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FAO - Highlights - Faits saillants - De especial interes


Activities of the FAO Dairy Development Group
Improved meat drying
Small-scale processing of blood from slaughtered animals for animal feed
AGA's innovative approaches to increase livestock's contribution to food security and sustainable agricultural development
Study on the supply of meat and milk to large cities
First electronic conference on tropical feeds and feeding systems organized by the Feed Resources Group, FAO Animal Production and Health Division
Symposium on improving animal production systems based on local resources

Animal Production and Health Division · Division de la production et de la santé animales · Dirección de Producción y Sanidad Animal

Activities of the FAO Dairy Development Group

One of the main obstacles to achieving sustainable rural development, which must be based on agricultural and livestock production, is the lack of infrastructure, including links between producers and the market for their products. There have always been problems with infrastructure and the organization for off-farm activities, particularly for the small producers, preventing them from reaching the more profitable urban market. Moreover, the ongoing structural adjustment and economic reform programmes in many countries have led to crises in their parastatal processing and marketing systems with no alternative structure in place to take over. This is the background behind a new thrust in the activities of the Meat and Dairy Service of the FAO Animal Production and Health Division.

The Meat and Dairy Service has prepared a proposal for a global study on "Opportunities for livestock development through supplying the rapidly expanding urban population with dairy and meat products".

During November/December 1994, pilot studies were undertaken in Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam), Guayaquil (Ecuador), Mexico City (Mexico) and Dar-es-Salaam (United Republic of Tanzania). These studies will facilitate the preparation of strategies for ensuring that urban populations have access to adequate food supplies that are safe and wholesome, of good quality and, as far as possible, based on local production.

Furthermore, FAO is sponsoring a seminar in collaboration with the World Association for Animal Production (WAAP) on the urban supply of livestock products, to be held in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, from 16 to 20 May 1995. One of the case-studies to be presented at the seminar is based on a Technical Cooperation Programme project to plan the milk supply to Karachi, Pakistan, which has approximately 12 million inhabitants. At present, half of the milk is supplied from peri-urban cattle/buffalo colonies and there is no industrial milk-processing plant involved. The project proposes long-term strategies that show how this high demand for milk could be used as a dynamic tool for rural development, replacing peri-urban production and the associated problems with a more sustainable rural milk production system.

The United Republic of Tanzania is launching a large National Programme of Action for Sustainable Income Generation, which includes a (UNDP-TSS2) component on village-level dairy processing and marketing. Under this programme, ten small dairy processing units will be established with technical support from FAO's Dairy Development Group.

The Meat and Dairy Service is also sponsoring a workshop in Tanzania on "Strategies for market orientation of small-scale milk producers and their organization". The workshop, to include participants from the East African region and to be organized by the Department of Animal Science and Production at the Sokoine University of Agriculture, was to be held in Morogoro from 20 to 24 March 1995. The objective of the workshop is to identify critical constraints in milk marketing as well as the role of producers and their organization in the marketing endeavour and, finally, to produce strategies and suggest interventions for bridging the gap between the producer and consumer in a way that will promote rural economic growth through market-driven development of the dairy sector. Much of the value of livestock products in the market is value added, through processing, for example, and it is essential that the producer is in a position to influence major elements of the commodity chain. This will prevent exploitation by intermediaries and ensure the highest possible return of profit to the producer community in order to create employment and enhance rural development.

Improved meat drying

In the absence of a cold chain, meat drying remains the most practical way of preserving and storing meat in developing countries with mostly warm climates. The empirical open-air sun-drying process, which involves cutting strips of meat and exposing them unprotected to the air and the sunlight, has certain disadvantages however, such as dust, rain and insects. The search for an alternative method resulted in "solar drying", which is the sun-drying of meat in closed cabinets. This method is rather promising, but no systematic development work has been carried out so far, leaving users without any firm technical guidelines on the construction of solar dryers or on the use of the drying technique. FAO, in its Technical Cooperation Programme, has initiated a project in Ghana on the subject with the aim of providing the necessary skills. In addition to the development of optimal drying techniques, technologically and economically recommended methods of meat pre-treatment to further improve the effectiveness of the drying method will be elaborated.

