importance of animal products in human nutrition, the social benefits of livestock and the impact of food-borne infections and zoonotic diseases. Animal disease control and livestock products have been shown to have considerable impacts on improving child nutrition among poor people, particularly in pastoralist communities, in which 75 percent or more of general and child nutrition is based on milk and livestock products.

The intensification of livestock systems in many areas of the developing world is expected to increase the transmission and impacts of food-borne infections and intoxications (see Chapter 3). Because of poor surveillance and diagnostic facilities, however, the impacts on consumers, labourers and traders in livestock products are likely to be poorly understood and poorly controlled. Poor consumers currently have to face greater risks from food-borne infections such as anthrax and hydatid disease. Black markets of poorer-quality livestock products exist in many countries. In addition, there will be an increase of new risks of food-borne infections in more industrialized systems, for example by Salmonella spp., Camplyobacter spp. and enterotoxigenic coliforms; these are currently seen in the developed world. Increasing levels of drug residues and antibiotic resistance will compound these infections. This will be a serious problem for poor consumers, as they will confront many of the multiple-antibiotic resistant infections seen in western countries but without the benefit of new-generation antibiotic treatments. The challenge (see Chapter 5) will be to develop risk-assessment and surveillance systems that strike a balance between consumer health protection and cost-effective and equitable marketing systems for livestock and livestock products. Box 3 illustrates the issues for poor milk producers, traders and consumers with respect to the marketing of raw and pasteurized milk in Kenya.


Multiple impacts of brucellosis and an ex-ante assessment of its control by vaccination in Mongolia.

Brucellosis is the second most important infectious disease in Mongolia, after viral hepatitis. Fifty percent of people are considered to be at high risk; infection prevalence in high-risk herders is 16 percent.

At present there are substantial impacts of brucellosis on livestock production, such as abortions and lost milk production, and human health. Brucellosis is a chronic and very debilitating disease in people if it is not treated.

During the 1980s, Mongolia had a mass vaccination programme for brucellosis in livestock that reduced human incidence to very low levels. Recent decline in public-resources, however, has led to a return to the pre-vaccination situation. The ex-ante benefits and costs of vaccination to the health and agricultural sectors were assessed using different scenarios and assumptions. Cost-benefit ratios in the order of ten for the livestock sector, and two for direct health costs were estimated. It was estimated that one year of human disability (disability adjusted life year - DALY) could be avoided for US$34.

This study highlights the importance and benefits of policy changes to enhance inter-sectoral assessment and action for controlling zoonotic diseases.


Assessing and managing milk-borne health risks for the benefit of consumers in Kenya (Omore et al., 1999).

In Kenya, approximately 90 percent of milk is produced by smallholder farmers. Much of this is consumed locally but increasing amounts are being collected, transported and sold in towns and cities by small- and large-scale traders.

Omore et al. (1999) assessed a variety of risks associated with different milk-marketing systems. Overall, both raw and pasteurized milk rarely met accepted standards for bacterial counts. Ninety percent of milk reaching consumers was not pasteurized, but 96 percent was boiled before consumption. Worryingly, from 5-15 percent of milk sampled had antibacterial residues; Salmonella and E. coli O157 were only rarely detected, however. Zoonoses (brucellosis and bovine-source tuberculosis) were not detected in milk from smallholder farms but brucellosis antibodies in milk indicate that there is a risk, which increases as milk is collected and bulked from many sources.

This study highlights the trade-offs that will need to be considered, balancing public health and economic benefits to producers, traders and consumers. Two milk-marketing systems are emerging: a formal market for high quality milk and milk products that will require the highest milk-quality standards and an informal market involving small-scale producers and traders who sell unpasteurized milk at a cost one-third less to consumers. The informal sector provides employment to thousands of poor people. The authors recommend measures that will improve the quality and safety of milk from the informal sector through advice to consumers on boiling milk, training and improved handling for small-scale traders, and maintain economic benefits for poor farmers, traders and consumers.

Zoonotic diseases, while not among the top impact human diseases, based on disability-adjusted life years lost, can have tremendous impacts among livestock keepers and workers handling livestock products. One example of many is brucellosis among livestock keepers in Mongolia (see Box 2 for socio-economic estimates of its impacts on human welfare and livestock production).

