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Research strategies for development of animal agriculture

The case for research
Research priorities

H.A. Fitzhugh, S.K. Ehui and A. Lahlou-Kasai

The authors are, respectively, Deputy Director-General (Research) and Assistant Head, Livestock Economics Division and Head, Animal Science Division of the International Livestock Centre for Africa PO Box 5680, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The authors would like to express their appreciation of the assistance provided by Abebayehu Yilma, Menbere W. Giorgis and Mohammed Mussa.

The case for research

Most scientists believe that research will support the development of animal agriculture. Unfortunately, this belief is not always shared by the decision-makers who allocate the resources. It is therefore of importance to demonstrate that research is justified by more effective development. An important element of a successful research strategy is to ensure favourable impacts social, economic and environmental (ILCA, 1992).

Demonstrating the economic importance of animal agriculture, particularly in developed regions, is not difficult (Fig. 1). Livestock products, such as meat, milk, eggs and hides, account for more than one-half of the value of total agricultural production, including tobacco and other non-food crops (USDA, 1990). In most developing regions, the proportional value of livestock products is lower but still appreciable. As a proportion of total agricultural production, livestock products amount to about 22 percent for Southeast Asia, 25 percent for sub-Saharan Africa (not including the Republic of South Africa), 26 percent for China, 31 percent for West Asia and North Africa and 38 percent for South America.

These values do not include animal traction and manure for fertilizer and fuel, which partially substitute for the fossil fuel-powered tractors and chemical fertilizers used in developed regions. For sub-Saharan Africa, the value of animal traction and manure as fertilizer was estimated to be about one-half of the combined value of meat, milk and eggs (ILCA, 1987). Using this proportional value for traction and manure, the combined contributions from animal agriculture are approximately 35 percent of total agriculture production in sub-Saharan Africa (compared with 25 percent for meat, milk, eggs and hides alone). For other developing regions - especially Asia - the values of traction and manure are likely to be equally important.

Research supports the development of animal agriculture in many ways, perhaps the most important being the enhancement of livestock productivity which leads to a more efficient utilization of available resources. This potential for improving productivity is dramatically illustrated by the differences in meat and milk productivity of cattle in developed and developing regions (Fig. 2).

1. Contribution of crops and livestock to the value of agricultural production - Part des et de l'élevage dans la production agricole mondiale, en valeur - Contribución de los cultivos y la ganadería al valor de la producción agrícola

2. Distribution of cattle populations and products by region, 1989 - Répartition des effectifs bovine et des produits par région, 1989 - Distribución de las poblaciones y los productos pecuarios por regiones, 1989

Source: FAO Production Yearbook 1989.

One-third of the world's cattle, which are found in developed regions, currently produce 70 and 80 percent of the global beef and milk supplies, respectively. These impressive differences in meat and milk production primarily result from the greater productivity of cattle per head in developed regions. The average yield per cow milked in developed regions is 3 605 kg compared with only 820 kg in developing regions (FAO, 1990). Similarly, the annual beef offtake per head of inventory in developed regions is about double that in developing countries - 35 kg compared with 18 kg.

Improved productivity benefits economic development both at the household and national levels. Livestock products improve the nutritional status of both farm and urban families. Sales of live animals, meat, milk, eggs and fibre are often the major income source for farmers of developing countries. Sales of milk and eggs provide a continuing flow of cash, a particularly important factor as farm families move from subsistence to cash-based economies.

Research can provide dramatic demonstrations of what is achievable and may thereby encourage development. Farmers, who are understandably averse to risks, are reluctant to make a major investment in their livestock when there is a high probability of losses through deaths. However, research that leads to effective vaccines and genetically resistant breeds can encourage farmers to invest in improved nutrition, management and other livestock interventions.

In recent years, global attention regarding environmental concerns has intensified. Too often and mistakenly, the development of animal agriculture is seen as being harmful to the environment. Research-based improvements in livestock productivity, on the contrary, should actually result in a more efficient and sustainable use of natural resources.

The central problem is that demand for food and fibre by the rapidly expanding human populations places great pressure on the often fragile natural resource base. This demand will increase, especially with regard to the food requirements of urban-based populations. The population of sub-Saharan Africa, for example, is expected to increase from the present 500 million to nearly 1 300 million by the year 2025.

