8 March 2017. Stockholm Sweden. EBA seminar Animal Health Matters. In the Expertgruppen för biståndsanalys (EBA)- report, Professors Jonathan Rushton, Arvid Uggla, and Ulf Magnusson present the significance of reliable animal health control systems in relation to sustainable and resilient livelihoods in low-income countries, with recommendations on priorities and strategies for a science-based animal health management.
The Expertgruppen för biståndsanalys (EBA) has commissioned Jonathan Rushton, Arvid Uggla and Ulf Magnusson to undertake this review on the importance of animal health for economic development. The authors point at the need to build proper control and surveillance systems and provide a review of the existing strategies and policies of Sweden and international donors. They conclude that Sweden has the potential to fill investment gaps in collaboration with other international and national actors, including Swedish universities and public authorities.
The World Development Report (WDR) 2008 is focused on crop productivity. It makes no reference to the fact that improved crop productivity often leads to surplus grains being consumed by livestock to add value. page 23
The most common livestock system in Low Income Countries (LICs) is family-based smallholder farming where crops and a few animals are integrated. These systems are low-input and low-output. They produce the vast majority of the food consumed in their countries and account for approximately 50 per cent of the global beef and milk production. page 26
Consumption level of animal source foods is inadequate to meet nutritional and physical development needs of millions of poor people. However, new intensive livestock systems are actually capable of solving these problems. They pose new research and policy challenges regarding the distribution and management of externalities relating to
disease, antimicrobial resistance and waste management. page 27
New technologies in order to maintain high animal health and production status have not always been available. Even though intensive systems are becoming more important, large parts of the animal source food in LICs are still produced by smallholders. page 29
Women constitute the majority of poor livestock keepers, but the current priority setting for interventions only rarely take their experiences and needs into account. Thus, there is both an efficiency issue and an equity issue justifying a gender dimension in animal health interventions. page 30
Livestock and hence healthy animals are keys to food security, directly or indirectly, especially in LICs. Subsequently, the benefits of healthier animals would have far-reaching consequences for food security in those countries. page 40
Two-thirds of our infectious diseases originate from animals, and a recent estimate states that three-quarters of emerging human infections have their origin in animals page 43
A reduction in antibiotic use can be implemented without severe long-term effects on poultry, beef or pig production – if matched by appropriate management and disease-preventive measures.page 46
There are many examples where governments provide services that favour those who are better off. page 55
Research on international animal health issues is frequent at SLU. It is often combined with PhD training of students from LICs and from Sweden. Funding has until recently come from the Sida research council (U-forsk).
- Today it is handled by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), and is sometimes co-funded by the Swedish research council Formas and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).
- This funding mechanism has helped build a Swedish resource base for solid research and training competence on animal health issues in LICs.
- The fact that SLU is leading the animal health part of the upcoming international CGIAR research programme “Livestock agri-food systems” (2017) could be viewed as a recognition of its capacity.
Feed is a key limiting factor and often the most expensive input in livestock production (Swanepoel et al., 2010).
Integrating feed and forage research with improved animal health and genetics can lead to significant enhancements in livestock production, up to 240% (Herrero et al., 2016). In mixed crop–livestock systems, which often have the potential to intensify, the most important contributors to feed resources are forages, crop residues and rangelands (Herrero et al., 2013), while in pastoral and agro-pastoral systems grazing of rangelands is the principal, often the only, source of feed.
- This flagship provides feedbased solutions that respond to challenges in the rapid growth trajectory to increase the quantity and quality of feed biomass, to smooth seasonal variability without over-taxing the natural resource base and harness positive environmental effects, such as contributions to biodiversity, soil fertility and carbon sequestration. Example locations include Kenya, Nicaragua and Vietnam.