The benefits of livestock as a regular source of income, in terms of both cash and barter, have been detailed in numerous studies (see LID, 1999), which have shown that poor farmers (small land size or landless) are increasingly relying on livestock as their main source of income. In addition, livestock are often the main way in which poor farmers can acquire real assets, providing a safety factor when difficulties strike. The asset-acquisition pathway usually begins with poultry, followed by small ruminants and pigs, with larger stock such as equids, cattle and buffalo acquired at later stages. Animal diseases are a major constraint to income generation and asset acquisition by the poor, since poor people have limited cash to pay for animal health. The FAO Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) recognizes in its diversification component the value of short-cycle livestock farming in alleviating poverty and promotes its development. Care will be needed to prevent the predation of disease from confounding this development (see Box 4).


The FAO/SPFS diversification component and animal disease.

The SPFS is a multidisciplinary programme that combines expertise and experience from a range of fields to promote an integrated, participatory approach to food security. The programme was launched by FAO in 1994 after unanimous approval by the FAO Council at its 106th session and was endorsed at the World Food Summit in 1996.

The SPFS concentrates on improving productivity, stability of production and farmers’ incomes and access to food. Short-cycle livestock - poultry, swine and small ruminants - is included in the diversification component to increase the nutritional value and protein content of local diets and improve the household cash-flow situation to regular year-round income.

Diversification into livestock production is at risk from endemic and epidemic diseases of all types. Not least of these are the major transboundary diseases, including PPR, classical swine fever (CSF), African swine fever (ASF) and ND, whose potential for devastation of livestock development programmes has been amply demonstrated in the last decade. Safeguarding investments in livestock development is a challenge which must be taken up.

In addition to improving the welfare of livestock keepers, enhancing livestock production through control of animal diseases can have multiple benefits for poor consumers, traders and labourers. This is particularly true if disease-control and livestock-development benefits are focused on poor livestock keepers such as smallholder mixed farmers and pastoralists. Enhanced livestock production on smallholder farms tends to be labour-intensive, using both surplus family labour and to a lesser extent non-family labour. Improved smallholder dairy production has been shown to increase labour opportunities for small-scale milk traders and to lower transaction costs, resulting in lower milk prices for poor consumers (Omore et al., 2000).


Animal diseases have multiple direct and indirect effects on human welfare. In order to achieve a better understanding of the importance of controlling animal diseases from the perspective of poor livestock keepers, however, a sustainable-livelihoods approach is valuable. A key consideration is that to improve livelihoods for poor people directly and effectively, approaches should focus on poor livestock keepers, traders, labourers and consumers. Figure 2 shows a framework developed by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) in 1999 for assessing sustainable livelihoods. It is particularly useful for understanding the effects of interventions on the poor, because it provides a checklist of important issues, highlights key influences and processes and emphasizes the interactions between factors and interventions that affect the livelihoods of poor people.

This framework for assessing the impact on poor people of animal-health services has been slightly simplified. The three left-hand components of Figure 2 are combined as the socio-political, environmental and institutional context under which individual and collective human, social, natural, physical and financial livelihood assets can be accessed and acquired to meet household and community needs. This allows consideration of individual and collective factors that households face in a range of environmental vulnerability and socio-political situations. Livelihoods are considered within specific contexts based on opportunities, strategies and outcomes (Figure 3).

A livelihood analysis in four steps has been recommended. First, the overall socio-political and environmental context is determined. Second, its ability to support enabling, disabling or neutral capital acquisition is assessed. Third, opportunity costs and option sets within a context are assessed. Fourth, potential livelihood strategies and outcomes based on identified opportunities are assessed. Based on this four-stage approach, impacts of animal diseases will be considered in two contexts: poor smallholder crop/livestock subsistence farmers and poor and vulnerable pastoralists.

In smallholder crop/livestock systems, poor farmers often rely on subsistence crops and smaller livestock species including poultry (chickens, ducks, guinea fowl), rabbits, guinea pigs, small ruminants (goats and sheep) and pigs. Village chickens are owned throughout the developing world by poor farmers, for whom ND is a major constraint. In Box 5, the livelihood issues associated with ND and its control are highlighted.

FIGURE 2 Sustainable livelihood framework (DFID, 1999).

FIGURE 3 Simplified sustainable livelihood framework (Heffernan and Misturelli, 2000).

Other epidemic diseases in smallholder subsistence farming contexts will have similar impacts on the livelihoods of poor farmers. Examples of epidemic diseases affecting livestock assets, strategies and outcomes of poor smallholder livestock keepers include CSF in village pigs in Haiti, ASF in village pigs in Nigeria, and PPR in goats and sheep in West Africa. A key sustainable livelihood issue is that option sets are limited and option costs high where there are weak public-sector investment and capacity in disease diagnosis, surveillance and control. Options are also greatly influenced by the extent to which market access for inputs and outputs is constrained.