Currently, only 145 million people are urban dwellers but, by 2025, more than 700 million people will be living in sub-Saharan cities and towns (World Bank, 1990). Urbanization will cause a sharp increase in demand for nutrient-rich, easy-to-prepare livestock products. Meeting this demand will not be easy but, fortunately, research-based interventions should help.

Such interventions include increasing feed and residue yields from crops grown on arable lands, reducing losses from disease and parasites and improving the genetic potential for milk and meat yields. These improvements should have positive ramifications for long-term sustainability - both environmental and economic.

Research strategies

Strategies for research were given particular attention in the recent study, Assessment of animal agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa (Winrock International, 1992). This study recognized that research is but one essential element along with extension, education and investment for the successful development of animal agriculture. In many cases, however, research can also act as a catalyst to expedite and ensure the success of development activities.

Although the Winrock study focused on sub-Saharan Africa, the general principles and priorities mentioned are broadly applicable to animal agricultural research throughout developing regions. A successful strategy must be based on the assumption that animal agriculture is a positive factor in long-term, sustainable agriculture and that research will enhance the contribution of livestock to sustainable agricultural development. Strategies should thus embody the following concepts: adequate economic returns to livestock farmers; maintenance of natural resources and productivity; minimal adverse environmental effects; optimal production with minimal external inputs; and satisfaction of human food and income needs as well as of rural families' social needs.

Farm systems approach. Given the complexity of animal agricultural management, a farm systems approach to developing and implementing research strategies is essential. To ensure that the research undertaken addresses farmers' perceived needs, such an approach must: characterize the farming system - identifying inputs, outputs, potentials, constraints and interactions of components; develop interventions to resolve constraints and exploit potentials; design alternative systems; evaluate interventions and alternative systems; and elaborate on alternatives that have proven to be technically practical, economically feasible and socially acceptable.

The research process should begin with the careful identification of problems. Systems description and constraint analysis are particularly valuable for informing scientists about the real problems faced by farmers.

An interdisciplinary team effort, combining efforts of socio-economic and biological scientists, is required to ensure that the full benefits are realized from the research to the development stage. In the planning and priority-setting stage, the social scientists can provide ex ante projections of costs and benefits while helping to address equity issues that may arise, such as gender and reconciling the interests of the poorer farmers with those of the more prosperous producers. As research progresses, the monitoring of socio-economic factors improves the probability of favourable social and economic impacts.

Since the objective of farm systems research is to improve traditional systems and, consequently, production, it follows that there wild be circumstances calling for major changes. For example, the six-fold increase in pig and poultry meat production envisioned for sub-Saharan Africa over the next 35 years (Winrock International, 1992), will require the adaptation of high-input, industrialized production systems to the environmental conditions of sub-Saharan Africa. This adaptive research will have little relevance to the problems and constraints of traditional backyard, scavenger poultry production.

Research priorities

The research strategy recommended for sub-Saharan Africa identified the following priorities: feed supply, animal health, genetic improvement, livestock management, crop/livestock farming systems, natural resources and policy (Winrock International, 1992). Priorities for research were based on agro-ecological, biophysical and socioeconomic constraints and potentials. Criteria for establishing research priorities included: potential for achieving substantial gains in production and/or income; probability research to resolve constraints and/or exploit potentials in order that substantial benefits be realized; availability of readily applicable technology to resolve constraints and exploit development potentials; and the expected social and environmental impacts of research.

Feed supply

The primary constraint to livestock production in sub-Saharan Africa is the fluctuating quantity and quality of the year-round feed supply. Ruminants will continue to depend primarily on forages and crop residues. However, energy and protein concentrates are required for the expansion of poultry and pig production while concentrate feeds will also be needed to supplement the diets of high-yielding dairy cattle. In the drier regions, seasonal shortages of forage are common while, in wetter regions, the nutritive value of forages varies seasonally and the failure to preserve surpluses therefore limits year-round carrying capacities.

Arid zones. Low, erratic rainfalls preclude any significant increase in feed production without irrigation. Thus, research priorities concentrate on the more effective utilization and maintenance of natural vegetation for which the requirements include monitoring systems to facilitate early warning and drought relief measures as well as grazing management schemes with an emphasis on social and organizational prerequisites for long-term sustainability.

