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FAO and USAID launch the Africa Sustainable Livestock 2050 project in Kenya

©FAO
06/06/2017

In the next 30-40 years, Kenya will face an unprecedented growth in demand for animal source foods fueled by increased population, prosperity and urbanization. The country’s human population is likely to more than double between 2015 and 2050 while 44 % of the population will live in urban areas. Expectedly, the growing, increasingly affluent and urbanized Kenyan population will consume more high value food products, in particular animal source foods such as meat, milk and eggs in the future.  To meet this expected growth in demand, livestock keeping households as well as private commercial livestock enterprises will expand and transform their livestock systems and assets and adopt productivity-enhancing practices. This will lead to new and different interactions between people and natural resources resulting in both predictable and unpredictable challenges and opportunities.

With the aim to assess the long-term impact of the changing livestock systems on public health, the environment and livelihoods, the Food and Agriculture of the United Nations (FAO) launched the ‘Africa Sustainable Livestock 2050’ (ASL 2050) project. The project will jointly be implemented by FAO and the Ministries in charge of Livestock, Health and Environment with funding from the Unites States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Addressing participants during the launch, Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Ministry Mr. Willy Bett emphasized on the immense contribution of the livestock sector to the country’s economy and on food security. “The livestock sector contributes 12 per cent of the country’s GDP and 40 per cent to the agricultural sector. This shows that what we are launching today is a major contributor to the livelihoods and to the GDP of this country. Livestock is central to the livelihoods of the rural Africa and is strategically important to the continent’s food and nutrition security” – he said. 

In his opening remarks, Gabriel Rugalema, FAO Representative in Kenya, thanked the Government of the United States of America for funding this forward-looking initiative that aims to project the state of the livestock sector for at least 35 years. He noted that “today is the right time to begin to think, plan and evoke livestock policies for the future. We need to think carefully of how we are going to enable the livestock sector to deal with issues such as climate change, frequent droughts and floods, increasing outbreaks of emerging and reemerging diseases of livestock and humans, and conflicts between livestock keepers and cultivators”.

The two-year project is under implementation in six African countries, namely Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya. The main objective of the project is to identify capacity gaps and needs for governments and stakeholders in general to effectively deal with accelerating livestock systems evolution and associated impact on society and disease emergence as well as to provide guidance to refine policies currently affecting the livestock sector. This will be done by building evidence, assessing the current and future impact of livestock systems on the society and availing alternative articulating scenarios of livestock growth trajectories in the coming decades. The project will positively impact livestock systems, public health, the environment, and livelihoods.

Lessons learnt from Asia

The project has picked lessons from previous threats of livestock developments that warn of potential risks associated with a fast growing sector. Studies have demonstrated that the Asian livestock sector growth in the late 20th and early 21st century had major negative consequences such as biodiversity loss, fertilization of surface water, groundwater contamination, reduced soil fertility, emerging infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and rural impoverishment. Unregulated growth of the livestock sector in Kenya could present similar or worse challenges due to impoverished soils and weak health systems in the sub-Saharan Africa.

Anticipating the possible changes and designing strong strategies and policies to tackle the threats and utilize the opportunities could contribute towards mitigating negative effects and will ensure the sustainable growth of the livestock sector.

 

Contact

Martina Torma | FAO Kenya Communications | phone: +254 715 762 373 | email: martina.torma@fao.org