Pastoralists are another target group for pro-poor and vulnerable livestock developments. Epidemic diseases have had tremendous influences on pastoralists. The greatest of these was the introduction of rinderpest into Africa in the late 19th century, which wiped out 90 percent of the cattle population in most countries. It is hard to overemphasize the extent of the devastation that such epidemics have in pastoralist communities. The importance of cattle, camels and small ruminants for pastoralists is hard for non-pastoralists to appreciate. The statements below give some indication.

On the Dinka of Sudan:

“Cattle play an essential role in Dinka society, providing not only milk and dowry but performing important social functions and determining a man’s position and influence in the community. A song bull, while not productive in the sense of providing milk and meat, is a source of great pride, prestige and possible influence. The value of a song bull is determined by an animal’s size, colour and shape of the horns. To be Dinka you must own cattle. Cattle provide the means by which kinship ties are made and maintained, a process for ensuring the long term viability of the household and a means of receiving support and animals in the event of disaster.”

On the Karimojong of Uganda:

“The particular status that cattle have and the roles which they fulfil in the social and religious life of the Karimojong explain the psychological basis for the rapport which every herder has with his livestock. A foreigner can never understand why a Karimojong, for example, could commit suicide at the death of his ox. Among all the oxen in the herd there is one which exemplifies the uniqueness of this relationship. It can be recognised by the bell and leather collar on its neck. The herder received it as a gift from his father while it was a calf. He fed it the best he had, sometimes depriving himself of his own food. He sang to his ox in dances and contests with his friends. He defied death in going to rescue his ox from the kraals of the enemies who had raided it. How can such a relationship be defined? Certainly not as an economic relationship. He sees in the ox a friend, a confidant who embodies the pride of the owner, his poetic talents and his warrior ardour. It is thus evident that for the Karimojong, cattle are not a kind of capital from whose interests one can get a means of living. They are something far more important than this.”


Effects of ND and its control by vaccination on smallholder subsistence poultry farmers throughout the developing world.

Socio-political and environmental context

  • Limited input/output systems
  • Variety of social networks
  • Relatively weak public support institutions for credit, animal health and production inputs
  • Markets variable but some local demand

Acquisition of capital

  • Village poultry accessible to poor and often provide an effective starting point for acquisition of additional livestock assets (pigs, small ruminants); livestock assets maintain their value in environments with weak banking systems and are crucial in times of crisis such as health emergencies, etc.
  • Can be instrumental in providing funds for school fees (human capital); enhanced nutrition, particularly important for child development. Depending on scale, markets for village poultry are relatively robust (physical capital) but will require enhancement for larger-scale production.
  • Importance of poultry as social capital; ability to fulfil social obligations. Evaluation of opportunity gives 50 percent mortality rate as main reason for low output; 50 percent of mortalities due to infectious diseases; ND most important and widespread infectious disease of poultry.

Potential options

  • Distribution of thermostable ND vaccine in feed (southeast Asia) and by eye drop (Mozambique).
  • Enhanced input-output systems including ND vaccination; vaccination, micro-credit, improved breeds and feeds.

Assessment of livelihood strategies and outcomes from opportunity sets

Option A:

  • success depends on development of appropriate and very inexpensive vaccine production and distribution systems (being developed and assessed by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Research and partners);
  • limited benefits can be captured by poor people in a variety of contexts;
  • economic benefits (cost:benefit ratio 14:1) important but limited due to constraints from other limiting inputs and market potential depending on market access.

Option B:

  • greater success possible but not everywhere; successfully applied in Bangladesh but needs assessment elsewhere;
  • has potential for greatest increase in livelihood outcomes if input delivery and output markets can be developed.

Livestock dominate the livelihood activities and strategies of pastoralists. In some pastoralist settings, livestock markets are not well developed. In others, livestock marketing is a crucial activity and epidemic diseases can make or break it. An example is the case of RVF affecting pastoralist livestock marketing in the Horn of Africa (see Map 1 and Box 6).

Analyses of livelihoods highlight the importance of livestock and control of livestock diseases as important contributors to the social and economic wellbeing of the poor, which includes from 650 million (FAO, 2000) to 1 billion people in the developing world (LID, 1999). The control of livestock diseases can and will have measurable impacts on incomes, improved social and physical wellbeing, reduced vulnerability, increased food security and increased options for sustainable management of natural resources. Animal-disease control efforts, particularly those with donor and public support, must take account of the main impacts on the poor noted in this chapter, so that policies, institutions and processes can focus on delivery of services for the benefit of the poor and vulnerable.