Semi-arid and subhumid zones. These zones offer the greatest opportunities for research-based improvements in feed supply. However, care must be taken to match interventions to specific ecological characteristics in order to ensure long-term environmental sustainability. Fortunately, feed production options such as forage legumes and multiple-purpose trees (MPTs) are often environmentally beneficial. Their use by livestock brings economic benefits to farmers as well as improving soil fertility and controlling erosion. Rain-fed cropping systems will expand in these zones in response to population growth and food demand and the better grazing lands that are not already cultivated soon will be. Therefore, research should be directed towards forage production on marginal lands; forage legumes and MPTs as rotational and complementary crops; improved utilization of crop residues; strategic protein, energy and mineral supplementation to correct nutrient deficiencies and promote efficiency; and conservation of seasonal surpluses to compensate seasonal feed shortages.

Highlands. Since human and livestock populations are nearing the maximum carrying capacity of most African highlands, research should concentrate on more intensive systems that produce higher yields of protein and energy. Most crop/livestock farmers are small-scale with limited access to grazing lands, a situation that calls for integrated cropping systems combining food, cash and forage crops (including MPTs) to meet the needs both of livestock and humans while sustaining the soil and water resource base. Coarse grains, roots and agricultural by-products will be increasingly used for semi-intensive dairying; the feeding of cattle, sheep and goats for slaughter; and intensive pig and poultry systems. Ways to enhance and preserve feed values of crops must be sought, an endeavour that could involve collaboration between plant breeders, agronomists and animal scientists.

Humid zones. Human population expansion and the subsequent growth in food and feed demand will encourage agricultural development in humid zones. There is concern about the implications this might have for the often fragile natural resource base (discussed later) and research efforts to increase and improve feed supply must have full cognizance of such environmental issues. Alley farming with MPTs is an example of a research-based alternative which can enhance crop productivity, protect the resource base and provide high-quality forage for livestock.

Poultry and pigs. Industrialized commercial production of poultry and pig-meat will provide nearly one-half of the meat requirements for sub-Saharan Africa, estimated to be 8 million of the total 19 million tonnes of meat that will be required annually by the year 2025 (Winrock International, 1992). The demand for feed grains is predicted to increase from 3 million tonnes in 1990 to 25 million tonnes by the year 2025, and for protein meals from 0.2 to 6 million tonnes. If past experiences are repeated here, these concentrate requirements will be met from coarse grains, root crops and oilseed meals produced as cash crops over and above human requirements. Research must aim to fulfil a similar demand for food crops, but with a predominant emphasis on increasing yields under prevailing environmental conditions; rainfall, plant diseases and soil fertility, for example.

Animal health

Diseases and parasites seriously limit live stock productivity throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Research is needed to improve the efficacy of existing preventive and therapeutic treatments and to develop new diagnostics and vaccines.

For some health problems, resistant genotypes and preventive management offer cost-effective alternatives to treatment.

Trypanosomiasis, tick-borne diseases (theileriosis, cowdriosis, anaplasmosis and babesiosis) and the tick-associated disease, dermatophilosis, were identified as major constraints to livestock production in sub-Saharan Africa (Winrock International, 1992). Priority was given to genertic engineering research into the development of highly potent and thermostable multivalent vaccines. Diagnostics, based on monoclonal antibodies and recombinant DNA technologies, must aim to identify infectious agents and ensure efficient epidemiological monitoring, while research on immune responses will provide the basis for developing effective vaccines and delivery systems. Similar research on diagnostics, vaccines and delivery systems is needed to improve the control of major epidemic diseases such as rinderpest, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and peste des petite ruminants (PPR).

Economic losses from diseases aggravated by intensified farming systems, including losses from abortions, pre-weaning mortality, internal parasites and mastitis, will become increasingly important. Integrated disease control strategies will therefore need to be devised while research should concentrate on diagnostic techniques, preventive management and genetically mediated resistance. The traditional emphasis of veterinary research on major epidemic and tick-borne diseases is gradually changing as the cumulative economic losses from less dramatic animal health problems become apparent. A greater understanding of the epidemiology and economics of animal health would assist in the appropriate allocation of resources and the delivery of health services (Winrock International, 1992.)

Genetic improvement

Global concern about loss of biodiversity applies to domestic as well as wild populations. Genetic resources must be characterized and preserved and their diversity used to improve livestock productivity. Under the harsh production conditions of many developing regions, genetic adaptations to disease and climatic stresses are particularly important.