Small-scale processing of blood from slaughtered animals for animal feed

In developing countries a high percentage of the blood obtained from slaughtered animals is wasted. Although advanced technical equipment for the dry rendering of blood is not affordable in most developing regions, and economically it is not warranted in smaller abattoirs, every effort should be made to recycle blood into the animal feed chain. It is particularly well suited for monogastrics (pigs and poultry).

Through its Technical Cooperation Programme, FAO will first assist Ethiopia in the development of simple blood-drying facilities using solar energy. Two solar blood dryers will be constructed, one for low capacities and one for medium capacities. Once this development work is successfully completed, the new techniques will be disseminated to other livestock-producing countries.

AGA's innovative approaches to increase livestock's contribution to food security and sustainable agricultural development

With a new Director-General at FAO, the time was considered opportune for the Animal Production and Health Division (AGA) to critically assess its mandate, resources and achievements, with the aim of proposing new and innovative approaches to enable it to accept the challenges of the future. A working group of six staff members has devoted a considerable amount of time and energy to completing this task. It concluded that the contribution of livestock to agriculture and national economies has been largely underestimated and undervalued by not taking into account the full range of products and services they provide. To redress the situation the working group proposed that AGA's primary objectives for the future should be to increase livestock's contribution to food security and to sustainable agricultural development. To achieve this livestock cannot be viewed in isolation from the overall farming system, and it was proposed that AGA's programmes should be multidisciplinary and its systems oriented toward this end. The working group identified mixed-farming, pastoral and urban production and supply as the three main production systems that should be the focus of AGA's activities. Within each system interventions were categorized as on-farm, off-farm, national and global, covering both operational and normative functions. Two major documents will result from the working group: its final report and "Livestock- a driving force for food security and sustainable development", which is expected to be issued soon.

Study on the supply of meat and milk to large cities

Urban populations are currently expanding in developing countries and are expected to more than double by the year 2025. Moreover, it is estimated that over 50 percent of the world's population will be living in cities of more than one million people by this time. This will create a need to develop production, processing, marketing and distribution systems to link the rural food producers with the urban consumer.

The effects of this urbanization are many, and the rapidly growing urban demand will be the major factor shaping the development of livestock production and marketing in the coming years. To meet the rising total demand through domestic production, the efficiency of all aspects of livestock production systems as well as of the processing and marketing sectors will need to be increased significantly.

As urbanization intensifies, the demand for livestock products grows more rapidly than the demand for foodgrain products. Animal products differ from most grain products in at least two marketing aspects. First, animal products are highly perishable and therefore require special facilities and management. Second, because of the potential risk of contamination and the short shelf-life of both milk and meat, it is important to have a short chain of good hygienic quality, linking production, processing, storage and consumption.

Urban food markets generally require a wide range of products, from expensive value-added foods to low-cost commodities for the lower-income groups. Livestock products fit into the upper end of the economic spectrum and consumption of these products increases with income. However, the high nutritive value of animal products should not be overlooked as they constitute an important source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. In developing countries, many people are undernourished, especially women and children, and even small amounts of animal products could improve the situation by providing some of the essential elements that are often lacking in the staple diet. Animal products could be an important supplement to complement the diet of poor people, which is frequently based on one or two food crops. Moreover, food consumption in urban areas is often in the form of fast food in the streets. The fast-food industry in developing countries has developed along the same lines as in the industrialized countries, using very much the same ingredients and neglecting possible inputs from local agriculture.

It is against this background that FAO has decided to prepare a major study on urban growth and livestock development. The study would address the issues relating to various aspects of milk and meat production and supply and aim at understanding better than in the past the positive opportunities that the supply chain of milk and meat offers livestock producers, market and processing enterprises and consumers. The main target group of the study would be concerned policy-makers and planners who would be provided with a better understanding of and guidelines for the optimal management of livestock production resources and the consequent development of institutional and regulatory mechanisms. The results of the study would also be of direct benefit to urban planners and private investors, enabling them to better respond to the market demand and deal with the related infrastructural and environmental issues. Finally, the study would allow the international development community to respond appropriately to the need for technical cooperation, technology transfer and financing.