Impacts of RVF on livelihoods of livestock keepers and traders in the Horn of Africa.

Socio-political and environmental context

  • Harsh natural environment in which livestock are the essential basis of livelihood.
  • Complex social and economic networks for livestock production and marketing.
  • Very weak public infrastructure for disease diaganosis, surveillance and control.

Acquisition of capital

  • Livestock sales instrumental for all other expenditures such as school fees (human capital).
  • Major source of regional, national, community and individual financial capital; major livelihood activity in the region (see Map 1).
  • Sophisticated private marketing infrastructure (physical capital) susceptible to external disease control regulation.
  • Crucial role of livestock as social capital (see above).

Evaluation of opportunity sets

  • Disease surveillance.
  • Export testing and quarantine.
  • Information on risks: did the Near-East RVF outbreak originate from the Horn of Africa? (See Chapter 5)

All of the above will require sophisticated collective and public-sector information systems to mitigate negative effects and enhance livelihoods.

Assessment of livelihood strategies and outcomes from opportunity sets

  • Given reliance on livestock export markets, financial and other assets, effects of export ban are devastating: exports decreased by 2 million head from Berbera in Somalia = approximately US$100 million to individuals and communities in the region (February 1998-May 1999).
  • Negative impacts of the export ban on livelihood outcomes for the poor have been on livestock keepers, individuals and communities, particularly because of the complex social support network among Somali and other pastoralists (see Catley, 1999) and small-scale livestock traders.
  • Effects on consumers were 30 percent lower prices in affected countries, but these did not persist.


Distribution of FMD

It is probably no accident that the worldwide epidemiology of FMD is almost a mirror image of the global economic structure. The division is as follows:

  • FMD-free group: equivalent to high-income, industrialized zones;
  • FMD control regions: mainly middle-income, semi-industrialized countries characterized by medium to high FMD-control activity; South America is the most prominent of these regions;
  • FMD endemic group: generally among the least-developed countries, some of which have a high livestock density.

The last group of countries is locked into a vicious cycle: being poor, they do not have the resources to control FMD and enter global trade, while having FMD and not entering trade contributes towards keeping them poor.


Examples of economic impact of disease and disease control.

A study of the Bolivian FMD situation in 1995 showed that a successful FMD eradication programme would have the benefit of addressing other livestock-related issues. This would include providing an infrastructure that would enable control of other production-limiting diseases, reducing risks associated with livestock farming and significantly reducing the risk of FMD spreading to neighbouring countries.

An FAO study in1997 showed the positive impact of FMD control at household level in Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam. This demonstrated that if FMD outbreaks occurred during or immediately prior to land preparation for rice-planting, resulting additional ploughing costs could range from US$8.4 to US$2.8 for the farmers affected, whereas outbreaks outside this period would result in little or no extra ploughing cost. An analysis of peri-urban dairy farming in Vietnam showed that benefits gained from FMD prophylactic activities in areas at risk varied from US$9 to US$29 per cow - an increase of 7-24 percent per cow. The study showed that FMD prevention would improve the gross margin on pigs by a further 15 percent.

A request in April 2001 for emergency assistance by the Government of Bangladesh cites the severe damage done to the country’s nascent goat industry by a recent epidemic of PPR.

“Total mortality during the epidemic from 1993 to 1998 is estimated at 7.5 million goats out of a total population of approximately 30 million. ... In January 2001 a resurgence of PPR started. ... In many villages it appears to be a virgin-soil epidemic; PPR is spreading rapidly, causing high morbidity and mortality rates approximating 50 percent. ... In considering the likely impact of this epidemic, it must be stressed that goats are “the poor people’s cattle”, used for milk, meat and income generation; goat meat is more expensive by weight than beef. The losses impact very heavily on poorer families, for whose livelihoods the raising of goats and poultry is especially important. It is the women and their children who suffer most. Goat breeding and rearing has considerable potential to contribute to poverty alleviation in the diversification of the FAO/SPFS but it will not do so unless the problem of PPR can be overcome. In 1998, farmers refused microcredits from the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh because PPR made such investment a poor risk.”

MAP 1 Main livestock production areas in the Horn of Africa affected by the RVF export ban (FEWS NET/Greater Horn of Africa).

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