The need for research ranges from genetic manipulation at the molecular level to the crossing of high-yielding "exotic" breeds with well-adapted indigenous genetic resources. Fortunately, basic research at the molecular level, which is now under way in developed countries, can establish a basis for future applied research in developing regions. In addition, the principles of quantitative genetic theory may be transferred to genetic improvement programmes involving selection, cross-breeding and multiplication for example, multiple ovulation embryo transfer (MOET) and open nucleus breeding schemes. Thus, the identification, characterization and development of indigenous genetic material should take priority in the allocation of the scarce resources available for genetic research. In Africa, these include the unusual, perhaps unique, genotypes of Bos taurus cattle in West Africa, African hair sheep, camels and donkeys. Major research initiatives with indigenous populations are being developed by ILCA and FAO. These will be largely implemented under contracts with scientists of national agricultural research systems (NARS) through the collaborative research networks discussed later.

Resource management

The need for expanded agricultural production to provide food for today's population is increasingly affected by the fear that the eroding natural resource base will not meet the food needs of future generations. Farmers are already cultivating the better grazing lands, thereby limiting pastoral herds to marginal lands - even these marginal lands are increasingly threatened by the expansion of cultivation. If agricultural development is to be sustainable, research is needed to intensify and increase productivity from the better endowed and more robust lands and to improve the management of soil, water and vegetative resources on the more fragile lands (Winrock International, 1992).

Although environmental consciousness is high - regarding global warming, desertification, deforestation, for example - knowledge of causal relationships and their management is poor, especially in the case of animal agriculture. Long-term monitoring studies incorporating geographic information systems, remote sensing and modelling have become research priorities for most developing country environments supporting animal agriculture, especially as the inadequacies of paradigms derived from experience in temperate environments are increasingly evident (Winrock International, 1992).

Development of livestock production in the humid forest regions of sub-Saharan Africa is not recommended by the Winrock study. The adverse effects of tropical deforestation, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and soil degradation have been well publicized. However, livestock production systems based on humid savannahs can be quite productive, providing control of major diseases, especially trypanosomiasis, is effected. Increased population pressure will almost certainly expand exploitation of the humid zone. The fallow period of traditional slash-and-burn farming systems is already being shortened in many regions, leading to the pernicious loss of soil resources. Research on nutrient cycling involving the use of animal manures, usually in combination with chemical fertilizer, may offer alternatives to slash-and-burn practices in the humid zone.

Policy research

The policy environment can have either positive or negative effects on investment and innovation in animal agriculture. The absence of sound economic policies in support of animal agriculture will impede:

· investment in infrastructure;

· proper incentives to farmers;

· adequate supplies of production inputs and the delivery of animal health services;

· effective marketing and credit facilities;

· increased animal productivity through biological research.

Milk is a major source of income for smallholders. Traditional management practices gradually evolve as the growing demand for milk justifies investments in improved feeding, health, breeding and processing hygiene - Le fait est une source majeure de revenue pour les petite agriculteurs. Les pratiques de gestion traditionnelles évoluent progressivement à mesure que la demande de fait justifie des investissements pour améliorer l'alimentation, la santé et la sélection des animaux ainsi que l'hygiène du traitement du lait. - La leche es una fuente importante de ingresos pare los pequeños agricultores. Las prácticas tradicionales de ordenación se modifican gradualmente dado que la demanda de leche justifica la inversión pare mejorar la alimentación, la sanidad, la selección genética y la higiene durante el proceso de elaboración

N'Dama cattle and other trypanotolerant breeds are important genetic resources for meat, milk and power in tsetse-infested regions of Africa - Les bovine N'Dama et les autres races trypanotolérantes constituent d'importantes ressources génétiques pour la production de viande et de fait ainsi que pour la traction animale dans les régions d'Afrique infestées par les tsé-tsé - El ganado N'Dama y otras razas tripanotolerantes son recursos genéticos importantes pare la obtención de carne, leche y fuerza de tracción animal en las regiones de Africa infestadas por la mosca tsetsé

Policy research could improve data bases and provide analyses to help policy-makers anticipate and understand the probable consequences of their actions. The Winrock study identified policy research needs in the general areas of fragile land use, institutional policies and fiscal incentive and trade policies.

During a recent planning workshop, Livestock and Resource Management Policy, convened by ILCA, an international group of policy analysts and researchers identified the following research priorities: resource management; trade and macro-economics; technology policy, markets and institutions.

Resource management. A major constraint to the adoption of improved innovations in animal agriculture is the nature of various communities' claims to the natural resource base. Insecure tenure, multiple ownership, common property and a lack of clearly defined and secure property rights result in the overexploitation, underinvestment in and general mismanagement of resources. This is fuelled by a poor understanding of the appropriate role for institutions that govern the use of land, water, rangelands and other resources. There is therefore a need to study how resource management policies, including land-use rights, affect resource use and how changes in policies might advance environmental objectives.