An important element of the global study will be a series of case-studies on the meat and milk supply systems for selected cities in the different developing regions. To standardize the approach and refine the methodology, a number of pilot studies were planned for 1994. The first one addressed the milk supply to Karachi, Pakistan, and examined the cattle colony approach that has been used extensively in Asia. Multidisciplinary teams covering the technical and economic aspects of production, processing and marketing studied the supply of livestock products to Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam) and Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) in December 1994. Less intensive studies on the supply of meat and milk are planned for Guayaquil (Ecuador). A summary of these pilot studies will be reported at the FAO/World Association for Animal Production (WAAP) symposium "Supply of livestock products to rapidly expanding urban populations", to be held in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, in May 1995. The symposium will highlight the need for the global study and focus attention on the potential for market-oriented development of the livestock sector.

First electronic conference on tropical feeds and feeding systems organized by the Feed Resources Group, FAO Animal Production and Health Division

The first electronic conference on tropical feeds and feeding systems organized by the Feed Resources Group of the FAO Animal Production and Health Division began in mid-February and will last until mid-July 1995. An electronic conference permits significant savings on travel and subsistence allowances. Keynote papers are prepared by leading scientists and are made available for file transfer to a group of persons assembled on a mailing list or listserver. These persons are invited to read the papers and provide comments and suggestions.

With the wide extension of electronic communication throughout the world, this new technology is no longer a privilege of industrialized countries. Many scientists in developing countries now have access to it and the network continues to expand very rapidly. It will soon become the most common means of exchange between scientists.

Over the last 20 years FAO has devoted much effort towards improving knowledge on tropical feeds and feeding systems, starting with the publication of the book Tropical feeds by Bo Gohl in 1975. Along the same lines, research conducted by some pioneers has led to a better understanding of the nutritional constraints and mechanisms involved in feeding animals in the tropics. Newly developed technologies are now applied in many countries. Much remains to be done in this field, however, and for this reason it is necessary to involve all scientists in working towards new developments. The objective of this conference is to provide these scientists, particularly those working in developing countries, with a forum in which they may share their experiences.

The responsibility of organizing this conference has been given to Rene Sansoucy, Senior Officer (Feed Resources) and Christophe Dalibard, Animal Production Officer. As the Oxford Forestry Institute has much experience in electronic communications and is already collaborating with FAO in various fields, they were asked, and have accepted, to cooperate in the management of the conference; Andrew Speedy, who is a lecturer at this institute, is acting as conference coordinator.

Proceedings will be made available on diskette and through electronic mail.

For further information, contact Rene Sansoucy at the following email address: [email protected]

Symposium on improving animal production systems based on local resources

Organized on behalf of FAO by the Indonesian Research Institute for Animal Production within the framework of the seventh AAAP (Asian Australasian Animal Production) Animal Science Congress, this symposium took place from 11 to 16 July 1994 in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, with an attendance of approximately 60 participants. Eleven speakers from ten countries (Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam) presented papers on the use of local resources and the various technologies applied in the region, including:

· Backyard poultry systems in Bangladesh (Nazir Ahmed);
· Multipurpose trees as supplements for ruminants in Sri Lanka (K.K. Phatirana);
· Supplementation of straw-based diets in Thailand (M. Wanapat);
· Molasses-urea blocks as supplements for poor-quality roughages in Viet Nam (Bui Xuan An);
· Beef fattening with treated straw in China (Guo Ting Shuang and Liu Jianxin);
· Feeding systems based on palm byproducts in Malaysia (S. Jalaludin);
· Feeding of swine with local feed resources in Thailand (S. Khajarern);
· Sugar-cane juice for swine in the Philippines (F. Moog);
· Livestock feeding by women in India (Sangeeta Rangnekar);
· Low roughage diet for small ruminants in Indonesia (B. Tangenjaya);
· Duckweed - a potential high-protein feed resource for domestic animals and fish (R.A. Leng).

The proceedings should be available soon from the FAO Animal Production Service, Rome, Italy.


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