Livestock: An Integral Component of Sustainable Food Systems
USAID and Feed the Future would like to welcome you to Livestock Month on Agrilinks! As the world faces increased threats from climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainable livestock production and consumption of nutrient-dense, animal-source foods plays a crucial role in achieving our development objectives. This November, we will highlight and discuss the integral role of livestock in helping food systems around the world become more sustainable, resilient and nourishing.
Livestock production and animal-source food consumption are key components in achieving the U.S. Global Food Security Strategy (GFSS) objectives — which include sustainable, agriculture-led economic growth, strengthened resilience among people and systems, and a well-nourished population. Evidence shows that the livestock sector boosts agriculture gross domestic product (GDP) by an average of 30% in low- and middle-income countries. Rural households are particularly dependent on livestock, with 60% to 80% of households owning livestock to support their livelihoods, and can serve as a savings mechanism. And we know that households, particularly in vulnerable areas, must have access to diverse, nutritious foods. Evidence shows that only 18% of children receive adequately diverse diets in low- and middle-income countries. Animal-source foods, such as milk and eggs, have essential nutrients that play a pivotal role in providing much-needed nutrients for growth and development early in life. Finally, livestock are also a critical asset for households in areas of recurrent crisis, where we’re targeting our efforts to strengthen resilience and help families emerge from poverty, even in the face of shocks and stresses, including climate disasters.
Yet, many livestock systems are not functioning efficiently and food safety and hygiene can be an issue. The sector contributes approximately 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions each year, although much of that is produced in developed countries. While USAID is not ignoring the livestock sector’s impact on climate change, it is important to remember that the existing evidence indicates that promoting nutrition and food security with sustainable food systems using research for development along with climate-smart approaches can improve efficiency and reduce emission intensities. Feed the Future’s investments in a food systems approach, which includes sustainable livestock production, will drive economic growth, improve nutrition and build resilience.
An example of this success is the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. The Livestock Systems Innovation Lab has worked to improve nutrition for young children in Burkina Faso with a behavior change campaign to promote a simple but powerful source of vitamins and minerals — eggs. Despite their nutritional benefits, eggs often remain unavailable or unaffordable to most households in sub-Saharan Africa. With an innovative behavior change package and culturally tailored, integrated nutrition and agriculture training, the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab increased egg consumption in children from zero to six eggs per week. That directly resulted in a reduction in wasting, or acute malnutrition, and better nutrition for those children and their families.
Feed the Future is exploring public-private partnerships with two dairy initiatives, Dairy Nourishes Africa and Dairy Net Zero, where U.S. animal production expertise and Feed the Future partners are playing a leading role supporting dairy sector growth in lower income countries. These initiatives will also help lower emissions and increase nutrition.
As we work to implement the new GFSS, we know that sustainable, low-emission livestock systems are a crucial part of the solution to address global hunger and malnutrition. USAID and our partners are excited to continue working on sustainable, safe, climate-smart strategies that will lift people out of poverty, improve nutrition, build resilience and conserve our natural resources. As we say: It’s not the cow, but the how!
Stay tuned this month for an array of fresh, new content from USAID’s livestock partners this month and check out these additional resources from the past year.
Agrilinks Livestock Resource Round-up
- November is Livestock Month on Agrilinks: Sustainable Livestock, Sustainable Development
- The Importance of Livestock and Sustainable Production Systems
- Innovations for Prevention and Control of Livestock Diseases
- Feed the Future’s Enabling Environment for Food Security (EEFS) Enabling Environment for Animal Source Food Market Systems Success
- Global Food Security Strategy Technical Guidance: Investing in Livestock Production and Animal Source Food Market Systems
- Lessons in Working Towards Global Eradication of Peste des Petits Ruminants
- From Herds to Households: Unpacking the challenges and benefits around animal-source foods
- Three-Part Webinar Series: The Enabling Environment for Animal-Source Food Market Systems — Lessons Learned from the Field
Livestock and Climate Smart Agriculture Innovations
Current Scientific Literature in Livestock Systems Keeps Expanding
Resource Summarizes Livestock Systems in Ethiopia
Supporting Somalia’s Livestock Industry with Labelled Cash Transfer
Bundling Protection: How Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation Helped Kenyan Livestock Farmers Prepare for the Unexpected
Creating Climate-Resilient Livelihoods from Livestock
Private Sector Q&A on Livestock and Global Health Security
Connecting the Dots: Appreciating the Links Between Animal and Human Health, Encouraging Healthier Families
Animal Traction-Based Conservation Agriculture Offers Multiple Benefits for Smallholder Farmers in Zambia
Map Highlights Opportunities for Climate Adaptation through Livestock
Intersectional Identities of Livestock Owners in Nepal, Senegal, and Uganda, and How They Matter in Accessing Livestock Vaccines
Giving Thanks for the Agrilinks Livestock Community
How Animal Source Food Can Improve Household Dietary Security in Developing and Emerging Economies
Addressing Young Stock Mortality in Ethiopia
The Launch of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Animal Health
Mobile Pens Harness Livestock to Improve Farm Systems
Genomic Selection Platform Holds Promise for Breeding Stronger, More Disease-Resilient Indigenous Chickens
Implementing Policies for a Sustainable Livestock Sector: Lessons from Africa
Safety Practices in Livestock Management Can Improve Nutrition, Health and Economic Growth
Antimicrobial Resistance in Livestock: The Invisible Threat