For the mixed production systems of the semi-arid and subhumid zones, these studies might examine resource competition and complementarily between different land uses and enterprises. For the humid areas, analysis of the relationships between disease control, livestock development, resource use and the environment are required. For the pastoral production systems of the arid zone, the linkages between pastoral societies, rangeland tenure and rangeland ecology should be studied.

Farmer support for resource conservation has been shown to depend greatly on government policies. The effects of credit, pricing, and monetary policies on resource use and the environment, especially for the mixed production systems, are therefore important points to consider. Policy-induced distortions in financial markets, for example, result in small farmers having to pay high real interest rates. Many farmers who are unable to borrow or meet the repayments on borrowed funds seek refuge in common access areas, which are often susceptible to environmental degradation. Policy-induced distortions in agricultural commodity markets also result in farmers receiving low prices for their livestock, thereby discouraging them from investing in natural resource management. There is a similar linkage between resource management and exchange rate policy. Setting official exchange rates above market exchange rates discourages agricultural exports, including livestock. This in turn decreases the derived demand for land, which discourages farmers from managing existing farmland and developing new land in a responsible manner.

Trade and macro-economics. The macro-economic environment plays a crucial role in the development of the national livestock sector. Macro-economic policy affects opportunities for trade and may, therefore, affect expansion of the livestock sector. Among areas which merit attention for research are: the effects of structural adjustment or liberalization on livestock production, concentrating on supply and demand changes resulting from economic incentives and constraints; the effects of and impediments to regional trade via economic integration; and the structure of demand for animal products.

Structural adjustment is already a reality for many sub-Saharan African countries, but while general impacts on the public sector may have been documented, specific effects on the livestock sector have not. There is a renewed interest in regional trade agreements and economic communities (such as the Economic Community of West African States and the Preferential Trade Area covering East and southern Africa).

Beneficial integration will require informed policy decisions, hence policy research is needed. Priorities include projecting changes in national comparative advantages for livestock production enterprises over time and identifying the "winners and losers" when existing trade impediments are removed. Although considerable work has been undertaken on food demand in sub-Saharan Africa, relatively little attention has been devoted specifically to demand for animal products. Understanding the effects of macro-economic policy adjustments on the livestock sector requires a knowledge of demand structures.

Technology policy, markets and institutions. Research topics identified in this area include how price and non-price factors influence technological change. For the factor markets, issues of interest include the effects of land tenure, credit and labour policies. For the output markets, issues include the effects of input and product prices together with non-price factors such as quality and infrastructure. Policies to strengthen NARS and extension systems will benefit from research on institutional change, government expenditures and their allocation, institutional structures and linkages and the efficiency of public services in the livestock sector.

Research institutions

A comprehensive research strategy should utilize basic, strategic, applied and adaptive methods as deemed appropriate. The comparative advantage for undertaking these types of research generally varies depending on the institution. For example, NARS have the ready access necessary to address the specifics of local farm systems. Whereas, International Agricultural Research Centres (IARCs) are generally better placed to address strategic and applied research needs at the international level.

Animal draught power replaces the drudgery of human labour and facilitates timely cultivation. Animal traction in sub-Saharan Africa is valued at more than US$4 000 million per year - La traction animale libère l'homme d'un dur labeur et aide à accomplir les tâches agricoles en temps voulu. On évalue la traction animale en Afrique subsaharienne à plus de 4 milliards de dollars par an - La fuerza de tracción animal sustituye la fatiga del hombre y facilita el cultivo oportuno. En el Africa subsahariana el valor de la tracción animal se ha estimado en más de 4 000 millones de dólares EE.UU. al año

Animal manure is a valuable alternative source of fertilizer and fuel in small-scale agriculture - Le fumier constitue une source précieuse d'engrais et de combustible pour les petites exploitations - El estiércol animal es otra fuente valiosa de fertilizantes y combustible pare la agricultura en pequeña escala

"Appropriate technology" to support research in developing countries involves advanced electronic equipment such as this atomic absorption spectrophotometer for mineral analysis - Une technologie appropriée pour soutenir la recherche dans les pays en développement suppose un équipement électronique avancé, tel le spectrophotomètre d'absorption atomique pour l'analyse des minéraux - La tecnología apropiada pare la investigación en los países en desarrollo requiere equipo electrónico moderno como el espectrofotómetro de absorción atómica pare el análisis de minerales

NARS. National agricultural research systems are the foundation of a successful national research strategy. To be effective, NARS should include linkages to extension services, academia and private industry. In aggregate, NARS constitute the majority of human, physical and financial resources that can be brought to bear on research problems.