- The flagship enhances livelihoods of smallholder livestock keepers and producers for both growth scenarios through the development of new feed and forage options which contribute to sustainable intensification, resilience and market linkages. It will contribute to closing the yield gap together with the other technology flagships and provide inputs for the systems flagships in this CRP (Livestock Livelihoods and AgriFood Systems and Livestock and the Environment) and other CRPs (e.g. CCAFS, DCL, Wheat and WLE)
- Feed and forage research ensures efficiently produced milk and meat will help to combat malnutrition and ensure nutritious and diverse agri-food systems and diets.
Examples of specific changes that the flagship will influence through collaboration include:
- Diagnosis of feed constraints and opportunities, and effective prioritization and targeting of feed and forage interventions;
- availability of new forage, rangeland and crop cultivars, superior to local through ‘next users’ to farmers;
- delivery and uptake of feed and forage technologies through proof-of-concept scaling, business model development and value-chain approaches;
- better utilization of existing and novel feed and forage resources, and application of management strategies to conserve and rehabilitate rangelands and pastures.
Related PAEPARD blog posts:
- The past meetings of the Inter-Agency Donor Group (IADG) on pro-poor livestock research and development confirm the statement made in the EBA report (page 60): animal health is not a primary target for international aid donors. (see presentation on Mycotoxins in animal feed).
- It is to be noted the International Research Consortium on Animal Health is not taking contaminated feed as a research topic
- Food Safety in Animal Source Foods For Improved Nutrition receives funding from USAID
- The Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDESA) has the the goal ‘to transform the African livestock sector for enhanced contribution to socio-economic development and equitable growth’.
- Research shows that there is an increasing demand for livestock products. Thus, the need for information on forages for specific climates
- Food Tank highlighted 18 organizations and companies that are working on the sustainable management of livestock
This is a timely publication, especially as PAEPARD has been supporting since 2011 the Eastern African Farmers’ Federation on Extensive livestock value chains in Eastern Africa with specific focus on Kenya and Uganda and since 2015 PAEPARD is “lobbying” DG Development, DG Research and DG Agriculture to give more attention to the issue of contaminated milk due to aflatoxin in Africa.
- Eastern Africa Livestock Strategy, AFID & Dr. Jean Ndikumana, August 2012, 75 pages
- Round table of aflatoxin experts which PAEPARD organised in Brussels January 2016
- A possible innovative research topic is micro-biota research related to binders (illegal in Europe?) which can reduce the toxicity of feed with 90 % (but may have some adverse effect on the uptake of micro nutrients by cattle). (see page 7 of the PAEPARD policy brief : The role of multi-stakeholder partnerships between Africa and Europe exemplified by the issue of aflatoxin contamination of food and feed.* October 2015).
Dairy cattle, in general, can tolerate relatively high levels of aflatoxin in their feed. It has been hypothesized that the microbial population in the rumen is able to metabolize most mycotoxins including aflatoxin. However, some of the toxic metabolites can be excreted in milk and cause public health concern and impact on trade. Aflatoxin has been the most commonly occurring mycotoxin in feed and has the most significant impact on the dairy industry. The concentration of aflatoxin (M1) in milk is highly dependent upon dietary aflatoxin (B1) and the threat to humans makes aflatoxin in dairy feeds a constant concern. In Europe maximum levels for aflatoxin M1 have been set for consumable milk at 0.05 μg/kg (= 0.05 parts per billion or ppb).
- Research questions: Contaminated food or feed can be treated postharvest in order to detoxify aflatoxin in the body so that it would present no more risk for human or animal health. Nixtamilisation is one option, but applying this approach at a large scale in Africa has not been researched yet. Nixtamalization refers to a process for the preparation of maize (corn), or other grain, in which the grain is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater, and hulled.
- However, the detoxified products from nixtamalization can actually be reversed in the digestive system, thus reactivating the aflatoxin. This may be the case with some of the biological binders as well, such as lactic acid bacteria.
- Other research questions regarding the binders, are: How do they bind mycotoxins under in vivo conditions? Are there local foods/binders that give protection? Have these been researched?
This post was originally published at PAEPARD and has been republished with permission.