For example, in sub-Saharan Africa annual funding for NARS (expressed in 1980 dollars) was approximately US$372 million during the period 1981-85 (Pardey, Roseboom and Anderson, 1991). This was about four times the amount allocated to IARCs in sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, the resources available to NARS are rarely utilized effectively. Too often, the majority of resources are devoted to the maintenance of staff and infrastructure. Thus, external donor funding is required for the marginal costs of experimentation.

The NARS addressing animal agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa are organized in several modes: as separate semi-autonomous research institutes, as departments within ministries and university-based institutes or as independent departments. There is often little connection between plant and animal-oriented research, even in countries where mixed crop/livestock systems are predominant.

Stakeholders in the research process - farmers, extension agents, agribusiness, policy-makers - are not usually involved in setting national research priorities and developing programmes, but their involvement is essential for ensuring that research will be relevant to national needs (Winrock International, 1992).

Regional organizations. Regional collaboration among NARS concerned with similar problems offers an important opportunity to accomplish more with the scarce resources available for research. In Africa, there are several regional organizations addressing animal agriculture. The Centre International de Recherches et Développement sur l'Elevage du Zone Sub-humide (CIRDES), formerly Centre de Recherches sur les Trypanosomoses Animales (CRTA), located in Burkina Faso, has recently expanded its mandate for applied and adaptive technology transfer and training in livestock production and health. It has signed agreements with Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, the Niger and Togo. The International Trypanotolerance Centre (ITC), based in the Gambia, also plans to serve a broader regional mandate.

Networking allows collaborating NARS partners to pool scientific efforts on a regional basis in order to address problems of mutual interest more effectively, thereby avoiding a duplication of efforts. Successful collaborative research networks typically have the following characteristics (ILCA, 1991):

- a well-defined common theme and strategy;

- an existing or potential source of improved technology;

- a harmonizing (coordinating) institution serving as the hub of the network;

- regular meetings of participating scientists;

- an information exchange system;

- free exchange of results and methods among members;

- education and training opportunities;

- financial support for in-country research activities conducted by national scientists;

- explicit national commitments for research on the commodities covered by the network.

Multilocational regional projects, managed through networks, offer considerable opportunities for enhancing the efficiency of research. They allow the introduction of standardized methodologies and hence lead to more significant conclusions than can be obtained from isolated experiments.

IARCs, such as ILCA, can play a major role as collaborative research partners in networks, providing training opportunities for network participants, disseminating research methods and results and facilitating the exchange of information.

IARCs also assist with network support functions which include helping to attract donor funding, helping to organize networks (setting up network steering committees), sponsoring meetings of participating scientists and providing services in areas such as data analysis, documentation and publishing.

IARCs. Research activities at the international level include: assessing the changing research needs of global agriculture, fisheries and forestry; the collation, processing and dissemination of scientific information; the collection, preservation and exchange of germplasm and improvement of methodologies for its use; the enhancement of germplasm for crops, livestock, trees and fish dominant in the economic activity of many countries; the development of resource management and husbandry principles appropriate for agro-ecological conditions widely distributed around the globe; strategic research on production processes; and specialized training (TAC/CGIAR, 1991).

IARCs, supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), are expected to conduct strategic and applied research of an international character that complements and supports the efforts of NARS, their principal clients. The ultimate objective of IARC is to benefit the poor in developing countries through technological change leading to increased food production and income generation. Among the 16 IARCs currently supported by CGIAR, two are primarily devoted to animal agriculture - ILCA and the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD). The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia, and the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic are primarily oriented towards crop research but devote significant resources to livestock-related research: CIAT to tropical pastures ICARDA to small ruminants. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, D.C., has identified animal agriculture as a promising basis for economic development as well as for policies which support animal agriculture. The International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR), the Hague, the Netherlands, has encouraged the strengthening of NARS capacity to generate appropriate animal production and health technologies. In the past, ISNAR has emphasized capacity-building for crop-oriented research. However, more attention should be given to strengthening NARS to address crop-livestock and animal-based systems.

Small ruminants provide almost 30 percent of the meat consumed and about 16 percent of the milk produced in sub-Saharan Africa. Increased productivity would boost farm income as well as capital for purchasing inputs for other production activities - Les petits ruminants fournissent près de 30 pour cent de la viande et environ 16 pour cent du lait produits en Afrique subsaharienne. Un accroissement de la productivité dynamisera les revenus agricoles et fournira de l'argent avec lequel acheter des intrants pour d'autres productions - Los pequeños rumiantes proporcionan aproximadamente el 30 por ciento de la carne que se consume y alrededor de 16 por ciento de la leche producida en el Africa subsahariana. Una mayor productividad incrementará los ingresos agrícolas y generará dinero en efectivo que servirá para comprar insumos destinados a otras actividades de producción

A market place for small ruminants. Small ruminants provide a readily available source of cash income and food for most areas of sub-Saharan Africa where demand is particularly high during feast and festival periods - Un marché de petits ruminants. Ils sont une source de revenus en espèces et de nourriture dans la plupart des régions d'Afrique subsaharienne. La demande est particulièrement élevée en périodes de fêtes - Mercado de pequeños rumiantes. Estos constituyen una fuente inmediata de ingresos en efectivo y de alimentos en la mayor parte de las zonas del Africa subsahariana. La demanda de pequeños rumiantes es particularmente intensa durante los períodos de fiesta y los festivales

Pruning an alley farm in the Nigerian humid zone. Using a leguminous tree in alley farming not only provides animal fodder and crop mulch but also enriches the soil with nitrogen, thus enhancing its sustainable use - Elagage d'arbres plantés en couloirs dans une exploitation de la zone humide du Nigéria. Les essences légumineuses fournissent du fourrage et du mulch pour les cultures; elles enrichissent aussi le sol en azote, ce qui permet de l'exploiter plus durablement - Poda de una explotación cultivada en hileras en la zona húmeda de Nigeria. La utilización de árboles leguminosos en ese tipo de cultivo no sólo suministra forraje animal y mulch vegetal, sino que también enriquece el suelo con nitrógeno y aumenta el uso sostenible del mismo

An advantage of IARCs research is that results "spill over" into similar agroecological and socio-economic conditions across national boundaries. IARCs are also well positioned to assist NARS with the transfer of results from basic and strategic research by specialized research institutes in developed countries.

Technology development

Technology is a major research output for the development of animal agriculture. It has been argued that an ample stock of appropriate technology is already on the shelf, but experience has generally shown this not to be true.

Technology transfer. Only rarely are technologies from developed regions directly transferable to developing regions. Climate, availability of services, trained personnel, dependability of power supply, marketing infrastructures are but a few of the factors affecting how well technologies work. These factors usually differ markedly between developed and developing regions. Thus, strategic, applied, adaptive and even basic research initiatives are required to adapt technologies to fit needs of animal agriculture in developing regions.

Research to adapt and transfer technologies for small-scale farming systems will primarily involve publicly supported institutions, NARS and IARCs. Privately-funded initiatives are more likely to address the needs of the industrialized swine and poultry systems as well as the development of those technologies which are readily marketable.

Appropriate technology. The concept of "appropriate technology" is often interpreted to mean that technologies suitable for developing countries are less sophisticated and advanced than those used in developed countries. It follows, therefore, that a research strategy to develop appropriate technologies for developing countries will more than likely not involve advanced science. This generalization frequently holds and the highest priority should therefore be given to adapting relatively "low-tech" interventions. There are, however, important exceptions. For example, the battery-powered notebook computer - certainly in the forefront of available personal computing technology - is particularly useful where there is an erratic power supply, as is the case in many developing countries. Research strategies embodying development and application of advanced technologies should not be dismissed out of hand. Specific examples where state-of-science research is particularly appropriate to animal agriculture in developing countries include:

· molecular genetics research, including genome mapping and genetic engineering to combine productive and adaptive traits (Brem and Wagner, 1991);

· development of thermostable, multivalent vaccines and animal-side diagnostics for field use;

· reproductive technologies, including in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer and other techniques to assist characterization of indigenous genetic resources;

· fermentation technologies to facilitate feed and food processing and preservation; for example, biocontrol of fungi and other microbes which cause silage spoilage and loss of nutrients;

· development of transgenic rumen bacteria to enhance cellulolytic activity and detoxification of antinutritional factors in foodstuffs.


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